Bloody Funny...... comments please?


An excerpt from the Novel “You are in the Army Now!†by Dick Sumkunt; an exciting, authentic depiction of real life in a frontline combat unit.

The story continues……

Chapter 11

It was mid-morning as Lieutenant-Colonel John Hammond of The 1st Battalion The Queen’s Own Royal Rifle Regiment (The Old Dependables) sat at his desk and observed through his office window the routine activity of his Battalion deployed to southern Iraq.

Their zone was generally quiet with regular vehicle and foot patrols maintaining law, order and calm within the area of their responsibility. His troops had established a good rapport with the locals and he was generally pleased with the progress of the deployment. This was just as well since only that morning he had undertaken the unpleasant task of informing the Battalion that, despite promises of a return home later that week as planned, instability in other parts of the country meant that they would have to remain in Iraq for a further 4 months.

Soldiers not currently on active patrols busied themselves in the routine administration of their tented camp. He watched as the first batch of chaps showered that morning in the jerry-rigged hot shower stalls that worked by pouring water onto wriggly-tin sheets heated by the sun. They revelled in the lukewarm water.

He idly contemplated the outcome of the semi-finals of the inter-company five-a-side football competition being played on the makeshift playing field. Currently Alpha Company was playing against Charlie Company. All the soldiers played in their faded Union Jack shorts, with Alpha Company wearing their Company T-Shirts while the men from Charlie Company, which lost the toss, were playing bear-topped in the traditional Shirts-verses-Skins manner favoured by the British Forces.

It would soon be mid-day. If the desert sun got any hotter, he would be forced to allow the issue of a second 1 litre water bottle per man per day. The Regimental Quarter Master would not be best pleased if that were to happen.

His reverie was broken by the distant sounds of what experience had taught him was a helicopter gunship attack underway in the neighbouring sector.

The telephone rang:


The shrill war-cry emitted from the earpiece identified the caller instantly.

It could be none other than Colonel Hiram B. Curtis LeMay O’Brien-Lewinski (the 4th), commander of The 2nd Battalion, 27th Mobile Infantry Brigade, United States Army (The Screaming Automatons), the commander responsible for the zone on his left flank.

“Good Morning Colonel!†said John with his impeccably polished accent.

“Fuckin’ A!†came the familiar retort in typical Middle American drawl.

“Thank you for the gift Colonelâ€, the Englishman continued, examining the cordura desert camouflage shoulder holster, complete with Emergency Helo-Extraction Strobe Light and intrinsic Satellite Global Positioning System. It had arrived that morning with a note expressing the best compliments of his US counterpart. The QuickDraw® holster which would sit under his left armpit was neatly counter balanced by the extra magazine pouch and inverted scabbard positioned under the right armpit which housed a DeathShadow® matt black fighting knife.

He had been contemplating the dilemma of not wearing it and risking offending the Colonel’s feelings, and wearing it and being considered a “complete twat†by the rest of the British Armed Forces.

“Don’t mention it Buddy!†bawled the American.

In the near distance, a jet fighter could be heard unleashing its ordinance.

“I have absolutely nothing comparable to offer you in return Colonel,†John continued in complete honesty.

“Actually Buddy, there is something…. a little favor, that you could do for me.â€

“Oh, Christ!†thought John, remembering that the last time he did a favour for this American unit he lost 3 men killed and 4 seriously wounded in an unfortunate “Friendly Fire†incident. The whole incident was even more poignant than it might have been had the deaths and injuries been amongst combat troops during the heat of battle. As it was, all the casualties were members of the Regimental Band sent over for the evening to play “Happy Birthday Dear Colonel†on the American Colonel’s 40th birthday.

“How can I be of assistance, Colonel?†inquired John, with a due sense of trepidation and dread.

“Well Buddy, we’ve noticed that your British soldiers have reacted really well to the last minute cancellation of going home and the news that they are here for another 4 goddamned months.†explained the man who had graduated top of his class at the West Point Military Academy.

“You seeâ€, he continued excitedly, “we thought that maybe you could send over your Morale Officer to break the news to our guys.â€

“Morale Officer?†the Sandhurst graduate exclaimed interrogatively.

“Yeah Buddy, we were hoping you could send over your Morale Officer to manage the ‘Dislocation of Expectation Information Exchange Event’ and the put into effect the ‘Abrogation and Nullification of Morale Depreciation Protocols’.†explained the American.

The Englishman pondered this for several seconds as he gazed out of his office window. His brow furrowed in his attempts to grasp the military concepts being expounded. He silently mouthed the words to himself to assist his comprehension.

His face brightened suddenly…..

“Colonel,†John began, “do you mean you want me to send somebody over there to break the bad news to your Unit and then tell them how to get over it?â€

“Fuckin’ A!†exclaimed the excited American, “Could you have him here in an hour? No! Make that 2 hours, there is no point in spoiling the guys enjoyment of Sesame Street.â€

“Quite so!†agreed the Englishman.

“Fuckin’ A! YeeeeeHaaaw!†came the not unexpected reply.

The phone went dead.

“Sergeant Major!†called John through the open doorway.

“SIR!†came the crisp, clear reply in a voice honed on the parade grounds of Perbright.

“Could you pop in here for a moment? I have a job for you.â€


Chapter 12

Sergeant-Major Brian “Buster†Brown breathed a sigh of relief as he entered the American compound alive and uninjured and was greeted personally by the Colonel.

The camp was luxurious in comparison with the British base.

Concrete and tarmac roads crisscrossed this “little America†and the Sergeant-Major noted the obvious differences such as fully grown men in their thirties skateboarding around and doing tricks on their BMX Bikes on a specially built “Stunt Zoneâ€. The NAAFI and cookhouse were replaced by Burger King, MacDonald’s and Pizza Hut outlets while a Baskin Robins Ice Cream Parlor seemed and integral part of every junction.

Internet Cafes abounded and overhead was the constant roar of helicopters landing and disgorging enormous quantities of fast food, convenience products and Air Conditioning Units.

In the center of the camp was a vast AstroTurf playing field where two dozen helmeted and heavily armoured footballers executed complicated American Football plays. Between plays the soldiers doused themselves with sponges dipped in ice cold water from barrels which received hundreds of ice cubes an hour from the CoolTrooper® battlefield ice-making machine on the touchline. They slaked their thirst on Soda-Pops and Colas.

Pleasantries were exchanged and the British Sergeant-Major set about the preliminaries.

He advised that the entire American Unit should be instructed to pack their personal kit as quickly as possible and place it on the transport Lorries. The personnel, he continued, should then be placed on buses parked near to the Lorries. It was most important, he specified, that the air conditioning in the parked buses crammed with troops should under no circumstances be switched on.

Speed, he stressed, was especially important.

The Sergeant-Major’s instructions, although considered somewhat bizarre, were followed to the letter. Within an hour all was as he had indicated.

After 30 minutes he instructed that all the troops should be ordered off the bus they were on and should board the bus immediately to the right. Again, despite much bewilderment, his instructions were followed.

After a further sweltering 30 minutes, the Sergeant-Major repeated the instruction that all the troops should debus and move to the bus immediately to the right. Despite some grumbling and moaning, again his instructions were followed to the letter.

After another 30 minutes had elapsed, Sergeant-Major Brown instructed that now all troops were to debus and board the first bus that they had boarded and hour an a half earlier. Despite a growing cacophony of complaints and curses, the American Unit carried out its instructions.

“I have to say Sergeant-Major,†the American Colonel ventured, “you have a kind of strange way of doing things.â€

“Fear not Sir, this is called ‘Hurry Up and Wait’ and ‘On the Bus; Off the Bus’.†The Sergeant-Major explained. “It is the standard way in which Her Majesty’s Armed Forces prepare military personnel for the receipt of bad news.â€

The logic behind this approach escaped the US officer, but he shrugged. It DID work well with the British Troops, so it must be a viable way.

Finally, the British Sergeant-Major judged the conditions and the mood of the troops to be optimum and requested that they debus again and form on the AstroTurf playing field where a podium was erected.

“They are all yours, Sergeant-Major!†confirmed the American Colonel, biting the end off a huge cigar and spitting it behind the podium.

“Thank You Sir,†responded the Sergeant-Major showing his Yorkshire roots in his north-country accent.

“My name,†he began, “Is “Sergeant-Major Brownâ€, but you can all call me by my first name….. Sergeant-Major!â€

He opened his notebook.

“Can I have a show of hands please? Raise your right hand if you are returning home tomorrowâ€.

A forest of right hands appeared as every single member of the 650 strong Battalion raised a hand.

“Wrong!â€, announced the Sergeant-Major categorically.

“I am afraid that the situation is ABC (All Been Changed).â€

“You are NOT returning home on Thursday to the Land of the Free and the ... (consults notebook briefly) ……Home of the Brave.â€

“This unit has in fact been ordered to remain here for a further 4 months.â€

A wave of expletives and shouts erupts from the gathered unit.

“Now, Now!†continued the Sergeant-Major. “I know that a lot of you now will be saying things like…. “Ouch! Ouch! What’s that Big Thing up my Arse, ….. (consults notebook again) sorry…. What’s that Big Thing up my ASS? I think I’ve been butt-fucked!†Well, I am here to tell you in no uncertain terms that you HAVE BEEN!â€

“However, I will remind you that George W. Bush pays you monkeys 24 hours a day and that you are all professional soldiers who signed on the dotted line.â€

“Excuse me, Sergeant-Major!†shouted an American officer in the front, “But, I am not a professional, I am a reservist and have to get home!

“Well in that case†explained the British Sergeant-Major, “for you my heart bleeds purple piss! Tell me Sir, did you sign on the dotted line to become a reservist?â€

“Yes of course I did.†came the obvious reply.

“Well then†the Sergeant-Major concluded, “if you did not have a sense of humor, you should not have joined then should you?â€

“However,†he continued, “there is a place where you can find sympathy, Sir, if you are interested?

The American officer nodded enthusiastically.

“You will find it, Sir,†advised the Sergeant-Major, “located in the dictionary somewhere between SEX and SYPHILIS!â€

“Right everybody. There you have it. That is life in a green suit! Suck up the shit and screw the nut. Get on the phone and tell your mothers, your fathers, wives, your girlfriends, your boyfriends……†he paused briefly expecting a laugh and when none came he looked up. On noticing that about a quarter of the unit’s personnel were women he simply snorted and went back to his notes.

“There is one note of interest….â€, he continued, “is there anyone present who has a full, I emphasize a FULL – not a provisional - but a full motorcycle license?â€

About fifty eager troopers crowded forward waving their hands in the air, some actually clutching the mentioned document in their hand.

“Excellent!†Exclaimed the Sergeant-Major, “you lot will report to your Company Sergeants-Major. You are all dicked to unload everyone’s kit bags from the Lorries.â€

Stunned silence followed.

“Finally, I have been told that this address must be finished off with your traditional battle cry of… (consults note book for a final time) ah yes there it is…. Erm…. Yee-Ha! ******* Eh?â€

With that, the British Sergeant-Major turned smartly to the American Colonel, who was standing with his mouth agape in absolute disbelief, and saluted.

“Job done, Sir! Will there be anything else before I return to the British Sector?â€

“JEEEEEZUZ CHRIST!â€, exclaimed the Colonel, watching in incredulity as his unit started to disintegrate into an angry mob. “This approach actually works on British troops?â€

“Oh Yes Sir.†The British Sergeant-Major confirmed. “You will find that your lads -and lasses for that matter - will be as happy as Sand Boys now Sirâ€

On dismissal the Sergeant-Major marched over to his waiting Landrover.

As he marched a string of nonsensical clichés, peculiar to Non-Commissioned Officers in the British Armed Forces, flowed freely from his mouth, directed at nobody in particular.

“Well, I am not here for the good of m health….. My work is done here…. I am on my own time now….. The onus is upon myself…… I have worked hard, now I shall play hard…… I have a pocket full of beer tokens….. I shall be getting pissy-cacky-all-fall-down….. Make no bones about it, I shall be up bright eyed and bushy tailed at Oh-****-Hundred-Hours……. Woe betide me if I am not….. Home James and do not spare the horses…..â€

US jets screamed overhead doing the victory roll after unleashing a Napalm strike on the assembled guests of another Iraqi wedding.

"US jets screamed overhead doing the victory roll after unleashing a Napalm strike on the assembled guests of another Iraqi wedding."

Just like the last line right over my head old son. Perhaps its an Army thing.



War Hero
As the token septic here, i know that its fun to make fun of us but the humor was somewhat ruined by the friendly fire and luxurious accomodations jokes.


Although imagining the part where the Sgt. Major had to reference his paper to translate to American slang had me lol'ing
Oh, Christ!†thought John, remembering that the last time he did a favour for this American unit he lost 3 men killed and 4 seriously wounded in an unfortunate “Friendly Fire†incident. The whole incident was even more poignant than it might have been had the deaths and injuries been amongst combat troops during the heat of battle. As it was, all the casualties were members of the Regimental Band sent over for the evening to play “Happy Birthday Dear Colonel†on the American Colonel’s 40th birthday.


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