October 15, 2006


I've got a story that might freak you out -- it's certainly a bit more intense than what you'll find in "Humor in Uniform" -- but someone somewhere out there will understand this story and think it's funny.

I ordered some photos online from our digital camera before I realized I forgot to order one that I wanted. I decided to take the one photo to Walmart with me and just print it off of that Kodak machine. So I grabbed my husband's thumb drive and saved the photo. Piece of cake, right? Well, those photo machines work by searching the thumb drive for all photo files. So there I am at the store and the Kodak machine is asking me which photo I want. It's afternoon on a Sunday, so the Walmart is swarming with people, and I'm about to have a heart attack.

Because, you see, I had saved it to my husband's thumb drive from Iraq.

So there I was in Walmart, on the very big, very public Kodak machine, frantically scrolling through photos of dead insurgents trying to find the stinkin' picture of our dog.

Could've died of embarrassment.

[Disclaimer: Before anyone gets too freaked out by this story, I must point out that these weren't "trophy photos." One of my husband's tasks in Iraq was to document anything that happened to his platoon while they were out on patrol. He had to take these photos back to battalion so they could cross-reference them against high-value targets and known troublemakers.]

Posted by: Sarah at 03:35 PM | Comments (13) | Add Comment
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1 Too funny! I've been warned several times by my husband not to ever use his thumb drive for that very reason!

Posted by: Rachel at October 15, 2006 06:41 PM (ta8UF)

2 Both of my grandfathers fought in world war 2. My grandfather Joe was in Patton's third army and fought through the battle of the bulge. I remember him as an unassuming man, talking about all the "skinny guys" they kept finding on trains as they marched to Berlin. When my father with a child, my grandmother gave him my grandfather's medals to play with, and he and his brothers ended up losing them around the farm - he always felt bad about that. Anyway, my grandfather was a good guy - a regular guy who fought and saved the world. I didn't know my other grandfather who fought in the Pacific so well, but I know he had brought back a few Japanese dishes and cups and stuff, and that kind of freaked me out - it always made me think of him stalking through some Japanese family's hut and taking their stuff - but I accept that these indescretions happen. However, neither of them had secret picture collections of the enemy dead that they brought home with them. That shit didn't happen in my grandfather's army.

Posted by: Will at October 16, 2006 09:12 AM (QRBGL)

3 Jesus, Will, did you totally ignore the last paragraph of my post?

Posted by: Sarah at October 16, 2006 09:52 AM (7Wklx)

4 Wow, that is kind of funny. In a really twisted way. I can only imagine what you looked like as you tried to scroll through all those nasty pictures. And Scout's "Iraq" thumb drive got stolen (while it was in someone else's posession). So much for OPSEC.

Posted by: Erin at October 16, 2006 12:42 PM (023Of)

5 Yeah, but your disclaimer doesn't explain everything. I mean, is your husband part of the DIA? Is this the kind of task they farm out to anybody in the army? Has the DIA not checked the photos yet - why does your husband still have them at all? Isn't that stuff turned over to people who need it? It just rings my 'this-seems-shady' bell. I would honestly be disappointed if I came across a box in the attic with my grandfather's pictures of dead germans in it. IF, everything here is on the up and up, then I agree that it's a funny story. My parents love the Walmart photo center too.

Posted by: Will at October 16, 2006 01:19 PM (QRBGL)

6 "Farm out to anybody in the Army"? If "giving responsibility to trained Army officers" is what you mean by farmed out, then I guess so. Do you really think that my husband, out on patrol in the middle of nowhere Iraq, is supposed to call someone from the DIA out there to check out a body? How do you really think that intelligence is gathered? Perhaps you never really thought about it that deeply, but each individual platoon/company/battalion in Iraq is responsible for gathering local intelligence. And it's not "turned over", as in confiscated. My husband has all important after-action reports saved for documentation. Because he's a professional soldier entrusted with handling this sort of responsibility. Or maybe you just relish the thought of me and my husband gleefully scrolling through our collection of photos of dead people. Does that make you feel better about yourself? And neither your grandfather nor mine has photos of dead Germans. They didn't have to bother with the overwhelming task of making sure that a dead body was not an innocent, because they killed soldier and innocent alike in WWII. When your grandfather fought at the Bulge, he wasn't ordered into the forest when the firing stopped to document the dead bodies, not knowing if there were more live bodies waiting to jump out. So don't get all sanctimonious about your grandfather's service while saying that my husband's is "shady".

Posted by: Sarah at October 16, 2006 01:37 PM (7Wklx)

7 Sarah, I guess it's a good thing my husband has the photos he had to take on CDs and I think he has them hidden pretty well. Because we also swap thumb drives to share files fairly often. I read your story to him, because he and I can appreciate how you must have felt, and are able to see the humor in it.

Posted by: Robin at October 16, 2006 05:14 PM (6G8cC)

8 No, it wouldn't make me feel better about myself if I thought that. And I'm glad it seems to be otherwise because I want to love my country and its military.

Posted by: Will at October 16, 2006 09:59 PM (QRBGL)

9 That's hilarious! People are so used to seeing murdered bodies everywhere it's no big whoop!

Posted by: Karl at October 17, 2006 10:51 AM (/HpIA)

10 My only objection is the word insurgents. Let's call these MFs what they are. Terrorists. I don't care what the DoD says. The rest of you need to remember the purpose of a military is to kill people and break things. HOOAH

Posted by: MaryIndiana at October 17, 2006 04:51 PM (YwdKL)

11 "However, neither of them had secret picture collections of the enemy dead that they brought home with them. That shit didn't happen in my grandfather's army." Will,you are seriously delusional if you think this hasn't been happening since 1861. You don't attend many auctions,do you? With a 1000 WWII vets a day passing away,you can find these types of photos very commonly. Grim and inappropriate if they are 'trophy' photos? Yes. But you cannot honestly think they are rare.

Posted by: Matthew Brady at October 17, 2006 05:06 PM (YwdKL)

12 "The rest of you need to remember the purpose of a military is to kill people and break things." Incidently, this is also the purpose of terrorists.

Posted by: Karl at October 18, 2006 09:27 AM (/HpIA)

13 ..yes,this is true. Which makes me all the more proud of Sarah's husband. Thank you for serving our country,S.H.

Posted by: Uncle Sam at October 18, 2006 10:24 AM (YwdKL)

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