CPL "Philly" John Carmine:
John was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA. Never met his father. His memories of his mother are sketchy -- she was a pretty lady with sad eyes, who drank alot. Late one evening, she was on a platform, waiting for the "L", when she stumbled, and was run over by the oncoming train. There being no immediate family, he was placed in foster care at age 9. He was passed around to six different families, but was unable to form emotional bonds with any of them, and he was too old and not cute enough to be adopted. Most of the families were in it for the money, or for some feel-good-get-on-God's-good-side angle. The last family was nice enough, and probably were concerned for him, but by then it was too late. John just didn't care. So he left, at age 12 and lived on the streets.
He was hanging out with some other kids with similar histories, and the group of them were always just barely out of trouble --shaking other kids down for money was one of the first deals. Most of the time Johnny didn't have to hit anyone, his size spoke volumes about what would happen for not paying. There was some petty theft, delivering sealed packages to deserted buildings, and so on. It got worse, as Johnny and his friends began carrying guns. They had to! The streets of Philly could chew you up and spit you out unless you had a piece to protect yourself. Johnny aquired an UZI, and used the thing numerous times, mostly to scare the hell out of others living on the streets. He never stayed around to see if he hit anything....
The final straw came when he was caught hotwiring a car. But not just any car. A beautiful metallic blue Mercedes. Unfortunately, this one was owned by a Federal Judge, and John was bound for juvenile hall. Guaranteed, the UZI that 14-year-old Johnny had in his jean jacket didn't help things at all. At the last minute, some social worker stepped in, and had John placed in a "special" program in sleepy Blossburg, PA. Where the hell's that? Don't worry, son, it's farrrr away from Philly...
The Program was somewhere between the Outward Bound experience, and a Boot Camp. The "campers" learned to rise early, cook, clean, make beds, study, excercise, and lights out by 10PM. It was pure hell. But John did learn quite abit, and read alot about Indians and Pioneers, and actually liked living off berries, nuts, and the odd rabbit or two he could snare. The school had an automotive shop, and this was where Johnny's main talent was discovered. He loved tinkering with engines, rebuilding trannies, doing body work. Here, he learned he was a mechanic at heart. His skills for "horse-trading" were honed during his two years in the program. Everyone knew who to trade with if they wanted booze, smokes, or dope. Johnny avoided the stuff himself. It was just better for business. Somehow his luck held out, and his illegal enterprises were never detected during his stay. At age 18 he was released, and he got a part-time job back in Philly with an old friend from his car hotwiring days, and worked in a small struggling garage during the day, that was also a lucrative chop shop at night. At least things went well until somebody ran their mouth, and the Parole Officer came looking for Johnny. Except Johnny wasn't going back to Camp, or off to prison -- he had headed off south, bound for New Orleans.
Johnny hitchhiked part of the way, living off the land, as he had learned in the Camp Program. He had everything he needed in a small rucksack, and whatever he couldn't carry, he could get from Mother Nature, off-season cabins, or the odd passerby. He happened on a dead hunter out in the wilds, and inherited some gear, and a nice 12 gauge that was sure to put meat over his cook fire soon. He spent the better part of his 19th year moving around, staying in State Parks, remote government lands, etc., "living like an Indian". It was the happiest part of his otherwise unremarkable life.
He eventually made it to Louisiana, but would never see New Orleans. At least not on this trip. He got careless and was picked up by a Ranger while trying to break into a Park Service Fire Tower during the unusually cold winter of 1999. He spent a few weeks in jail, but by then, the War was beginning to heat up. Johnny still would've preferred the cold of the winter, but the judge had something "special" in store for him. Johnny had heard this one before, and could hardly wait...
The US war effort was feeling abit of the manpower crunch. Many of the first line units had been bloodied, and the Army needed replacements. The people of the State of Louisiana were opposed to paying room and board for another prisoner, especially when the Federal government would gladly do so. Before he could object, Johnny found himself in Basic Training. And before he could draw a second breath, he was PVT Carmine, assigned to Forward Support Battalion, Divisional Support Command (DISCOM), 5th Infantry Division(Mechanized). At least DISCOM was a rear-area unit, and Johnny probably wouldn't get shot at ever...
By April, 2000, the Division was fighting through southern Poland, and in late May and early June, Johnny's unit participated in the battle of Warsaw. Later that August, the unit withdrew, and retired to Germany. In October, the Division shifted north, and came under command of US XI Corps. Finally in Summer of 2001, the Division spearheaded the Corp's drive into Northern Poland.
The funny thing about war was, it never goes as planned. Yes, Johnny was a talented mechanic, but he was also a big lummox of a man who more often than not, ran his mouth off to the wrong person. There were fewer vehicles left to fix, and even fewer spare parts to fix them with, so Johnny had to scrounge around to find things, and adapt them. Often the ad-hoc fixes failed, but once in a while, they worked. The more he worked at it, the better he got. Still, Johnny had free time on his hands, so he put the old "horse-trading" business back online, partially to get parts he needed, but also to make a buck or two, or get "favors" from others running similar business ventures. He stashed away a small fortune in goods, weapons, and even a little gold.
But DISCOM's day's were numbered. Riflemen were more important than mechanics, and at this stage of the war, even the clerks and jerks had better learn to shoot. Luckily, between Johnny's affinity for the UZI back on the streets of Philly, his hunting with the shotgun while on the run, and Basic Training, and his nearly three years in the Army, he could shoot, and shoot well. The first chance he got, he traded his M16 for a shotgun, a weapon which reminded him of happier times during his extended hike to New Orleans. He named the weapon "Honey".
Since he was about the biggest guy around, Johnny got stuck carrying his unit's M60. He never regretted that honor. He named the weapon "Sweetheart", and sometimes talks to it while he pats it lovingly. He is as meticulous with this weapon as he would have been with the Federal Judge's Mercedes.
Politics?: Johnny doesn't care. The Feds sent him into this war, and neither Milgov or Civgov is in a hurry to bring him back to Philly, if it's even there anymore. Politicians are all in it for themselves, anyway, just like all the foster families who were "interested" in him. He believes in America. Whether it still exists, or if it ceased to exist when the big bombs fell, Johnny doesn't know. The whole concept of Politics just escapes Johnny entirely. Johnny's loyal to those in his unit -- those he can look in the eye, and reach out and strangle if they screw with him.
OK, so he won't go around killing kids, or pregnant mothers, not unless they shove a gun in his face. OK, so maybe there's good Russkies, and bad Russkies (how do you tell by looking?) OK, so going back to Philly might not be an option. He's crossed mountains in NC and TN that *nobody* lives on, and nobody would care if he and some of his buddies built a cabin there and lived out the rest of their natural lives, drinking moonshine, hunting deer, and talking about how shitty Poland was back in '99. And if the US is too far off to think about, then there's some chunk of real estate over here in Poland, Germany, or Upper East Molotovski that'll do.
So after all that mess in Europe, how did he end up in PA. Well, home is where the heart is, they say, and Johnny's heart was still in Philly, despite his body being in Poland. Honestly Johnny was just to stubborn to quit, and always held onto his dreams. He and a ragtag bunch of US personnel known as O'Grady's Irregulars made their way out of the last great encirclement in Poland, avoiding Spetznas teams as well as marauders. They made it to the Black Sea, where they bought passage at a phenomenally inflated rate on a cargo ship converted back to coal power. This ship, the John J. Astor, was destined to be the last large ship to cross the Atlantic with US Troops returning home.
The trip was rough, nearly every one of the 2500 cramped onboard were seasick. Disease ran rampant, and many were buried at sea. Finally, a little more than a month later, the Astor landed in ruined Wilmington DE. Wilmington had suffered a nuclear attack earlier in the war, and was still a terrible sight to behold. Those aboard the Astor were out of food, and tired, and fearful of disease onboard, that they voted to take their chances crossing the slagged city rather than search for another place to land. Out of the original 2500, only 400 still remained.
Carmine at this point had no illusions about what he would find in Philadelphia in 2002, so he set out for the starting place -- The Appalachian Trail near Carlisle, PA. By the time he reached that place, he was in no mood to get caught up in the fighting and unrest in PA. This time it was more on the order of a Civil War, brother against brother, neighbor against neighbor, much as the fighting had been in Poland and Russia. So John crossed the Appalachian Trail, and kept going west, knowing that part of PA was less densely populated, and hoping for better times. Early in 2003 Johnny had been living in a remote part of Center County, PA, watching things develope between at least 2 rival groups in the Susquehanna Valley...
Personality: Johnny is mature beyond his years in many ways, yet still a kid in others. He never had a childhood, family, or relationships to speak of, so it's normal for him to act immature at times. He is a practical joker, and sometimes his pranks get out of hand, but he really means no harm. He has a hard time with authority figures, especially if they're women. But if they're young and/or good looking, he'll do his best to obey, hopefully to impress them. He tries to keep his temper in check, but if it comes to it, he's not afraid of using his fists. If any psychological profiling can be gained from them, his tastes include Cheesesteaks, spicy foods, beer, music by Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. He loves dogs and cats (feeds them and takes care of them from time to time). He hates wastefulness of any kind, and is somewhat afraid of horses (the one Camp Program activity he wouldn't do...)
Physical Description: A large-framed man. Early-Mid 20's. 116Kg and 1.9 meters tall. Md-length dark hair pulled back into an unmilitary ponytail. Well-tanned skin. Wears woodland camos, shirtsleeves cut off at 3/4 length. Armed with an M60 MG, a pump shotgun strapped on the side of his ruck, and a .45 slung Han Solo-like at his hip. A combat knife is taped to his shoulder harness.
|STR||10||rifle 8, pistol 7|
|AGL||5||wheeled veh 5, cycle 5, medic 3|
|CON||6||mechanic 8, metalworking 6|
|INT||5||U/A Melee 8, A Melee 3, climb 5|
|EDU||4||bow 4, swim 5, forage 6|
|CHA||4||fishing 5, observe 6, scrounge 6|
M60A3, Colt .45, 12 gauge pump with pistol grip, home made bow, Numerous knives. His M60 is low on ammo. While he STILL has Sweetheart and Honey, he recently has picked up a scoped Lightweight Ruger .308 with a polycarb stock, which he has been using in a sniper role, more than the M60.
mechanic's tool kit, firemans' axe, homemade camp / houshold items.