All across the nation, perhaps the world, little boys (and a few little girls, I am sure) play soldier in the afternoon after school. Perhaps they play “cowboys and indians” or attack each other in pine cone battles to the death. They go in to wash up, eat supper, do their homework. Then they tune to the USA Network.
“And now, Combat Missions! A USA Original Series!” proudly proclaims the television. “Original” would certainly be one way of putting it, yes.
The TV assures the little boys and girls (and us bigger boys and girls) that Combat Missions shows us the best our (USA) military has to offer.
The next day, the little boys go out to play after school. They choose teams for football, or perhaps put on baseball gloves. Some throw frisbees or balls to their dogs, while others hasten to join the school band. But after seeing Combat Missions the night before, they aren’t playing soldier. They’ve seen the “best” our military has to offer, and his name is Scott Helvenston. And they’re not playing soldier, anymore.
Episodes 7 and 8 are brought to you by: the numbers “3”, “0”, “22” and “15”; the letter “H” (for Helvenston); and the words “upchuck”, “ruck”, and “honor”.
Evolution 7 – Delta (2-1) vs. Alpha (1-2)
Scott Helvenston has the distinction of being the youngest man ever to become a United States Navy SEAL when he was 17. Since, he has become a world champion pentathlete, and won several marksmanship prizes. Remember as you read this that Helvenston is supposedly THE BEST our military has to offer.
The show opens with the traditional falling in of the contestants to hear Col. Rudy’s boring remarks. With my expertise of the military, I can assure you that soldiers get as much sleep as they can whenever they can. Look at these guys closely: they are literally asleep on their feet as Col. Rudy talks. They wake up just long enough to hear Col. Rudy welcome the new players. “I’d like to welcome the new guys that were chosen. You poor bOObs.” *SLAP!* (Dawg! This is not Survivor!) Er, sorry about that, folks.
The show opens with Scott Helvenston working out in the cold weather in shorts, shoes, and nothing else. Col. Rudy remarks that “Helvenston has a great body, but a big mouth. I wish I were in as good shape as he is. He’s in such great shape… what a body….” Rudy? Rudy! It appears that Rudy hung out with Dicque a little too much in Survivor I. Where is that medic babe Heather when Rudy REALLY needs her? Col. Rudy also says that Helvenston can walk the talk, like Muhammad Ali. Col. Rudy, have you SEEN Muhammad Ali lately? The poor man is battling Parkinson’s Disease. At least Ali has an excuse. Helvenston is going to be shaking, but it will be the result of blunt force trauma from a blanket party that he is surely going to get.
After a little bit of verbal jabbing and “confessionals” between Alpha’s O’Shea and Helvenston, they are ready for the first training exercise. They must shoot paper targets with their rifles. At this time, Helvenston begins to annoy Alpha with trash talk. He’s trying to get into Alpha’s heads, and he succeeds. After two rounds, Delta has a commanding lead on Alpha (16-9). The final score is Delta 20, Alpha 12, mostly because Alpha was trying to shoot Helvenston instead of the targets. Helvenston hid behind Sgt. Maj. Voiceover and avoided being shot. Helvenston is very good at hiding behind others. Delta gets 25 points, not for winning, but for not taking a few shots at Helvenston themselves.
The LA SWAT Old Man is still hanging around, since he has nowhere else in particular to be. He says that Helvenston is a real troublemaker, but successful, and he can be a real pain. Meanwhile, Helvenston is claiming that his childish behavior is merely “PsyOps”, which means “psychological operations” in military-ese. Helvenston, let me tell you something: my closest co-worker is was in Viet Nam with the 173d Airborne Brigade. He subsequently served in the 101st Airborne Division before going to the JFK Special Operations Center at Ft. Bragg, NC, to do (guess what) PsyOps.
Scott, I know PsyOps. PsyOps is a friend of mine. Scott, you’re no PsyOps.
Oates of Alpha Squad suggests in “confession” that Helvenston is acting like Oates’ three year old child when he wants attention. Meanwhile everyone goes for the mission briefing. Sgt. Maj. Voiceover, whose voice sounds like a voiceover even when it doesn’t need to, gives the mission brief. Sgt. Maj. Voiceover has no new awards on his chest. They must’ve run out of those at MB headquarters.
The mission is called “Pilot Down”, yet another unoriginal name that we have come to expect from this bunch. The idea is to rescue a downed pilot from the Opposing Force (OPFOR). MB calls his OPFOR the “Shadow Squad.” We can call them the “John Wayne” Squad because they like to stand up in the open to shoot, then seem surprised when they get killed. The team must go to an extract point, then the briefers tell us that there is an alternate extract point. Any ROTC cadet can tell you that something is going to happen and they’ll have to go to the alternate extract point. The Alternate Extract Point is 400 meters (over 400 yards) away from the Primary Extract Point, over rough, hilly terrain.
There are snow flurries in the camp, but that doesn’t stop Nutter of Delta squad from going outside without his shirt. There is a 2d exercise before the mission, the criss-cross grid that was seen a few episodes ago. Either MB is losing his creativity, or he’s running out of money. We can only hope it’s the latter.
Helvenston talks trash, then as the starting whistle blows, he runs and hides behind his Delta comrades. Alpha can’t get to him. The first match is waved off for some violation of the rules. Helvenston and Alpha’s Spicer talk some trash as Helvenston proclaims “You ain’t got no honor! You ain’t got no honor!” with a little dance to go along with it. No, Scotty-boy, YOU ain’t got no honor. Remember, folks, that this guy is the best our military has to offer.
In confessional, Spicer says that Helvenston is not acting like a professional. Nutter thinks the whole conflict is funny. In the second face-off, someone from Alpha gets up to Helvenston and hits him on the back of the head. A Delta puts that Alpha in a headlock as a near-fistfight ensues. Helvenston says in confessional “They never got me.”, showing that he has an alternate version of reality from most of us… or maybe that head blow he took just damaged his memory. Of course, it WAS hard to get to him, he kept hiding behind others. Remember, folks, that this guy is supposedly THE BEST our military has to offer.
In the third heat, Helvenston hides behind his Delta teammates and is one of two Delta’s still standing when the rest are in the water. Delta wins the competition and gets 50 points, bringing their total to 1075 for the mission. Afterward, Spicer talks to the other Deltas to see if they can bring Helvenston under control. For the moment, he leaves it at that. Estadt (of Delta), however, says that the Delta’s will protect each other and take care of their own. Oates of Alpha says he’s about to cry and wants to go to the ring with Helvenston. And O’Shea, a Navy SEAL himself, says that Helvenston has “crossed the line.”
Sensing trouble brewing, Col. Rudy calls a meeting of all four squads. Sgt. Maj. Voiceover tells us that the players respect Col. Rudy because Rudy has served his country longer than most of the players have been alive. I respect Rudy’s long record of service, also, and am saddened that such a great patriot is reduced to having to be on this show.
At the meeting, the Alpha’s bluntly say that Helvenston is displaying a lack of sportsmanship, to which Helvenston cries “Waah!” O’Shea points out that it’s embarrassing and it’s personal and H. is hurting himself. Spicer goes further, saying that H. is embarrassing the Navy SEALs. At this point, general chaos ensues, and Helvenston is heard crying out “break out the polygraph!” Helvenston asks if anyone else is embarrassed by his conduct. Sergeant Major Dever, in the first time speaking without a voiceover, says “Yes, I’m embarrassed by you, also.” Woooooo. Helvenston replies “I only care about what my teammates think. I certainly don’t care what a voiceover like you thinks!” Charlie’s Cade also says that H. is an embarrassment to all the players there. As Col. Rudy begins to speak, H. interrupts with some “waah, waah” type talk and Sgt. Maj. Voiceover thunders “DON’T INTERRUPT THE COMMANDER!” H. shuts up for the first time that day.
Col. Rudy, knowing that Helvenston’s safety and perhaps his life is in serious danger (not kidding here at all, folks), takes Helvenston to another tent to talk privately. Helvenston turns on his @$$-kissing skills as Col. Rudy tells him to keep his mouth shut. Helvenston tells Rudy that Rudy reminds him of his grandfather. Rudy should slap the crap out of H. for comparing him to ANY Helvenston family member, but he returns H.’s hug instead. Rudy has learned how to be a TV personality, fer sure.
And Helvenston is supposed to be THE BEST our military has to offer.
Meanwhile, Sgt. Maj. Voiceover attempts to soothe Alpha. Rudy is in the Snake Pit (bar) with all the Delta’s, again admonishing Helvenston to keep his mouth shut.