Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Barracks Rats

The barracks. The army version of college dorms. Possibly more pitiful. I've heard rumor that ours were condemned before we moved in. That they ranked in the top 5 worst barracks in the American military.

Two floors of rooms. Two guys to a room. Not a living area like the air force dudes get, A ROOM. Singular. One open room in which furniture and personal effects are placed. Two latrines per floor. Sharing the same toilets and showers with fifty guys day in and day out. You wear flip flops in the shower. You bring your own toilet paper. You have your own empty fridge to share with your roommate. Your own unused microwave. Some guys bunk their beds. Saves space. Some don't. Either way, when living in the barracks, you have to have that tolerance for bullshit that the army has managed to instill in most members. Some guys hurry and get married just so they can move out.

In my cluttered half of the room, I keep this laptop on most of the time, even when I'm not on it. The TV (rarely used) and Xbox sit nearby. The clothes and clutter and gear, it adds up. All your worldly posessions forced to find a spot in one room. We've all lived in something like this, in one place or another.

When off duty, you're free to do whatever. Change into civilian clothes, and do your thing until the next day. Some guys disappear immediately to hang out with their girlfriends. Some chill and watch movies, play video games, lord knows what else. You find some way to stay occupied. The hours are going to disappear even if you don't.

You can eat at the chow hall, or you can catch a ride with someone who's going out to eat, or you can order a pizza. There's a Rec Center that no one goes to. Everything that place has, I have in my room. You can take a walk out of sheer boredom. If you can find something to do off post, congratulations. For me, its usually a weak attempt at killing time, and otherwise fruitless. All we're really doing is waiting. Existing. The exception being the guys who have families. Army life is really mundane.

I'd rant more if there was more to it, but its seriously that cut and dry.


Breezy said...

I hear ya on that man. When I was in ROTC I spent some time out in Fort Lewis, WA in some WWII barracks. Horrible.

Anyways, those weren't made for hospital living conditions, simply to do the trick.

What post are you on?

TheUsualSuspect said...

I'm on Ft Lewis. There've been some cadets here recently, and today when I was walking back from my Dont Be A Drunken Idiot class, I saw a sign pointing the general direction to an ROTC graduation.

Breezy said...

Yeah, I was at that place before. Good times, I guess. Bleh.

julie anna said...

I think you are in the barracks that my husband's Brigade used to be in before they went to Iraq. Such a lovely place. And my dad was in the old WW II barracks (that Breezy mentioned) for basic before he went to Vietnam. Small world in the Army, huh? I see all the soldiers around here, at the PX, walking around post. You all look like little lost (bored, tired...) puppy dogs and I've often wondered what goes through your minds.

Breezy said...

Yup, same barracks Julie... I heard they were WWII barracks, just confirmed. :)

I often wonder what goes through their minds as well. Being a fresh officer without prior service I've never really been in those shoes before. I see the Soldiers walking around that are at AIT and they really just 'hang out' and don't do much. If they need a ride to the mall or something I'll throw a few in my truck and take 'em and save 'em a few bucks from a taxi. Good guys. I like the Soldiers... My favorite part of the Army so far. :)

PFC Finney said...

Yea i'm currently stationed at Fort Lewis. We are stuck in some dubble wide trailers across from Madigan Hospital right now lol. I think this place is pathetic and my parents want to come visit and i tell them that this post and the way the soldiers have to live is very degrading. The best part is that there moving us from the trailers to some barracks they call new that are located accross the street . Yea well there so not new they look absolutly disgusting and and make me wish i were married just to get my own place