Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUDS) students lifting the immense weight of the Green Weenie, which in this case has taken the form of a gigantic log. US Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Blake Midnight.
The Green Weenie. For those who have never served in the military, that probably sounds like an X-rated adaptation of a Dr. Seuss novel, but for military members and veterans, the infamous moniker evokes thoughts of pain, heartache, and soul-destroying levels of stupid.
“The Green Weenie” is a reference to the timeless tradition of the military fucking its members over in ways only the military can. Did you just get voluntold to participate in some mandatory weekend event or duty? Maybe your deployment was extended or you got stop-lossed? Or perhaps the military lost all evidence of medical treatment, and now you’re struggling to get health care at the VA.
Whatever the extent of the damage, we’re here to help. As an act of solidarity, we reached out to several service members and asked them to share their most soul-crushing Green Weenie experiences. No American service member fights alone, and perhaps if we share our stories, we can undo the damage the Green Weenie has done.
Here are our top five Green Weenie encounters.
“In 2017, I was in an aviation unit doing maintenance on a Black Hawk in Kuwait when a sergeant screwed up a vital part of the aircraft after we tried to warn him several times that he was about to make a mistake. Once the part was broken, the aircraft was essentially grounded until we could get a replacement, which, unfortunately, wouldn’t arrive for two weeks. As punishment, the rest of us — who were not responsible for screwing up the aircraft — were told to go sweep sand off the flight line — in Kuwait. Kuwait is a fucking desert.”
“When we were downrange, our commander wanted to give his boss a nice retirement present, so he gathered up a group of us to go outside the wire and comb a field for scrap metal to make a ‘trophy.’ We were told before heading out to be careful what we picked up because the field contained possible unexploded ordnance. We were also warned of a possible enemy presence in the area, naturally.
“We spent the next hour with our hearts in our throats, hoping the next random piece of scrap metal we picked up wouldn’t blow up in our faces and the enemy wouldn’t open up on us from the hillside above. Thankfully, we all made it back OK and handed the scrap over to be welded into … well, we don’t know what they welded it into because we weren’t invited to the ceremony where our CO presented the gift.
“I and several of my guys had our lives put at risk so our commander could give his boss a cool desk ornament. Gotta love the Army.”
“After our first sergeant noticed one of the rocks outside our company headquarters was a much darker gray than the others, he ordered us to get some gray paint and color all of the rocks in the area the same shade of gray so they were ‘all uniform in appearance.’ I spent an entire workday painting gray rocks gray.
“The next day he spotted a single weed sprouting up out of a dirt field, and once again, we found ourselves relegated to ‘area beautification.’ It would have been too easy to yank the weed out and call the task complete, but Top wanted us to be thorough so — and I’m not shitting you — we had to mow the entire field of dirt.”
Mac Caltrider, Coffee or Die Magazine staff writer
Three months before my enlistment was up, I returned home from my second combat deployment and immediately started working my ass off to get everything squared away so I could outprocess smoothly and actually attend my first day of college on time. As the rest of my battalion was gearing up for a two-month training rotation to New Mexico, a close family member became seriously ill and needed my attention.
Surely my command wouldn’t force me to go to Bumfuck, New Mexico, to live in a Japanese internment camp and play the opposing force for an Army unit’s training exercise? Everyone knows it takes at least a month to outprocess and prepare for the transition to civilian life. But the Green Weenie doesn’t care about all that.
One week before the battalion was set to deploy, I got told I had to go. I wouldn’t return until five days before my actual end of active service date. I pleaded with my platoon commander, the company commander, and the battalion commander. Despite having no billet in the platoon at that point, I got sent anyway. By that point, my family member was alone in the hospital.
I went to New Mexico and spent two months living in holes in the desert. I managed to get a serious infection in my hand from who knows what and woke up with a scorpion in my sleeping bag one morning. That type of shit was a daily occurrence.
A different family member died unexpectedly while I was gone, and my leadership wouldn’t allow me to fly home to attend the funeral. Apparently, the role I was playing in New Mexico was far more important.
When the battalion finally returned to Camp Lejeune, I had just five days to outprocess. My command told me I was being put up for a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal — for not murdering my leaders, I assume. The award never materialized, I missed my family member’s funeral, and I got out one day before classes started. I drove a U-Haul truck straight from North Carolina to Vermont and managed to make it in time.
The Green Weenie is REAL.
“I once had to count all of the leaves on a tree for no reason at all.”
Eric Miller is a former Army Combat Medic from Parkersburg, West Virginia. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history and has worked with homeless populations and veteran services throughout the state. He is an avid outdoorsman and has recently become interested in woodworking.
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