(Note that the next two posts are back-dated to when I actually wrote them.)
The morning was strangely cold after yesterday’s rain and oppressive heat – surprising, even though we were up at 0330. We cleared the barracks, turned in our linen, signed out, and waited for the baggage truck to arrive. As we waited, A Company of the 111th was also preparing to leave – for Iraq. A few families were there, mostly teary-eyed, though a pair of kids no older than five or six played together, apparently oblivious to the red-faced and blubbering adults surrounding them. Another vignette: a woman from the non-deployed segment of the 111th seeing off her boyfriend, who was going. She wore green and he tan, and though both are soldiers, their paths won’t cross for a long time.
As their buses departed, all of us lined the road in front of the barracks to send them off – not with solemn military bearing but with cheers and waves and thumbs-ups, the enthusiasm no doubt an expression of “kick some ass and we’ll see you over there soon.” So, to A Company, 111th Signal Battalion, best of luck and godspeed.
Then it was our turn – the rest of the 111th waved goodbye to us and it was off to Fort Hood, TX. Mission…SCAVENGER!
Once again, we descended on some abandoned barracks and took control. It was hilarious how quickly everyone swung into action with the scavenging effort – instantaneously people began to produce refrigerators, shelves, chairs, mattresses, and every other piece of potentially useful debris in the barracks complex. Actually, it was kind of inspiring, given the condition of the place; we could’ve just as easily rolled up and said “fuck it” and lived in squalor, but instead everyone pitched in and now, 7 hours later, the barracks are cleaner than they probably have been in years.
Unfortunately, no internet access.
But here we are, our home for the next several months (if they don’t make us move in that period).