1. Monday, February 21, 2005

    interview with a paratrooper 

    dumbass: what part of the world are you in?

    SSG Chris Paul: North Carolina, Fort Bragg
    SSG Chris Paul: I am heading to Monterey for 2 years next month

    dumbass: california?

    SSG Chris Paul: yep

    dumbass: so youre a marine?

    SSG Chris Paul: no, army paratrooper

    dumbass: i wouldnt think that my blog would be attractive to an army paratrooper

    SSG Chris Paul: Well, I like to see things from different views

    dumbass: good man

    SSG Chris Paul: keeps me grounded

    dumbass: nice
    dumbass: so you were in iraq?

    SSG Chris Paul: yeah, I went twice

    dumbass: how old are you?

    SSG Chris Paul: 25

    dumbass: both times during this war?

    SSG Chris Paul: yes, the first time in the invasion and then again three months after I got back

    dumbass: did you paratroop in, or ride from kuwait?

    SSG Chris Paul: no airborne operations, I airlanded on a c-130

    dumbass: dude, i blog to meet chicks
    dumbass: i have no idea what a c-130 is
    dumbass: air craft carrier?

    SSG Chris Paul: air craft
    SSG Chris Paul: the second time I conyed in

    dumbass: and you stayed on the ship?

    SSG Chris Paul: kind of old and very cramped
    SSG Chris Paul: oh, we landed on an Iraqi airfield and took it over
    SSG Chris Paul: then we convoyed to other locations

    dumbass: did you see F-9/11?

    SSG Chris Paul: no, I’m not sure if I want to
    SSG Chris Paul: was it good?
    SSG Chris Paul: one of the guys in my unit who lost his leg is on there

    dumbass: i liked it
    dumbass: in one scene they showed soldiers going door to door in the middle of the night looking for bad guys
    dumbass: did you ever have to do that sort of thing?

    SSG Chris Paul: sure did

    dumbass: crying babies and wives and scared kids screaming at you?

    SSG Chris Paul: and also ran a check point
    SSG Chris Paul: I dont remember any kids really
    SSG Chris Paul: but I remeber every one being mad at us

    dumbass: when you went there did you believe that youd be treated as a liberator?
    dumbass: with flowers and candies being thrown at you?

    SSG Chris Paul: I was unsure, because I knew their goverment told them some bad things
    SSG Chris Paul: but they treated us well
    SSG Chris Paul: it was crazy because they went on with their live like we were not there
    SSG Chris Paul: they kept working in the fields doing what they needed to survive

    dumbass: what was the gnarliest town you found yourself in?

    SSG Chris Paul: Awsamawa, I think I misspelled it
    SSG Chris Paul: we were just outside of it, and it was filthy

    dumbass: were people shooting at you there?

    SSG Chris Paul: yeah, I remember they had a smoke stack to some factory there. And there was a sniper in it. We could not get a shot on him, so they sent a mortor round and blew the whole stack up.
    SSG Chris Paul: Plus there were rockets and artillery coming at us

    dumbass: are these people all iraqi’s shooting at you?

    SSG Chris Paul: yeah, the first time
    SSG Chris Paul: the second time I went I think some were insurgents from syria

    dumbass: was it freezing cold in the desert?

    SSG Chris Paul: yes
    SSG Chris Paul: the second time it rained the entire month of november and was freezing

    dumbass: i heard about huge spiders – did you see any of those

    SSG Chris Paul: yeah, they call them camel spiders, and the damn things jump

    dumbass: yes those!
    dumbass: were they the worst part of the desert – other than the violence

    SSG Chris Paul: I was more afraid of the scorpions and snakes

    dumbass: were there a lot of those?

    SSG Chris Paul: I only saw a few snakes but there was a shit load of scorpions

    dumbass: so you would sleep in a little tent in the desert
    dumbass: inthe cold
    dumbass: would the scorpions get in your tent?

    SSG Chris Paul: the first time, we had no tents and just slept on the ground

    dumbass: get out

    SSG Chris Paul: the second time we took over a compound and had a building, but no doors
    SSG Chris Paul: so they got in there

    dumbass: why no tents?
    dumbass: even boy scouts have tents

    SSG Chris Paul: during the invasion we thought we were going to jump in and had no space to carry all that
    SSG Chris Paul: yeah, it sucked
    SSG Chris Paul: we had to ration water to a bottle and a half a day
    SSG Chris Paul: about 1.5 liters

    dumbass: insane!

    SSG Chris Paul: so no bathing
    SSG Chris Paul: and taking a dump in the middle of the desert not fun

    dumbass: how come?

    SSG Chris Paul: trying to keep an eye for the enemy
    SSG Chris Paul: and sand blows in to your crack
    SSG Chris Paul: not to mention toilet paper is rare

    dumbass: so should we even be there if we cant properly take care of our people?

    SSG Chris Paul: well, now its better. we just had to establish the supply system
    SSG Chris Paul: and paratroopers are expected to rough it

    dumbass: how do most of the troops feel about this war at this stage?

    SSG Chris Paul: I am not really sure. I think our job there is almost done
    SSG Chris Paul: and I think we are doing good

    dumbass: so when people are sleeping in the cold
    dumbass: they dont say “fuck this fucking war”

    SSG Chris Paul: not really, I think we said fuck saddam

    dumbass: why him?

    SSG Chris Paul: because he was a tyrant, and he was the cause
    SSG Chris Paul: in my opinion

    dumbass: but he wasnt shooting at you
    dumbass: and hes not shooting at the people today
    dumbass: the insurgents etc are shooting

    SSG Chris Paul: you’re right, but he made his country a hell hole, which led to this
    SSG Chris Paul: while I was there i got to hear stories firsthand from the people he hurt
    SSG Chris Paul: and I saw some videos
    SSG Chris Paul: really bad stuff

    dumbass: didnt the US and rumsfield and reagan sell him chemicals and help him become the tyrant that he is though?

    SSG Chris Paul: yes
    SSG Chris Paul: but I don’t think they knew how evil he was

    dumbass: do you think we didnt know how evil he was during desert storm?

    SSG Chris Paul: I think we knew. In my opinion I think we should have stopped him then, I think we failed the people of Iraq then.
    SSG Chris Paul: Again that is my personal opinoin

    dumbass: of course
    dumbass: and i respect your opinion

    SSG Chris Paul: thank you

    dumbass: do your fellow paratroopers talk about this stuff much? history, etc?

    SSG Chris Paul: not so much

    dumbass: what do they talk about?

    SSG Chris Paul: we talk about stuff we experianced there.
    SSG Chris Paul: or do you mean on a daily basis at work

    dumbass: either

    SSG Chris Paul: at work the same thing every one talks about, last nights game, the news, how our weekend was and some of the funny stuff we did

    dumbass: whats the main job of a paratrooper?

    SSG Chris Paul: well, we jump in to a hostile airfield and take it over so our air craft can land, and get the rest of the troops there.
    SSG Chris Paul: Airfield Seizure
    SSG Chris Paul: i think thats how its spelled
    SSG Chris Paul: my grammar sux

    dumbass: was there difficulty securing the airfields that you took over?

    SSG Chris Paul: there, no
    SSG Chris Paul: but thats because the main forces surrendered so quickly
    SSG Chris Paul: but agaist an enemy that will fight, it is a diffucult task
    SSG Chris Paul: have only what you jump in with
    SSG Chris Paul: not to mention you land scattered from other people in your unit

    dumbass: so once you had secured the airfields, what did the paratroopers have to do next?

    SSG Chris Paul: pull security, and then move to the next objective. Usaully another town
    SSG Chris Paul: then we bcame like the other troops, just a lot tougher and more deadly.
    SSG Chris Paul: haha. no really

    dumbass: like walking in lines to the next town
    dumbass: ducking in the ditches
    dumbass: all clear, walking in lines again?

    SSG Chris Paul: no we had vehicles, that came after the aifield was secure
    SSG Chris Paul: so we rode

    dumbass: there have been reports that the military has to go through old dumps looking for scrap metal for their vehicles
    dumbass: to nail onto the sides
    dumbass: did you see anythign like that?

    SSG Chris Paul: yeah, the military has a shortage of amored HMMWVs so we would get steel and weld it the sides and make doors out of it

    dumbass: doesnt that seem odd for the biggest richest most powerful army of all time?

    SSG Chris Paul: your right it does, but we didn’t really expect them to set explosives on the road every 200 yards. But it makes us resourceful and keeps us on our toes

    dumbass: But doesnt it make it look like we’re not as strong as we want to be perceived as being?
    dumbass: not our troops, but our equipment

    SSG Chris Paul: yes, so we had a little trick
    SSG Chris Paul: the Iraqis thought all the tan colored vehicles had armor and they would not waste their ammo on them
    SSG Chris Paul: so we started covering the other vehicles in mud
    SSG Chris Paul: when it dried it looked like tan paint

    dumbass: ahahah NICE

    SSG Chris Paul: and they would not fire on them

    dumbass: classic
    dumbass: any hot chicks over there?

    SSG Chris Paul: Iraqis?

    dumbass: any chicks

    SSG Chris Paul: We saw some reporters that were hot, or it may have been the fact we didn’t see women often
    SSG Chris Paul: There was 2 Iraqi girls who looked nice, they would do laundry on one of the forward operating bases
    SSG Chris Paul: Then again they may ahve looked nice because we were desperate

    dumbass: one of the vice presidents of cnn resigned recently because he said that there were orders to our military to target journalists
    dumbass: is that conceivable?
    dumbass: would a soldier target a US journalist because he was ordered to?

    SSG Chris Paul: not a chance
    SSG Chris Paul: we have rules of engagement we must follow
    SSG Chris Paul: and no soldier is allowed to follow an unlawful or immoral order

    dumbass: nice
    dumbass: so those dudes in the iraqi prison were totally wrong to humilate those prisoners?

    SSG Chris Paul: completely wrong

    dumbass: im glad to hear it
    dumbass: well thank you so much for being so honest with me

    SSG Chris Paul: no problem
    SSG Chris Paul: thanks for listening

    dumbass: i know very little about your world so i appreciate you being polite to my ignorance

    SSG Chris Paul: I don’t know much either

    dumbass: about the military?

    SSG Chris Paul: Well I know a lot about the military
    SSG Chris Paul: but every thing, I only have a high school education and thats from Georgia
    SSG Chris Paul: Hey I got a picture of my squad on my site if you want to see them

    dumbass: this one?

    SSG Chris Paul: thats it
    SSG Chris Paul: I am bamf6

    dumbass: where is that picture taken?

    SSG Chris Paul: at one of check points near fallujah
    SSG Chris Paul: in the military 6 refers to the leader of the element

    dumbass: leader huh? nice work

    SSG Chris Paul: thanks

    dumbass: where are my african american brothers?

    SSG Chris Paul: yeah I was a squad leader
    SSG Chris Paul: My whole platoon only had one, and he was whiter than most white dudes
    SSG Chris Paul: but I am half black
    SSG Chris Paul: from the waist down
    SSG Chris Paul: haha

    dumbass: and youre chris right?

    SSG Chris Paul: thats me

    dumbass: whats your title?

    SSG Chris Paul: Staff Sergeant
    SSG Chris Paul: E-6

    dumbass: well again this has been an honor for me to talk to you

    SSG Chris Paul: no problem man

    dumbass: please know that any time i talk about how i feel about this war it has nothing to do with the brave men like you who do the hard part
    dumbass: if anything i want to keep good people like you out of situations where i dont think we should be

    SSG Chris Paul: I understand, I know people don’t have to be pro-war to be pro-soldier
    SSG Chris Paul: thanks for wanting us safe

    dumbass: totally
    dumbass: of course!
    dumbass: ok well i will put some of this chat on my blog tomorrow
    dumbass: is that cool?

    SSG Chris Paul: and I feel honored to chat with the Tony Pierce

    dumbass: ahahaha

    SSG Chris Paul: oh yeah, just don’t edit it and make me look disloyal to my country
    SSG Chris Paul: they will have my ass

    dumbass: thats not my style

    SSG Chris Paul: I was just joking

    dumbass: i want you to want to chat with me in the future
    dumbass: i wouldnt burn any bridges
    dumbass: so for the thing
    dumbass: i talked to staff sgt chris of….?
    dumbass: what the full title and troop and all that?

    SSG Chris Paul: actually its SSG Chris Paul of the 82nd Airborne Division

    dumbass: perfect
    dumbass: thanks so much Chris
    dumbass: have a great night!

    SSG Chris Paul: no prob
    SSG Chris Paul: you to

    chris paul + fil + seven nation army by the flaming lips + sheepshirts