This week so far has been relatively easy. Six mile roadmarch to a rifle range, burn off some rounds, roadmarch back the whole mile or two back to the barracks (odd route taken on the way there). Later that afternoon we were called back to go zero and qualify with our M4s, and came back again at dusk to wait for nightfall to do the night qualification. Pretty simple stuff, but roadmarches always suck, I don't care what anyone says. I can think of more fun ways to spend my time. The idea is to build us back up for an upcoming 25 mile roadmarch....CANCELED.
"Well Mr. UsualSuspect, why is it canceled?"
I'd be happy to answer that. We've just been alerted that we're being deployed to fight forest fires somewhere. We're already working on the whole preparation thing, and the next few days are going to be crazy, and altogether lame, a wonderful blend of nearly every flavor of suck.
-2 Hour break for Formation etc-
Tonight is my last night of extra duty, and in theory, I'm done now. We'll see. Passed up the opportunity to go chill at a friend's house off post (and possibly meet some air force girls that live next door) because I'd rather not screw up on my last night of restriction.
As far as the Captain Planet mission goes, I don't even know how much I should divulge (of my vastly limited "knowledge", to use the term boldly), seeing as an OPSEC violation would look great on my record. Apparently some talk about this was on Good Morning America this morning, or some equally mind numbing TV show whose sole purpose is to more or less take black paint and slop it over the collective "third eye" of the American people, spoonfeeding us more idiocy, junk food advertisements, and commercials of depression/anxiety/obesity/STD/and-or aging cures featuring unknown actors displaying their fresh and happy new outlook on life while they swing on a tire from a tree on some magic hilltop of impeccably green grass and brilliant flowers, while someone taps away on a piano or accoustic guitar. In fact, rumor has it that our orders are sitting on Mr. Rumsfeld's desk, waiting to be signed. In any case, its potentially high profile, and the possibility of camera crews was mentioned. Don't worry, you won't see me. This skinny would-be soldier will be more apt to hang out of official sight while not working, talking shit with friends and joking about the prospect of re-enlistment.
But still, the location won't be mentioned by me. Covering my ass atleast that far. Probably wouldn't matter anyway, seeing as this page isn't too popular. A blessing actually.
We've got to do paperwork naturally. All the Hurry Up and Wait you hear about any time you google the word "army". Next of Kin information. Not to mention new equipment issue. Training. God knows what else. They asked who all was airborne qualified, probably for smoke jumping operations or something. I remember friends of mine back home, during the elusive golden years of high school, who mentioned the prospect of being a (civilian) smoke jumper, because they make great money, etc etc etc. And then they passed the bong. Last I checked, the dudes still aren't jumping into any infernos, but it sounds like a shitty job to me anyway. Hell, I didn't make it to airborne school, so its not on my plate.
I'm not sure what to expect either. Seems every time I write about what I'm expecting something to be like, its either completely wrong, or a vast understatement. Not to mention pitifully corny. But when has that stopped me before?
I figure, we won't be receiving hazard pay or anything like that. In fact, I'm expecting NORMAL pay. I have no idea what the living conditions are going to be like. So I'll expect third world camps, M.A.S.H. type set-up. I'm expecting my e-tool (cute little fold out army shovel) to be on the packing list. I'm quite sure I'm not wrong on that front. All in all, who knows, we'll see when we get there. I doubt I'll be able to post. Maybe I'll try writing letters and sending them to Jen to let her post them. Or maybe I won't be able to. We'll see.
"Ok dude, enough rambling. Give us your feelings on this so we can go back to watching American Idol."
Of course I won't leave this precious gem out of my rant. I guess I have mixed feelings. Selfish Suspect says the hell with this. I paid an asston of money for tickets and parking to go see Tool at the end of this month, a band I've never had the chance to see live, and values said experience equally to female interaction. The tickets'll be going to ebay. Oh, not to mention the fact that my family, who I wasn't able to see during block leave, is coming through this area and was planning a stop to visit me for a couple days. NOT ANYMORE. Oh, and no I haven't told them yet. What about those air force ladies I was supposed to meet? Who are allegedly quite attractive? Nay, Navalton. What about closing my ASAP case? WRONG! What about hanging out with my cousin for once before she moves? HAHA, NO! Oh, and I'm not the only dude who's getting screwed in a big way over this. Another guy spent a large amount of money for Dave Matthews tickets and was flying a friend over as well. So solly, Cholly. I could go on all night.
"All right, you blubbering bitch. Now give us your forced optimism. My eyes hurt."
This'll be an experience I guess. You know, that whole feel-good humanitarian thing. Imagine how self-righteous I can feel afterwards. Some of you may remember the shitfit I threw when I wasn't able to splash around in Louisianna when the hurricane came through and messed that place up. Well now I can be Mr. Big Helper elsewhere. Smokey the Bear's little assistant.
One of the core army values or whatever that they cram down your throat in basic training is Selfless Service. This is an example. Ignore the fact that I'm making money doing this, and I don't have to live at home and work at Blockbuster, and get free food, and all the other fringe benefits of being another misfit in the biggest and baddest gang on the planet. Help is needed somewhere, and shockingly enough, we get to supply it. I can feel like my enlistment means more than half a shit. Until a branch falls and hits me in the head, inspiring a sequel to "Regarding Henry."
The new recruiting slogan is "A generation of heroes" or something like that. In our case, that may be an exaggeration, but whatever, milk that cash cow.