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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Burn Them With Fire

I am a Desert Storm vet. While I was formally trained as an infantryman, I drove a fuel truck during the time I was deployed. I have a lot of stories from this time, but one of my favorites is about Dung Beetles.

I was completing my fuel run for the day when a Sergeant (First Class, and acting first sergeant) approached me and told me he needed to show me something. I followed him a couple hundred meters into the desert, and he showed me a patch of ground completely riddled in holes. "What's this all about, top?", I asked.

"Those are Dung Beetles.", with a you know what to do nod of the head. The last unit in this area had apparently buried a latrine here, and the Dung Beetles were having a field day. I didn't know what he was expecting, so I asked.

"I want you to soak all of this with MoGas, and light it on fire." I'm not kidding when I say that he looked like a demented priest bent on an exorcism. Let's just say that this was a somewhat atypical request, but I thought about it for a minute, and went to get my truck.

Tossing matches at 100 gallons of gasoline is a fairly precarious task, but we did eventually get it lit-- fifteen foot flames and roiling black clouds ensued. I wish I had the presence of mind to have taken a picture.

Sometimes it works to gently correct course or mildly adjust angle of attack; sometimes purging with fire is the only option.

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