The Wonderful World of Shkin, a Monkey, & the Dogs of War

  • Thread starter Boondocksaint375
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B co. 3/75's second OEF deployment was more interesting to me than the first. Each platoon was sent to a different location in Afghanistan where they were nice enough to rotate us after X amount of days. I didn't care for the built up locations, but it was nice to have air conditioning, showers, laundry, email, etc etc. To me, the better part was our long stay in Shkin, Afghanistan.


Shkin? WTF is that?

Shkin is a tribal location that is located very close to the Pakistani border. We lived in a small compound with an ODA. USASOC made it clear that we weren't allowed to bring cameras for that deployment, so I don't have any photos to show you of the lovely abode. It was essentially a giant sand castle, made up of the same materials used in building the homes of the local Afghanis.

Life in Shkin

Our compound was pretty close to the local population. Throughout each day, we experienced the joy of listening to the mosque's loud speaker. We ate MRE's, T-rations, and rarely the local food. When I say rarely I mean rarely, as our PSG was concerned about the locals poisoning us. An engineer was nice enough to eventually rig a shower from the well under the compound. The down side was that the water was always very cold. Yeah it was Afghanistan and hot.... but this water took your breath away. Obviously it was better than nothing. We did our laundry by hand, washing our clothes in the cold water. You basically just kept dunking and wringing until the water didn't turn black anymore, and then hang it up for the sun to bake into a sheet of cardboard. Yeah, that is what it felt like when you put your shirt on the next day.

Enough with the monkey business!

The ODA guys had a couple pets. A dog and a crazy ass monkey. The monkey was also tied up, but every now and then it got loose.... One time I was pulling watch in one of the towers with PFC Elder. Elder had one of his pouches on his RACK filled with MRE food. So we were up there and what do we see? The monkey climbing up to our position. Now, we really didn't mess with this thing before, so we didn't know how it would act. The monkey frequently harassed the dog, which kept his distance from it when it was tied up. So the monkey climbs up my body onto my shoulder. Obviously showing no interest, it leaps over to Elder's head and and shoulder. Elder is standing there looking semi nervous, but tries to play it off. The monkey reaches down into his pouch and grabs Elder's food. He was eating it right there on his shoulder. Elder turns his head to look at the monkey and says "hey!" The monkey quickly "monkey slaps" him across his face. Elder wasn't too happy after that point. He remains still....becoming the monkey's bitch. The monkey continues to grab and eat what ever it likes. It even had the nerve to sample some stuff and discard the things it didn't like over its shoulder. Elder turns to me and goes, "I'm going to toss this thing over the edge." It was enough of a fall to kill a monkey for sure. I just laughed and was thinking "better you than me!" The monkey then hopped away to live another day, and was later captured and put back on its leash.


A photo of one of the actual towers I pulled from Google. I notice some minor changes; it is probably one of the units that took it over long after we left (I'm guessing 82nd or 10th Mountain). One time it actually hailed when I was manning a tower (in the middle of Summer). I wished I had my helmet then, considering the hail was golf-ball sized and I was welted and bloody.

"Someone call for backup! Oh wait..we are our backup...."

We were pretty much on our own, and had to provide our own 24/7 security. We were responsible for manning our towers, and the ODA folks manned theirs. We also had a couple AMF (Afghanistan Military) guys that posted in points outside of the compound, who absolutely loved to trade stuff for their crappy Russian bayonets. They had a thing for G-shock watches and such. We also had plenty of highspeed day/night observation equipment and obviously enough weaponry to deliver a crushing blow to any attacking force. Our compound never did get attacked by small arms fire, but we were frequently the target of rocket attacks. Fortunately for us the enemy was retarded, and the rockets rarely hit within a kilometer of the compound.

A celebration to die for

On one bright and shining day we weren't running any operations and we heard what sounded like an AK burst, followed by the sound of the "zing" over the compound. Were we taking fire? Well, that's what everyone though at first, but turns out it was an AMF guy AD. I think everyone and their mother had a weapon in hand, anxiously peering over the walls. What apparently happened was the AMF guy was in his post celebrating his recent marriage (we're talking hours), and got high on some opiate. According to the other AMF guy, he had dropped his weapon and it set off when it hit the ground. It fired a round into his leg, chest, and head. An ODA medic attempted to save him, but he died pretty quickly.


2nd Squad - B co 3/75 2nd plt

Patrolling for enemy....dogs?

While we were in Shkin, we conducted raids on several of the local villages and ran countless mounted and dismounted patrols both day and night. The terrain sucked, as it was pretty much up and down everywhere we went. We spent much of the time chasing after the origin of our rocket attacks. Kind of a funny story: One night we were conducting a mounted patrol. We're driving along, looking for activity, when I saw a pretty interesting site through my NODs (night vision). These two giant dogs (or wolves, who knows) were running straight for the lead Humvee (I was in the rear one). Now, the dogs of Afghanistan are huge. Dog fighting is one of the most popular things most of the dogs aren't the nicest. So these dogs are heading straight for the front Humvee. All of a sudden I hear the sound of a suppressed M-4 firing off two rounds. Someone in my squad picked of one of them. After I heard the two rounds, I see a PEQ laser pointing at the other dogs that apparently booked after his buddy was killed. He didn't shoot it....but needless to say it was one of the funniest things I ever saw...I guess you just really had to be there.


Just an example of a PEQ's funnier when you dont expect it....
Well at least that guy saved himself from marriage!:D And maybe since dog fighting is so big there, we can send them Michael Vick!:rolleyes:
The ODA we were with Had a monkey too... They would always bring it over to our side and it would do its thing, But one day it got out of its cage and bit some OGA chick in the hand. Everyone crowded around the monkey ( I believe it's name was Omar) and it started to square off with everyone... The last thing it heard was "Fuck You Monkey" as one of the ODA fellas fired his 9mm at it.
Good story Boon
Hate to be the one to break the news, but the team monkey at Shkin had to be put down.
Apparently a steady diet of Copenhagen and Red Bull was just to much for him and he went fughazi.
i want a rhesus monkey as a pet.. id feed it cope and hotdogs.. and put a leash on it and walk it

i like to shine my peq2 at well...dogs and people.. they get all disorientated and shit and funny to watch them stumble around... hehe. i guess you have to see it.
Frickin' desert dogs. They're not strays or feral in the strictest sense, but they're very territorial.

I was trying to take a dump on one of my last nights in Iraq, assigned to a checkpoint that was being manned by one of our attached Cav units.

I'm away from everybody, about 50 yards out in complete darkness, no NVGs at my disposal, when I hear the first growl coming from my 10 o'clock position, then another, then 2 or 3 more, all around me. So I'm sitting on the improvised toilet (box with a toilet seat affixed), toilet paper in my left hand and M-16 in my right. I know that if I get attacked from the rear, I'll have to start using my weapon as a club, because my backstop would be the guys back at the checkpoint.

I finish up (quickly), and slowly make my way back to the safety of the checkpoint, being careful to keep from letting the fear of getting mauled by a pack of dogs get the best of me. Seriously, those dogs can smell it on you, probably better than most.

Now, the next day we get our orders to pull out, we're leaving Iraq and my checkpoint platoon is covering the withdrawl of the Division TOC and the other 3 CPs that had been set up. I'm riding shotgun in a Pajero, with 4 M-1s chewing up the sand just off the road, 2 each flanking us on both sides, and what do I see in my rear view mirror but a yellow dog, looked a lot like a lab, keeping pace with us. I figured he was looking for a handout.

We stopped a few miles up to establish a commo link, and the dog just sits there about 10 yards away, looking at me. We start again, stop a few miles later to do something else with the commo, and the dog pulls up and takes a seat, again about 10 yards away. This time, I started moving away from the commo guys, and the dog never took his eyes off me. When we started up again, the dog waited a few seconds, then turned around and headed back toward where we had started.

I later came to the conclusion that this dog was the leader of the pack I had encountered the night before, and was giving me an escort out of his area. I'm thinking maybe they weren't too happy with me marking their territory or something, and they just wanted to make sure I was leaving for good.:D
I was also in shkin. I helped fill those hesco walls by hand with my e-tool. I believe you guys relieved us