Among all this, I was assigned to perform as the battalion’s battle captain during the night shift. A battle captain is an officer whose job it is to run the Tactical Operations Center, or TOC, during exercises. The Tactical Operations Center is basically a 24-hour nerve cell for a battalion. In an aviation unit, the night shift was especially critical for two important reasons. For starters, most aviation missions took place at night. Secondly, most key leaders were forced to observe a day schedule, leaving little supervision on the night shift. It took someone of responsibility to man the TOC at night.
Unfortunately, they had me.
Thus I assumed responsibility as the master of the night shift, focusing on not only current, but also future operations for the battalion. However, there was one problem that had plagued us during that exercise. Fort Bragg had been experiencing quite a cloudy February, which severely restricted our aviation operations during the course of the two-week exercise. This left us with an unusual amount of free time in the Tactical Operations Center, with yours truly being the responsible one in charge.
Is this ever a good combination?
To be certain, believe it or not, I actually do quite a decent job managing an aviation battalion’s Tactical Operations Center. Constantly checking on weather, monitoring current and future flight plans and air mission requests, watching the intel officer update the tactical map, and assisting in the planning of aviation operations, it was usually an interesting and challenging assignment, and an extraordinary amount of responsibility for someone who had just passed his 25th birthday. Throw in the fact that at least two hours of each day was spent counteracting the mistakes of my day battle captain, Lt. Scooter, and it was actually quite eventful. Unfortunately, it was like 10 hours of real work interspersed among 14 hours worth of shift.
And you know what they say about an idle mind.
It started with me bringing my laptop to the TOC. Verily, it was probably the most capable computer in the battalion for handling the Aviation Mission Planning Software. A high-quality video card and a 17” screen was perfect for processing the massive amount of 3D maps and satellite imagery I kept on my computer for planning missions. Although, as you might have guessed, this same amazing technology could also be corrupted for my own purposes, as I would pop in Star Wars: Battlefront during the lull in our Op-tempo.
Star Wars: Battlefront, while satisfying in the fact that I could actually blast Ewoks when I wasn’t taking on Imperial Stormtroopers or Battle Droids, only satiated a little bit of my quest for amusement in the Tactical Operations Center. At some point, I felt it was wise to trek over to the Brigade’s Tactical Operations Center to get a feel for what the Aviation Brigade was doing.
Let me back up a second—setting is important. It is February in Fort Bragg, with temperatures averaging in the 20s at night, and creeping to just above freezing during the day. This allows for that super-cool rain to pour down almost incessantly, and provides the right conditions for a brooding layer of fog to blanket the airfield. You wouldn’t have guessed it, though, if you were inside the tactical operations center. We had just acquired brand new Base-X brand tents—the latest in tactical housing. The tents were fully shielded from the elements—many times you would be hard pressed to realize that you were in a tent. Environmental Control units pumped either heat or air conditioning inside the tent, as well as all the power one could ever want. The power was used to run a multitude of fluorescent lights, computers, printers, radios, and even a copier. This was only at the battalion level.
Journeying over to the Brigade TOC was like stepping into a science fiction movie. The interior of the tent was some fifteen feet high, allowing for three projectors to display tactical maps, situation reports, and other information gleaned from the network. In one of the naves, or annexes, of the main tent of the Brigade’s TOC was the briefing room. This darkened room, filled with chairs, was equipped with yet another projector for the Brigade Commanders twice-a-day Commander’s Update Briefing, as well as for other mission briefings.
However, at this time of the night, the Brigade Commander was probably back in bed, allowing the night TOC shift to darken the tent and, while using two or three chairs as beds, watch nearly every R-Rated movie in existence. While not a prude by any stretch of the imagination, something just seemed not quite right about seeing Angelina Jolie’s breasts projected to super-huge proportions on the wall of the Brigade’s Tactical Operations Center. That just shouldn’t be in the Brigade TOC—why the fuck aren’t they dancing on my table?
This was when I began to decide that I would have to produce my own amusement. With flights cancelled due to the fog, and no missions scheduled until the day shift took over, I labored for something more to do besides Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds.
One of the great epiphanies in human history occurred 1933, when Hungarian scientist and member of the Manhattan Project Leo Szilard was waiting at traffic light in London, and suddenly, in a stroke of pure brilliance, came up with the idea of a nuclear chain reaction. A similar and ultimately equally destructive concept popped into my head as I sat in the Battalion Tactical Operations Center waiting for the weather to lift.
Racing to my computer, I tried to find a mass e-mail I had discovered in 2002—surely this e-mail would invigorate the Tactical Operations Center, I reasoned, in one of the great understatements of human history.
Enter, “The Bloodninja”. In 2002, a series of anonymous e-mails began circulating the Internet regarding the escapades of an online personality known as “Bloodninja”. Bloodninja would frequent the local cybersex chat rooms, luring unsuspecting girls into cybersex sessions in which he would completely avoid sexually satisfying said women--instead, resorting to demeaning them. And he did it in a creative and spectacular fashion. Observe. (As an aside, Bloodninja seems to be related to the character "Lord Viper Scorpion" from the Daily Show).
bloodninja: Baby, I been havin a tough night so treat me nice aight?Amused? I know I was when I first read these. Indeed, as I passed on the Chronicles of the Bloodninja to the soldiers in the TOC, I had no idea what I was unleashing. Verily, the Chronicles of the Bloodninja was a powerful force—people who had originally never picked up a book for pleasure in their life were eagerly reading the five or six pages worth of Bloodninja transcripts. Soldiers read the lines aloud, even going so far as to assign roles to the female soldiers in the TOC. As 0600 rolled around, about three hours after I had printed out the Bloodninja saga, we were already in the “after-shock” phase of the Bloodninja phenomenon, interjecting various bits and pieces of Bloodninja-speak nearly every five minutes. We conducted the daily shift briefing, and I went home at around 0700, where I would rest and prepare to go back to work at around 1700 in the evening.
bloodninja: Slip out of those pants baby, yeah.
BritneySpears14: I slip out of my pants, just for you, bloodninja.
bloodninja: Oh yeah, aight. Aight, I put on my robe and wizard hat.
BritneySpears14: Oh, I like to play dress up.
bloodninja: Me too baby.
BritneySpears14: I kiss you softly on your chest.
bloodninja: I cast Lvl. 3 Eroticism. You turn into a real beautiful woman.
bloodninja: I meditate to regain my mana, before casting Lvl. 8 Cock of the Infinite.
BritneySpears14: Funny I still don't see it.
bloodninja: I spend my mana reserves to cast Mighty F*ck of the Beyondness.
BritneySpears14: You are the worst cyber partner ever. This is ridiculous.
bloodninja: Don't f*ck with me biznitch, I'm the mightiest sorcerer of the lands.
bloodninja: I steal yo soul and cast Lightning Lvl. 1,000,000 Your body explodes into a fine bloody mist, because you are only a Lvl. 2 Druid.
BritneySpears14: Don't ever message me again you piece of ****.
bloodninja: Robots are trying to drill my brain but my lightning shield inflicts DOA attack, leaving the robots as flaming piles of metal.
bloodninja: King Arthur congratulates me for destroying Dr. Robotnik's evil army of Robot Socialist Republics. The cold war ends. Reagan steals my accomplishments and makes like it was cause of him.
bloodninja: You still there baby? I think it's getting hard now.
After a long night…erm, day’s rest, I woke up and had breakfast (which was actually dinner in this case). Grabbing my ubiquitous Starbucks coffee, I drove to the Brigade TOC, noting that the fog had lifted throughout the day. Looks like tonight would be slightly more interesting than the previous night, I reasoned.
There’s that foreshadowing thing again…
I parked my Jeep, and grabbed my assault pack, Special-Ops-style Kevlar MICH helmet, tactical MOLLE vest, Wiley-X ballistic-resistant sunglasses and Camelback hydration system. Dressed to kill, I was clad in a flame-resistant two-piece Nomex Aircrew Battle Dress Uniform. To this I added my laptop and a Venti cup of Starbucks coffee—the quintessential PowerPoint Ranger Packing List. I strode into the TOC, ready for yet another day of planning a battalion’s worth of Aviation Operations in the fictional nation of Braggistan.
I noticed that the mood in the TOC was considerably different than the previous day. Like the previous day, there was a general sense of amateur hour permeating the Tactical Operations Center, obviously precipitated by the fact that Lt. Scooter ran the Op Center during the day shift--his incompetence mitigated only by the fact that most senior officers worked during the day shift, and that the 82nd Airborne Division preferred to take advantage of its night fighting abilities. Nevertheless, there seemed to be a general silence in the Tactical Operations Center as I walked in—indeed, many eyes seemed fixated upon me. Walking past the Flight Operations section, I noted the expression on the face of one of the Flight Operations specialists, a person whom we will refer to as Specialist Darnit. At first I was unsure as to the reason behind his mouth gaping wide open at the sight of me. Normally, I would have attributed this to this particular Tennessean’s massive overbite and buck teeth, but my Jedi senses seemed to indicate that the reason for his expression might have transcended his obvious lack of dental care.
Suddenly, a voice cried out from a corner of the TOC:
“It’s the Bloodninja!”
What the fuck?
"El Ninja del Sangre!"
“You’re the Bloodninja, aren’t you, Lieutenant [Starbuck]?”
“No,” I assured them, “I’m not the Bloodninja. That’s actually a chain e-mail that’s been going around the Internet for years.” Christ, is the entire Army is filled with Internet n00bs?
“Then why was it on your computer?” asked a trooper.
“Because, like I said, it’s been going around for like three years and I forwarded it to a buddy of mine.”
As sensible as this explanation sounded, it didn’t seem to satiate the troopers’ desire to hear more of this mysterious Bloodninja character. More troopers approached me, quoting their favorite Bloodninja lines, much like fans walk up to Dave Chappelle and give their best “I’m Rick James, Bitch” impersonation.
“I put on my robe and wizard hat!” said one giggling private as he high-fived his buddy.
“Don’t fuck with me, biznitch, I am the mightiest sorcerer in the land!” said another in his best Power-of-Greyskull voice.
“Guys, guys”, I reasoned with them, “I’m not the Bloodninja. I can’t take credit for something that genius.”
The TOC was quiet. I could see the mental gears turning inside the collective brains of the junior enlisted people of the TOC.
One junior trooper finally believed he put the entire conspiracy together:
“Maybe he’s not the Bloodninja; but he knows the Bloodninja!”
“Yeah!” everyone in the TOC started to agree.
At that point, the legions of Internet n00bs in the 82nd Airborne Division started to refer to me as Lieutenant “Bloodninja”. I didn’t exactly dissuade them from referring to me as that, always playing off their allegations in a mysterious manner. While never acknowledging that I was The One True Bloodninja ™, I started to at least hint that there might have been a possibility that I was, in fact, The One True Bloodninja ™.
One of the biggest proponents of the Lt. [Starbuck]-is-Bloodninja Conspiracy theory was a young man from middle Tennessee. While middle Tennessee has given us great minds such as Andrew Exum and Karaka Pend, they also gave us, well, the aforementioned soldier I refer to only as"Darnit". Little did Darnit know the forces with which he was dealing with.
After the CERTEX, I moved to the Battalion’s Flight Operations Center as the officer in charge. In what was appearing to be a continuing trend, the previous occupant had been essentially fired from his job and I got put in his place to rectify a defunct organization. Hooray for what little competency I actually had.
One of my workers was Specialist Darnit. Much like Lt. Scooter, it was best to minimize his role so that he could do the least amount of damage to the organization. With that said, when he went on leave, I was all too happy to enjoy the average intelligence level of my workers increase by about 20 IQ points.
Working on finding some bit of information or another, I started typing in the URL for a military-related website. I began to type in:
It was then that Internet Explorer’s auto-complete function began to give me the list of URLs beginning with www.military that had been accessed on that computer. Lo and behold, I noticed a number of URLs that began with www.militarysingles.com.
What the fuck is this? Why are there dating websites in the local cache of a government computer? Already, I knew the answer to this, but out of sheer morbid curiosity, I decided to push the issue farther.
I clicked on the militarysingles.com URL and what to my wondering eyes should appear…
But a singles ad created by none other than Darnit himself!
Now, at this point, I should note that the Army would probably suggest that I record the incident, report it to my information security officer, and provide counseling for the soldier in writing, explaining to him that it the Army does not want him to surf singles websites during business hours.
But when have I actually done what I’m supposed to do?
Reading through the personal ad gave me quite a sense of elation. Others in the flight operations center gathered around as we read Darnit’s profile aloud, ensuring to read his profile in his distinctive Middle-Tenessee twang. The twang was accentuated, of course, by us attempting to mimic Darnit’s overbite and bucked teeth.
Anthropologists and sociologists will agree that women the world over have an innate urge to connect with what they perceive to be as the Alpha Male. Verily, I feel sorry for the sad state of humanity, as many women would, in fact, see Darnit’s profile as that which would have belonged to the Alpha Male of any society. Darnit made many claims to woo his potential female suitors; ladies, take note, as I believe Darnit is still single.
For starters, he is “kinda built”, in his own words . Moreover, Darnit doesn’t go by “Darnit”, at least not when he’s around the ladies. Instead, the ladies refer to him as “Will ‘The Thrill’, if ya know what I mean ;)". Again, in his own words. I have no idea who calls him "Will the Thrill", but I just chalked that one up to my suspension of disbelief.
After a round or two of laughter at his profile, I thought to myself, what kind of woman would go for an overly-cliché personal ad like that? My insatiable curiosity would actually pay off. See, although Darnit had the computer literacy to build himself a profile on militarysingles.com, he did not have the competency to learn that he should have probably logged himself out of the website and deleted the cookies. Indeed, we were now logged in to his account. People would attribute this to my so-called “hacking” abilities or, better yet, to the fact that I was some super-elite Bloodninja. While I wish I could claim that I had these abilities, the sad fact of the matter is that we merely took advantage of Darnit’s stupidity yet again.
With unrestricted access to Darnit’s profile, we now had the ability to go through his personal messages. Looking through his inbox, we discovered a number of e-mails from one particular girl. We clicked on her profile to discover something unusual about her. To put it in layman’s terms, she was a giant fat ass. No kidding, I literally expected this girl to have Han Solo’s body frozen in Carbonite and Princess Leia in a metal bikini chained to her.
Shallow? Yes, we are.
I looked at the girl’s picture in amusement and wondered how Darnit would manage to actually have sex with a girl of that magnitude. Standard Kama Sutra positions would have been about as useless on this girl as shooting a pea shooter at an M-1 tank. I deduced, based on her size, that Darnit would have to enter the girl’s vagina—I mean, actually crawled inside—and gyrated to get her off.
Of course, most reasonable people would have stopped here, but when that little angel on my shoulder told me that I should have stopped, I bitch-slapped it and charged straight ahead. After all, I reasoned, fat women needed loving, too. Right?
With this logic in mind, I decided to send some messages to Darnit’s fat girlfriend. I figured his usual witty Tennessee repartee wasn’t quite good enough. No, I needed to embellish his language so that he could properly express his love. I began to type:
My love: I felt no remorse as I hit the “send” button, sealing Darnit’s fate as the Once and Future Bloodninja. Even if Darnit wanted to press the issue with the chain of command, he first would have to let them on to the fact that he left himself logged in to a dating site on a government computer, so it would be a lose-lose situation at best for him.
It have bottled up these emotions for so long, I feel like I must now unleash them. Forever, I have wanted to ravish you---I would first put on my robe and wizard hat to put me in the mood, while I meditate on our love, allowing my Cock of the Infinite to grow into its Great Mighty Form. I have wanted to tell you so long in the form of a haiku:
Robe and Wizard Hat
Crazy Wild Anal Loving
I am Bloodninja
--Your Beloved Will the Thrill
PS-Sometimes people call me “The Bloodninja”, if ya know what I mean ;)
The next day, rumors of my hijacking of Darnit’s militarysingles.com profile spread like wildfire. Indeed, as the rest of the battalion jokingly referred to Darnit as “The Bloodninja”, I think I might have convinced people that I was a veiled Bloodninja, looking for a scapegoat for his activities. No matter. I waited for Darnit to return from leave to ask him what he thought of this recent development.
I walked in to work one day to find him in the office—he glared at me and I glared at him.
“Sir”, came his uneducated drawl, “I know you’re the Bloodninja. I know you’re the one who got into my account.”
“YOU’RE THE BLOODNINJA! I KNOW IT!”, he cried.
“If you want to start calling people names, how about I call you stupid for leaving yourself logged in to a dating site on government computers. Let that be a lesson to you.”
“Uh-uh, I didn’t leave myself logged in,” Darnall protested, “I gave Private [X] my password.”
You know, just when I think Darnit couldn’t get any more stupid, he never ceases to surprise me.
“So, instead of you being a mere idiot for not deleting the cookies on the computer, you’re a complete fucking idiot for a.) Surfing a dating site on a government computer, b.) giving out your password, and c.) for giving out your password to a dating site to someone you work with.”
From that day forth, I secretly knighted Darnit as Lord Bloodninja, much to his chagrin.