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    3 former U.S. service members detained in Sudan and I deployed with one of them.

    3 former U.S. service members detained in Sudan and I deployed with one of them.

    By Gary Hwang - June 23 2017

     

    So if you haven't already heard the news, the Department of Defense has announced that 3 American citizens have been detained on June 21st by the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) while trying to cross into Sudan. There has been no reasons as to why they were trying to get into Sudan.

     

     

    The three American citizens that are also former service members are William Martinovich, Craig Lang, and Alex Zweifeholfer. Alex Zweiholfer is considered AWOL from the 82nd Airborne Division. While the other two have clean military pasts. 

    I personally deployed with Craig Lang to Afghanistan in 2011-2012 as Infantryman with the 1st Armored Division and more specifically a unit called "Warhorse" or 1-13th Cav. We always got the green weenie or even worse, the horse weenie from our unit. It's nothing unusual.

    Lang was always having issues with his wife even during deployment. It got worse in 2013 when we were back at Ft. Bliss, TX. She was constantly sending videos of her having sex with other men while she was pregnant and he notified the chain of command of his situation. But the chain of command bothered to do nothing and while they are getting the divorce finalized they forced him to pay her half of his earnings including BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing). 

    One night as a few of us were playing spades, Lang received a phone call from his ex-wife stating that she is going to name their son after one of the men she had sex with. That's when he lose it. I'm sure we all would. Next day, he didn't show up to PT formation. That's the moment Lang was driving to North Carolina all the way from Texas to attempt to kill her with a car full of claymores and two AR rifles. 

    I called Lang multiple times, trying to get a hold of him. He finally picks up and I do my best to talk him out of it. Luckily he doesn't go through with it. Long story short he gets arrested and back into the hands of the Army.

    Two years later in he volunteered himself to fight in the Ukraine War against the Russian invasion. He's been in and out of Ukraine for the past few years. And somehow he has gotten himself into another mess by getting detained by the SPLA in Sudan.

    He is a crazy son of a gun without a doubt. But he's the type to have your six no matter what.

     

    Meet the Grumpy Joes

    Meet the Grumpy Joes

    By Scott Bueller

    04/14/17

    Meet Mike McGraw and Gary Hwang, the founders of Grumpy Joes, the Veteran apparel company that makes the complete opposite of what you think a Veteran T-shirt should look like.

    Founded in 2016, the two were tired of the same old giant flags and skulls Veteran T-shirts. They wanted to rep their Military culture but couldn’t bring themselves to rock the tacky, over the top clothing lines that dominate the industry.

    They met while in a Military Police unit in the U.S. Army National Guard out of Maryland. The two quickly bonded over the ridiculousness of their command at that time, which Mike refers to as “the dark ages”.

    “We were in a unit at a time of terrible leadership and made it through those dark ages by constantly making jokes on how dumb some of the calls the unit’s leaders were making. That sense of humor never leaves a Soldier.”

    The two carried on their friendship even though Gary left the National Guard to serve in the active duty Army as an Infantryman for a few years in Ft. Bliss and Afghanistan. Upon Gary’s return, they made their regular meet-ups at local bars and clubs. One thing they began noticing while out drinking, was the growing popularity of Veteran T-shirt lines.

    “At first it was great,” explained Mike. “We’d spot other dudes in the crowd with Vet-type shirts on and it’d be a cool icebreaker to say hey to other Vets. Then it started happening. The images on the shirts evolved into a way for Vets to scream at civilians to fuck off, leave them alone and tell them how much better they are than people who haven’t served.”

    They didn’t agree with the message these companies were putting out and wanted to find a way to wear a shirt that showed their pride of service but in a subtle way. To do that, they decided to focus on the positive side of their service, the inside jokes that kept them up laughing after lights out.

    It’s not really about shirts. It’s about changing the way Vets view their service.

    This was a risky move as Mike says “To make a Vet T-shirt and not put a flag on it is kinda backwards thinking. These guys want to show their service and we knew going into this that a lot of Vets wouldn’t buy our stuff without it cuz it’s kinda like, well what’s the point? Our goal is that when you wear a Grumpy Joes shirt at the bar, other Vets in the room will pick up on it but civilians won’t. This way, you can spot out and bond with your fellow service members without furthering the divide between us and civilians. We combine this low-key take on Patriotic shirts with inside jokes for a true, Vets only experience."

    The feedback and support has been amazing says Gary, “People are really responding to us after only a few months. One really cool thing that we didn’t even consider is how fun it is for people to explain the jokes to those who haven’t served. We met a father & son at an event and the son loved the imagery on the shirts but didn’t get what it meant which his dad found even more hilarious that his teenage son was finally not in the know on a joke. Later that night, the father messaged that they went on our site and had a blast explaining each shirt to his son and for once, felt like the cool one explaining internet jokes to his social media addicted son. That was really awesome for us.”

     

    The company is diving into the video realm on social media platforms. “The Veteran apparel business community is all heading in one direction, original video content,” explained Mike. With this priority for the business, they say they’re bringing their goofiness to Veteran videos which are dominated by a more badass, Super-Soldier approach.

    “I wana show that Soldiers, while Patriotic, can be the goofiest, weirdest dudes out there. Like me.” – Mike.

    Today, the company continues to grow by adding new T-shirt designs monthly, new video content and reaching out to the Veteran community with events and an overall positive outlook on their service.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Soldier caught using MRAP as Uber in Afghanistan

    -Satire-

    By Mike McGraw – on Feb 12, 2017

    KANDAHAR, AFG.- A Soldier was discovered driving for the popular American based ride share service- Uber, while deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan.

    The incident was reported by SGM Killjoy after he hailed an UberXL upon finishing his business at a local brothel. Only to be picked up by SPC Rosta in an UberMrap.

    SPC Rosta, who was assigned to the 200th Military Police BN out of Maryland, had a reputation for avoiding the accident avoidance course and his Commander claims that may have led to this flagrant abuse of a Military Vehicle. He Claims he needed the extra money to support his side-chick’s pregnancy and upcoming flights to this new, secret family.

    “I don’t see the problem. Uber has been working directly with the President to ban all Muslims from America but he never said I couldn’t give them a ride in their own Muslim country.” Rosta was quoted in a court filing.

    A love triangle between the two and a young Afghani woman at the brothel, led to SGM Killjoy throwing SPC Rosta under the MRAP in the hope of having her all to himself. The incident went unreported for several weeks as SGM says “we were going to keep this between us so my wife didn’t find out about Awiza but I just can’t live without her.” He says he was out so late at the brothel to avoid peak surge pricing hours.

    Both are now being held at Ft. Leavenworth. SPC Rosta’s Uber account was suspended until the investigation is complete. They were escorted to the prison facility by Soldiers using the Lyft app.

    Former Soldiers Steals Live Rocket and Keeps It In Ex-Girlfriend's Closet

    November 2, 2016
    Five years ago, a young woman met a sheriff's deputy at a park near Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, where she handed him a live anti-tank weapon.

    Her boyfriend, former Sgt. Kyle Nespory, had left the M72A5 Light Anti-Tank Weapon with her when he'd moved out of state. Before that, it had been in the closets of Victor Naranjo and former Spc. Anthony Laitta, a so-called "war trophy" smuggled home from Afghanistan by soldiers from the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division after the bloody 2010 Battle of Marjah, according to federal sentencing documents.

    Defense attorneys cited combat stress, drug dependency and traumatic brain injury among the reasons for the former soldiers' poor judgment in taking the rocket -- which could have detonated with one wrong move -- off post and then keeping it in their homes.

    As of Monday, they have all been sentenced to probation, after pleading down their original indictment for various counts of improperly storing an explosive, possessing an unregistered firearm and possession of stolen government property.

    The rocket had originally belonged to the Canadian army and was part of a "battlefield exchange," according to court documents, after 2nd Stryker Brigade's multinational efforts in Marjah. The rocket was capable of penetrating eight inches of steel, Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Gruber wrote, and somehow ended up redeploying along with the brigade at the end of 2010.

    Laitta decided to get the thing off post, so with help from the unit's supply clerk, he wrapped it in a garbage bag and brought it home in December at the end of his enlistment. Two weeks later, at a party at Naranjo's house in Tacoma, he let slip that the rocket was back at his home and he didn't know what to do with it.

    "Ignoring for a moment the explosive force of the warhead itself, even just the accidental ignition of the rocket motor would have produced gases of around 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit," Gruber wrote. "At a minimum, it is safe to say that the apartment building would likely have been destroyed, and anyone in it could very well have been killed, or at least severely injured."

    Laitta brought the rocket to Naranjo's house, where the guys took a photo posing with it. 

    "Mr. Naranjo was not only a friend, but he was also a sergeant to a few of the people involved," his attorney wrote in a pre-sentencing memo. "More importantly, given the bonds formed in combat, he felt a brotherhood toward his friends and wanted to help."

    But after a month of trying to figure out how to safely dispose of it, he unloaded the LAW onto battle buddy Nespory, who kept it in the closet of his Steilacoom, Washington, apartment before giving it to his girlfriend when he left town.

    She ultimately turned it over in September 2011, and it took investigators three years to piece together where it came from and issue arrest warrants for the men in 2014.

    "Unlike his ex-girlfriend, with whom he left this very dangerous military weapon, defendant Nespory knew exactly what it could do," Gruber wrote. "She, on the other hand, likely had no idea of the level of destruction it would reap with the mere pull of the trigger." 

    All three men struck plea deals to avoid felony convictions and jail time. Nespory was sentenced to six months' probation in February for improper storage of explosives, Naranjo was sentenced to one year probation in March for improper storage of explosives and Laitta received one year probation for improper storage of explosives and possession of stolen government property.

    The men faced between six and 16 months in prison for the misdemeanor offenses, but in three separate memos, their attorneys argued that they'd shown bad judgment as casualties of war, facing a multitude of physical and psychological injuries and overcoming dependencies on painkillers and alcohol.

    Today they are trying to reinvent themselves, their attorneys argued, pursuing undergraduate and master's degrees, and deserved leniency for their poor past decision making.

    Still facing charges of possession of stolen explosives and possession of an unregistered firearm is Keller Bellu, the supply clerk who helped Laitta smuggle the rocket from Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
    Original Source: https://www.armytimes.com/articles/these-former-soldiers-stole-a-live-rocket-and-kept-it-in-a-closet-for-months

    "Home Sick From a Place We Never Wanted to Call Home"

    "I often wake up hoping I’d be in a cot. Hearing Jason screaming the lyrics to barbie girl. I’d roll over and click play on the pre-mission playlist; Big Krits “Rise and Shine” plays. Maybe Poly would come in and slap my foot and say lets get chow or Ryan would have already been up giving me his leftovers while I tell him his sister is beautiful, A running joke that has been going on for nearly 4 years now.

    I wake up in a full size bed on Long Island. No chow hall but easily accessible food everywhere in sight. I can get a breakfast sandwich if I really wanted. Freshy Fresh isn’t too far. I no longer see the faces I’ve grown comfortable and accustomed to seeing. The things that were so agitating have become memories and jokes. We would tip beer bottles and laugh about the indirect fire and Rashaldo’s reaction to it. The time when First Squad’s tent got deflated because of people playing with knives. It was a big deal, angry faces and threats left and right but in the end, why be mad? Brothers forgive. I can still hear Big Davis, Gabe, and Tony P arguing over the state of hip hop. Life was simple.Life was good.Life wasn’t promised.

    When over there things didn’t matter. It just was. We had no control over what happened back in the United States. The only thing we could do is complete the task at hand. When that was done we had to enjoy the time we had. We never wanted to go there but we were there. We made the best of what it was. We hated the taste of dust in our mouths. We hated 10th Mountain’s leadership for making the rules that made our lives difficult. We hated the Taliban. We hated the IED’S.

    We landed in El Paso, Texas and said hello to America. We put on normal clothes, Laced something other than combat boots and PT shoes, and Hopped in vehicles that weren’t MIne Resistant. Something felt missing and couldn’t explain what it was. Unlocking the door to our barracks room felt unreal. Eating jack in the box couldn’t compare to taco Tuesday on FOB Arian. The shopping mall didnt give you the same excitement as the PX on FOB Sharana. The comforts of America no longer made us feel normal.This wasn’t where we belonged. We became home sick for the place we never thought we would call home."

    By Andy Mez https://andymez.wordpress.com/2015/02/04/home-sick-from-a-place-we-never-wanted-to-call-home