An Army Ranger Interviews A Navy SEAL On Resilience

What is resilience? It’s not something you can buy off the shelf. You can’t pout until it’s given to you, either. You acquire it by doing the most human of things: struggling. In this struggle, it’s essential that you keep fighting through and driving on, whether you have succeeded or failed in your goals. Each time you go through the process, you become a bit more resilient.

Eric Greitens is a former Navy SEAL, Rhodes scholar, and founder of veterans organization The Mission Continues. He has written a book on the subject: Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living A Better Life. In a series of letters to his SEAL comrade who struggles with depression, alcoholism, and post-traumatic stress disorder, Eric seeks to break down the elements that make for a resilient life so he can help out his friend and, in turn, others.

Raul Felix:
Eric, your organization, The Mission Continues, puts post-9/11 veterans to purposeful work by leveraging their already established experiences, skills, and giving them additional training. This is a bit contrary to what other organizations have done, which focused on giving veterans goodies with no long-term value. When did this idea come about and what does your organization do?

Eric Greitens:
Our wounded and disabled veterans had lost a lot. Some had lost their eyesight. Some their hearing. Some had lost limbs. All of that they would recover from. If they lost their sense of purpose, however, that would be deadly. I also knew that no one was going to be able to give them hope; they were going to have to create hope through action.

I wanted to welcome returning and disabled veterans not just with charity, but with a challenge.

So I donated my combat pay to begin a different kind of veterans’ organization, and two friends contributed money from their disability checks. My plan with The Mission Continues was to offer fellowship for veterans to serve at nonprofit, charitable, and public benefit organizations. We would provide veterans with a stipend to offset cost-of-living expenses and with mentors to help them build plans for their post-fellowship life. Most importantly, we would provide them with the challenge and the opportunity to rebuild a meaningful life by serving again in communities here at home.

Raul Felix:
In your book, you mention three forms of happiness: Happiness of Pleasure, Happiness of Grace, and Happiness of Excellence. All three are needed. Many veterans, especially the ones who get out in their early or mid-twenties, fall into the trap of overindulging in pleasure with alcohol, drugs, unscrupulous sex, and other whims in order to get that emotional high they experienced while on mission. I know I did and still do. Why does focusing more on excellence, which is way harder, lead to a richer form of happiness?

Eric Greitens:
I think that—most simply—the happiness of excellence leads to a richer form of happiness because it involves growth. When we push ourselves and engage in activity that leads to excellence, we exercise our power—and this leads to growth, to mastery, and—in time—to achievement. All of that deep engagement with the world creates joy along the way.

In addition, part of what makes this happiness richer is that, often times, our efforts actually make others happy along the way. You, for example, know that it takes a lot of effort to write a good piece. As you write more, you become better at your craft. At the same time, your writing offers something to others. And if this is true for you, you’ve got a great combination—inner growth and outer service.

Finally, I think that the happiness of excellence is often richer because it helps to provide us with a sense of direction and, over time, a sense of purpose. When I think, for example, about the kind of happiness that’s available to the man in your poem, “Keep Moving, Young Man,” we both know that the happiness of pleasure might offer a moment of relief, but afterwards a guy like this might plunge even deeper still. If, however, he had a sense of direction…if, however, he felt himself getting better…if, however, he felt like he was making a contribution to others…that might—over time and with lots of hard work—lead him to a different place altogether. And that’s the great promise of the happiness of excellence.

Raul Felix:
You mentioned that “The naive mind imagines effortless success, the cowardly mind imagines hardship and freezes, the resilient mind imagines hardships and prepares.” We were taught in the military that you have to have a contingency plan in case things do go wrong. When you acquire a veteran fellowship, what do you do in order to ensure they are prepared and do succeed?

Eric Greitens:
That’s a great question. We try to apply all of the lessons in the Resilience book to make sure that they have the best chance of success. So, for example, we make sure that they have mentors to learn from, models to follow. We create counselors to guide them, friends to aid them, and there is a curriculum that they complete, all designed to help them to build the mental toughness and to develop the sense of purpose that are necessary to make it through a tough time.

Raul Felix:
You have a whole letter dedicated to friendship. I agree that having good friends is one of the great things that makes life worth living. My friends have been there for me and have bailed me out of physical and legal trouble more times than I can recall. Also, real friends will call you out when you’re messing up your life, business, or just plain being an asshole. Can you give us a recent example of when your friends have helped you out?

Eric Greitens:
Of course. I run a small business—I started it when I came home from Iraq, and I’m proud of it. It provides a good living for my family and for the people on the team. A few months back I had a guy who worked for me—a guy I’d given a lot of opportunities to—who lied to me and stole from me. That’s a gut punch. I called a friend [to replace him] the next day. He was at my house two hours later, and he’s been with me now every day for over seven months. My company is so much stronger than it was before—and we got there because of my friend and the incredible people on my team. It’s a classic Resilience case: I never would have wanted it to happen, but in retrospect, I’m actually grateful that it did because it made us so much stronger.

Raul Felix:
Part of the allure the military, especially Special Operations Units, has to young men is that whole transformative process. It pushes you to your physical, mental, and emotional limits. It has the power to test you and make something more out of you than you were before. If not the military, what other rites of passage do you think would a young person need to go through in order to earn the same amount of pride and sureness of oneself?

Eric Greitens:
A rite of passage usually marks a transition from one phase of life to the next. When you join the military, you literally step off of the bus, and *bang*, you’ve got a drill instructor yelling in your ear and you’re in a whole new world. You’ve come to a place that is meant to transition you from a citizen into a citizen-soldier/sailor/airman/Marine who is built to serve others.

Going to college usually marks a transition, as does entering a monastery, getting married, or having a child. You move, in each case, from one phase of life to the next. You become a husband or wife, a father or mother.

For young people looking to develop pride and confidence, there is only one path: self-created success. You will know you are good and strong when you have done things that are good. Achievement can take place in the art room, on the athletic field, in an auto body shop, in your business, on a farm—and achievement can take many many different forms. But true confidence comes when we grow, when we learn, when we master new skills. Almost everything new can be frightening at first, but with the right kinds of experience, we grow in courage.

That’s why resilience is an essential virtue; you can’t grow without it.

Raul Felix:
You’ve done quite a bit with your life. You’ve been a Rhodes scholar, humanitarian volunteer, Navy SEAL, and you’ve started a great non-profit organization. A lot of people would look at what you’ve accomplished and think they can’t hope to reach that level of excellence and may be even intimidated by it. Obviously, everything you’ve accomplished was a result of your own hard work and resilience. What last bit of advice would you give to someone who is young but hasn’t really done much with their life in order to get moving toward the right path for them?

Eric Greitens:
Well, thank you, Raul. That’s very kind of you. I’ve been fortunate to work with wonderful people along the way.

What I say to young people is this: You have a contribution to make. You have something to offer. And to develop your own sense of purpose, do two things. One, stay humble. It’s important that we remember that every person is better than us in some way. Every person has something to teach us. So learn from people around you. At the same time, be bold. Try new things. Attack hard problems. Do the tough stuff. Push yourself. If you can be humble and bold at the same time, you’ll create something beautiful.

~Raul Felix

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5 People You Will Meet In The Army

The Army is one of the few organizations that give you a true sampling of the types of people that live in America. It seems that shooting and blowing shit up while getting a free college education appeals to people of all races, classes, and creeds. The Army welcomes everyone from the lower-class youths who come from the ghettos, suburbs, and small towns to the kids born with a silver spoon in their mouths who join because being a veteran will look good when they’re running for Congress 30 years from now.

While there are hundreds of thousands of people on active duty and millions of veterans with complex personalities and unique sets of circumstances, this is the Internet and we don’t have time for such silliness. We like to package people in neat little descriptive boxes in list format so we can have a good laugh as we can relate those personality archetypes to those we have met in real life while taking our daily dump. In accordance with such a timeless tradition, here are 5 types of people you’ll meet while on active duty in the Army.

1. The Old Man

The Old Man decided to join the service in his late 20s to early 30s, which effectively makes him an old fart in an environment full of 18-to-21-year-olds full of testosterone and optimistic patriotism. He has a staunch air of dignity about him and is soundly schooled on how the real world works. The Old Man is no stranger to hard work and has done many blue-collar jobs in his late teens and throughout his twenties. He may have even gone to college, but more often than not, he didn’t graduate. Nevertheless, the Old Man isn’t stupid. From Basic Training to beyond, he’s usually the first one to grasp a concept, apply it, and unfuck the damage the dumb 18-year-old privates did when they fucked something up.

The Old Man always seems to have a dark past that he doesn’t talk about until he truly trusts you: a former lover who destroyed his spirit, a drug habit that took to him to the brink of financial ruin, or a slew of unfortunate life events and circumstances that made him need to get away from it all. Regardless, the Old Man sees the military as a fresh start in life and knows how to leverage it to his advantage. He is well versed in all the pay increases and benefits he is eligible for and won’t hesitate to take advantage of them. The Old Man’s maturity will make him a model solider that his superiors (whom he is older than) will never have to worry about.

2. The Ambivalent Patriot

Black Hawk Down

The Ambivalent Patriot is the last person in the world you ever thought would join the military. When he was a civilian, people would describe him as shady and shiftless. His attitude toward life aligns closer to that of Jay and Silent Bob than that of Audie Murphy. Whether he got some chick pregnant or because he got kicked out of his house and had nowhere to go, he joined the armed forces. He usually picks a job that would require him to do the least amount of physical work and will enlist for the bare minimum amount of time required of him to get his full GI Bill benefits.

Surprisingly, the Ambivalent Patriot is usually a competent soldier not because he has any sort of patriotic duty or motivation, but rather because he realizes it’s easier to shut the fuck up, follow the rules, and do the right thing than it is to be an idiot who is constantly getting in trouble. He follows the philosophy of being “the grey man,” meaning that he remains invisible and tries to be exceptionally unexceptional. He meets the standard in every task that is presented before him, but he never stands out in such a way where he draws positive or negative attention. He’s in it to do his time and get the fuck out as soon as his enlistment is over so he can actually pursue the career he actually cares about.

3. The Cherry

Black Hawk Down

The Cherry has been planning on joining the military since he was fifteen and has watched nearly every war movie made in the last fifty years. Fresh out of high school, what he lacks in real-world knowledge and common sense he more than makes up for in unrelenting motivation and physical aptitude. The Cherry will be a constant headache to his leadership. He may have grander visions of becoming a great soldier, yet he will make every retard mistake in the book on his path to doing so. He often has to learn lessons the hard way and will be constantly getting his balls smoked off because he fucked up something simple for the third time that week. He may receive an Article 15 or two and perform extra duty en route to becoming a good soldier.

The Cherry will spend his formative years in the military and spend the weekends in his barracks room drinking, bitching about his life, playing video games, and jerking off to gang-bang porn. On the rare occasion he does get laid, it will usually be with a woman of questionable moral character who already fucked one of his buddies. Yet he knows he isn’t in any real position to be picky. He’ll get his first taste of combat, lose a friend, lose a love, and lose his faith in humanity before he is 21. While the Cherry may have entered the Army full of innocence, glee, and hope, he will leave it corrupt, grizzled, and cynical.

4. The Lifer

The Lifer never intended the military to be his career, but several combat deployments and two reenlistments later he’s now a Platoon Sergeant with twelve years in service and knows that he may as well do twenty. While he is quite good at leading men and killing people, there isn’t a huge job market for that in the civilian world. Accepting his lot in life, he now seeks to be the best and most professional soldier he can be.

The Lifer comes in two varieties: 1) a total dick who, having been in the belly of the beast too long, is a stickler for the rules and regulations; or 2) a totally chill guy who realizes he isn’t going to make Sergeant Major and is over the fuck-fuck games. One will make you work your ass off to the point of stupidity and redundancy. The other will make your work your ass off, make sure you’re properly trained, and will release you at a reasonable time because he doesn’t see the point of you working late if you’ve been properly and adequately trained. Plus, he wants to get home and fuck his hot wife, too.

5. The Living Legend

 

Black Hawk Down

You heard of him before you even see him. Even if he isn’t in your direct chain of command, just the sight of him strikes fear into your heart and soul. He has this aura that is a healthy mix of anger, hatred, and badass. His face is by default a scowl and his lower lip is constantly filled with chewing tobacco. He’s a salty, senior non-commissioned officer with the energy of a 19-year-old. You’ve heard of the crazy shit he’s done in Afghanistan and Iraq leading his men into the fray and leaving many dead Hajis in his wake. Some of the stories you heard seem so farfetched that if it were any other man, you would call bullshit. But since it’s him, you believe his stories.

He’s so respected and feared in the battalion that even his superior officers are afraid of him. When he gives his opinions, everyone listens. He rarely raises his voice because he is above that. He’s calm, cool, and decisive. He’s one of the few individuals you’ll meet in your life that not only lives up to his legend but adds to it every time he deploys. Even if you saw him today as a civilian, your heart would race and the hair on the back of your neck would rise because he is a scary motherfucker and you’re damn glad he’s on our side.

~Raul Felix

Read more of my writing at Thought Catalog.

3 Historical Examples Of The Federal Government Screwing Over The Troops

Anyone with a half a brain knows that politicians are self-indulgent ass clowns who don’t have the nation’s best interests in mind, but rather the best interests of themselves, their party, and their private-sector cronies. Doesn’t matter whether they’re Republican, Democrat, Whig, Democratic-Republicans, or Federalist; most of them have their fingers up their ass and let their party feuding take precedence over taking care of their men. It’s the common practice of politicians to go with the easy wrong over the hard right. As a result, the soldier on the ground and the veteran in the wheelchair suffer.

1. They refused to send much-needed resources to George Washington’s troops.

In 1781, the American Revolution had been raging for five years. The Continental Army under George Washington’s command had finally evolved from a haphazard militia to a professional, well-trained military force. Yet they were wasting away in the New Jersey winter. They had not been paid in a long time, were malnourished, and were freezing their balls off because they didn’t have the adequate cold-weather gear. Desperate to keep the ranks filled, they had also been coerced and bullied by their line officers to remain in the Army and reenlist under unfavorable terms after their initial enlistment was up.

George Washington had appealed to the Continental Congress on several occasions urging for the proper funds and supplies so he could adequately pay, feed, and outfit his troops. Yet, the fat, wig-wearing, self-centered politicians let Washington’s pleas go unheard. They were too busy involved in their own corrupt scandals and politicking to give a damn about the common foot soldier’s poor conditions.

The soldiers saw this as a broken promise by their nation. They were putting their life on the line for the Revolutionary cause, yet their government was not fulfilling the most basic part of the deal. They’d had enough. In what came to be known as the Pennsylvania Line Mutiny, with muskets in hand and artillery pieces in tow, virtually the entire Pennsylvania Line headed on a two-day march to Philadelphia to make the ungrateful Congress listen to their demands. They made it as far as Princeton.

Their commanding officer General Wayne caught up with them and negotiations began. The general heard their grievances and they had come to terms: The men who were detained beyond their enlistment or coerced into reenlistment were to be separated with their pay. The men who remained were to get their pay and clothing. The number of men in the Pennsylvania Line was cut in half from 2,400 to 1,150.

2. They used police and military actions on World War I vets.

After coming home from The Great War, American combat veterans realized they had gotten the raw end of the deal. While they were in the trenches of Europe getting shot at, shelled, and gassed, the men who had stayed back on the home front working in war industries had made about ten times as much money as they had. To make a fair readjustment, they lobbied Congress for what would be commonly known as the Bonus Act, which passed in 1924. Each veteran was issued a certificate for $1 for each day of domestic service and $1.25 for each day of overseas service. The catch was that the certificates wouldn’t mature until 1945.

Then, in 1932 at the height of the Great Depression, realizing that many of the fat-cat corporate gods had gotten special treatment from Congress because of their lobbying power, the soldiers decided to press Congress to pass a bill for the early redemption of the certificates to provide some relief from poverty many of them had been experiencing.

Forty-three thousand veterans and their families with little to no money in their pockets traveled from all over the nation to march on DC. The Bonus Army had been mobilized. They organized a well-run Hooverville built from the material salvaged from rubbish dumps. They would peacefully occupy the House of Representatives’ offices to have their voices heard. The strategy worked and the House passed the Wright Patman Bonus Bill. It was a small victory, but their biggest obstacle was just ahead of them: the Republican-run Senate under President Herbert Hoover.

They massed on the United States Capitol awaiting the news, chanting, “The Yanks are starving! The Yanks are starving!” so loudly that they could be heard in the Senate corridors as the bill was being debated. The Senate overwhelmingly struck it down with a 62-18 vote. The marchers were deeply disappointed but decided to remain in continued protest. A month later, with tensions running high, the 72nd Congress adjourned. The cowardly congressmen left the Capitol through the back doors and underground tunnels to avoid any confrontation with the Bonus Army. Now with this session of Congress over, Hoover wanted their poor, unemployed, homeless asses out of DC. He ordered their forceful eviction.

Police went into one of the half-demolished buildings that had been used for housing and began evicting the veterans and their families. Someone threw a brick at one of the police officers, which resulted in the police officers shooting their guns and leaving two veterans dead on the ground. With that bloodshed, it was time to call in the troops commanded by future World War II General Douglas MacArthur.

MacArthur sent over 200 cavalry, 200 infantry, and six tanks to disperse the protesters. The soldiers donned their gas masks and shot tear gas into the crowd. Fearing for their lives, the Bonus Army ran for safety. The soldiers went into the camps and forcefully removed those who occupied it and then set it ablaze. One reporter said, “The blaze was so big it lit up the whole sky. A nightmare come to life.”

3. Pandering to racial bigotry overrode their common sense.

Theodore Roosevelt is considered one of the greatest presidents in our nation’s history, and rightfully so. But even he made a severe mistake in his presidency by succumbing to the racial bigotry and pressure of his time.

In 1906, Brownsville, Texas was a small town with a little over 6,000 people. The community’s citizens were anxious over the fact that a regiment of Buffalo Soldiers had been stationed at nearby Fort Brown. “Buffalo Soldiers” was the name given to all-black units because the military at the time was segregated.

A shooting spree had occurred, leaving a white bartender dead and a Hispanic police officer with a destroyed arm. To the townsfolk, it was pretty obvious whose fault it was. Several people reported seeing some black soldiers leaving the scene of the shooting. Then, to further their conspiracy, they allegedly planted discharged ammunition of the same caliber the Buffalo Soldiers used in their rifles on the ground as evidence. Despite this effort to incriminate them, the soldiers’ all-white commanders insisted that all of their men had been in the barracks that night and had been accounted for at the time of the shooting.

Though there were many contradictions in the evidence and statements given, the Army Inspector General accepted the townsfolk’s statements. This developed into what has become known as the Brownsville Affair.

The soldiers were then pressured to name who fired the shot, but they said they knew nothing about the incident. As much the community wanted to, they could not tie the shootings to any one of the men. Yet on the advisement of the Inspector General to appease the piece-of-shit people of Brownsville, Roosevelt ordered that 167 of the men be given a dishonorable discharge for their “conspiracy of silence.” Among the ranks were men who were had served in the Spanish-American War, some with 20 years in service and only months away from receiving their retirement pensions, and six of whom had been Medal of Honor recipients. Congress later did its own investigation into the matter and upheld Roosevelt’s decision. Those men lost it all because their political leaders lacked the morale and intestinal fortitude to do the right thing. Instead they shoved their corrupt political cocks in their ass and called it a day.

~Raul Felix

You can read more of my writing at Thought Catalog.

3 Signs A Woman Is A Dependopotamus

The Dependopotamus is a vile creature that can be spotted throughout all branches of the US military. She is the dependent of a military man and lacks any form of self-awareness and cognitive capacity to realize what an utterly worthless sack of shit she is. Since most women who marry a military man are upstanding people and citizens, the Dependopotamus is able to disguise herself as a person of character like an insurgent among the local populace. It takes a skilled eye to spot a Dependopotamus in the wild, but if you pay attention to these tips, then you, too, will be able to spot these wretched parasites in their natural habitat.

1. She has an unearned sense of entitlement.

The Dependopotamus has no real-world accomplishments to call her own other than dropping out of the cosmetology program of her local technical college because it just wasn’t her “thing.” Though she is a lazy bitch, she is also a prideful one who boasts to the world that she is a somebody. To sustain her masquerade that she is a contributing member of society, she’ll take her military man’s professional accomplishments and hardships as her own.

She holds on firmly to the belief that just because her husband is a Sergeant First Class, she automatically earns his prestige by proxy. She’ll look down on other women who are married to men who are of a lesser rank, even attempting to boss them around and implying that if they don’t do what she says, it could negatively affect their husband’s career. She shamelessly wears her husband’s rank, not realizing that just because a man sticks his dick inside her body, it doesn’t mean she gains ranks through whore-smosis.

You’ll see her in the comment section of military articles, talking about how her husband has been deployed three times and how hard that’s been to her on the home front, even though all she did was get fat as fuck, spend all his money, and have a half-dozen other cocks inside of her while her husband was in Iraq hoping not to get his legs blown off by an IED.

Yet she will insist on wearing her XXXL T-shirt with yellow pit stains on them that boldly proclaim to the world, “Army Wife: Hardest Job In The Army”—as if sitting on the couch while eating bonbons, fucking around on her iPhone, and watching Netflix as she lets the house get progressively dirtier can compare to being a real soldier. She’ll bitch about how lonely she is because her hubby is always working and deployed, and she’ll use that as her justification to fuck other men—despite the fact the she has no real career or even semi-respectable means of employment. She leeches off the trusting nature of her man in uniform. Poor sucker doesn’t even realize that his homely wife is the incarnation of what is wrong with modern society.

2. She spurts out one baby after another.

While dimwitted, the Dependopotamus is a shrewd beast who knows that there is one surefire way to trap a man: Bear as many of his offspring as possible. Since having a baby in the military is free thanks to the dependency benefits, she’ll be in a constant state of hosting and developing new fetuses that she isn’t certain are from her husband or one of her many lovers.

Though she has three or four offspring, she has little to no motherly qualities or skills. She will allow them to roam wild through the base’s housing tracts like feral critters as she sits in front of her computer Skyping her sister, a fellow Dependopotamus, bitching about how she feels military wives aren’t appreciated enough. She doesn’t see her offspring as children who need love, attention, and care; rather, they are pawns in her scheme to secure a permanent position in the life of her military husband—or, more importantly, a cut of his paycheck and benefits.

The Dependopotamus knows that she has no shot of surviving in the real world without someone else footing the bill. In a different life, she would be one of those women who lives off welfare and has seven kids by four different men, then expects the government to pay for her dumb cunt mistakes. Luckily for her, she grew up near a military base with plenty of young, desperate soldiers who don’t know any better. Like a predator on the hunt, she sought out the weakest of the pack and sank her claws and teeth into them. Poor Private Snuffy never stood a chance.

3. She is a fat fuck.

Not all fat chicks are Dependopotami, but nearly all Dependopotami are fat chicks. A hallmark trait of a Dependopotamus is her gluttony and sloth. Unlike a self-respecting woman who will take advantage of her free time to improve herself, educate herself, and at least keep some token form of physical fitness, the Dependopotamus is content with feasting on junk food, booze, and her husband’s soul.

When she does leave her den, the poorly bathed Dependopotamus will waddle very slowly to her car. She will then drive to the Dependopotamus social ground, the Post Exchange (PX). As she and other Dependopotami sit there eating their third Big Mac and gossiping away, they will scoff with jealousy at the younger, skinnier wives who aren’t complete pieces of shit like themselves. They will stare them down in an effort to shame them for giving their husbands a reminder of what a woman who actually takes care of herself looks like. God help the poor, pretty lady if her husband happens to be in the same chain of command as these green-eyed monsters. For surely they will make her existence miserable until she falls in line and agrees to take measures to become a blubber-bag herself.

The Dependopotamus is a paradox. She is an utterly useless woman with a high sense of entitlement and self-importance. She is completely repulsive, fat, and poorly hygienic but is able to secure a new dick willing to lift up her floopa and smash her guts easily. She is extremely fertile but should be on a list of human beings who aren’t allowed to reproduce because her genes are toxic and will only perpetuate more parasites throughout society. She’s poorly educated yet cunning enough to know all the benefits, regulations, and loopholes to keep her dependent status, secure child support, and extort alimony after divorcing her husband because he had the audacity to accidentally catch her doing a gang bang in their bedroom.

Armed with this useful information, you are now ready to go to your local military base and see if you can spot one of these creatures, but be warned—it will cause you to lose what little faith you may have left in humanity.

~Raul Felix

You can read more of my articles at Thought Catalog.

3 Things People Who Served In The Military Do That Make Them Look Like Tools

Regardless of how much the media likes to depict everyone who serves in the military as the essence of integrity, professionalism, and selfless service, there are lot of people who are total fucking tools. Just like any large organization, the military has its share of window-licking, mouth-breathers whose only talent in life is not choking on their own tongue when they sleep. What happens when people like this get to wear the service uniform for the holy cock of freedom that is the United States? They use it to compensate for their many other shortcomings, of course.

1. Wearing Dog Tags As A Fashion Accessory

Just like many of the other ills in America, Hollywood is to blame for this trend. In the movies, you’ll see a battle-hardened Special Ops guy in an olive-drab tank top sitting alone at the bar drinking straight whiskey. He clutches his dog tags that hang around his neck and begins to reminisce about combat. Cue CCR’s “Fortunate Son” and flash back to Vietnam 1969.

The reality is that the scrawny guy wearing his dog tags over his Abercrombie & Fitch shirt is more than likely a cherry fucking private who just finished Basic Combat Training and thinks he’s a real soldier now. He has to show the whole world how much of a Billy Badass he is because having a high and tight and weighing a buck thirty-five isn’t enough of an indication that he’s a soldier. Wearing dog tags will surely be a conversation starter with the fairer sex and moisten her panties.

He doesn’t know that there are other soldiers and veterans at the bar with multiple deployments who aren’t as blatantly obvious about it and think he looks like a total tool. They’ll chuckle among themselves and shake their heads in disgust. Looks like they’ll let any kind of retard in the military these days.

2. Posting Moronic Memes On Facebook

If you’ve had anyone in the military as a friend on Facebook, you’ve probably seen a meme saying something similar to this: “Share if you think a person in camouflage should make more money than one in a jersey.” This will be accompanied with a picture of a soldier covered in mud hating his miserable existence in contrast to one of a famous football player in a packed stadium. This ensures the poster gets guilt-driven Likes and Shares because if you don’t think that, you obviously hate the troops.

When a person posts that, what they’re really telling you is that not only aren’t they the sharpest tool in the shed—they aren’t even in the shed. They’re so dull that they fail to grasp how the free market and the premise of supply and demand work—you know, the very things our men and women in uniform are fighting to preserve.

People in the military are all about telling the harsh truth. Well, here is one: It takes considerably more talent, skill, and hard work to be a professional athlete than it does to be a common Joe in the military. Have you been training since the age of five to be a soldier? Did you stand out as an All-Star in high school, get a scholarship to a Division One school, and then, despite the 1-in-100 odds, get drafted to a professional team? There is a reason why guys who sacrifice million-dollar contracts who decide to join the military make the news, while Joe Snuffy—who dropped out of community college while working at Subway and didn’t know what else to do with his life so he joined the Army National Guard—doesn’t.

3. Mentioning Something About Their Military Service In Every Conversation

You’re in your college US History class discussing the Great War and how gruesome it was. Then a longhaired, unshaven, and overweight former Marine wearing a “Mess With The Best, Die Like The Rest” Devil Dog T-shirt raises his hand.

“Oh yeah, my former unit that I served in Iraq with, the 5th Marine Regiment, was in the Great War.” Then he smugly lowers his hand and coyly looks around to see who is highly impressed with the fact the he is a veteran. You sit there thinking, “What the fuck does that have to do with anything?”

Very few things indicate that a service member has no depth to their personality than their inability not to talk about the military regardless of how irrelevant to the conversation it may be. You could be talking about how much you love puppies; they’ll talk about the scraggly dogs in Mosul. It’s a bit a chilly out today. “This is fucking nothing. When I was in the mountains of Afghanistan, we froze our balls off.” You’re trying to decide where to get lunch. “Oh, it doesn’t matter. Anything is better than eating MREs like we had to do in the FOB.”

While the military is a vicious, soul-sucking beast that leaves a lasting impact on those who serve, it’s not so consuming that it leaves an individual with no personality and unable to have other hobbies and interests. While it’s great to be proud of one’s service, it’s also the mark of a huge tool bag if he is unable to talk about anything but his time in the belly of the beast.

~Raul Felix

Check out more of my work at Thought Catalog.

Eager To Pop My Cherry On The Battlefield

You’re a cherry fucking bitch. That’s the label you get when you arrive at your first unit. You haven’t yet been deployed to the mountains of Afghanistan or the streets of Iraq to prove yourself. Your superiors have several deployments under their belts. Some of the more senior noncommissioned officers (NCO) are men who were in before 9/11 and were among the first into Afghanistan and then Iraq. Your role as a cherry private is to be a sponge for all the knowledge they’re going to bequeath upon you. They’re there to mentor and mold you into a capable soldier who will aggressively and effectively put two bullets into the chest and one into the head of Haji.

As a cherry private, you live in constant fear—not of the enemy, but of your Team Leader and Squad Leader. You fear making a mistake, however small, that will bring their wrath upon your poor soul. And you will make many fucking mistakes.

You have a brain fart and forget the fourth stanza of the Ranger Creed because you’re so nervous. “Do fucking pushups, motherfucker!”

You miss a spot when you shaved that morning. “Hit the fucking ropes!”

You’re two minutes late to being five minutes early to formation. “I’m going to fucking crush your balls after formation.”

You didn’t properly tie down your night-vision goggles. “Start fucking low-crawling, you fucking retard.” Other times you will get smoked merely for being a cherry private.

Little by little, you start to learn how to do things the right way. You’re always on high alert, making sure your uniform is on properly, your equipment is accounted for and is serviceable, and that you’re not fucking up somehow. Yet you always feel like you are. The mere sight of an NCO in the distance causes your heart to race. You’ll spot-check yourself and your buddies again. If he calls you over, you run quickly to him, hoping you didn’t do something that will ensure a soul-fucking.

You shoot thousands of rounds at the range, getting your shot groups tighter and more consistent. You conduct close-quarter combat exercises, live-fire exercises, jump out of airplanes, drive Humvees and Strykers, and fast-rope out of helicopters. You’ll do first-responder training and land navigation. You will work out every morning. You also do countless shitty details and spend lots of time hurrying up and waiting.

You’re eager to deploy. You’re tired of being a cherry bitch and want to get that deployment patch on your right shoulder. You want to stop hearing about what it’s like over there; you want to see it firsthand. You want to join the legions of men who came and fought before you. You want to do your part in fighting for your country and destroying those Haji fucks. This is your war.

It seems that every generation of young men must relearn how grim war is. We watch documentaries and war movies. We read books about the inexplicable horror and terrible waste of it all, yet with each generation, there are a handful who are eager to go on this grand journey. With each generation, there are old men who have lived their lives willing to send young men to fight and die when their young life has only begun. Sometimes it’s for a noble purpose; other times, it’s for profit.

Your deployment date approaches after months and months of training. You go home on leave one last time. Your mother is terrified and tells you to call her often. Your friends are proud of you and tell you to make it back alive, or they’ll kill you. Your fellow cherry privates are as excited as you are to get drunk as often as possible. You report back and find out some of them are idiots and got DUIs, beat their wives, or pissed hot for drugs. Looks like they ain’t going.

Your leadership makes sure you and your equipment are squared away. You’re given a packing list and are visually inspected to make sure you have all that’s required of you. You palletize your duffel bags, rucksacks, and other special equipment. You fill out your last will and square away your finances. You get medically evaluated and vaccinated. There are only a few days left and you serve half-days until you deploy.

The day is here. You sign out your M4, night-vision goggles, and carry your assault pack on your back. In there you have your laptop, a book, sleeping bag, and sleeping pad. Final manifest is called and you load onto the bus. The bus takes you to the Air Force base. There, you wait until the bird is ready. Once you’re told to load on the bird you follow the line of men in front of you. You step on the bird, take your seat, and wait for takeoff. You know that when you come back, you won’t be a cherry fucking bitch anymore.

~Raul Felix

Read more of my work on Thought Catalog.

Jumping Out of Airplanes: How It’s Really Like

My second article on Thought Catalog has gone live. People always ask me how it’s like jumping out of airplanes, and I could never quite put it. So, I took a lot of thought and I decided to tell it in the most matter fact way possible. I’m pretty proud of this one.

“There was blood upon the risers; there were brains upon the chute,
Intestines were a-dangling from his paratrooper’s suit,
He was a mess; they picked him up, and poured him from his boots,
He ain’t gonna jump no more.

Gory, gory, what a hell of a way to die,
Gory, gory, what a hell of a way to die,
Gory, gory, what a hell of a way to die,
He ain’t gonna jump no more!”
-Blood Upon the Risers: World War 2 American Paratrooper Song

One of the best and worst parts of being an Airborne Ranger is the airborne part. Civilian types tend to have a misconception of what jumping out of airplanes is like in the Army. When they picture it, they think of all those skydiving videos where you pleasantly enjoy the view as you have the thrill of a lifetime, screaming at the top of your lungs, and with adrenaline pumping through your system. Then you land softly and celebrate because you faced one of your fears. During the whole thing you took pictures; you then post them on Facebook, and people comment about how truly wild and crazy you are. The whole thing probably took about three or four hours.

Like everything else in the Army, it’s a longer, more painful process. I’m not particularly scared of heights, but jumping out of an airplane was one of the training events I dreaded the most during my time in uniform. The process goes as follows:

You see on the training calendar that there is a jump coming up. You wonder if there is a way you can sham your way out of it, but sadly for you, you’re unable to weasel out. Fuck it. You joined the Army to jump out of airplanes and kill people, right?

To minimize the odds of you killing or maiming yourself and your buddies, the day before, you go through sustainment training. Sustainment training is where you get repounded into your head all the proper steps and procedures for conducting airborne operations that you learned in Airborne School. This involves going through a dry run of all the things you’re supposed to do as a group when you jump into the abyss. You play out perfectly the appropriate actions when you hook-up: Hand-off the static line, jump with your legs together in a tight body position, counting to four-thousand, and feeling the opening shock of the parachute. Then you make sure to check your canopy has no holes in it by looking up; if you’re unable to put your head up it’s because your risers are twisted, you bicycle kick to untwist yourself. You keep a sharp lookout during decent, make sure to avoid other jumpers, trees, telephone wires, and other potential hazards. You then play out what you will do if you do run into any of those hazards. You then prepare to land, putting a slight bend in your knee, keeping your eyes to the horizon. You then land by hitting the balls of your feet followed by your calves, thighs, buttocks, and pull up muscle. They actually call it the pull up muscle. That’s the end of sustainment training and now you are ready for your jump.

The next day, you go to the airfield to rig up your chute, harness, weapon, and put on your 45-plus-pound rucksack. God help you if you’re a mortarman or a machine gun gunner; you have a shit-ton more weight to carry. You then get inspected by a Jump Master to make sure you didn’t rig yourself all sorts of fucked up.

This is where the fun begins. The bird is probably going to be delayed by an hour or two. Meanwhile the harness is crushing your balls, and you’re unable to move effectively because you have your heavy ass rucksack dangling from your waist. You’re sitting down, using your helmet as a support for your lower back. While you’re waiting for an unknowable amount of time, you fall asleep. Suddenly, you’re awaken, still groggy; you are told to get up. You struggle to get yourself up and fumble around like a football, until one of your buddies takes pity on you and offers you a helpful hand. As you get to your feet, you realize you have to take a piss. Too late, dick face, your 50-plus buddies are already lining up to get on the bird. You don’t really walk to the bird but instead press forward in waddle-like, hunched over fashion in order to support the weight you’re carrying.

You approach the C-17, a humongous fortress of an airplane whose size leaves you in awe. Instantly the distinct smell of jet fuel and heat of the engines hit you. You follow the men in front up the ramp of the C-17 and take a seat. The ramp goes up, the plane taxis on the run way and takes off. As the plane settles into flight, the once roaring sounds of the engines turns into a hum.

Even if it’s not your first jump, the feeling of uneasiness and fear never completely go away. This shit is fucking dangerous even with all the precautions the military takes. On my first jump in battalion, we had one of our men get his parachute tangled with two other jumpers and got killed in the horrible training accident. The other two Rangers suffered serious injuries. Broken ankles, legs, backs, and concussions occur enough to be a legitimate concern each time one rigs up their chute.

At times the flight only takes twenty minutes, at others several hours. The two side doors of the C-17 open, and your ears are consumed by the fury of the wind. It’s hard to hear anything else. You see the Jump Master give you the signal to “Hook Up,” and in unison everyone echoes the command. “Check equipment!” screams the Jump Master. You paranoialy check all your straps and hooks, making sure none of them somehow came undone. Then the soldier in the very back slaps the ass of the one in front of him while saying “Okay.” This creates an ass slapping domino effect that continues until it reaches the very first jumper who then says, “Okay Jump Master!”

You stand there with your ruck hanging between your legs waiting to jump. Its heavy, uncomfortable, and you’re hating your life. You probably should have just gone to college. Your back is cramping up; you lean to the side of the plane to help support yourself and relieve some of the stress. The plane is encountering some turbulence, and you know this jump is going to fucking suck. After being tortured by this, you’re not even scared of jumping anymore. You just want to get the fuck off the bird so you can take the goddamn ruck off from in between your legs.

“One minute,” echoes through the plane. You’re looking in front of you, eyes on the red light which will soon turn green. Finally, you’re getting off this fucking bird. “30 seconds,” the birds coming upon the drop zone, and you’re completely focused on what you’re going to do next. The Jump Master has placed the first jumper in front of the door. The light turns green and “Go!” orders the Jump Master as he slaps the first jumper’s ass signaling him to jump. With one-second spacing between them, each man proceeds after the other. Your mind goes blank as you walk towards the door, all the training kicks in and everything you’re suppose to do has become muscle memory at this point. You hand off your static line, make a right face, and jump. You count to four-thousand, keeping your body tight as you get sucked out. Your chute opens and the once deafening sound of jet engines and wind is replaced by the tranquility of the being airborne as you slowly descend to the Earth. You begin to look in all directions and see your buddies all around you. You’re hoping you don’t run into one of them. You see one is getting too close, and you pull the risers in an attempt to slip away, but they really don’t do much. He spreads-eagle and he bounces off your chute, going on his merry way.

Now you must prepare to land. You drop your ruck, grab your risers, hold them firmly, keep your eyes on the horizon, and bend your knees slightly. You hope you don’t land on thorn bushes or if you’re doing an air field seizure, on the tarmac. You hit the ground hard. It knocks the wind out of you. You lay there for a moment or two, trying to figure out if you’re hurt or have broken anything. Luckily everything seems to be fine, and you begin to perform your final point of performance: taking that piss you’ve been holding in since you got on the bird.

~Raul Felix

The Pick-Up Follies: The Snow Fatty

I was in my seat on an airplane in between two very attractive women. Yet, I was unable to talk them. My breath stank and I reeked of booze, smoke, desperation, fat girl spit, and body odor. Normally, I would have started a little coy conversation in effort to see if there was a connection, but not this time. This time, I sat there in silence brooding on the foul odor that had been cast upon my body. God was just, I was being punished for the sins I had committed the previous night.

We had spent two weeks in late October 2008 on a training trip in Fort Bragg. After doing our military training for the day, we spent nearly every night of those two weeks getting hammered beyond reason or recourse. It was our last night in North Carolina and we decided to have one final hurrah before heading back to Washington. “Jonathan” and I tried to rally up a bunch of the guys to go out, but most rejected the idea knowing that we had an early morning flight to catch. We were able to get a humble group, “Blitzy”, “Tiburón”, “Jonathan”, and I to go out.

We rode through the mean streets of Fayetteville to a bar called Doghouse Bar & Grill. The place was refreshingly different from the typical bars you see outside military bases. The amount of high and tights with off-duty soldiers wearing their dog tags outside their t-shirts as a fashion accessory was kept to a minimum. Typical of southern bars, there was a cloud of cigarette smoke that engulfed the whole place. There was a live band playing country music, cheap beers, and a decent female to male ratio.

Since I always keep my head on a swivel looking for attractive women to hit on and promptly get rejected by, I noticed there was only one really hot chick in the whole entire place. Our drinks came and we made a toast to the good times and to 2/75. I kept my eye on the hot chick and noticed that she was eye fucking the singer the whole time. After he completed one of the songs, she went up to kiss him passionately. With that kiss, went my one percent chance at success with the only hot chick. It looked like hitting on the bountiful subpar chicks of the bar were the conditions I was going to operate under.

I was drinking my alcohol at a respectable rate in order to boost my courage levels so I could actually approach women. While these days I am able to hit on a chick like nothing, back then, I still needed a good helping of alcohol to get myself to talk to one at a bar. The alcohol began to set in, ever so gently, taking over my psyche. Liquid courage had been spliced with my blood. I targeted a table made up of fuckable, but unimpressive looking women. I went in and begun speaking to one about witty and charming subject matter that surely sparked her interest. After a couple of minutes, the rest of my buddies decided to join the table. One guy in particular, Blitzy, began to hit it off with one of a generic looking chicks. Eventually, the girls tired of me and I went back to sitting at the bar alone. Blitzy was forming a true spiritual connection with the generic chick.

All the guys except for Blitzy rejoined me at the bar and we continued toasting and drinking. A couple more drinks in, I locked eyes with a woman who was in the late stages of being a cougar and in the early stages of being a sabertooth. She smiles at me, I sat there frozen not sure what to do.

Raul: “That chick is looking at me.”

Jonathan: “Go for it.”

Raul: “But she’s really old.”

Jonathan: “So? Women like that will show you some crazy ass shit that you can only dream of.”

Raul: “Really?”

Jonathan: “Yeah man.”

I walked up to her and begun flirting with her all awkwardly because I wasn’t sure how the fuck you’re supposed to hit on an older woman. She was dirty blonde, with rough skin conditioned by many a decade spent in smokey bar, and had a cigarette in her mouth. I don’t recall what we talked about or what poor excuse of seductive language I used to get her to the point of holding my hand. She pulled me close and said:

Older Woman: “You’re really cute, you should come home with me.” She squeezes my hand and places it on her thigh.

Raul: “Uh… I can’t… I have to stay here with my buddies. They’re my ride.”

Older Woman: “I’ll make sure you won’t forget it.”

Raul: “I can’t, I’m sorry.” I gave her a hug and walked back.

I’ll make no excuses about it. I pussed out because I was really intimidated by this older woman even though she wasn’t that attractive.

I rejoined my buddies and was mocked for having fucked it up with the almost-sabertooth. While my little frolic with older temptation occurred, it seemed that Blitzy had truly formed a one a kind connection with the generic chick. He went about consummating their one in a million love by fucking her doggy-style in the back seat of the van while she stuck her head out the window vomiting.

We continued to drink and were inebriated to the point where we sung along with the band. All morals and standards were being slain by the alcohol demon. Then she appeared: a paled skinned woman, with dark hair, and humongous breasts. She was like Snow White, if Snow White was about 100 pounds heavier. I didn’t care, I walked up to her.

Raul: “Let me guess, you’re drinking a Jack and Coke?”

Snow Fatty: “No, it’s a Rum and Coke, but good guess.”

Raul: “I like rum and coke, let me have a taste,” I take a sip out her drink, “Not bad.”

I introduced her to my buddies and we’re introduced to her shady looking friend “Daringer.” I got close to her and heavily flirted, touching her here and there. Fully aware that I was way above her league, I knew it was all a matter of playing the waiting game before my dick will be slaying her orifices. Eventually, the bar begins to close and Blitzy wants to go back to the motel. I asked the Snow Fatty if she could give us a ride to the airport the next morning and she agreed to do so. Snow Fatty, Tiburón, Jonathan, and I all pile into Daringer’s shitty little sedan.

We arrived at the mobile home park she calls home. She and I immediately head to the bedroom. I do my standard operating procedure of shoving her on the bed, positioning myself on top of her, and kissing her. All the while, firmly squeezing her huge breasts. I begun to undress her and that’s when the magnitude of the situation hit me. Her clothes, albeit not well, hid how fat she truly was. I had estimated a 100 pounds overweight Snow White, not a grotesque 150 pounds overweight Snow White. I made the executive decision not to fuck her, instead opting to get my dick sucked until I nutted.

I straddled on top of her, had her support her head on the pillow, and began thrusting full force into her throat. She stops me at some point and wants to fuck. I tell her that I don’t have a condom and luckily, she doesn’t have any laying around either. I continued until I busted in her hair.

I came out the bedroom and Tiburón was passed out on the couch. Jonathan and Daringer were nowhere to be found. It was nearly 4 a.m. and our flight was to leave at 7 a.m. I called Jonathan up and he told me that he went to get some cocaine with Daringer. Since they were my only ride, I began to panic a bit, but then decided that most practical solution was to sleep until they return.

At 6:15 a.m. I was awoken by the pounding of the door and my buddies voices. I scrambled to my feet and scoured the floor for my shoes. “Felix, we have to go man! Lieutenant Snuffy keeps on calling Sergeant Tiburón and he’s fucking pissed,” yells Jonathan. Fuck! I finished getting dressed and we all piled into the car. We were about 20 minutes away from the airport as Daringer drove us as quickly as his little jalopy could take us. Every five minutes en route, Lieutenant Snuffy called Tiburón to get a status report on where the fuck we were at.

At 6:35 a.m. we arrived at the airport. We stumbled out of the car and right before we were going to run off the Snow Fatty asked me, “You’re going to come back one day right? You got my number.” I smile at her and said, “Of course,” and gave her a reassuring hug and run off to the check-in. One of our buddies was on stand by with our bags and we checked in. We got through security rather quickly and ran to the gate where we met up with Lieutenant Snuffy and the rest of the men. “I don’t want to hear any of you fucking idiots speak. I’m going to take care of this shit when we get back! Got it?” He yelled.

“Roger, Sir!” we all responded. We tried our best not smile and giggle at the events that unfolded the previous night. We headed into the boarding gate and Jonathan took out his phone and showed me a picture he took of Snow Fatty. “Ugh… that’s pretty gross,” I said with disappointment. We boarded the plane and I sat in between two lovely women. That’s when I noticed how horrible I must smell.

~Raul Felix

“Tell me more about your follies of picking up women.” Here mother fucker: The Pick-Up Follies: Sleazy E’s Revenge

My Personal Independence Day

The 4th of July holds a double meaning for me. The most obvious one is the independence of our great nation from those tea taxing Brits. In addition to that, the 4th of July of 2009 was the day I got my personal freedom back. It was my ETS(End Term of Service) day. Civilian types don’t quite understand the large feeling of burden that is lifted off of ones shoulders and soul when they are no longer an indentured servant to the big green machine that is the United States Army.

I had saved up a month of paid leave and was able to go on terminal leave on June 4th. I was still officially part of the Army when I left Fort Lewis, Washington and headed on my motorcycle trip around the United States. One month later, I was in the small town of Pagosa Springs, Colorado.

The day had been rather uneventful, and I was headed to Colorado Springs after spending a couple of nights in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The ride turned out to take longer than expected, so I decided to pick a nice enough looking small town to spend the night at and Pagosa Springs was it.

I walked around town and the locals were gathering for the Independence Day festivities. It was full, but not overwhelmingly so. I had some dinner, then headed to one of the bars, while there someone told me there would be a firework show in about an hour. I attempted to make friends with some people, but no one was interested in me or my story. I sat at the bar drinking a couple of beers alone while watching people dance until the firework show started.

I went outside and found a place to sit to watch the fireworks. I was surrounded by families drinking, eating, and laughing. I sipped on my beer in silence, not attempting to talk to anyone. The fireworks started. I began thinking about how this show was not just for America, but for me specifically. I’m done, its official, I’m out of the Army. The days where I could say being a soldier was my profession were behind me.

No one there knew who I was or what I had done for this country, but it didn’t matter, because I’m sure amongst them there were veterans who had done way more than I have. I thought of the hundreds of missions I went on as a Stryker driver through the streets of Baghdad and Mosul. I started thinking of the soldiers I knew: the ones who didn’t make it back, the ones who mentored me, the ones who smoked my balls off, the ones who were my friends, even the ones I hated. How we each did our part.

The families were in glee of the fireworks. I missed my friends and family from California. I thought about my mom. How she cried her eyes out and gave me an uncountable amount of kisses the day I left for basic training. How she constantly worried about me during my entire time in the Army and was prouder of me than words could describe. I thought about the rest of my family and friends. How each one showed me support in the best way they could. I thought about the drunken bull shit my best friends had to put up from me when I was home on leave. A smile came across my face because there was a lot of it and it was piled high.

There were couples holding each other. I thought about the various women I had been with that I had met during my time in. Yet one woman consumed my thoughts, my only ex-girlfriend. I thought about how we met, how she became the first woman I ever truly loved, and how we had a roller-coaster of a relationship amplified by my alcoholism and her drug use. One which had its bitter fall out when it ended while on one of my deployments to Iraq. I didn’t feel hatred at that moment, but rather loneliness, for it would have been wonderful to embrace her at that very moment as the night sky filled with brightness.

The fireworks ended. People clapped and cheered. I sat there in silence. Everyone was celebrating our freedom; I was celebrating regaining mine. It was over. It was a wild four and a half years. Years that will never escape me. I sat there as an invisible visitor, in a town whose very existence I learned of only a few hours earlier. Just like the Army, once I would leave, it wouldn’t feel the difference. I wondered if I truly was ready to take on the real world. I left the Army, the same way I joined it, alone.

~Raul Felix

“What else can you tell us about the military?” That there are a bunch of whores of housewives in it: The Military’s Parasite Problem

Raul Drops The N-Bomb

Frustration can lead to a lot of shit. Psychological abuse compounded by years of sexual frustration can cause a man to become a serial killer. A young girl being shown little to no affection by her step-father can cause her to become a stripper who gives the occasional blow job. Raul Felix being tormented constantly by a fellow soldier about his shitty basketball skills can cause him to yell out nigger in a bus full of people.

Prior to deploying to Afghanistan, we had to conduct a painfully long process called SRP. An acronym whose meaning I never learned nor cared to learn. It probably stands for Sucking Raging Penis or Serious Rectal Pummeling. During this process, you have do all sorts of paperwork about your will, medical records, pay, power of attorney, next of kin, and other logistical crap to make sure that when you deploy, your records are not fucked up. Being a single, childless 20 year old whose only assets consisted of a beat up 1986 F-150, 20 gigabytes of porn, and $3000 worth of credit card debt, it was a relatively speedy process for me. I boarded the bus and waited for the others to finish.

Earlier that morning, my squad decided to play basketball for our morning physical training. I may be 6’2” and athletic, but I’m severally lacking in the coordination, talent, and skill needed to play basketball in way that doesn’t resemble old people fucking. I probably made one shot, if that, the whole game. Throughout the whole farce, my half black half mexican Ranger buddy “Resident” was talking smack on my pathetic b-ball ability. Once the game was over, I thought that would be the end of it.

I’ve been wrong before and I was wrong this time. As I’m sitting on the bus, being my young, sweet, and innocent self; Resident hops on.

Resident: “You suck so bad, Felix.”

Raul: “Fuck you.”

Resident: “Like, really, you’re just plain terrible. This is how you look.” He then begins to mimic my disgraceful shot form in slow motion while sticking his tongue out.

Raul: “Fine. Whatever. I don’t care.” I attempt to end the subject. I’ll give you a little insight into men: when we find something that we can use against another man, especially one we know well, we’ll exploit it. We’ll drive it so deeply into their skin that it will pierce their soul.

Resident continued his verbal assaults on my lackluster performance. Laughing, boisterous in fact, that he was pissing me off. I begin shaking, I can’t take this shit anymore, not from him!

Raul: “I DON’T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT BASKETBALL! THAT’S A NIGGER SPORT!” I boom out.

Silence.

The bus once filled with the ambient conversations of soldiers, now stood still, crickets chirping, and had all eyes focused on Resident and I.

One-second: He and I are locking eyes. He was dumbfounded that I so bluntly said it, in fact, so was I.

Two-seconds: Still locking eyes, I clench my fists and prepare myself to get into a fight. A little backstory on Resident: he looks like Malcolm X, has angry young black man syndrome, and grew up in some shit hole neighborhood in Houston, Texas.

Three-seconds: Resident begins to show his pearly white teeth and starts laughing. Interracial violence averted, America.

Resident: “You just said… it’s a nigger sport…” he laughs uncontrollably. Just then, another one of the black dudes from my company boards the bus who missed the scene. “Felix! Tell Bee what you just said.”

Raul: “No.”

Resident: “Come on… say it.”

Raul: “Basketball is a nigger sport.” I say reluctantly.

Resident repeats this process with a few other black guys in our company. All them just shook their heads and laughed.

That should have been the end of it right? If you didn’t know, soldiers are bigger gossips than college girls in a sorority after the big Spring Rush Hootenanny. Eventually, the Company Commander and First Sergeant got wind of it.

We were told the following day during morning formation that we were going to have an Equal Opportunity Briefing at 0930.

“Staff Sergeant S” was in put in charge of giving the breif and started with this.

SSG S: “I bet you’re wondering why we are having this briefing. It’s because Felix said something fucking stupid on the bus yesterday.”

Everyone pauses and looks at me.

SSG S: “What did you say, Felix?”

Raul: “Something racist, Sergeant.”

SSG S: “I know Felix isn’t god damn racist. But, thanks to him, the First Sergeant wants me to reinforce to all of you why don’t say or use racial slurs in the Army.”

He then went on to give the standard Army propaganda about how racism undermines the cohesiveness of an effective fighting force. It compromises the esprit de corps of the Regiment and can lead to being punished by the Universal Code of Military Justice. Essentially, telling us to love each other and live in racial harmony since we all bleed red.

As I think back on it, it’s one of my personal favorite moments. My obscene mouth caused my company to have an Equal Opportunity Briefing, now that’s something you can hang your hat on.

~Raul Felix

You are insensitive and must now read this: Every Race is Worthless