Well, if you read the title and picture you can pretty well figure out what this post is about.
My second deployment we landed ourselves in Al Asad for a few months. The place flourished with Army and Air Force pogs that we’re stationed there for a year at a time. Going hand-in-hand with those long deployments, these fobbits liked to settle in and build up all the amenities of living back in the states that they could. As well as this, the command group of the base decided we would be billeted in some abandoned, run-down tents away from everyone else. Obviously we held a grudge towards being the “redheaded stepchild” of the air base, but to be in that position and watch everyone else live their cushy little lives like they weren’t even on deployment just burned a few of us up.
To top it all off many of them had purchased bicycles from the px and regularly commuted to the px, chow hall, and mwr/internet center, all the while we were left right left righting it around everywhere we went. It became a bitter brew to watch people pass us on the way to chow, and be finishing eating as we sat down. Finally, it became enough.
There was a particularly badass looking black huffy that was posted up outside of a building every night on our walk to the internet center. A few of us had mentioned in passing about taking it for a spin, we need to snatch that thing, or a whole other slew of comments that you can imagine revolving around the jealously of this awesome bike. One late night, after a convoy op, a few of us were passing by, and I had finally had enough of the talk. Needless to say, my trip to the internet center went much faster that night. Since we were surrounded by abandoned tents, we stashed the bike in one of the empty ones and periodically took it out for trips.
We never went about buying a bike lock, and after a few trips with it, we eventually came out to the bike missing, and having returned back to the original building it was at. We let a day or two pass, then it was game on again, and the cycle repeats. Finally, the owner of the bike wised up and locked it up to a light pole outside of the building. We weren’t willing to just give up on it yet. We actually hung around that night, trying to figure out a way to effectively lift and slide the bike up the pole and loop the chain over the top. Of course, that was proven to be more difficult that we had initially expected and after some bit of trying, we settled for the long walk.
Though this one individual had out-witted us, there were still many more “soft targets” around the base and we began to prey on them. All and all we ended up with three different bikes between us. It started looking like a bike gang whenever we would return back from an op and head to the internet center. Running the mean streets of Al Asad, in force. I particularly prided myself in having a bike that had MAJ (can’t remember the name) written on the back of the seat. All was well for a good while. We had transportation so that we didn’t spend an extra hour walking everywhere, which lead to extra sleep, which kept us in a much better mood through the deployment.
We had some close calls here and there. We would always walk cautiously up to the bike racks scanning the area and once there quickly exit. We had someone else’s bikes and we were well aware that they probably wanted them back. A few time we had to ditch the bikes we had because we saw an individual standing directly next to the particular bike, on someone would hang around the bike rack a little too long for comfort, but thanks to our astute military training we were able to sniff out these dangers like they were the haj in an ambush.
More time went on and everything was going well. We had been using the bikes for a bit now, without getting busted by either the owners, or our platoon leadership for that matter. Eventually, we started letting some of the other guys in the platoon in on the bikes, and they would use them when we weren’t. That was the downfall of our scheme.
I let one of the newer guys, Hixon, borrow my particular bike one day, the one with MAJ so and so written on it. I believe the chow hall was his destination, however in the mean time I felt like taking a nap. And I did. A while later I was woken up by some commotion at the other end of the tent. Some loud noises and yelling and of course, I listened in. Apparently, young Hixon had been busted by the good Major and demanded to talk to his chain of command. Go figure, the new guy couldn’t sense the ambush he was walking into and the trap was sprung. Gunny, was doing like any good Marine would do and tearing into Hixon’s ass, when all of the sudden I heard,”Where the hell did you get that damn bike from anyways?!” This caught my full attention. Would he roll over and dime me out, or would he take the rap for his own mistake?
“I got it from LCPL
\\\\\\\ , Gunny!” Awww, FUCK! Here we go.
Foot steps echoed down the tent like impending doom, but luckily I had the foresight to game plan this a little bit before the storm came down on me. Still laying in my bed, slightly peeking out from under my beanie I slowly sat up in a calm collective manner as Gunny Leavell stomped over. “
\\\\\\\\! He said he got the bike from you!”
Channeling the anger of having just been dimed out by this fucker, I sat there on my bed, not getting up like I had a reason to be locked up at parade rest for, and responded,”Gunny, I don’t know WHAT THE FUCK HE IS TALKING ABOUT!”
Now, I want you to understand, this is one of those responses that I don’t recommend trying. It can horribly wrong if you don’t do it right. Just so happens, I hit all the cues and played it off perfectly. Gunny turned to Hixon, “He said he doesn’t know what the fuck you’re talking about!” Much knife hands and yelling occurred after that, but that carried on at the other end of the tent. I looked at Micky, “I can’t believe that just worked. That never works”, and I laid back down and continued my nap my nap with a justified smirk.
After that, we were under the spotlight, so none of us used the bikes anymore. We eventually rode them out and left them at the bike racks like some strange Iraqi Christmas present. From then on out we were back to hoofing it around, but luckily our time on ground was short that deployment and we were on our way out before long anyways.