Back into the swing
“Sgt. Salmons, I need you to go on a convoy with the 1st MTR in a few days,” my boss said a smidgen into the day.
“Is he certified?” someone else piped in. Our assigned office was always brimming with people, chattering away over the din of the television and collectively being a major distraction. Still, it kept us informed, as the PAO section was normally the last to know anything.
“Certified? For what?” I asked.
“You have to be certified to go on convoys now,” they continued. “There are a whole bunch of classes you have to take.”
“We’re eight months into the deployment!” I argued, like it mattered, and like this person could do anything about it anyway.
“It’s a new thing.”
A “new thing” for an old mission. Brilliant. Again, something to take up the time. I’m sure this new “training program” will make a good bullet on an evaluation for the person who published the new training FRAGO (fragmentary order, a sort of “oh by the way, do this too” that the military used to augment mission directives, there were hundreds of FRAGOS, so there were a lot of “oh by the ways”).
An aside: writing FRAGOs is a nightmare in itself, involving you (the author), an entire FRAGO approval section staffed by officers and senior NCOs, several drafts, several go’rounds, formatting preferences (two spaces after the heading, use the correct emblem, take out the colonel’s middle initial, triple spaced, that sort of crap), getting approval signatures…uuugh! But, I digress…
Most other things had remained relatively the same since I’d been away. A few more females had caught the pregnancy bug and were being reassigned to stateside duty, but the men were stepping up with few complications.
Actually, I’d half expected everyone to be carrying around strobe lights, wearing knee and elbow pads and sounding off with “Soldier en route” every 10 paces with all of the safety precautions afoot nowadays.
Statistically, the enemy was hardly as lethal to reducing combat power as was the threat of sports injuries or the occasional pedestrian / vehicle collision. Our safety officers had the numbers to prove it: Soldiers wounded in combat by enemy fire were three times more likely to return to duty than were the Joe’s with sprained ankles from basketball.
Ain’t that some sh*t, eh? But it was true. We had a cat that was shot through the ear while on guard duty (the ear! Two inches left and his brain would have been hamburger) who was back in the towers within 48 hours. Sewed back on the ear, slapped on a bandage, pinned the purple heart and threw him back into the maw. Meanwhile, there was a joker who tripped on some rocks while walking to the bathroom and sprained his wrist. He’s been back in the states since January.
Oh and we hit 107 with the heat index today. Thanks for the memories, jerks! Just a few months left! Woohoo!!!!!!