Egg - Volume 11: Shipping Out

 

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RMU's literary magazine, egg, has completed its 11th volume, "Shipping Out: Stories from Students who Served."

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editorial board student editors daniel lynch nick rubino student designers kevin gross kristina maki evalyn armellino faculty advisors editors james baltrum john flaherty michael mcmahon paul gaszak agnieszka rowsey egg shipping out robert morris university arts literary magazine volume 11 fall 2011 robertmorris.edu/publications/egg twitter.com/rmuegg facebook search rmu egg 4 egg

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editorial note ithasbeenaterrificpleasuretooverseethecompletionofthe eleventhvolumeofrmu sartsandliterarymagazine,egg.though thissentimentwouldundoubtedlybetruewhileworkingonanyofthe previousvolumes,beinginvolvedinthecreationofthisvolumehasbeen uniquelyrewardingduetothefactunlikeitstenpredecessors shipping out isthefirstvolumeofeggdedicatedtoaparticulartopicortheme theselectedcoverartforthisvolumeofrmu seggiswhatis oftenreferredtoasthemilitaryserviceflagorservicebanner.theblue starserviceflaghasbeenhistoricallydisplayedinthedoorwaysand windowsofamericanhouseholdsinwhichamemberofthefamilywas servingonactivedutyduringwartime.ifthefamilyhadtwomembers serving,thentheflagdisplayedtwostars,andsoon.thischoiceof coverartseemedmorethanappropriategiventhefactthatthisparticular issueofeggisdedicatedtogivingaforumtothosermustudentswho haveservedorarecurrentlyservingintheunitedstatesmilitary­a populationoflearnerswhoweareproudtohaveamongstusinthe robertmorriscommunity sinceitsinceptionin2000,rmu segghasalwaystriedtoput ondisplaytherichculturallandscapethatmakesuptherobertmorris environmentbycollectingexpressivepoems,prose,artwork,and photographscreatedbyourstudents,faculty,andstaff.aswitheach ofthepreviousvolumesofegg,theeditorialboardfor shippingout hopesthatthisvolumedemonstratesjusthowcomplexandmulti-faceted thelivesandexperiencesofthosearounduscantrulybe.thankyouand happyreading sincerely jamesbaltrum englishfaculty collegeofliberalarts shipping out 5

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a special thank you to president of robert morris university michaelviollt mablenekrueger provost dean of the college of liberal arts pauladiaz and those who have served or are serving in the united states armed forces shipping out 7

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writings war is hell by russ meredith my winter wonderland by nick rubino voices of the deployed by ashley shields october 31st 2008 by anonymous happiness by brian p gilbertson sick call by nick rubino the chamber by sergio alviso crossing into the blue by zakiyyah woods the gateway by laura reich pg 10 pg 14 pg 17 pg 21 pg 23 pg 29 pg 34 pg 36 pg 42 8 egg

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photographs nick rubino david lapello russ meredith pgs 15 20 28 47 pgs 16 33 41 pg 22 shipping out 9

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war is hell russ meredith thefollowingisaquotefromgeneralwilliamtecumseh sherman youcannotqualifywarinharshertermsthaniwill wariscruelty,andyoucannotrefineit;andthosewhobroughtwar intoourcountrydeserveallthecursesandmaledictionsapeople canpourout.iknowihadnohandinmakingthiswar,andi knowiwillmakemoresacrificesto-daythananyofyoutosecure peace warhasbeenapartofthiscountry srichhistorysinceits inception.manymenandwomenhaveexperiencedwarandthe calamitythataccompaniesit,includinguptopayingtheultimate sacrifice.theseunitedstateswereborninthebosomofwar.on november11thofeachyear,wepayhomagetothosewhohave gallantlybravedtheharshnessofbattleandwholivetotelltheir stories.thisisoneofthem myfatherwasaveteranofworldwarii,anavyveteran tobeexact.growingup,iwould,uponoccasion,dreamof followinginmyfather sfootsteps.idreamedofsailingtheworld s oceansandvisitingforeignportsand,ofcourse,eatingexotic foods.thatdreambecamearealityonfebruary11,2003 ihadanticipatedsuchachangebecauseatarecentnavy reserveunitmeeting,iwasaskedifiwasinterestedinbeing deployed.iearnestlyansweredintheaffirmative.onceagainmy countrywasaskingformyservice.myheartracedinmychestand mypalmsweresweating.wheniwastoldwhereiwouldbegoing thehairsonthebackofmyneckstoodup.mymouthbecameas dryasdust iwasboundforcaliforniaforaweekandahalffor trainingandtomakesurei mphysically,andmentally,fitto endurethemission.followingcaliforniaiwouldbeheadingto kuwaitinsupportofoperationiraqifreedom.theofficialorders calledforserviceforuptoayear.iwasready 10 egg

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titles author thetimecameforustoboardthisbehemothofanairplane withgearinhandanddufflebagintow,iswallowedthelumpthat hadlodgeditselfinmythroat.myeyesscannedtheplanefrom nosetotailforthiswasthefirsttimeihadeverboardedaplane fromtheground.iwasamazedbyitssheersize.wegotsettled inforthe17hourtriptokuwaitwhichincludedaquickstopin germanyforfuel.wefinallyarrivedinkuwaitaround2a.m.as ilookedattheyoungfacesofthemenaroundme,isawfear,and anticipation,butatthesametimeisawbravery.thesemenhave volunteeredtobeinharm sway.everyonehadtheirgamefaceon onceourbootswereontheground,wewalkedtoastaging areaforfurtherinstructions.almostinstantlymynosewasfilled withthesmellofhotjetexhaust.itwasintoxicating.itaddedto theairtemperaturewhichbymyrecollection,wasinthe neighborhoodofabouteighty-fivedegrees.tousjustarriving,it seemedverywarmsincethegearonourbacksweighedinaccess ofseventypounds.isaidtotheguynexttome we renotin kansasanymore,toto weweretoldthatduringthedaywewill beexposedtotemperaturesexceedingonehundredandfifteen degrees.aftereachofuswasissuedatallbottleofhalfwarm water,wewereoffonatwohourjourneythatseemedtotakeall night.atthispoint,bymyestimation,wehadbeenawakefor about21hours.itdidn tseemtoaffectthosearoundmeasmuch understandablyso,fortheywereintheirtwenties,iwas thirty-nine twoweekswentbywhileweenduredevenmore training.livinginthedesertoffereditsownchallenges.in additiontotheextremeheatandallthephysicalproblemsitcan bring,wewerecautionedtobeevervigilantofwhatwasaround us.wewerecautionedaboutthingslikescorpions,snakes,and camelspidersthesizeofyourhand.everydaylifeherewas physicallydraining.inthemorning,weawokewithaverythin layerofdustthathadfallenonourfaces,andadry,pastyfilmin ourmouths.oureyeswereeversodifficulttoopen,evenslightly shipping out 11

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duetothedustminglingwiththe crust thatusuallyformsinthe corners.allwehadtocleanupwithwasbabywipesandthewarm bottleofwaterwewereissuedeachmorning.therewerenocoffee shops,nofast-foodjoints,andnoparkbenchestositdownonfora rest.wewereinawarzone,andhadyettotakeourfirstshower afewdayslater,whilestillinkuwait,weweretoldthe airwar wasunderway.baghdadwasbeinghitwithfivehundred poundbombs.thatnightwecouldhearthebombsbeingdropped icouldn thelpbutthinkaboutthedeathanddestructionthatwould betheresult.scenesofdestructionihadseenontelevisioncame tomind.ifeltlikevomiting thecallcameintostartouradvanceintoiraq,alongwith afullcomplementofmarines.toreachthekuwait/iraqborderwe hadtotravelsomefivehoursbytruck,humvee,orjeepin swelteringheatthatseemedtodrainalllifefromyou.everything youtouchedfelthotenoughtofryaneggon.thiswasmarch,and summeriniraqwasstilltocome duringthelongtrektobaghdad,weencounteredmany iraqinationals.somewavedausflagandsomewavedbanners thatsaid welcomeusa whileotherssaid gohome asa soldierorsailoryoudon thavetimetothinkwhetherornotyou re herebecauseofpolitics.allyouknowisthatsaddamhusseinis tobetakenoutofpower,andthatwearetaskedwiththatmission marinesledthefight.afterall,iwasanavyseabee,a constructiontype.idefend,whilemarinesgoandlookforafight youngliveswerelostthatday,andtheywillhopefullyneverbe forgotten.imaynothaveknowntheirnames,butiknewtheir familieswereabouttoreceivetheworsekindofnews.tothisday irememberseeingthecharredremainsofbodieswhosevehicles werehitbybombsandthesmellofdecayingflesh.ihavesome veryvividmemoriesofmytimespentiniraq.someareworth mentioning.somearenot irememberitwas34daysbeforewehadthechanceto actuallytakeashower.thetemperaturebeingwhatitwas 12 egg

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probablyaround100degrees,allofuswereassweatycoming outasweweregoingin.weputonthesameuniformafterwards becausewehadnowayofwashingthem.eventuallywewere given5-gallonbucketstowashouruniformsthatwehadwornfor thelast5days.wesleptin2-mantents,usuallyusingouruniform topsaspillows thesearesomeofthe notsobad memoriesihave.the moregraphicmemoriesfrommydaysiniraqarethescreamsof painfromthosewhohadbeenshot.youngmenscreamingfora medic,pleading pleasedon tletmedie yetotherswere screamingforammunition.byday send,fivemarineshadlost theirlives,andtwentywereinjured.whenifinallylaidmyhead down,ireflectedonwhathappenedthatday:mostofallthe anguish-filledfacesisaw.tothisdayistilldo.manyunfortunate veteransofthiswar,aswellaspastconflicts,stillhaveveryvivid memoriesoftheirexperiences.manycamehomenotbeingableto copewithfamily,friendsandtheworldaroundthem.theydon t comehomeaskingformedalsorforrecognition.theyonlywant peaceandforalltheirfriendstocomehome shipping out 13

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my winter wonderland nick rubino christmasisawonderfultimeofyear.you llspendtime withthepartofthefamilyyouthinkisweirdbutsmileandtalkto themanyway.angryhusbandswillbeoutsidehangingchristmas lightsinthecold.kidswillbegettingdraggedthroughthemall whilethey recrying.myexperienceisdifferentthough.ididn t spenditinaplacewithsnowontheground,abigchristmastree orevenwithmyfamily ispentchristmasof2005iniraqwithmyunit.itwasabout eightydegreesoutside.notashotasyouwouldthink,but comparedtochicago,itwasparadise.ididn thavea horrible-lookingsweateron.instead,iwasinuniform.christmas evewasprettymuchthesameasanyotherday.itwaslonelyand boringbeingawayfrommyfamily.i mnotahugefamily-type person,butthistimeitreallysetin.iwasthousandsofmilesaway frommyfamily,andihadtoadmitit,iactuallymissedthem.it maysoundcrazytoadmitmissingthechaosofone sfamily everyone sfamilydrivesthemnuts;mineisnodifferent:momand dadfightingthewholetimetheyaregettingready,me,mydad andmysisterwaitingonthecouchformymomtogetready,going overtomyaunt stoseemyuncleignoretherestofthefamilythat isfemalegendered.iwishiwasmakingthisup!let snotforget mycrazygrandmothergivingmeandmysistera$20giftandmy cousinsacouplehundreddollarsworthofpresents.again,i m crazytomissit,butidid iwasn ttheonlyonemissingmyfamily.manyofushadto bondtogetherandbethereforeachother.i llquotemyselfonthis one thearmy:forcingpeopletobefriendsforyears alotof thepeopleiservedwithweren tthetypeofpeopleyouoriwould normallyhangoutwith.thatdidn tmatter.white,black,green blue,yellow.itdidn tmatter.wewereallinittogether.it s fascinatinghowpeoplebondtogetherinsuchsituations 14 egg

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themorningofchristmasirememberwakingupinadark titles tent.westayedinthesehuge carnival styletents.theyslept author about200,soalotofnoisedidn treallywakeyouup.idid however,hearalotofshufflingduringthemorningof christmas.wasitsanta,whoknows?wheniwokeinthemorning isawthatmybosseshadsetupatinylittlechristmastreeandthen hungglowsticksfromittolooklikethecheaplittlelightspeople hangupontheirtreesbackhome.thethoughtwascute,andi supposeitdidthetrick.theyevenhadpresentswrappedandput underthetreeforus.itwasn tmuchbutacrappyt-shirttoremind meofthehellholeiwaslivingin.itdidn tmatterthough.when peoplesay it sthethoughtthatcounts well,thistimeitwas didthismeanthatspendingmychristmasawayfrom homewasawesome?no.asamatteroffact,thismayhaveruined christmasformesub-consciously.listeningtochristmasmusic anddecoratingmyhousewithcrazydecorationsjustdoesn tdo itforme.amiruined?idon tknow.howcouldthisoneeventin historyruinchristmasformeforever?idon tknowthateither.to methatshowsmorecharacterthantheparentsatthemallforcing theirchildtotakesomepictureonsomeolddrunk slap photo by nick rubino shipping out 15

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