By J.E. McCollough Entering the private sector after military service is rarely...
The Dumbass Chronicles: The Wild Boar
By RU Rob
Spend any time in Europe and you will know that there is a shit-ton of wild pigs in the forests. As detailed in an earlier post: “Helfen Sie mir! Die Schweine sind Uberall” (translates to: Help me! The pigs are everywhere!) The pigs, boars, hogs, man-eating pork machines, or whatever you want to call them are literally everywhere and they are not little. This is my story of comeuppance, a young soldier in midst of the German countryside and the difference between being cool and scared shitless.
As a young private there are certain things that you can expect, especially in the training environment. For me and my mortar platoon it was being left out on the observation post / listening post (OP/LP) for what seemed like days on end. My official mission was to be the eyes and ears a couple of hundred meters out from the main body of my platoon and go give warning if anyone tried to sneak up on us. But realistically it was a sadistic attempt to break my soul from boredom, cold and the truth that a cherry Private really wasn’t worth much.
So there I was, laying under a small pine tree in the cold German winter with one of the old PRC-77 radios, yes the kind that weighed a ton and were so big that they had their own special made back-pack which was properly named “man-pack” due to its weight. It was early evening and it was dark. I was rocking a pair of the 1st generation night vision goggles, which by today’s standards seem like an ancient pair of torture goggles, but they were cool and I was kind of able to see in the dark…emphasis on the kind of.
Chow had just come and for the first time in days it was actually hot (well supposed to be anyways). The rest of the platoon had eaten and they had just packed up the remnants when they realized that they forgot to feed me (go figure, right?). The next lowest ranking schlub brought me out my paper plate which consisted of mostly gravy and a little left-over meat they scrapped from the bottom of the miramite cans. Just happy to see/smell/taste anything other than MRE’s I gladly accepted and was left again in my solitude.
Just as I was about to dig into my glorious pile of slop I hear some movement off to my side. I freeze and immediately grab my 10 pound goggles so I can attempt to intercept the invading force and become the hero of the battle. There is a LOT of movement and I am thinking that there is a squad-sized element about to over-run our position (knowing that everyone else in the platoon was most likely huddled around a very vocal game of spades and not focused on security). I grab my rifle and make sure that the hand-mic for the radio is securely attached to the chin-strap of my helmet. I am about to go Rambo on these guys and I will be rewarded by never having to pull LP/OP again (or at least that is what I thought).
The sounds are getting louder as they approach me. I strain my eyes through the goggles to try and make out anything moving and finally I caught something. But it was on all fours and it was small. Jesus, it was just a little freaking pig. Dammit, no heroics for me. But wait, there are two….four…five. Christ almighty, there are at least a half dozen of them. It is easy to see the difference between the juveniles and the adults. There were at least 4-5 small ones and 2 big ones…and then….FUCK… that one is huge. It must be the daddy. They are rapidly approaching my position and after seeing big-daddy I am starting to get a little worried.
Fully knowing that I have a plate of food that stinks to high hell in my world but probably smells like fine cuisine to those pigs I decide to let them know that they are not alone in the forest. Maybe I can scare them away. As I am watching them through my fuzzy optics I start to move around to make a little noise. Big mistake! As soon as I make the first noise they all stop, no… freeze would be a better description, and turn towards to me. They immediately start snorting back and forth between each other – communicating the battle plan.
Now there is a platoon sized element of pigs that are having a staring contest with me in the dark of the night. I am grossly outnumbered and have no weapons; save the rifle I am holding with 210 rounds of…blanks! I am so screwed at this point and starting to panic. The pigs, which are about fifty feet in front of me have all turned their bodies and are preparing to assault. I now arise to a crouch position the radio hanging from my helmet.
In one swift move, big-daddy piggy lets out a snarl of attack and proceeds to charge my position, his humongous pig-tusks bearing down on me with pure rage.
I have now gone the full spectrum from Rambo to screaming child in fear for his life. Quickly assessing that my options are bleak, I decide instead of running I should go up; up into the already small and extremely dense tree that I have spent the last 6 hours hiding under. I don’t know how I was able to do it, but I finagled my body between the branches and was able to get up into that tree, 45 pounds of radio hanging by the handset cord, my head leaning in an awkward position and my helmet even more cock-eyed trying to hold the weight. Below me was one pissed-off pig of prehistoric proportions snorting underneath me in a furious rage because I fucked with his little ones.
I am now calling back to the main element on the radio. Once I finally was able to get someone to answer me, I was met with laughter. In a panicked voice I tried to calmly explain that I was being overrun by pigs and that they needed to launch a Quick Reaction Force to save me. The response…”well, we are in the middle of playing cards right now, we will be down there as soon as we finish.”
Big daddy knew he was in complete control and I could’ve sworn I saw a little smirk on his hairy pig face as I was hanging on to dear life in that little pine tree. Then to top it all off, the fat fucker eats the food that I was so excited to receive. After he finished cleaning up the slop that was meant for me, he gave me one last glance and trotted off. Hogzilla stopped, gave me one fleeting look as if he were throwing salt on my wounds, nodded his head as if to say…”ha…got you, ya bastard”, then disappeared into the forest.
I remained in the tree for another couple of minutes, you know, just to make sure he wasn’t coming back, and then I slowly made my way out of that tree. Once down, I assumed my old position under said tree and went back to work…doing nothing. A short time later, about 10 minutes to be exact, a grumpy specialist came down to check on me. He wasn’t pleased and he let me know it, especially since there was no sign of a hoard of hogs. Needless to say, I would be spending a lot more time on perimeter security with my hope of being a hero dashed. I was back to doing what Privates do best….pulling guard.