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Shadowdancer21b Shadowdancer21b is offline
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Old Sep 10th, 2010, 09:10 PM        Every Soldier Has a Story to Tell
The American poet Master P. once said, “Every soldier’s got a story to tell.” I agree with him.
Here is one of mine. First, background I was attending my basic and AIT OSUT (One Station Unit Training) at Fort Leonard Wood Missouri to become a combat engineer and earn the right to call myself a soldier and wear a gold castle on my lapel when wearing my class A (dress uniform). We did all of our land mine training at one location TA 250 Bottom. Training Area 250 Bottom was a muddy horrid mess of a place with mops that had at most 11 strings clinging for life and concrete everywhere. We would have to mop these floors with buckets of water with no cleaners and those awful mops. I think the instructors and 250 Bottom did it on purpose because they were sadistic men who hated young recruits. The meat of the story strengthens my belief, but I will leave the judgment to you.

To begin with the story proper, there WAS a TA 250 Top, but I never saw it. It was for Bridge Crewmembers (21C) who trained alongside us 21Bs much of the time and shared our barracks. Female soldiers can be MOS 21C but not 21B so that is the only MOS where female soldiers can use explosives for those keeping score at home (I may be wrong…too lazy to google it.). This day we watched a slide show of land mine victims. I will let that sink in. A group of young men, aged 17 to 32 (I called him Pappy), learning how to use explosives and mines as well as how to avoid those things being used against them, must watch this slide show to complete training at Ft. Leonard Wood. The instructors therefore, must watch this slide show a dozen times a year if not more. So, I was 19 years old, considering myself a tough guy, studied martial arts and swordplay, been in a few fistfights, watched a ton of gory movies, even saw the video footage from the liberation of Auschwitz, and I was shaken to the core.

The slides were delivered with all the emotional content of old vacation slides from say four years ago. Human beings, having been torn asunder from sheer concussive FORCE and flame, and bits of sharp metal, commented on with no emotion. I did not look away once. I credited myself for this at the time, but now, I wish I wasn’t such a “tough guy”. There were children and women among the slides. There were civilians and soldiers, enemy and U.S. To say I am haunted would be melodramatic, but I will never forget that afternoon, and that is the truth.

There are people called “De-miners”. In Afghanistan most notably, these people find mines and detonate them. They get paid by the government per mine. If they get wounded or disabled by a blast, they get paid more. There was an Afghan man being carried into an emergency room, his leg carried behind him, doped up on painkillers giving the camera a grin and thumbs-up. The instructor, whose name escapes me, said “He is smiling because he knows he can now get paid more.” This photograph stands from the others. A point was reached where we stopped gasping and were not shocked anymore. We had become harder. We were one vital step closer to becoming men with no fear of landmines and explosions.

Two days later we had to return there…and they had us move rocks from a mudfield out in the back to the front of the building so that the rocks could be arranged in artful piles outside each door. We spent hours there moving rocks. We ate lunch there, and still we moved rocks. The instructors mocked us saying things like “Don’t be a hero now privates, one rock per hand so you don’t strain yourselves.” They made no attempt to hide the fact that this was “make-work” designed specifically to waste our time because our Drill Sergeants had nothing for us to do. The fact that they had so little regard for us wounded my soul and robbed me of some of the pride I once felt when putting on my BDU (Battle Dress uniform). This is one of my stories. Some are humorous; some reflect the slow death of my youth and pride. Some are filled with rage that I feel to this day. Every soldier has a story to tell.

Shadowdancer out!

One more thing. I never said Master P was a GOOD poet.
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Last edited by Shadowdancer21b : Sep 10th, 2010 at 11:15 PM.
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Tadao Tadao is offline
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Old Sep 10th, 2010, 11:08 PM       
Wall of text
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Shadowdancer21b Shadowdancer21b is offline
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Old Sep 10th, 2010, 11:15 PM       
And...now there are paragraph breaks.
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kahljorn kahljorn is offline
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Old Sep 11th, 2010, 01:45 AM       
can you summarize your story in two sentences cause like here's my idea of a soldiers story:

OH SHIT MY BUDDY GOT SHOT NEXT TO ME IN THE FOXHOLE

but my impression of your story after having glanced at it is:

SOME STUFF HAPPENED THAT COULD HAPPEN TO PEOPLE WHO ARENT SOLDIERS

I mean I gUESS a furry could also get shot in a foxhole but you know what i mean.
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Tadao Tadao is offline
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Old Sep 11th, 2010, 01:50 AM       
The story is too full of unnecessary fluff.
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kahljorn kahljorn is offline
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Old Sep 11th, 2010, 03:09 AM       
yea i sorta scanned through it and here is the abridged version of his story:

I WAS TOLD TO DO THINGS AT A JOB THAT WERE NOT IMPORTANT JUST TO BE BUSY
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Old Sep 11th, 2010, 09:14 AM       
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadowdancer21b View Post
They made no attempt to hide the fact that this was “make-work” designed specifically to waste our time because our Drill Sergeants had nothing for us to do. The fact that they had so little regard for us wounded my soul and robbed me of some of the pride I once felt when putting on my BDU (Battle Dress uniform). This is one of my stories. Some are humorous; some reflect the slow death of my youth and pride. Some are filled with rage that I feel to this day. Every soldier has a story to tell.
Oh wow, this is just like a poorly written war novel! Life does imitate art.

TheLeader out!
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Blasted Child Blasted Child is offline
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Old Sep 11th, 2010, 11:09 AM       
This soldier thing is a bit done. How about "every paver has a story to tell" or something less clichéd? I'd read that.
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Old Sep 11th, 2010, 07:38 PM       
every storyteller has a story to tell
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Shadowdancer21b Shadowdancer21b is offline
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Old Sep 11th, 2010, 10:15 PM       
Well, I was never a paver. How's about I start up "the call center chronicles"? I'm sure THAT would be much more interesting, right?

Also, if you aren't going to bother reading the whole story, why waste your time typing a pithy comment?
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Old Sep 11th, 2010, 10:24 PM       
Because we hate you.
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 05:42 AM       
ONE TIME WHEN I WAS A CONCENTRATION CAMP EMPLOYEE THEY MADE US RAKE PEBBLES FOR NO PARTICULAR REASON

IT RUINED MY YOUTH AND PRIDE AND fAITH IN AUTHORITY OR SOME SHIT
ALSO I PAvEd A SideWALK tHERE
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Zhukov Zhukov is offline
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 07:59 AM       
You could be a hero by carrying two rocks in a hand?
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 09:39 AM       
That'd be hardcore.
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Fathom Zero Fathom Zero is offline
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 01:45 PM       
thanx for your service and stuff
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Shadowdancer21b Shadowdancer21b is offline
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 01:59 PM       
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You could be a hero by carrying two rocks in a hand?
Oh, sure, 'cuz then we'd be overexherting ourselves and making a noble sacrifice or something. Those training NCOs were being jerks.
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Shadowdancer21b Shadowdancer21b is offline
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 01:59 PM       
Also, did no one see the bit about the land mine victim slideshow? That was kinda the point of the story....
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Fathom Zero Fathom Zero is offline
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 02:42 PM       
I read it. Good stuff.
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 05:37 PM       
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Originally Posted by Shadowdancer21b View Post
Also, did no one see the bit about the land mine victim slideshow? That was kinda the point of the story....
Oh, sorry. I kind of forgot about it because there was no focus at all.
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 05:50 PM       
Yeah, I definitely read it. The slideshow stuff was gripping.
I don't know if this is the right place if you want c&c, but I'd be perfectly willing to offer some, I just don't know what it is you've written.
1. You say you have a story to tell, but this isn't really a story, it reads more like a journal entry or a part of a novel. For a piece this short, you need to focus on something. Are you gonna talk about the horrors of war, or your personal disappointment for not getting to do real war-stuff, or what is it? The fact that someone made you move rocks or other quasi-tasks isn't enough to constitute a story; it's a rather trivial event that probably happens to everyone doing military service.
2. Drop most, if not all, of the army jargon. I know it's there to make it sound authentic, but it comes across as military aficionadoism at best, and generally there's just too many abbreviations and fluff to be readable.
3. Cut the clichés. As The Leader said, it reads like a bad war novel, and could be taken for a parody rather than a serious try. The ending just sounds pretentious.

But then again, the slideshow part was gripping. I think you should focus on that and give a personal, honest account, and stop pretending that you've just written the war novel of the century.
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Shadowdancer21b Shadowdancer21b is offline
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 07:20 PM       
So the narrative was over-dramatic? Okay. I'll try to fix things for later stories. That is, if anyone would be interested.
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Old Sep 13th, 2010, 12:31 AM       
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For a piece this short
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Old Sep 13th, 2010, 11:29 AM       
TRUE STORIES FROM THE CALL CENTER CHRONICLES:

One time this lady was on my line because she hadn't paid her bill ("I JUST PAID YOU ASSHOLES TWO MONTHS AGO AND NOW YOU'RE SHOVING YOUR STINKING GREEDY HANDS BACK IN MY POCKETS AGAIN I HAVE TO CALL YOU EVERY MONTH COME ON NOW STOP SENDING ME BILLS AND GIVE ME FREE CABLE".) Normally this would have just been one of maybe three calls a day that I get like this, but she was abnormally rude and had profanity diarrhea of the mouth. When she got to a point that I had to start "Ma'am"ing her, she eventually said "And WHY you call'n me MA'AM?! MAH name's vahLENcia."

It took me every ounce of control I had not to call her Ms. Orange.
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Old Sep 13th, 2010, 12:36 PM       
You call that a story? You got to the point in the first sentence. Where is the long drawn out fluffy boring parts?
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Old Sep 13th, 2010, 01:57 PM       
Yeah. I demand to be fluffed.
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