In mid summer 2011, southern Helmand Province, my LAR platoon was conducting patrols in and around this little village called Waziribad. In a matter of a week, we found and destroyed something like 36 IEDs with no casualties. Just as we were packing it in to head back to our PB (patrol base), my LAV started losing power and would barely move. Turns out the alternator had broken clean off of the engine, probably from hitting a hard bump or something. Luckily, my mechanic was a real Macgyver and he was able to jerry-rig it back in place with some zip ties and 550 chord to limp it the 80km back to our PB. When we got back, my mech and I spent the entire day fixing it and didn’t get done until about 0300. Someone forgot to mention that we had gotten word that we would be departing at 0500 for a company screen-line down at the Pakistan border though.
In my rush to help get the vehicle fixed and running on 2 hours of sleep, I forgot to top off on fuel after that 80km drive. Before we left, my vehicle commander opened my driver’s hatch and handed me a few Rip-Its and those shock coffee drinks and said, “Drink up.” I started drinking and chain smoking a pack of Pines and got ready for the op. It took me a few hours to fully wake-up, right around when the sun was finally coming up, and I realized we were low on fuel. Once we stopped somewhere I jumped out and started dumping jerry cans into the vehicle. Unfortunately, the donkey dick had a bad seal and JP-8 had been steadily leaking down my arm with every can I put in. I figured “hey, what’s a little diesel going to do? I haven’t taken a shower in 2 months anyways. Fuck it.”
As the morning went by we finally made it down to the border. We set in and started listening to what the Taliban fuckers were saying on the radio. I started to feel a little tingling on my arm and on my ribs under my flak where the gas had been soaking in. Once noon hit and it was pushing 135 degrees, I really started to feel it. Raw chemical burning on the entire left side of my body. I knew we had eyes on some Taliban and we could hear that they were watching us, so I tried to just suck it up and sit there. Eventually, I couldn’t stand it anymore and I finally jumped out and started ripping off all of my gear and my Frog suit. That confused the shit out of everyone else. Thankfully, the Platoon Corpsman was in my vehicle so I was able to just run to the back and get help.
There I was, In full view of any Taliban, half naked at the Pakistan border getting burn gel rubbed all over me by a Navy Corpsman.