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I Shit You Not – The Art of Combat Dumps

July 31, 2023
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Defiling one’s own pants with excrement has long been a standard expression for moments of intense fear or excitement. One of the best season one gags in the television show Futurama was Bender the robot literally dropping a brick from his backside when frightened. As with many stories both allegorical and apocryphal, there is a source for this expression. Combat is intense and stressful, with every moment an opportunity to go to the PX in the sky in a blink. Add in bad food and questionable water, the recipe is set.


As a matter of course, when service members arrive in new combat areas, it is not uncommon for them to get the “crud”, an unnamed and ill defines sickness that usually only causes a few days’ discomfort. If one is lucky, they avoid the “double dragon” variant, so named because the person who contracts it tends to spray from both ends. This condition is unpleasant to say the least.


So it was that in the fall of 2005, I found myself in the unenviable position of contracting the double dragon, with a side of dysentery. At first, not the worst; simply inconvenient urges to go, perhaps a little blood and some war crimes committed inside the stall, but nothing overly taxing. What they don’t tell you is that this crud likes to hang around when you think you’ve beaten it. A good while later, young Lance Corporal this guy is moving along, patrolling his AO, when the gunfire starts. Snapping me out of a torpor, I immediately respond with my light machine gun, as I lightly machine gun my boxers.


I find myself in the unenviable position of shouting at my peers, returning fire with the enemy, moving from cover to cover, with a school cafeteria’s amount of chocolate pudding in my undies… and by that point my pants too. On the downside, the filth is uncomfortable, but on the upside… My excrement is now a source of rage to point at the enemy and fire like a rabid animal. For every piece of corn’s worth of indignity I suffer I fire an entire belt of ammunition into the now failed ambush. The fury wins, and the surviving enemy retreats.


We return to our outpost, and I head to quietly shower… Only to be ordered to stay for debrief. The lesson here? Well, first, expect this will happen as it is a fact of life. War is an unpredictable hellscape that rarely comes out as clean or clear cut as the movies. Second… Always carry wipes in case your squad leader is a cunt.

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