The Sandbox

GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire

Welcome to The Sandbox, a forum for service members who have served or are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned vets, spouses and caregivers. The Sandbox's focus is not on policy and partisanship (go to our Blowback page for that), but on the unclassified details of deployment -- the everyday, the extraordinary, the wonderful, the messed-up, the absurd. All correspondence is read, and as much as possible is posted, lightly edited. If you know someone who is deployed who might have something to say, please tell them about us. To submit a post click here.

TIME IS ON MY SIDE |

March 05, 2008

TIME IS ON MY SIDE
Name: CAPT Beau Cleland
Posting date: 3/5/08
Stationed in: Iraq
Hometown: Florida

Three months down, twelve to go. Piece of cake, right? My little Excel spreadsheet that tracks our time remaining here by percentage, days, minutes, and seconds is smoothly ticking down. We've broken 80%!

It seems like things are going fast until you consider how much is truly remaining on this thing. Summer is coming -- hot, dusty, filthy, stinking, fly-ridden summer. That brief six-month period should feel like a year all by itself. I really wish we could import some American winter. It's far more comfortable than broiler temperatures, and the bad guys don't like the rain and the cold. I always suspected my football coach of having a weather machine (how did those clouds keep going around the practice field?!), and now I wish he'd use it here to buy us a little more time.

The clock is your friend and your enemy here. It really feels like we've only been in-country a few weeks. But it can be very deceiving. A "significant emotional event" occurred for my team just three weeks ago, and when we were going over the timeline recently every one of us was amazed; it felt like it happened months ago. Einstein should have come to this place. Relativity happens every day.

Days "off" (a relative term -- we don't work bankers hours like those clowns in the finance office) fly by at light speed. Busy days with lots of missions fly by. It's those other days, the ones that make up the bulk of a deployment, that can crawl. Days where you're waiting for something, or someone, or the enemy. I've spent more of my time in the Army waiting than any other single activity excluding sleep. It's what soldiers do. You get ready, check, double check, and then you wait. You wait less if you're a leader, but you still do it. I imagine that somewhere way up the chain of command there exists a place where you don't have to wait. Maybe the President gets to get right down to business all the time.

Some people might claim they don't spend much time waiting. Perhaps they think they are gainfully employed when they are in a guard tower, or checking IDs to let people into the chow hall. Guess what, buddy? You're still waiting most of the time you're doing that. Even out on the streets we do a lot of waiting. It's called "pulling security", and you're a little more proactive, but you're still waiting for Something To Happen.

I confess there are days that I get so bored I almost hope for that Something, but when it inevitably occurs I kick myself immediately for wishing for it. I am keenly aware of how much worse it could be, especially when I compare our unit to units in other areas, so say it with me now: Quiet is good. Boring is good.

It's going to happen eventually, so enjoy the wait!

Framed_cleland_burnin_poo_on_xmas_2

Waiting for the toilet to flush.

(Note: CAPT Cleland posted on The Sandbox during his 2007 deployment to Afghanistan. Here's a link to GETTING SHOT AT.)

Comments

I share your sentiments on the malaise of waiting around in Iraq. Luck I found this blogging thing so time consuming =).

Ah, the waits - lost oportunities to train and maintain, and always a chance to pull out a fat paperback and read. Still a wait and loss of your life to that lack of... nice picture, smells the same as 1970, doesn't it?

Was gonna comment on the burning of the s***ers, but alas, William remembers. "Modern technology" hasn't changed in some areas ....

Beau-
We never did that in Scouts did we? Page and I are praying for you guys. Keep us up to date if you get a chance. We'll see you back in PC.

We're in Florida too and we support you!

Supporting Our Military, One eMail at a Time @ eMail Our Military

This article, like so many we've seen recently in the trade press, is in my view another example of piling-on by journalists looking for material to feed their news machines. Journalists find isolated instances or events from which they extrapolate to conclusions not necessarily accurate.

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