Thursday, February 7, 2008

Smokey Jackalacker And The Hyena Of Doom

There is an old saying that the only difference between an Army story and a fairy tale is that a fairy tale starts with "Once upon a time," and an Army story starts with "No shit, this really happened…"

So here's an Army story… no shit, this really happened…

It was a dark and stormy night in the little village in Afghanistan. There was no moon, and the overcast prevented the stars from peeking through. We sat in the very dark on the roof of the district center where we were encamped, watching.

When we sit in the very dark and watch, we stay quiet. The sounds of the Afghan night; dogs, the occasional vehicle, dogs, the low hum of the generator, dogs, and the occasional plaintive call of the ANP night guards are the only sounds. Usually, that is.

On this night, the unmistakable voice of SSG Smokey Jackalacker, our new SECFOR section sergeant, rang out.

"Oh, my God, it's HUGE!! What IS that?! Is that a dog or a HYENA?!! Can I SHOOT it?!!"

I knew at once what had happened, and I walked calmly across the metal roof to where the good Staff Sergeant was still going on about the monstrosity with which he was confronted. He called out to one of his men.

"Skippy! What IS that thing?! God, it's HUGE!! I think I should shoot it!" he called loudly across the roof to CPL Mynah.

"Sergeant Jackalacker," I interjected.

"Yes, sergeant?"

"You've just seen your first jackal."

"But it was HUGE! It had a square head with like this really pointy face. It looked like a really big dog!" (Jackals are about the size of a healthy fox.)

"Sergeant Jackalacker, unless it's a Taliban, I don't want you shouting about it."

"But it was inside the compound! I thought it might be a danger to humans."

"Sergeant Jackalacker…"

"Okay. If it's not a Taliban. Isn't there ANYTHING else that you should know about?"

"A bear."


"A Taliban or a bear. Nothing else. If it's not a Taliban or a bear, don't yell about it. If it's a Taliban or a bear, you can yell your head off and you can shoot at it, too."

"A Taliban or a bear. Roger, sergeant."

"Good. Now, let's keep it quiet, shall we? The rest of us are listening for Taliban or bears."

"Roger, sergeant. Won't happen again."

I laughed quietly to myself all the way back to my corner of the roof.


  1. The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 02/07/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the check back often.

  2. The impressive part was that you were able to laugh *quietly*! Thanks again!

  3. Okay so now I've caught up with you since you posted 'I Knew It Was Coming!' Like other readers I was starting to get worried about you. But you've come back and come back very strong.

    'Nighttime In Shades of Green' is just an absolutely brilliant work of prose. As others have commented befor me I felt I could see what you were seeing. When you turned your head to the sky;Awesome!! I have read and do reab a lot of milblogs going back to 2004 and I can say that nothing I've read, (and there are a lot of very talented milbloggers) Nothing, compares to the above mentioned post.

    Take care.

    I hope you figure out what the new CoP is up to before you have to leave. And I hope Smoky Jackalaker gets his head on straight before you go.

    In the meantime I'll be coming back for more.

  4. It had to have happened. Nobody makes this kind of shit up.

  5. A "wise" COL once told us at Mob training "You can't make this shit up." That is one of the very few things he said that were true.

    Membrain- try being a eastcoast city boy discussing this with him in person in the middle of the night. I need a dictionary and a thesaurus half the time.

    Just kidding SFC Wordsmith.

    Almost home

    Stay safe


  6. Funny story. Reminds me of the fox terrier we brought with us to Iran. Every time it saw a sheep or a camel, it went ape shit. But one time it got caught outdoors with a huge bird of prey perched high atop a nearby tree, and the poor thing was scared shitless.

  7. That is so funny. It reminds me of the time I was coming to the camp and I saw my first Newfoundland! (Did I mention I was drunk? lol) I screamed for my Mom! :)

    Hi, 'O'! You guys take good care of one another and yourselves.


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