Greetings from the land of sand.
As I have said before on this commentary it is interesting what your mind does and the things that you think about while you are here. I will try to share some of the things just one old guy that was on a large fire-base almost 40 years ago thinks about.
It is amazing how used we get to the little things and when they are taken away it annoys us. The computers here are free to the troops but they are slower than the one at home and you always seem to be waiting for a reply......now you can begin to see what I am worrying about and what the troops here are worrying about are 2 different things.
The plane trip finally caught up with me last night when I sent the update. When I got back to the compound which is quite secure and locked away I was ready for bed and some shut eye. The interesting thing was I was tucked away in this secure area but without a weapon and with no way to defend myself should anything happen. Of course, in the army's thought process nothing can go wrong. Having been in the army I know sometimes things go wrong. Not a big deal though, just something you think about, but when everyone else is walking around with a weapon slung over their shoulder you just want to ask...where is mine?
The biggest problem here is attacks from rockets that is known as IDF (in direct fire). Since you only have about 5 sec to react to it you get down on the floor and wait til the all clear signal goes off. The chance of this happening is small but they want you briefed just in case.
The intent of sharing all this with you is for you to get an idea what all the troops deal with on a daily basis.
Chaplin Morris has been keeping me busy since I have been here, talking with all different groups of soldiers. I have spoken to the administration section, civil affairs section, intelligence section, the medical section, motor pool, and have taught a couple classes on combative (just finished one tonight, the soldiers were very interested and very appreciative). There are a couple of Intensive camper troops that have gone to camp over the years, and always wrestlers. Did a chapel with the aviation section tonight, so there is always someone to talk with here. So far Chaplin Morris has had me talk with over 400 troops on all kinds of subjects.
The theme that we mostly talk about is common with most of the sections - how do you stay motivated, how do you get thru the deployment, leadership, (and then there are always questions about wrestling) what makes the Minnesota Wrestling program special, the Olympic games and the terror incident at Munich, what lessons did I learn from Ranger school. The questions change with the group that we are talking with. The medical section stayed around for 15 minutes afterwards to talk about how wrestlers deal with pain
We talk about their perspective and how important it is that they are doing something great for their country and maybe not now but in 10-20 years they will be very proud of what they did.
In so many ways it is the same thing that many others did 40 years ago in VN. Probably the same thing that soldiers have been doing for thousands of years, leaving their homes, their families, missing the little things back home and of course looking forward to coming home. They are a great and courageous bunch of people and it makes one proud of the job they do for all of us.
Tomorrow we head out on the choppers (I have to wear a helmet and body armor while in the chopper) and visit another fire-base where I heard our 50 Red Bull soldiers are surrounded by 800 wild and crazy Wisconsin National Guard troopers on their post. It is suppose to be like the Alamo for the Minnesota Guard, they are surrounded by those Wisconsin cheese heads. Maybe we will remind them who #4 plays for. . .
Well that does it for the day. Hope all is going well on the home front. There are many great stories that have been shared with me since I have been here and it is great to see the wonderful job that these troopers are doing against a lot of odds.
That's it for the day
More to come from the Salty Dog tomorrow