25 April 2008
For those of you who haven't been in the military, soldiers deployed to Iraq are seemingly divided into two broad characterizations: grunts and REMFs (or Fobbits). Grunts are the guys who go outside the wire, mingle with the locals, and engage the enemy. REMFs (Rear Echelon Mother Fuckers) are the personnel with jobs on the FOBs (forward operating bases). I was always interested in this military sub-culture, since there's nothing like it in the Navy (everyone pretty much has to go out to sea). Grunts are justifiably pissed off at people in the rear (see Acute Politics and SGT Grumpy) over what they perceive as a lack of respect. From what I can glean, soldiers outside the wire come back to sprawling FOBs only to have REMFs bitch at them for uniform violations (this should not be a priority in a war zone), taking up too much time in the MWR internet trailer, and using all the hot water. I suspect that front-line soldiers would also get pissed at REMFs telling ham-fisted tales of glory about their time in Iraq. I'm removed from all this, because I'm setup in the emerald city, which has a very civilian mindset. But I would hope that folks in support roles (like mine) have a little more respect for the people doing the hard time and keeping them from getting blowed up. Of course, I'm a sailor, so people don't judge me much and usually wonder what the fuck I'm doing in Iraq. I still am trying to get an understanding of Army culture and any insight would be appreciated.