Posted by: EMS | 24 November 2009

Mashed Potatoes

So, karma is playing its cruel game.  After lamenting the fancy KBR chow up the hill at the main camp, we’ve been sentenced to eat at the lower mess hall here  at the COIN Academy proper.  I’ve never eaten so many mashed potatoes (at term we’ll use a little loosely, as I’m not sure there’s any mashing or potatoes involved).  It’s like my family makes up the menu for lunch and dinner:  meat + potatoes + corn (it is too a vegetable!).  Add dessert as needed.  (Sorry, Mom, no milk.)  Sloppy Joes can’t be far off.  I may have to sneak back up the hill to get fresh strawberries and pineapple (!) for breakfast tomorrow.

Turning now to “fashion”:  you’d be surprised how many different ways there are to do desert cammo.  Brits, Aussies, Dutch, Swedes, Finns, Austrians…everyone has their own version.  The Marines of course have their desert utilities; unless you’re serving in a training team, in which case you wear woodlands (who knew?).   What really throws me is people in full Army or Marine utilities with “DOD Contractor” on their service tape.  It’s like we’re so frustrated that the Taliban don’t wear uniforms that we put our civilians in them instead. 

On the flip side, I saw an Army soldier wearing a 1st Marine Division patch on his right arm the other day.  (In the Army, that’s where you put the patch for the unit you served in combat with.)  I had never seen that before.  Pretty freaking sweet.

Meanwhile it continues to be cold and wet here.  North Face gear is earning its keep.  But I may have to figure out how to zip my high-speed sleeping bags together before too long.  That could get ugly.


  1. Corn is just another grain. Anyone who argues to the contrary is not edu-macated!

  2. I made a pot roast last night–yes, I made it–but it was meat and potatoes (with some carrots too). :)

  3. Luckily black goes with any desert cammo.
    And last night we had homemade meatloaf with mashed potatoes. (Our potatoes were leftover carry-out, so I’m not sure how real they were either.)

  4. I can see it on CNN now, breaking news American civ in Afghanistan flown back home to be extracted from gordian sleeping bag knot!

    Chris J.

  5. Marine ETTs likely wear woodland because their ANA wear American-style woodland cammies.

  6. Marine ETTs might be wearing woodland MARPATs because they blend a little better with the terrain or ANA BDUs. It’s also crossed my mind that it could be because they come from III MEF, which does not routinely send large units to the CENTCOM AOR the way I MEF and II MEF do and might just not bother. Either way, if you’re in Kunar or somewhere like that, I think it makes more sense.

    As for explaining the Marine combat patches on ACUs, too easy. Many soldiers who served in OIF2 with TF 2-7 Cav, TF 2-2 Infantry, or the various battalions attached to 2nd BCT, 1st Cav wear 1st MARDIV combat patches – 2-7 and 2-2 fought in Falluja as part of Marine RCTs, and the Blackjack BCT was attached to the division. Also, I know soldiers from 2/2 ID, 2/28 ID, and 1/1 AD who proudly wear the combat patches of 1st or 2nd MARDIV or I or II MEF – these BCTs, along with 1/1 ID and 1/3 ID and a variety of separate battalions, fought in Ramadi under Marine command.

    As I understand it, the new combat patch rules put in place in March 2007 mean this sort of thing is no longer authorized for post-2007 deployments, but it’s not retroactive, so soldiers whose battalions served in Marine RCTs or whose BCTs served in MNF-West before March 2007 are still allowed to wear Marine division or MEF combat patches.

  7. Other cool uniform things you will likely see out there: Many SF and Rangers, and SOF-associated contractors, routinely wear MultiCam fatigues, and the SF that I embedded with last summer wore BDUs whenever they were on missions with their ANA commandos.

  8. I think Marine “combat patches” can be wicked irritating, since we cannot wear them but the Doggies doo. ;P

    @Tintin: Some may also be Guardsmen with prior Marine combat service. My daughter’s MP unit had about a dozen.

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