How to Prepare for a Deployment to Iraq

Originally written in Aug 2003. While in Iraq.

Thought everyone would like to see what I should have been doing to prepare to deploy to Iraq!Tikrit FOB Speicher 332

Things to do for a smooth transition when you find out you’re deploying:

  1. Sleep on a cot in the garage.
  2. Replace the garage door with a curtain.
  3. Six hours after you go to sleep, have your significant other whip open the curtain, shine a flashlight in your eyes, and mumble, “Sorry, wrong cot.”
  4. Renovate your bathroom. Hang a green plastic sheet down from the middle of your bathtub and move the showerhead down to chest level. Keep four inches of soapy cold, athlete’s foot infected water on the floor.  Stop cleaning the toilet and pee everywhere but in the toilet itself.  Leave 2 to 3 single squares of toilet paper.  Or better yet, leave the cardboard roll only.  For best effect, remove it altogether. Practice drawing pictures of naked women on your bathroom wall.  Add to effect with slurs aimed at other units.
  5. When you take showers, wear flip flops. Wear mismatched pieces of uniform to and from the shower to keep your family guessing the uniform standard.
  6. Every time there is a thunderstorm, go sit in a wobbly rocking chair and dump a bucket of dirt on your head.
  7. Put lube oil in your humidifier instead of water and set it on “HIGH” for the tactical generator smell.
  8. Don’t watch TV except for movies in the middle of the night. Turn up the volume and laugh at moron films as loud as you can to wake your family members that are sleeping.
  9. Leave a lawnmower running in your living room 24 hours a day for proper noise level. When it finally breaks down, yell at your kids for not servicing it.
  10. Have the paperboy give you a haircut.
  11. Once a week, blow compressed air up through your chimney making sure the wind carries the soot down on all the neighbors homes.
  12. Buy a trash compactor and only use it once a week. Store up garbage in the other side of your bathtub.
  13. Wake up every night at midnight and have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a saltine cracker.
  14. Make up your family menu a week a head of time without looking in your food cabinets or refrigerator. Then serve some kind of meat in an unidentifiable sauce poured over noodles.  Do this for every meal.
  15. Make promises for special meals and deliver nothing at meal time. You’re family is hungry? Sorry, we ran out.
  16. Once a month, take every major appliance completely apart and then put them back together again. Hope it works.
  17. Use 18 scoops of coffee per pot and allow it to sit for 5 or 6 hours before drinking.
  18. Invite at least 185 people you don’t really like because of their strange hygiene habits to come and visit for a couple of months. Unwittingly exchange clothes with them.
  19. Have a fluorescent lamp installed on the bottom of your coffee table and lie under it to read books.
  20. Set your alarm clock to go off at random times during the night. When it goes off, jump out of bed and run outside to shower. Simulate there being no hot water by using the garden hose in the yard.
  21. Keep a roll of toilet paper on your night stand and bring it to the bathroom with you. Also bring your gun and a flashlight.
  22. Go to the bathroom when you just have gas, “just in case”. Every time.
  23. Announce to your family that they have mail. Have them report to you as you stand outside your open garage door after supper and then say, “Sorry, it’s for some other Smith.”
  24. Bucket wash only 15 items of laundry per week. Roll up the semi-wet clean clothes in a ball.  Place them in a cloth sack in the corner of the garage where the cat pees.  After a week, unroll them and without ironing or removing the mildew, proudly wear them to professional meetings and family gatherings.  Pretend you don’t know what you look or smell like.  Enthusiastically repeat the process for another week.  (Lose your shirt next week or switch it up, wear someone else’s x-small pants.)
  25. Go to the worst crime-infested place you can find, go heavily armed, wearing a flak jacket without armored plates and a kevlar helmet. Set up shop in a tent in a dirty vacant lot. Shoot the locals. Announce to the residents later that you are there to help them.
  26. Eat a single M&M every Sunday and convince yourself you are safe from Malaria.
  27. Demand each family member is limited to 15 minutes per week for a morale call that they’ll have to pay for. Enforce this with your children, but allow your spouse special favors because of her rank.
  28. Shoot a few bullet holes in the walls of your home for ambiance. Break off the windshield wipers on your car for realism. Pour mud on the windshield…you’re ready to drive.
  29. Sandbag the floor of the car to protect from mine blasts and fragmentation.
  30. While traveling down roads in your car, stop at each overpass and culvert and inspect them for remotely detonated explosives before proceeding.
  31. Fire off 50 cherry bombs simultaneously in your driveway at 3:00 AM. When startled neighbors appear, tell them all is well, you are registering mortars.  Explain to them that the activity was scheduled and rebuff their comments that they didn’t know about it by telling them that’s their fault.  Further explain that plastic makes an acceptable substitute for their shattered windows.
  32. Drink your milk and sodas at temperatures warmer than your normal body temperature. 33. When people put their hand on your shoulder and say, “Welcome back from Iraq.  Was it bad over there?”  Reply by pointing at them and yelling, “Bad touch!  Bad touch!”
  33. Make your children clear their Super Soakers in a clearing barrel placed you placed outside the front door before they come inside. Watch them closely.  If they are a no-go, retrain, repeat.
  34. Make your family dig a survivability position with overhead cover in the back yard. Complain that the 4x4s are not 8 inches on center and make them rebuilt it in the front yard.  Criticize throughout.
  35. Continuously ask your spouse to allow you to go buy an M-Gator ATV to get around.
  36. When your 8-year old daughter asks for a stick of gum, have her find the exact stick and flavor she wants on FEDLOG, and make her print the characteristics. Have her drop a requisition, and after two weeks tell her it’s cancelled and you don’t know why.  Tell her to reorder.  4 days later issues her a piece of candy, claiming it is her gum.  Tell her if it isn’t the right kind or flavor to submit a Supply Deficiency Report.  Tell her the good news is that her new requisition is still back ordered at wholesale.  Might receive the correct gum before redeployment to home station.  Tell her off the record you harbor doubts.
  37. Announce to your family that you have determined that the dog is a vector for disease and shoot it. Throw the dog in a burn pit you dug in your neighbor’s back yard.
  38. Play horseshoes when you are not working.
  39. Play horseshoes when you are working.
  40. Just when you think that you’re ready to resume a normal life, notify your family that the deployment has been extended six months in view of the nation’s interests. Feel reassured that replacement force is undisclosed multinational force.  When mysterious multinational force fails to manifest, repeat six month extension.

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