Racconti di Guerra

Fight Club: Ruckle Edition

Un altro racconto di guerra; questa volta l’utente Disgruntled_Veteran scrive:

So to tell the story of Fight Club I must first tell you about Lt. Cruz. Now most veterans can tell you that most Second Lieutenants/Ensigns fall into one of five categories (with a few exceptions).

  1. The Gungho: These butter bars think that it is WWIII and that their ROTC training makes them Army Rangers/Navy Seals. They treat every maneuver like it is the D-Day Invasion and any exercise that isn't live fire, isn't really an exercise. They are most likely 2nd or 3rd generation military and let you know it every chance they get.
  2. The Manager: This butter bar can manage an office better than most CEOs and can name every form the military has and what it is used for. However, in the field this person could struggle to navigate their way thru the drive-thru at a McDonalds. When they are on the rifle range, the only safe person is the target.
  3. The Useless: This junior officer graduated with a degree in a pointless field of study that has no potential for earnings in the outside world. Their leadership style could be described as confusing at best as they often give orders that contradict each other. They normal realize they do not belong in the military after their first six months, but they signed a six year contract so we are stuck with them.
  4. The Rookie: This Lieutenant knows that they don’t know it all and tries to learn from the senior NCOS and officers around them. They are good leaders on the whole will most likely make General some day.
  5. The G.I. Bro: This is the Lt. you’d follow to Hell and back without question. They are often prior enlisted and have a commanding presence, but can make their troops feel at ease when they are around. They can joke with the best of them and if it wasn’t against regulations, they’d probably go out drinking with you. They’ll never make General, but they’ll be amazing Lt. Col.’s.

Now Lt. Cruz was defiantly the G.I. Bro of Second Lieutenants. He was prior enlisted and worked as a corrections officer in Florida while attending college. He was funny, cool, and respected. Lt. Cruz was big into wrestling and grappling. He thought that, as MPs, we should be able to take down the biggest guys and gals on post. He created, for the “purposes of training”, Fight Club.

Fight Club was meant to be a place were soldiers could settle their differences, workout, practice fighting, and just have some fun. He set it up in an empty house on post. It was an older home surrounded by empty houses that were in need of demolition. Most of the homes were used for training exercises. It was the perfect location. I have a feeling that some of the higher ups knew about Fight Club, but didn’t want to interfere.

Lt. Cruz made a square out of duct tape in the center of the living room. Around it were old chairs gathered from around the empty homes. Mostly lawn chairs, metal folding office chairs, and a few stools. The windows were blacked out with black trash bags so no one would see lights coming from the home and call it in (These homes were supposed to be empty). Fight Club was by invite only. Lt Cruz started with only half a dozen troops and then slowly expanded it. It happened twice a month on a date decided by him. On any given night there would be three to eight matches with lots of demonstrations and discussions going on between fights. The rules were laid out each night like in the movie, but they were slightly modified.

  1. You do not talk about Fight Club. (Only the Lt. could authorize for someone to join)
  2. You can only fight once a month. (Can’t have an entire company injured)
  3. There is no rank in the ring. (from E-1 to E-7, we were all equal in the ring)
  4. Matchups are randomly decided (Drawn from a hat) (You could request someone if both agreed)
  5. No closed handed punches. (Leaves marks and does too much damage)
  6. No touching of the groin. (Obvious reasons)
  7. No hitting of the face. (Its hard to explain why half a platoon has black eyes to The Man)
  8. No biting or scratching. (Duh)
  9. No shirts and no shoes. (The females wore sports bras.)
  10. Fights goes until someone taps out, says “yield”, or the ref calls it.
  11. Whatever the ref says, goes.

I think I have those in the right order. You got 1 warning if you broke a rule and then after that you were banned for life. 99% of people respected the rules for good reason. Who wouldn’t want to be part of this.

Now I didn’t get invited to Fight Club until it had been going for about three months. By this time there were at least 24 members including three of the female members of our unit. By the time the Lt. had been there a year, there were so many of us that we were using the house next door for a second arena. Lt. Cruz would show us grapping and wrestling moves every night, but would not fight anyone. He was the permanent referee and stayed neutral. Most fights only lasted a minute or two and most ended with someone choke holding someone into submission.

So how would Ruckle ever get invited to Fight Club? Well, he wasn’t. Ruckle didn’t come to Fight Club until it had been going for almost a year. At this point, with so many members, sometimes people broke the first rule and “brought a friend”. Well thats how Ruckle learned about Fight Club. Now Ruckle only fought three times before he got banned at Fight Club to the best of my knowledge.

The first fight was against PFC Price who I remember slamming Ruckle get thrown to the ground in the first ten seconds and putting him into a wicked half nelson. Ruckle yelled “yield” and it was over.

Ruckle’s second fight was against a female member of our platoon. We’ll call her Sanchez. Sanchez was the kind of woman who would be a M60 gunner in the Infantry if they allowed women in the Infantry back then. (FYI, I am all for women in EVERY role in the military!) She is as tough as nails. Now I don’t know if she had anything personal against Ruckle, but she seemed to REALLY enjoy taking him down. In fact, it was like she was teasing with him to stretch out the torture. She started by going for a double leg takedown and had Ruckle on the ground in under three seconds. She then let him up and did it again. Then again. Ruckle started to get mad and in an act of desperation/retaliation, he slapped her in the face.

There wasn’t a person in there that wasn’t ped at him for this. The Lt. went off on him and told him if it happened again, he’d be banned for life. Sanchez, to her credit told the Lt. that she wanted to finish the fight. So he allowed it. Probably just to see Ruckle get his a$$ handed to him. It takes her five seconds to get Ruckle in the greatest arm lock I had ever seen. His arm is being held by both her hands and her leg is bent around his neck. He couldn’t yell “yield” so he had to tap out. In addition to his warning, Ruckle received a one month suspension from Fight Club. He left immediately after the match.

Ruckle’s final fight was against me. This was the happiest day of my life. I actually slipped the guy who drew names from the hat $40 to “draw” me and Ruckle. Ruckle had recently Charlie Bravoed me with a beautiful redhead and I had a grudge. I love redheads.

Now I am not a huge guy. Back then I was 6’3 and 170lbs. I was a distance runner and was lean, but not skinny. My arm reach and wiriness were my biggest advantages at Fight Club. So when the match started, I did what I normally did. I worked my way behind him and put him in a choke hold. Before I could lock in my hold on his neck, he twisted his body enough for him to brake Rule 6. He gave me a nut shot that hurt like nothing else. He got me good. I immediately let go and stood up. Without thinking, I punched him right in the face, hitting him in his left cheekbone as hard as I could. Damn did it hurt. My balls were on fire and now my hand hurt like Hell. Lt. Cruz and a dozen others broke us up. I don’t know what was going on with Ruckle at that point, but I sat in a chair and was given a cold beer for my hand and one for my nuts.

A few minutes later, Ruckle was banned from Fight Club for life. I was given a warning for breaking rules 5 and 7. Lt. Cruz said he understood why I did it, but he couldn’t allow it to pass even if it was Ruckle I punched. I was suspended for 2 weeks from the club, but I was fine with it. I had never received so many high fives and hand shakes in my life as I did over the next few days. Everyone acted like I had saved the planet from a meteor. I guess I wasn’t the only one who wanted to punch Ruckle.

Ruckle had a beautiful bruise on his cheek for a week or so. I smiled every time I saw it. he refused to even acknowledge me for over a month. I don’t doubt that Ruckle complained to the hire ups about what happened that night. I’m sure he wanted to take down Fight Club and everyone involved. However, I doubt anyone he told cared. We had three Lt.’s and a large number of NCOs in Fight Club. What were the brass going to do? Relieve a third of a Company plus soldiers from half a dozen other MOSs including a Lieutenant from EOD?

Fight Club continued for maybe another four months or so until Lt. Cruz got his orders to Germany. A few guys tried to keep it going, but it all fizzled out within a few months. Lt. Cruz was Fight Club and there was no replacement for him. I like to think that Lt. Cruz created Fight Club for a few reasons. I think he really wanted to teach us better takedown techniques. Maybe he wanted to maybe give a bit of a “FYou” to the stuffier higher ups or to toughen us all up a bit more. I also think it made him feel good to be the Tyler Durden of the U.S. Army and helped him to build a bond with the soldier’s under him. I’ll probably never find out his underlining reasons for creating it, but I will always be grateful to him for providing me the opportunity to punch Ruckle. I look back at that night and I can’t remember the pain as well as I used to, but I can remember how great it felt to punch Ruckle right in his stupid face.

I hope you enjoyed this Ruckle tale. I will post another one on Monday in which Ruckle gives a new girl on post the clap. After that story I can tell you about either the time he tried to pick up Joan Jett of Joan Jett and the Blackhearts or when the husband of a woman Ruckle was sleeping with came a callin’. It our choice. Thank you again for reading the story and I hope you enjoyed it.