True Manliness


These little guys are undeniably adorable, but the Army didn’t want
to pay for any more than was necessary. Colin Maynard.

One of the implicit aspects of the relationship between modern American soldiers and Uncle Sam is decent health care. The government expected us to go off to foreign lands to be shot or blown up in the name of democracy. The least they could do was to cover our medical bills. Not unlike absolutely everything the government does, the results were mixed.

Like corporate entities everywhere, the Army didn’t want us to cost them any money. As young virile soldiers are shockingly fertile, that meant that Uncle Sam handed out vasectomies like candy. I actually knew of a couple of guys who submitted to a vasectomy just so they could get a few days off work. That’s the archetypal example of a permanent solution (sterility) to a temporary problem (laziness).

A vasectomy is a tidy little procedure wherein the vas deferens, the bit of plumbing that carries sperm from the testicles to the outside world, is surgically separated. While the definition of minor surgery is surgery done on somebody else, this really is a fairly trivial undertaking. I’m sure somewhere out there is some poor unfortunate guy who had his nads fall off after getting the Snip, but I’ve yet to meet him.

Sterilizing soldiers meant no more little soldiers, so it saved Uncle Sam money. The Army had zero interest in creating unnecessary pregnant dependents. That lead to one particularly austere surgical procedure.

The US Army can do stuff like this in some of the most austere, forbidding places.
National Cancer Institute.

Our Hero

Randy was one of the nicest guys I have ever met. A former Airborne Ranger before assessing into flight school, Randy was harder than woodpecker lips with the kind of can-do spirit that made him an incredible asset. Anything you gave Randy got done both quickly and impeccably well. He was also a great friend.

Randy and his long-suffering wife already had five kids. Their religion encouraged ample families, and they were doing their part. No doubt frustrated and sleep deprived, he and his bride decided enough was enough. Randy ended up with the “snip”.
A vasectomy is intended to be permanent. It’s a quick and easy procedure. Reversing a vasectomy, by contrast, is quite an ordeal. This micro-surgical operation takes some serious facilities and proper talent. That makes it expensive. The Army won’t even touch it. You recall they don’t want any more little soldiers.

Randy and his wife eventually had a change of heart and wanted more kids. I’d die for my three, but I can see how you could overdo that. They certainly couldn’t afford a vasectomy reversal on a Warrant Officer’s salary, but Randy had an idea.

This is a beautiful place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to have surgery there.
Lukasz Szmiegiel.

The Mission

Randy activated the Ranger Mafia. An Army surgeon he knew back in the Ranger Battalions was both a urologist and a buddy. Randy rang him up and posed his quandary. The guy explained that all of his operating room time was booked in garrison. However, there might just be an unconventional solution.

The military enjoys some simply extraordinary field medical facilities. They won’t willingly reverse a vasectomy, but they will move heaven and earth to keep you from dying if you get ventilated by some unwashed caveman in some ghastly foreign land. As a result, this urologist could actually undertake detailed microsurgical procedures in the field if called upon to do so. They had a big field exercise at Fort Lewis, Washington, scheduled in a couple months. Randy checked his schedule.

On the appointed date Randy took leave and caught a plane from Alaska down to Lewis with all his killer gear. He greened in his face, bummed a ride out to the training area, and land navigated out to a grid coordinate where he found the field surgical facility up and running. After the obligatory greetings he was shaved, prepped, and under the knife. When he awoke his man-plumbing had been carefully reapproximated.

Randy’s surgeon buddy came in to check on him post-op with some unsettling news. The tactical situation had changed, and the mobile surgical hospital had to jump. Half an hour later Randy was sitting groggy and alone on a stump in the middle of the woods with a big bag of ice on his crotch.

Once he cleared his head enough to travel Randy hobbled to the nearest road and flagged down a passing Humvee. The following day he was back home with his family in Alaska, sore but otherwise intact. The last Christmas card I got from them showed Randy’s long-suffering bride lovingly cradling number six. What a stud.

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