15 July 2010

The Next Insurgency Will Not Be Televised

More notes from Annual Training in June 2010 ...

It was a little surreal when the brigade Public Affairs Officer called me onto the figurative carpet one day. He casually let slip that we needed to talk about "Sherpa." After I figuratively picked myself up the (might I add, uncarpeted) floor, we talked about blog-stuff: what works, what doesn't, what's good for the cause, what isn't. It felt good to come in from the proverbial cold.

Apparently, he's known about the Red Bull Rising blog since April, when he and some mutual colleagues discovered a post that, coincidentally, just happened to involve them. "Hey, this is a pretty funny story that sounds kind of familiar ... HEY, WAITAMINUT!"

I wish I could've been a fly on the wall to see that!

So, Sherpa is no longer "hiding in plain sight"--but neither is he taking out full-page advertisements in the local newspaper.

Against this background static, imagine my surprise when twice the new command team separately inquired as to my off-duty activities, without apparent awareness of the blog. Here's how it lays down: I've served under the new brigade commander once before, when he was in charge of the 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment (1/133rd Infantry). And the new brigade command sergeant major was then the first-sergeant of a line company in that unit, while I was a "commo dog" in the headquarters company.

During the "Ironman" battalion's deployment, you see, I ran what you might call a "humor-driven underground newspaper," there in the desert. I only had to publish one issue--literally one page--per week, conserving paper and ink by posting it over the urinal in our "hootch" trailer.

The name of the publication was "The Bull Sheet."

Even with the earlier adrenalin provided by the Pubic Affairs Officer, I was ill-prepared for the following Annual Training moment, which occurred after I briefed both the brigade commander and command sergeant major on some computer-related stuff.

"By the way, when does the covert back-talk start?" asked the commander, chuckling.

"Yeah, where's 'The Bull Sheet?'" asked the command sergeant major. "We need some humor around here."

I stammered and backed my way out of the briefing tent, vowing never to play poker with any of these soldiers. If they already knew about the Red Bull Rising blog, they sure as heck weren't letting on.

Besides, after all that, I wasn't about to give them the usual Bull Sheet, now, was I?


  1. Lol- your fans are LEGION :D

    [in no way associated with anything official or sane :D]

  2. @ Pax: Thanks for that! You inspired me to dust-off a picture of The Bull Sheet, back in the day. I've updated the post with it.

    Please note, however, that the picture was taken during a hootch party--in other words, it was EXTREMELY UNUSUAL to have drinks, cameras, and more than one guy in front of the urinal at the same time.

    Don't want to give people the wrong impression about military life, after all ...

  3. @Sherpa...

    Thank you(?) for the caveat there. I can honestly say that until this point I have never pondered the incorporation of drinks, cameras & multiples in front of a urinal (and if I can scrub my brain with lye soap I shall never do it again either :D)


  4. I can see you now standing in front of the commander and Sgt Maj with your fist in the air yelling about your constitutional rights to freedom of the press. “What do you think this is, Sir, the Army?”

  5. "The Bull Sheet" hahaha. ...love it!
    ...Combat comedy keeps us all goin'.

  6. Thanks for the peek at what apparently goes down at Hooch parties! I can only imagine how that compares/contrasts with the Tickle parties in the Navy...


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