This morning was spent doing a 12 mile roadmarch. As I've related, roadmarches are the suckiest of suck. They are the epitome of crap. A roadmarch is like taking needles and stabbing them through your eyelids and setting flame to the ends of them, while being very very bored at the same time.
With that said, it wasn't too bad. You get very used to roadmarches, especially when you're in a mechanized unit that just happens to roadmarch....ALL THE TIME. They drag on quite a bit, but you live.
The ultimate goal of this roadmarch (for some) was to finish within EIB (Expert Infantry Badge) standards, 3 hours. Now, you've got people like me, who do not plan on making a career out of the army, and don't really expect or plan to get their EIB. So naturally, some of us were a little less hard-pressed to finish in that amount of time. We still met the troop standard, so we're good. I congratulate everyone who DID make the 3 hour time limit. I wonder how their feet are doing. Mine aren't pretty.
Ok, long introduction out of the way, there we were, marching before the sun even rose, in the rain and apparently, fall in Washington consists of rain, all the damn time. Each mile seemed to drag on, but after 6 miles, it seemed I no longer had control of my legs, and they were automatically walking for me. The pain in the feet remained the whole time of course.
About halfway through, we came across the Frogs' Trail of Tears. These tiny little frogs littered the road here and there, killed by traffic. Now and then you'd see one darting across the road, apparently not learning his lesson from his comrades. It was at that time that I realized how profound the game Frogger really is. That was their life. Cross road, and die, or else live to cross another day, but ultimately, you as a frog, are fucked. That relates to all of us, I suppose.
Yeah, these are the kind of thoughts you have while roadmarching. Take the strangest most abstract thoughts you've ever had while, I don't know, sitting on the john or something. Now extend that for three and a half hours with quasi-beautiful early morning Washington scenery.
One guy, who I will nickname Jesse, came across a frog whose leg was badly broken. He picked it up and carried it in his hand. I believe this one was named Ribby. Not even an eighth of a mile later, another frog came hopping along the road. Good ol' Jesse scooped it up, and named it Squeak. He ended up collecting five of them, and I named the last three Toby, Brak, and Zorak. Jesse ended up putting the frogs into his canteen (yeah, I know), which had a small amount of water in it. Every fifteen minutes or so, he'd open it to ensure they had air.
Near the nine mile mark, just after one of the medics' temporary aid stations, which was basically a pickup truck, we came across a little Phillipino man named Sergeant L. He was getting an IV, so we decided to be lazy, set our rucksacks down, take our helmets off, and rest for about five minutes. After stepping off, we soon caught back up to him. The way he was standing, turned to face us as Sgt B caught up to him to assist with his IV, amidst the scenery and everything, it all looked like it belonged on the cover of TIME magazine. He had the IV bag strapped to his helmet with the band that kevlar helmets always have over their cover. Unfortunately, it wasn't high enough, as his blood was running out of him, back into the tube. I ended up walking with him for a while, holding the bag up, but after a while the catheter slid out of his vein, and we had to scrap it. I then had to run to catch up with my marching pals.
By then, we were nearly done, and our feet were rather unhappy, and our shoulders were getting fussy, and our backs were spewing complaints. Sgt L hooked me and a friend up with cigarettes, and we marched maybe a quarter mile with our hands cupped to keep our precious carcinogens from getting wet.
That's right, mother nature, not even YOU can save me from the wonderous delights of thick black tar in my lungs!
And now that we're done, I'm going to get cleaned up, take a nap and do a little laundry, become human again, and hopefully get drunk with some college girls. I think I've earned it. Time to cash in on my good karma. Wish me luck.