In the summer of 2010 I finally received the news that I had been waiting to hear since I first joined the Army nearly eight years earlier, I finally got a mission to somewhere other than Iraq. It was a Civil Affairs guy’s dream mission, the destination Kinshasa, Congo: “the heart of darkness.” The team was small, only three of us. A fellow NCO that I had served with in Iraq and a Captain that in another life had been an enlisted Ranger qualified scout sniper from the 82nd whom I will call “Jeff.” Jeff had months prior traveled to Congo for a skull session with the embassy’s RSO and the DIA detachment.
I didn’t know Jeff well, although he seemed pretty high speed and much more an NCO than an officer. So, two days before we went wheels up, I sat down with my old team sergeant for beers and shot the shit. He knew Jeff well and had words of wisdom, “don’t let that motherfucker drink, he will turn Batshit crazy.” Now we all know dudes in the military that just can’t drink, hell the fact that he came from the 82nd should have been a HUGE red flag but I just blew it off.
Two days later we embark on our journey, flying first to Belgium then transferring to a much nastier plane that would take us to our final equally nasty destination. But before we made our transfer, I told Jeff (this is where I fucked up) that there was no way I was going to Congo without buying a shitload of Jameson and smokes at the duty free. Instantly Jeff got the eye of the psycho and proclaimed, “that is the best idea I’ve heard all week!” So as I’m purchasing my bottles of golden deliciousness and a stupid amount of cancer sticks when I see Jeff stocking up on bottles of Bacardi limon (a tell tale sign that drinking ain’t your thing).
Later that night we safely land in Kinshasa and arrive at our hotel that would give the Olympic hotel in Mog a good run for it’s money. Instantly Jeff comes to my room and declared it was time to drink! So, on our first night in Africa we sat in a dingy hotel and drank and drank and drank. By 2300hrs my other teammate and I were beat and Jeff was just a mess. So on that note we called it a night, Jeff left for his room and I got ready to rack out. Two hours later I was awakened by someone pounding on the door. In a half asleep/half drunk panic I rushed to the door ready to rock and roll only to find Jeff. Letting my guard down after a second I asked him if everything was ok, his reply was simply, “yeah dude lets go out and party.” Holding back my anger I told him to piss off and go to bed. But Jeff didn’t have bed in mind, no, Jeff had other things on his agenda…
So after a good nights sleep we made out way downstairs to meet Jeff for chow and to talk about our mission ahead. Jeff pulled up a chair about 20 minutes late looking as if he had spent the last our with his head in the toilet bowl in desperate need of OJ. Halfway through our working breakfast two men wearing as much 5.11 tactical clothing as humanly possible came to our table and asked Jeff to join them for a few minutes. We had just assumed it was mission related and continued to chow down. About twenty minutes later Jeff returned looking like he had seen a ghost. “Guys, I really fucked up and they are sending me home” is all he could say.
He then proceeded to explain that after a night of pounding back that manly Bacardi he felt it was appropriate to satisfy his “man needs.” Jeff decided to hail down a local national cab, travel halfway across the city and pull up a seat at a bar that could have doubled for the Cantina in Star Wars. When Jeff returned back to our 5 star later that morning he wasn’t alone. He brought back three of the cleanest African prostitutes a guy could ask for. And he would have gotten away with it if it hadn’t been for them prying DIA agents stationed in the lobby that watched him stumble with three poster woman for condoms.
And that was it, he got the boot and we drove on with the mission, which turned out to be very successful. The moral of this story is, Officers+Bacardi limon+Congo+hookers=the best war story to tell your grandkids. Ever….