Why A Shortcut Is Not Always The Best Idea

This is a story related to me by my best friend from childhood. We enlisted in the Marines at the same time. Although we were not stationed together, we served in many of the same operations. His name is Maceo and we are as close today as we were when we ran the streets together in Chicago as young men.
During late 1992 and early 1993, Maceo was patrolling the area around Mogadishu, Somalia as part of Operation Restore Hope. As a side note, I was there previous to this as part of Operation Eastern Exit, so I am quite familiar with the area.
Mogadishu is the captial of Somalia and the phrase "third world country" does not even begin to do justice. It is very clear that this country has not enjoyed a strong centralized government in a very long time, if ever.
On his patrol, they were driving along a road, with Maceo taking the role of running the machine gun on top of the vehicle.
The constant blowing sand can be very abrasive to the skin over time, so Maceo had planned ahead for this, covering up anywhere that skin would be directly exposed. He later learned this was one of the smartest decisions in his life.
They were coming up to a "T" intersection and began to take small arms fire from the left. The driver of the vehicle immediately left the roadway, taking a small path to the right at a high rate of speed. They came upon a fence that had a gate across the path they were following. The driver drove directly into the gate smashing it open.
As they continued along the path, they some some strange things. It appeared as though there were large dirt mounds everywhere.
Later they learned that this was a cemetery and that the process for burial in Somalia is not the same as here in America. The tradition in Somalia is to place the body into a "hole" of no more that 6 inches deep and then simply cover it up with rocks and top soil. As the bodies decompose in the heat and in many cases can bloat to twice the normal size giving off a horrendous odor.
As they continued on the path to get through the cemetery, the driver hit one of these burial mounds causing the gasses to release and the body to explode.
Maceo was covered with the remains from his torso to the top of his head (everywhere that was exposed out the top of the vehicle.
After a thorough cleaning, he was able to remove any particulates from his gear with the exception of the smell that permeated his flak jacket.
In the following days, when the sun would rise, the smell would become so unbearable that he was not allowed inside one of the hooches unless he left his flak jacket outside.
A few weeks later he received the gift that so many Marines before him have received.
His unit was relieved by an Army unit that left pallets of gear unsecured, including an entire crate of body armor. Any of my Marine brothers will know that his flak jacket problems went away after this day.

Note: For those of you that have never experienced a combat setting, this graphic representation may seem inappropriate as well as disrespectful. The story was related to me and by me with no disrespect intended but simply as an example of the kinds of stories you carry around with you for life once you have served.

I thank every man and woman that have ever worn the uniform of our armed forces.
tmtoby tmtoby
46-50, M
1 Response Nov 30, 2012

wasn't mogadishu where the whole black hawk down thing happened? EWE. I assume that it probably isn't their 'custom' to bury the bodies that way, they probably just don't have the means to give them coffins? in any case that is so nasty. lol.

Yes it was. That incident is why I was there. My friend was there before that incident.

wow. After seeing that movie idk if I could ever go to that place, it sounds like hell on earth.

did they ever find that pilot who was kidnapped?

I cannot think of a worse place I have ever been and I have been to some pretty bad places during some pretty bad times. Oh wait. My mother in laws. That is worse.

Yes he was released after 11 days.

lol. yeah inlaws are a nightmare. My mother in law is one of those passive agressive types. she likes to act like she is being nice when she is saying the most condecending stuff. we should start a room for inlaws and why they should dissapear, except when babysitting.

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