Today I would describe as "A Diary of a Wimpy Soldier"
I am tired from 3 straight days of tromping around and going from one line to the next. I know it sounds easy but boots are no fun for a guy who virtually lives in tennis shoes. It feels like I got punched in the calves. I really think its the time change and the real early mornings and really we have been there all day. This am wasn't bad but another 3-4 hour session of pre-deployment lines to check out. Basically there are 10 areas of need that the army must have signed off before your deployed. They are in general finance, legal, emergency contact, insurance - health and life, and a funny little thing called Isoprep. Another acronym of the army that I won't bore you of. The funny part, but kind of series, is that its a series of 4 aspects in your life that you really only know that you have to put on a computer. They are like little stories that have to each have 4 facts in them. The purpose is that if your captured and they make contact with you that they can ask you questions to make sure that it is you that they are talking to. The picture below is the area of the pre-deployment area.
You must be wondering why is he always at the back. The answer is I like it there. The key in the army is to keep quiet and try to be patient. Two qualities that most people say they cannot believe I possess. It's like a switch turns on for me. There is always this huge rush to finish this process as quickly as you can but the reality after doing it 4 times is, where in the hell else do we have to go. The other reality is as a doctor there is no way your leaving this room without clearing every station.
So not doing too bad and then we get on a bus and I think this is where the wimpy soldier came out. If everybody doesn't know what that means it is in reference to a kids series book about I think an 12-13 yr boy and his experiences. They are funny and they made a movie about it. It was an ok movie. Anyway, the second part of the day turned into equipment checkout. First time for me b/c all other times I didn't equipment b/c staying state side. Wow. Picture below shows the large warehouse in which this occurs.
You get four ruck sacks to put all your gear in. I mean this would of been a huge amount of gear. The reason why I said would of been is because of a very proactive Colonel who is a general surgeon going to Afghanistan. Typical Type A personality. We get a briefing a couple days ago on equipment and a list. She looks at it and says, "why in the hell do we need all this stuff?" I agree but as I eluded to above, keep quiet and stay to the back. Inside I'm saying you go girl. Well one thing leads to another and a memo is sent to the commander on behalf of all 10 of us health care providers that we don't need a lot of this stuff. Like magic we basically go from probably four bags of stuff to two. They still weigh on the magnitude of 50-70 lbs a piece. Stuff like helmet, Kevlar jacket and body armor that attaches to the jacket. We still took the poncho b/c you never know when its going to rain in Iraq in July. Funny but wrong. It's a good blanket to cover up with.
Then the final thing that I got was my gun. A 9 mm. I have mixed feelings about guns. Seen a lot of bad things happen to people not only in the army but in Richmond due to guns. I did hunt when I was younger but gave it up b/c I felt like it was not much fun to get up early and go stand or sit in the cold and wait for a bird or deer that never did anything to me. BOOOO. I like my sleep and my comfort. Hence the wimpy soldier. Most of my friends who hunt know I feel that way and don't care so if you take offense to that I'm sorry. I do support Duck's unlimited and Cabela's. A couple of friends of mine wanted me to go elk hunting with them a year ago. I almost went. I kind of wanted to go just to see what the big deal was. I wasn't going to even take a gun. I was going to be there Sherpa. I don't know if I spelled it right but its the little guys who take people up mt. Everest. I ended up not going and one of my doctor friends got blisters and was mad b/c they barely saw anything. I told the whole group that if something happened and they got stuck they should eat Dr. B first. Those who went know what I'm talking about.
So I got all my stuff into to 2 large duffle bags for the trip, thanks to the very forceful general surgeon. Got my gun. Then had to wait for checkout and the bus. Took forever. I ended my day by unloading all the bags as you see in the picture below. So I was really tired.
As you can see to the right they are still unloading the truck so that was not entirely true what I said above. But I did help and as the picture below shows I was excited to be done with my day.
So this wimpy soldier is tired and will sign off. I want to say thanks to all the people that said they were praying for me and my family. Its hard to know what to say to someone who says that. I truly appreciate all the great words and the heartfelt messages. I also want to say thanks to Michelle for being my kids mom and doing a great job of being there for them everyday. I think her job is much harder then mine.