11 Objects That Only Veterans Will Look At And Think ‘Sure, That’s A Toilet’

Sailors assigned to Navy Provisional Detainee Battalion VI wait to use the portable toilet while training at the Udari Range in Kuwait.
U.S. Navy photo by Chief Master-at-Arms Tony Guyette

There are always differences between service members’ experiences. You’ve got soldiers, Marines, airmen, sailors, and coasties; grunts and POGs; officers and enlisted; short-timers and lifers; the list goes on. But there are some things we all have in common, something even deeper than a shared sense of duty, and a love of country — like, way deeper, a rumbling way down, in the colon.

Everybody poops. Peacetime or war, at home or abroad, on a ship, in an MRAP, on patrol, or in the cockpit of an F-18 — sooner or later, you’re gonna have to drop a deuce. And as anyone who’s served in uniform knows, there is not always a proper toilet readily available, so you have to make do in order to doo-doo.

Here are 11 shitters you’ve probably pooped in if you’ve served.

A hole in the ground.

You’re issued an e-tool for a reason. Sure, you can dig a fighting hole, or use it to decapitate your foes, but we all know what this trusty little shovel is most often used for: Digging your shit hole. Whip it out, dig, squat and voila, you’re pooping the way nature intended.

Burn barrels.

An M249 squad automatic weapon gunner with 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, burns human waste aboard Patrol Base Atull in Sangin, Afghanistan, Aug. 6, 2011. U.S.Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Kowshon Ye

This is not the worst way to take a dump in country, mostly because where there’s a burn pit, there’s usually an outdoor head where you can sit to take a poo. But for the guy who gets stuck dealing with the aftermath of your morning glory, it’s hell on earth. We’re talking about a metal drum of shit that you burn and stir, all while trying not to breathe in the fumes of hundreds of turds from hundreds of bodies. The one perk? Nobody’s going to come close enough to give you an ass-chewing.

An MRAP or Humvee turret.

Hey, sometimes turret gunners have to squeeze out a log between squeezing out rounds. You’ve gotta applaud someone who can keep an eye out for danger and a hand on the .50-cal, all while managing to drop a turd dead center into an empty ammo can between his legs. Experiences may vary depending on the terrain — or how shitty your driver is.

A 120-degree, overflowing Porta John.

Who ever thought dropping a deuce would become an occasion for Olympic-level physical strain? Between holding a squat over the excrement Everest rising below the seat and straining to take a dump in this sweltering crap-sauna while trying not to get lost in the mosaic of dick drawings on the wall, this feat deserves a brown bronze medal, at least.

But, if you think that’s bad, wait till you're so lonely that you actually stay in one of these long enough to rub one out.

Under the sea.

A model skull and hand waves from the bowl of a toilet resting on the floor of the bridge of the sunken ship "Black Bart" off the coast of Panama City, Fla., May 26, 2016. U.S. Navy photo by Glenn Fawcett.

On dry land, in the sky, or deep below the surface, everybody poops and submariners are no different. Though they have toilets, sometimes the line gets backed up, and when that happens, well, the waste has to go somewhere, like the deep sink in the kitchen. Anyone order a shit-covered entree?

Related: 10 Military Habits That Make Service Members Stand Out »

A wag bag.

Compared to some of these other options, a wag bag over an empty ammo crate is pretty much a bidet at a five-star hotel. That said, it goes south real fast if you forget to close the top before throwing it overhand into the burn pit — think shit grenade, except nobody dies if they get hit, except maybe the guy who threw it.

5,000 feet above sea level.

Everyone knows about the Mile-High Club, but what about those other physical needs that won’t be ignored while you’re thousands of feet up in the clouds dropping bombs on ISIS? Even Maverick has to shit, and he might not be able to wait till after he buzzes a tower to do it.

Off the bridge wing of a tanker your team busted for smuggling.

Boarding suspicious vessels on the open ocean is tense work, but when you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go. If you do drop a deuce over the side of the upper deck, maybe make sure nobody’s directly below, unless they’re assholes.

During a formation run.

You know this happens when you see the entire formation do the wave to try to avoid stepping in a turd that slipped out the back of someone’s silkies during a battalion or regiment run. Brings new meaning to the cadence “take it on the left foot.”

An MRE bag, sand bag, or hell, even a sock.

For when you’re so far forward that even wag bags are considered a rare commodity. That, or the entire platoon just came down with dysentery and blew through the whole supply. In that case, losing a sock or straining over a bag is a small price to pay to keep from crapping in your only pair of trousers.

On that note…

Your pants.

Never, ever trust a fart. Getting the Hershey squirts on duty is no joke, no matter where you are: Iraq, Afghanistan, or at Parris Island, South Carolina, screaming at Marine recruits.


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