25 April 2008


Accurate description of LT Nixon, except I always forget to wear my pants

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.


Murphy said...

Fobbits also had the newest and best gear, issued way before the other platoons.

Uniforms, internet, and water are fairly important issues, I guess, when you're stuck in inside the wire... day after day... looking at the same faces... and you don't even get to shoot anybody or blow anything up.

LT Nixon said...


For me, the biggest issue is just not going crazy. Being in the Intl Zone is the easiest deployment I've done, because the "cabin fever" aspect was much much worse on a submarine. Forget about the internet, we didn't even know what the fuck was going on with anything. If zombies took over the planet, we would've not known.

LT Nixon said...

Also, why the fuck do people on the FOB need the newest equipment and gear?

Kyle said...

I believe they just...receive it...since they're not in the field. Gotta have something to pass the time, why not bitch about stuff that really doesn't matter?

membrain said...

"Also, why the fuck do people on the FOB need the newest equipment and gear?"

'cause it looks badass in the photo's back home;-)

I didn't know you served on a submarine. Respect!

Desert Sailor said...

Dude that shit was FUNNY!!!

And fairly accurate...mostly.

How about "Part time FOBBITS"?? Just where the hell can they get any?? I mean one day you're happily planning the revenge of the nerds via powerpoint and the next some eagle wearing multi-patch guy hauls your ass outside into red land with a bag full of Benjamins to hand out to the people?? Wazzup, with that? Who knew that happy people could also direct sniper shit and mortars and such?

And where's my fucking coffee machine now?

It ain't right.

Green Zone one day, An Numifuckme the next...

How is a MF'er to cope?

Daniel said...

LT - I got one better for you; my Alphabet Soup Group employer sent me to Ft. Bragg for the PSYOPS Q course. It involved a "field exercise" where we had WI-FI to update our briefings to the "ambassador." While living in plywood shacks... Last day in the field, we were told to wait for a 5 ton truck to move our gear out. I suggested using the abundance of 16 person vans to get the F@%# out of there NOW. My shit fit rallied the troops and the shitbag officers caved in; result = fresh haircut with me buying many beers for the international students (who were tons more funny than the West Point instructor douche bags). Bottom line: the US Army makes the easy hard, and the fun not so. Case in point: champagne brunch at Ft. Bragg has no champagne as the narrow minded evangelical base commander does not allow alcohol sales on Sunday. Result: Every tree in and out of Bragg has a dent where a drunk driver had to go off base to drink. Good thinking there ace. Sucks for you being in the NARMY, USN never again...

Chris van Avery said...

Oh, "fobbits" exist in the Navy, too, we just haven't institutionalized them. When I was Navigator on NASSAU the ship got tapped to host a retirement ceremony for a senior chief from the PHIBGRU TWO staff.

Lots of work setting up, rehearsing, executing and recovering, including a bunch of Sailors that got tasked to stand in formation and look happy. And all this happened as I recall during a post-deployment stand down following a ten-month cruise for IRAQI FREEDOM.

Said senior chief arrives for the ceremony, and it turns out she's been a flag writer her whole career. 28 years of service and not one sea service deployment ribbon.

Needless to say, the crew as a little pissed....

LT Nixon said...

Mr. Van Avery,

We had to do something similar in Hawaii that was pretty painful. Of course it was on a Saturday morning, and, likewise, the crew was pissed.


Haha, good story. I wish the Army would know how to have a good time.

Desert Sailor,

You gotta love those random tasks. IA duty is one big random task.


Seems like a faux-badassery.

Sergeant Grumpy said...

Hey LT, Grumpy here.

I can tell you that support dudes (and dudettes) that do their jobs well are appreciated. We know damn well we can't execute our missions without 'em. It's those with an attitude born of envy, or insecurity, that really get on the nerves. Or the "higher ups" who have been more concerned with our unifroms than whether our vehicles fell apart on us, or if we had the gear we need.

The only thing worse is asking us if we shot anybody.

LT Nixon said...


Thanks for swinging by and clearing that up. This whole Narmy thing has been a very strange endeavor for me.