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Vasiliev Alexey
The story of how we tried to run a cross-country race

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  The new deputy head of the battalion was sent to our group. He arrived from brigade CBU(1), and before that he had served in DSHB(2) group. He was a big guy--even though the heads of our groups were usually small but physically strong--and they were very experienced, of course. He was given the nickname "Rambo", because he liked to spot topless, belted with an APSB(3).
  
  So he decided that we were living too easily and that we needed to be trained a little. The first day: shooting and training spotting targets for helicopters from the land. Well, that alone wasn-t too bad, but he promised to make us run cross-country the next Monday. Needless to say, we were depressed. Cross-country running in the middle of summer at lunch time?
  
  First day of training: helicopters airborne, us working on targets, everyone knowing what to do without practising, but pretending to train just the same. One of the ways to point out targets is to launch a flare over the target. So Rambo fires a flare. He falls down with a groan. This all happens out of the guarded zone. Everybody hits the ground. Who knows, maybe there was a sniper? As we found out later, the flare-s kick-back knocked him over. He lay there without breathing. We laughed ... He recovered - said there would be cross-country running on Monday.
  
  But during the weekend the group went to visit military advisers in Farakh. In the evening we saw a helicopter heading for the hospital. What happened? Then we found out Rambo had fallen out of a BTR(4). We understood that the cross-country running would be delayed.
  
  He came back in a couple of days with a bandaged head. He said tomorrow there would be cross-country running. At that time somebody brought out a very good sabre from a military adviser. Rambo boasted to his roommate, "You slash me, and I will protect myself in a special way." Well, the roommate slashed with full power. Helicopters again ... Cross-country running was again put off.
  
  He returned limping, but said that cross-country running would happen anyway. At that time there was a lot of flies in his room. A soldier from the medical unit was called to poison the flies. The roommate came, smelt the fly poison and saw Rambo sleeping almost without breathing ... Helicopters, hospital ...
  
  So far we haven-t had any cross-country running. He calmed down after the fly poison.
  
  1 - CBU - centre of combat leading
  2 - DSHB - paratroops
  3 - APSB - automatic Stechkin hand gun with silencer
  4 - BTR - armoured troop-carrier
   (c) Alexey Vasiliev, 1998

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