GQ Photo Essay

A few months ago, an article was published in the Army Times seeking pictures from Iraq vets to send in pictures they had taken while over there. After sifting through all my incriminating photos of naked Iraqis piled up on the ground, strung to electrical sockets, and in perverse, homosexual positions, I submitted about 30 photos for review (none of them illegal or sexual in nature).

Anyway, I got an email from GQ the other day saying that one of pictures was being published. Of all the pictures I took, they decided on the one I almost didn’t send in. It was a picture of my underwear hanging from a line between two tents after I had washed them in a dirty bucket. We didn’t have quartermasters when I was there. We did it the old fashioned way: we either stunk, or washed our stuff in a small 2 gallon bucket or cooler with cold water. Then we hung the stuff up outside on a rudimentary clothes line to dry in the dust, sand, and wind. By the time your clothes were dry they were dirty again. The only thing gained from the process was that they didn’t stink anymore. When I’d pack my clothes back in the duffel bag, I slid in a few dryer sheets to give it that fresh smell when it was time to stinky them up again.

I’m not sure when the issue will be out, but I talked with the guy from GQ today who did a full out interview on the picture. We discussed it in great detail, then went on to talk about what it was like while I was there. He asked about our living conditions and what we did in our spare time. That question kind of confused me. Spare time? I don’t think they had shipped that while I was there. The only spare time I got was the day I was bedstricken with Hekkingson’s disease.

I bet everyone is scratching their heads right now. There’s no formal disease called Hekkingsons. We made it up while we were over there. Due to my job, I got out a lot and had the opportunity to eat genuine Iraqi food. Unfortunately, I got to wash it all down with genuine Iraqi water too. Because of my fortune, I was a regular recipient of pee-pooh (I think the standard term is diarrhea). One of my soldier’s was a perpetual pee-pooher. He just couldn’t get rid of the stuff. Not a solid moment that I can think of. Eventually, we just named it after him.

Anyway, I had eaten something that just tore me apart. I had Revenge of the Hekkingsons!! It was coming out wherever there was an exit hole. I think I lost about 50 pounds that day and had to have surgery to put all my internal organs back INSIDE my body. I couldn’t sleep because I was doubled over in pain. So, I had the pleasure of staying in my little hot-as-racetires hut for a day. Of course, there was the obligatory, “what the hell did you do yesterday?! Why didn’t you file any reports?! You missed my meeting!!” To which I gave the obligatory, “must be the explosions…I see your mouth moving, but all I hear is blah blah blah.” I had to explain that I think I gave birth in my hut and couldn’t find the mother.

So, anyway, I’ll keep everyone posted on that piece of interesting stuff. And, much like my Jay Leno appearance, I’ll be selling autographed (not signed, too important now) copies of whatever GQ issue carries my underwear in it. And ladies, you can rest at piece – I wasn’t in them when the picture was taken.

So, where did the dryer sheets come from? I’d have asked the same question!! While I was in Kuwait I ran across a little website at You may have noticed the link to the left of this post.

Deployments are very depressing, especially when you’re fighting in a war (or about to). The media enjoys crushing the patriotic nature of most Americans. We see it today. However, when you’re in America, you have the opportunity to turn it off and choose your media outlet. While I was deployed, we had BBC, CNN, and Foxnews. Just before the war kicked off, all the major news outlets were all over the protests against the war. For a soldier who doesn’t see what going on back home except for what’s put in the “news”, that’s depressing. It’s makes you questions what you’re doing in a military that the American people don’t even support.

Luckily, the AAP members that “adopted” me ensured me that there were just as many rallys FOR the troops. We just didn’t see them. Their letters, cards, and emails kept me motivated so that I could in turn ensure my soldiers understood we were loved and supported and working towards a noble cause. While in Kuwait, waiting in the middle of the desert and sleeping next to my HMMWV (Humvee to most) on the border, I was sent toothpaste, candy (mmm…Tootsie Rolls), toilet paper (the non-Army sand paper issue type), batteries, etc. Our team was hooked up. It was all because of AAP.

When we got to Iraq, 80% of my mail was from our adopted families, which kept our spirits high and tummies full. I asked for some Taco Bell sauce packets because my MRE’s were all starting to taste the same. I feel for the Taco Bell patrons in those towns, because they were probably having to smuggle their own hot sauces into the restaurant. Our families had most likely wiped out the store and shipped it overseas. I can’t say enough about those guys. If you want to support a soldier, the BEST place to do it is there. I actually just filled out the application to adopt a soldier of my own, in addition to the people from units here that just deployed. I can’t wait. My wife and I are giddy in anticipation of showing the same support we got to someone now deployed where I left a little over a year ago.

Before I close, I want to publicly thank Angel who has taken me under her wing and helped make a lot of the extra stuff you see on this site possible. I’m what people would call HTML illiterate. Now, if you don’t know what HTML is, then I’ve got one up on you. I know what it is, just can’t write the stuff. Thank you, Angel, for all your help with the links and the Milblog thingymajiggy.

Until urban dictionary defines thingymajiggy, I’ll sign off as……….


2 Comments on “GQ Photo Essay

  1. Wooooo, CJ!! Congratulations on your photo being published. Not too many men can say their undies were featured in GQ!!!! 🙂

    I’d like to see more of your Iraqi deployment photos, if possible.

    Robin in Ohio

  2. CJ I think I can speak for many of the people at AAP, that we absolutely love our soldiers and we want to make sure to the best of our ability that the America that the media is portraying all the time is NOT the America that exists for the most part. If it wasn’t for men and women like yourself, we wouldn’t be here to show our appreciation. So from myself, THANK YOU for what you do every day. You all are what makes the USA what it is today! It’ll be great to have you onboard AAP as a supporter instead of a supportee for a change! You’ll definately be an asset to the organization!