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Page 20
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<< 19. A Slice of History21. Mandatory Viewing for Potential Enlistees >>

World's Biggest Litter Box

By Bob Riggle (Reviewer)

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A Line In The Sand
By Robert Serocki, Jr.
(One World Press, 2006)

VVAW member Robert Serocki grew up and lived his life in the same way many of us did: playing war games with his buddies, protecting his little sister from bullies, and being being bullied quite often himself. And like us, he survived. Upon graduating from high school, he did what many of us also did. For whatever crazy reasons, he enlisted in the military. Robert Serocki was going to be a Marine!

Serocki shares moments of his introduction to the "Marine Corps way" during his time in boot camp. You know, like getting poked in the eye with the rounded end of a coat hanger. Getting punched to the ground by your DI, only to have him yell at you to get the fuck up, 'cause he never gave you permission to fall down. Yeah, they seem a bit humorous now, but they were guaranteed to fill a scared young man's boxers with a decent-sized load.

In August 1990, he and his unit were one of the first to arrive in (and ultimately one of the very last to leave) Saudi Arabia in preparation for what would become Desert Storm. It was a land he lovingly came to refer to as "the world's biggest litter box. Nothing but sand, shit, and bugs that eat shit."

Robert's inclusion of letters to and from home really help to emphasize the urgency, dread, and fear he must have felt. They detail daytime temperatures of up to 130 degrees, "rats as big as a man's foot," and living through dysentery and food poisoning simultaneously.

"I had been turned into someone else. I was a bloodthirsty killer. I have lived with death's odor.... I have given my life for freedom.... I was nothing but a shell filled with death, hate and despair and was about to be unleashed into the real world." These were Robert Serocki's thoughts and state of mind after returning from the Gulf. While this is Robert Serocki's story, I can't help feel that it could also be any one of ours.

Bob Riggle is a VVAW member and the contact for Cave Creek, Arizona.

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