June 15, 2009
Name: SGT B.
Posting date: 6/15/09
Stationed in: Iraq
Hometown: Rockford, WA
Milblog: The Gun Line
I was looking at the number of posts I written since we got here. Not that many, actually.
Compared to the work-up and the story of my journey to get here, it’s almost anti-climactic. The Ernie Pyle in me was expecting a series of “Joe Blow” stories, regaling with heroic exploits of daring-do, punctuated with the poignant observations of a soldier at war.
Frankly, there hasn’t been much in the way of excitement, and I didn’t want to bore you with the same old “Nothing happened today...” day after day.
On the other hand, the fact that there’s nothing to report is a good thing (see my previous post).
If I were 20 years younger, I would be humming with suppressed frustration, wanting to get into the fight and mix it up in grand style. I would be absolutely inconsolable because, right now, there is absolutely nothing exciting going on. The missions that we send outside of the wire are in the most danger, but even then the excitement factor is low, because you’re out there looking for signs of something that the bad guys may have implanted days ago. They have long since left the area, so even if you get lucky, there’s not much that the young war-fighter can do but brush himself off and continue on. The “Falluja-type” operations are a distant memory, and the challenge now falls to the NCOs to keep their young charges focused on a job that can be mind-numbingly dull.
Which, in the big picture, is a good thing, when viewed with the eye of an old soldier: Excitement is bad, boring is good, means that there’s a pretty good chance that everybody will come back with all of their fingers and toes.
They told me that I had to go on Pass, to Quatar, for four days of fun and frolic.
I won’t go into detail about the amenities. Elaborate Force Protection Measures exist to make this place as safe a haven as can possibly be, so that war-fighters can totally relax, let their hair down, and take a deep breath without concern, and I won’t do a thing to change that.
But there is beer -- three a day. Which also happens to be the safe limit for your humble scribe, without treading into the realm of “let’s-make-a-slobbering-fool-out-of-ourselves." Enough time in a dry country, and you become a really cheap drunk!
And the rest of the day, you do…nothing. You loaf around, beholden to no one, wandering about in t-shirt, shorts, and flip-flops. Your hardest choice is deciding at which venue you want to have your daily booze ration, and practicing for the evening goof-off.
For a young warrior, with his hair on fire, it could be maddening. For us old long-fangs, it is paradise. Being able to sit back in air-conditioned comfort, relaxing, pondering, moving at “dead slow."
Paradise, I tell you…