Friday, November 12, 2004

Back to the Real World

Well, not that the election is over, I guess we can get back to discussing reality as it exists for us at the lower level of the food chain.

I spent the last week in training exercises at Grafenwoeher, a lovely Bavarian resort area about 50k from the Czech Republic border. Of course that's only if your idea of a resort is an open bay barracks with 30 or 40 snoring soldiers and a common bathroom 150 yards from the front door, heat and eat meals made for a thousand with the consistency of rubber and Elmer's glue. Other than that, very much like any other resort.

I remember growing up in the army and listening to the stories of all the guys that had come from our heavy units in Germany and their training exercises in Graf. I always had this mental image of some cold, desolate, God-forsaken place where it always rained and snowed. Turns out I had that one spot-on.

We did get to spend 12 hours a day in secured buildings working through a command post exercise which gave us a pretty good look at hour our staff works and interacts with the staffs of our sister and higher units.

On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to go through a live fire convoy exercise. This is something that has been mandated recently for all of our troops going downrange. It riding in a convoy down a designated course and firing all of the unit's weapons systems, 50 cal, M249s, M16s, and M9s, at pop upu targets from both the halt and while moving. 16 years in the Army, I've never done something like this, so I know none of the other troops in the unit had either. Aside from the 20 degree weather and constant snow throughout the day, I guess it's as close as we're going to get to the downrange experience without acatually being there.

In any case, i was supposed to be going to Afghanistan today for about a week for an assesment, but that trip was cancelled, so we may go later, or we may just end up going in blind when we deploy.

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