10 February 2015


It's 1996 and I'm working the phones like my life depends on it to get a chance at being a "real" war correspondent. The only thing going on at the time is the Bosnian/Serbian war, so that'll have to do.

I get Soldier of Fortune Magazine to give me an assignment, work through multiple layers of US Army PIO, and it's getting close to the day I'm supposed to go over. 

I get a call. 

Apparently, accredited journalists have to take a three-day mine/booby trap-recognition course before going into IFOR (Implementation Force) territory. What the fuck?

Back on the phones. I get to command level in Germany, and tell them my background. Finally get a three-star (who I assume was Ranger qualified and knew what a LRRP was) to sign off on me coming over, sans the class. Thank you whomever you were (if I could find my notes, which are in my attic, I could tell you). 

Lot's of really cool shit involved from that point, but I'm outside the wire at Tusla and I catch a cab to Lodgement Area Demi. "Lodgement Area?" Really?

Oh. I forgot... Hillary. 

So before I catch the cab, I'm at Ramstein where — ostensibly — Mrs. Clinton mis-remembers getting sniped at in Tusla.

I talk to a bunch of grunts at the NCO club. (Being an ex-E-5, I talked my way in) 

Let me tell you something. If you want military people to open up to you as a journalist with no holding back, prove you've an assignment from Soldier of Fortune Magazine. You're gold from there on.

"Shit, we were all confined to barracks when she came," said one guy. "There wasn't nothing but old lifers and O4s-and-above out at the plane," said another. "Snipers, shit. If they'd have let us out there, maybe there would have been snipers, but..." etc., etc., ad nauseam.

And that's the REAL story about Hillary getting sniped at. Not at Tusla (it never happened there either), nor at Ramstein (where it could have happened if they hadn't locked the base down).

What I do remember about Tusla was seeing one of those huge Russian transports disgorging an incredible amount of shit, and the surprisingly helpful guys in PIO (who probably got in the shit when I disappeared for 10 days. "Where the fuck have you been for two weeks? You were supposed to have an escort," said a captain when I was trying to get back out. Well, I was kinda escorted by an Armored Cav unit most of the time. When I wasn't in the taxi, anyway.)

And then there was that fucking taxi ride. And the Burger King. And the Domino's. And the beer. And the amazing fact that I couldn't speak Yugo, but never had any trouble communicating. Except with that one warlord who — I'll bet — is STILL wanted for atrocities, and who we almost re-started the war with ... but those are stories for another time.

Oh. And there was no war (I went to cover their election, figuring somebody would kill somebody. They'd been doing it for long enough, God knows), so there was no story. 

Unlike the mass media, Soldier of Fortune doesn't make shit up.

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