Machine Gun Man
My coworker, who in his Air Force Reserve military life is known as First sergeant D. S., was on his base yesterday, qualifying on machine gun. His unit (the 911th, a C-130 group) has been activated for over a year, but he personally has not been called for a long tour, until now.
He'll be leaving at the beginning of May for parts unknown in the sandbox. As I said, he did his M-16 qualification yesterday. Apparently, he did very well, except for the last test where he had to fire on a target while wearing a gas mask, which makes you have to hold the rifle sideways, etc. I can't say that I'm not at all jealous. Not of the fact that he's going somewhere that you may indeed have to fire a machine gun at people whilst donning chemical weapons gear. Nope. That would royally suck. But, even though the M-16 is a crapper by all accounts, shooting a crapper of an automatic rifle is significantly more fun than not shooting any automatic rifle at all.
In any case, due to the nature of his military job, he will probably not be directly in harm's way, and I hope he doesn't even have to put a finger on a rifle over there. That would mean that things had gone very very badly. He's promised to take his digital camera, though, and hopefully he'll be able to send some pictures once he's there. If they're cool, and he gives me permission, I'll post them here.