Midwatch and Bathroom wall Literature

Day 42
The Mid Watch
I have the mid watch again tonight. Last time round I tried to lay down and sleep from 1700 to 2100 before going on watch. I was not able to get any real sleep. I got up at 2030. I was going to eat last time before I went on watch but then decided not because I thought they’d bring out mid-rats. They didn’t. I did pretty good on watch until about 0400 when I started feeling really tired. So tired I almost felt sick. I managed to last through the watch. I went straight to bed when I got off watch, slept for about an hour and a half and then went the whole day with no real problems. Went to sleep that night and was mostly fine the next day for the day watch.

I didn’t go to sleep until almost 0300 this morning. I slept in until 1030. I am not going to sleep before watch and I will be picking up a Subway sandwich meal before I go on watch. I plan to eat the sandwich about half way through watch. We’ll see how it goes tonight.

Bathroom Wall Literature
Since using the bathroom isn’t really an optional activity it is kind of hard to not read what is written on the walls here. After some forty days, I’ve determined that the writings seem to dwell primarily on four subjects. Sex, Inter-service rivalry, Inter-occupational rivalry, and a few specific military topics.

The discussions of sex are the usual, unimaginative stuff that’s written on bathroom walls everywhere. Nothing interesting to see here.

Inter-service rivalry tends to be primarily Army vs Marine Corps, each detailing why the other is the lesser service. From what I can tell there appears to be some Army folks also taking swipes at the Navy. However, the Navy is really a minority player here. We are grossly out numbered by Army. There aren’t many Marines here either largely because they’ve already moved north. About half of the writings are simple declarations. Army rocks. Marine Corps sucks. About a quarter are sexual in nature. About a quarter make some attempt to quantify why one particular service is the lesser. All in all, none of it is very original.

Inter-occupational rivalry is interesting because it seems to be primarily written by members of the Infantry, stating that other occupations are in some way and to some degree less than Infantry. These writings seem to be written entirely by Army personnel. Navy has no infantry to speak of and I’ve never seen a writing about Infantry that could be identified as having been written by a Marine.

The specific military topics center around who got Saddam Hussein, what cities or areas were the hard core areas, and how long any particular unit or person has been ‘here’ (‘here’ varies from writer to writer).
The capture of Saddam Hussein has been attributed to the 4th Infantry Division, the 3rd Marines, and Task Force 20. All of these groups have also been accused of playing to the press. I should probably dig around and see if I can find out who actually did capture Saddam. My guess is that it was a result of the work of quite a few groups over a long period.

Areas around Fallujah seem to top the list of hard core places. I don’t recognize all the place names so I’m not sure all of them are in the Falluja area. My friends in 3rd ACR tell me that some of the writings are in jest. That is, the places were not at all combative.

I was talking to my buddies from 3rd ACR today as we played Spades again (my third day, my partner Sarge and I almost won today). Listening to them it seems there’s a whole realm of bathroom wall literature and art that I’ve not yet been exposed to. Given their descriptions I think I’ll avoid those bathrooms.

I’ve got to wonder. Do you suppose anyone has ever done a master’s degree on bathroom wall literature?

In the continuing saga of when my buddies will be heading home, it seems that each week the projected date moves out one week. One friend is pretty stressed about it and really wants to go home. The other two want to go home but seem to be taking the prolongments in stride. I’ll miss them but I hope they go home soon. These guys have been through a lot and have been here a long time. They need to go home and see their families.


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