Growing up playing video games and watching war movies, I didn’t think twice about joining the Marines so I could be in the infantry. I went through all of the training and unwelcome hardship that makes you really reconsider your decision. Anyway, I got stationed to a desert base known as 29 Palms – the largest piece of militarily controlled land in the US. It covers approximately 930 square miles in total. It’s fucking huge, in Southern California, and a few hours from Mexico. When you’re out that far, you start to see some shit.
Anyway, fast forward to my first field op and me losing my shit. To put things in perspective as to how far away we are from civilization… the closest man made object is a 3 hour ride away. This day was particularly hot because it broke 130 as if the sun said “I told I could!”, so we spent all day hiding under camouflage netting getting classes about various military tactics. Once the sun set, we set off into night to get some hard realistic training done.
At night, we practice using our night vision optic to do simple shit like reloading and reading maps. It produces an image off of ambient infared light so you can actually see a lot more shit than the naked eye. The sky is absolutely cluttered with stars. I can see a shooting star every few seconds. The Milky way. It’s pretty darn cool. Finally, after roaming around aimlessly for what felt like forever, we head back and we’re granted a few hours of sleep. I lay down and start to drift off.
I’m suddenly woken up after what felt like 10 minutes and I get up instantly.
“Get up bitch, you’re on watch.”
I get dressed and I stand my post dutifully like I’m told at the checkpoint. I’m given a radio and told to only lift the barbwire after it gets approved over the radio. It’s maybe around 2am and everyone else in my company is dead asleep except for myself and an officer in the comm truck. All I can hear are the coyotes. I decide to start looking at the stars with my night vision. I hear a coyote yelp off in the distance and think nothing of it. A few minutes later, another Marine comes over a small hill in front me. Nothing crazy, probably taking a dump. He walks towards me but his eyes don’t really reflect light. Rationally, one of us is probably dehydrated so I think nothing of it. He approaches me and after a few seconds of staring at me, he simply says:
“Can I come in?”
His voice didn’t sound right. No inflection or questioning tone. Weird. I ask him what his name was and why he was out so far taking a dump. He tells me his name, Sgt Wright, and he ignores my dump question. Same weird voice. Granted, I’m new to the unit so I don’t know anyone named Sgt Wright but I still had to verify it.
“Main, this is Roadguard 1. There is a Sgt Wright requesting entry. Over.”
“Roadguard 1, this is Main. There is no Sgt Wright in this company and the closest unit is 25 miles away. Make sure- shit get the fuck back here right now. Don’t let him or even look at him. Run..”
As the weird dude started to hear this, his face changed to severely angry. Like he wanted to rip my throat out and drink my blood. By the time I got back, everyone is awake. All of the vehicle lights are turned on and everyone is packing up. Scrambling into the trucks. We leave a lot of shit behind like the tents, water, and food and drive the entire 3 hours back. I never got an explanation from anyone but my squad leader who was a simple, backwoods kind of guy, who bluntly said that whatever I saw, wasn’t asking to get through the gate. I never really understood what he meant by that until I discovered this sub.
More to come. Trying to do these in chronological order as fast as I can. As you can guess, they get crazier as they go.
After my most recent creepy experience with weird looking people scaring the fuck out of me. We went somewhere much more terrifying… a remote little Marine Corps base called Bridgeport. It’s in a national forest just North of Yosemite.
It was built to train Marines in the art of Mountain Warfare. There’s a lot of mountains. Its cold. It’s windy. And if you ever go there. You’ll hate your life too.
Anyway, when we first get there, we stay in these creepy concrete huts with bunk beds in them. There’s a bathroom and some showers and that’s about it. You fight over the outlets to charge your electronics and there’s not really any heat besides a bunch of Marines cramped into one area.
The first few days are miserable. Your body has to adjust to the new altitude. The air has less oxygen, so physical work and exercise plays out in slow motion. Oh, and you’re constantly tired and all you want to do is sleep. There isn’t much in terms of fresh food and things can get pretty bleak if you have the wrong mindset.
You wouldn’t believe me if I told you these were the better times heh. Eventually, we march up into the mountains carrying our ridiculously heavy packs, stuffed to the brim with warming layers, food, water, and nicotine. The first few days were easy. We would hike all day and stop to rest and learn a few things on survival and such. There was some snow on the lower parts but not a ton thankfully.
Around the 4th night, someone had the awesome idea of making us practice our night time navigation skills. I am a pretty decent navigator myself, so I was up for the challenge. No big deal. They hand out the compasses, maps, and protractors and set up an elaborate system of how to get to finish line. It was staggered so people weren’t walking all over each other.
This is where things get interesting. I’m in the woods. It’s dark, and cold. I hate my life so I’m stumbling through the trees and brush loud as hell without a care in the world. I just want to finish this dumb thing so I can go to sleep. I get to my first point easily because there is some moonlight shining through the trees. The 2nd one was place in a fucking river and I still remember how livid I was standing in the river, copying down the word “donkey” etched into an ammocan on top of a rock… in a freezing cold river.
Wet boots will drive a man insane. I stop to squeeze out the moisture from my socks and I get this primal feel that I’m being watched. I stand completely still and all I can hear is my heart beating. No wind or wildlife. Just me. My first thought is that it’s a Marine trying to piggyback off my success. I put my soggy boots back on and do what anyone would do, I crest the next hill and stop so I could listen.
Nothing. Maybe I’m just freaking the fuck out. Screw this. I keep walking. 10 minutes later and I get the same feeling. Any rookie stalker knows that you have to match the person’s step so that they don’t hear you… so I start to randomly stop or change my step. After a few wholehearted tries, I don’t hear any footsteps, but I do hear breathing. If it’s a mountain lion or something crazy, I have no choice but to keep walking and hope I can pull my dull Gerber knife out in time.
About this time, I get to my 3rd point and plot my final point. It’s near a road so I cut straight East and literally book it up the road. I still felt like I was being followed the entire time, but I felt safer because I could hear the low roar of a Humvee engine up the road. Looking back, I lead whatever it was right to the rest of us, that was a dumb mistake.
Nothing else happens that night. Everyone else gives up and just uses the roads to make it to camp. Those who don’t make it back are told to walk towards the sound of a beeping horn. Funny. I finally get to sleep in the safety of numbers. We use the next day to remediate our night time land nav skills and refuel our bodies with food. Once the sun sets, we march off into the mountains in a file. Unfortunately, since I carry a rocket launcher, my natural position is in the back, but not the very last so that’s a positive.
We spend the early night hiking. We were moving very fast and probably 20 meters spaced apart. At times, it was common to lose sight of each other. All of us were slowly getting exhausted. Suddenly, shit just gets dark. Like the ambient light is just being absorbed. I get that same primal fear. Extreme silence? Yep. Fuck. I keep walking without a word until I hear someone, probably the guy behind me, call my name. I turn around and he looks at me like I’m an idiot.
“What the fuck. Keep going dude, they’re gonna lose us.”
Ok. Weird. Who called my name?
I spin back around and try to see my way through the brush for the guy in front of me. I get a glimpse of him and discretely yell at him to slow down, but he doesn’t even hear me. WTF.
About the same time, I hear from behind me “Dude what the fuck is th-”
I heard a light rustling of leaves and some twigs but that’s it. I run back maybe 15 meters, which isn’t far, but at night it is. There’s nothing but his pack on the ground and his rifle. I call out his name. Nothing. I reach for my radio. It’s dead. I turn on BOTH of my flashlights. Dead. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. I start yelling, I blow my rape whistle that they made me pack. Nothing.
I don’t know how long it took them to realize I was missing and how they backtracked their way to me, but it felt like hours. I could feel whatever it was just out there, waiting. Fucking toying with me.
I told them everything and they were convinced the guy just got lost. They all spread out and looked for him for a few hours but ultimately came up with nothing. Sometime the next morning, one of the hippy park volunteers found him 30km a way across multiple mountains. He was bleeding from his ears and didn’t even know his name. Of course he was in extreme hypothermia and he had a ton of bruises on him, but no severe bleeding. They ended up getting a helicopter to take him to the closest hospital.
More to come tomorrow:
Bonus picture: Snapped this on Day 3 as we were ascending upwards to give you an idea of how thick things can get + visualize stuff – https://i.imgur.com/sNDQjiJ.jpg
Also, I made a Twitter account specifically to elaborate on certain things, post more pictures, and post updates for the story. I’ll release the next edition as soon as I finish it on Twitter. I got so many PMs asking for the second part, I seriously tried my best to answer all of them. I feel really bad and I apologize if I didn’t get to you. If the Twitter thing isn’t allowed, just let me know and I’ll delete it.