Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Rob's Stories: The Days of Camel Spiders & Roses

I wanted to share with you a story that Rob shared with me a few days ago.

As most of you know, Rob spent October of 2006-November 2007 (with a little break in June) in Iraq as a combat infantryman.  He has an infinitesimal amount of stories that are far too inappropriate to share in this blog or with most other humans, but this one should be tame enough provided you aren't too much of an arachnophobe.

One night Rob was getting ready to relieve a comrade from tower guard duty, which basically was comprised of standing in a tower at night and making sure nothing fishy happened down below.  As he was taking over his shift, he noticed that his fellow soldier was particularly eager to leave.

The other soldier said, "There's a camel spider in here. I've been hunting it but I can't find it," and left.

For those of you who don't know, this is what a camel spider looks like. Warning: scary gross spider picture.*

Rob began his tower guard shift--which lasted several hours--backed up against a corner of the tower with his night-vision goggles set to close-range instead of long-range, which is where they in theory should have been due to the fact that he was guarding from a tower.  

He periodically saw the camel spider on the ceiling, but as he says, "It's hard to commit to swinging at something that's above your head. You run the risk of it bouncing and losing sight of it, or having it land on your face. I really wanted to shoot it."

Every time he'd see the camel spider he'd note the location and look away.  When he'd look again at the same spot, the camel spider would've disappeared.  Camel spiders, it should be noted, can reach up to 10mph at short distances.

Rob spent the entire guard shift on edge waiting for the camel spider to resurface once again (I'd like to interject at this point that this is a man who survived several IEDs, many firefights, and a bullet ricochet into his arm).  

When another soldier came to relieve him, Rob said, "There's a camel spider in here, and it fucking teleports," and left.

In case you were wondering what actually happens in a war zone where a bunch of a men are cooped up together for long periods of time, from what I can tell, it's largely stuff like this.

*Interesting fact that I'm sure will put you at ease: camel spiders are arachnids but are not actually spiders.  So you know, sleep well tonight. Suffice it to say Rob and his battle-hardened comrades were terrified of these little sonsofbitches, except for his best friend Trent who is petrified of birds but can handle horrifying monsters with no problem. Also, if you're like me, this photo will cause you to see scary spiders out of the corner of your eye all day, and for that I apologize.

15 comments:

  1. I saw a picture of a camel spider once like, two years ago. I NEVER need to see one ever again! I'm all itchy now just thinking about them!! A friend of mine went to Haiti on a cleanup and rebuild mission, and the locals catch tarantulas on strings for fun. I guess you make a little noose and try to hook them as they creep by. I'd rather poke my own eye with a stick than do that for fun!! BLECK!

    Oh, and in all seriousness, your husband is an amazing human being for enduring all of that in the service. I am grateful to him and his fellow troops. Much respect.

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  2. Alright, I haven't even read this post yet and I'm pissed because I really really wanted to believe that camel spiders were an internet myth. Pssh.

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  3. Hahaha teleporting camel spiders. Now *that* is not cool, man.

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  4. oh my god, clicking on that click made me SCREAM outloud and freak the fuck out. haahah! good story though, i would have been so scared.

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  5. Did anyone ever find it and get it out of the tower?

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  6. I won't click on it..Im terrified of spiders....

    and I am sitting on the edge of my bed with my laptop in my lap reading this ready to jump up and scream bc I thought you were going to say "Rob went home....showered and the camel spider crawled off his back..."
    I hate spiders

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  7. Jeez, I wish you would have put a disclaimer on that link so I didn't click on it.
    Well, a BIGGER disclaimer. Or a mean one or something. Like "You're a fat loser if you click on this link!!" should have been right next to the link.
    Freaking spiders.

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  8. Hahaha I love what Rob said to the next solider vs. what the other solider told him...too funny. I didn't click on the link otherwise I'm sure I'd be scared outta my mind!

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  9. first, this story cracked me up, and i'm glad you told it! my dad has a lot of similar stories from his time in the marines, which always leaves me wondering if, aside from bootcamp, they actaully did much.

    second, i will never understand a fear of birds. i hear so many people say they are scared of birds, but really, i just don't get it.

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  10. I am obviously in the minority because I really love insects and arachnids. I have several friends who did tours of duty in Iraq and normally my first question when I find out is 'tell me about the camel spiders!' then I ask for pictures.

    I'm a weirdo, I know.

    But most people get a kick out of it.

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  11. I am obviously in the minority because I really love insects and arachnids. I have several friends who did tours of duty in Iraq and normally my first question when I find out is 'tell me about the camel spiders!' then I ask for pictures.

    I'm a weirdo, I know.

    But most people get a kick out of it.

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  12. I am obviously in the minority because I really love insects and arachnids. I have several friends who did tours of duty in Iraq and normally my first question when I find out is 'tell me about the camel spiders!' then I ask for pictures.

    I'm a weirdo, I know.

    But most people get a kick out of it.

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  13. LOL teleporting spiders...
    I remember my husband sending back footlockers from Iraq and I was (irrationally) terrified that when I opened them, some cooped up, hungry camel spider was going to jump out and eat me. lol

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  14. i clicked on the link despite my better judgement (and fear of spiders) and now I have goosebumps and the hairs on my head are standing on end. Also pretty sure my face is beet red.

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