I’m not sure why the “Sex Rules” are only for leaders. Interestingly, I realized that I framed

It's important to have rules

It’s important to have rules

this image such that it sums up the Army’s current attitude towards sexual relations:

“IS A CRIME” – “NO” – “IT’S SEXUAL ASSAULT” – “CONTACT IS WRONG”

And that’s all I have to say about that.

I’ve settled into a routine here, after the turbulent first week, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t halfway enjoying myself. Our “ACE” (no idea what the acronym means, but it’s a

senior warrant officer assigned to the class as adviser) only interacts with the student class leader, which means that most of the time, we’re free to manage our own affairs. Maybe it says something about the amount of coddling soldiers receive when simply deciding when to get up and when to go to bed qualify as major personal freedoms, but it’s nice to be treated as an adult all the same.

The accommodations are much nicer than over at the NCO academy; it’s downright civilized to have your own fridge and microwave and toaster, and to be able to roll out of bed and go to your own bathroom and not see any other naked men on the way. My room in the on-post hotel is basically a studio apartment (though no stove), and I go to class all week, so it’s kind of a student lifestyle here. In a way, this feels like Army graduate school (though not in terms of academic rigor, at least not for me); Iraq felt like being an undergrad (not basic training or AIT – the experiences are their own things). In a very real sense, Iraq was the college dorm life experience that I never had; I was a commuter student in college, so I never had that during my actual school days.

Apparently the lieutenants living here never left college, as they seem to be treating this place like a dorm. I was awakened at about 0300 Saturday morning by drunken yelling outside my window, followed by pounding footsteps on the floor above me. I know they were 2nd lieutenants and not warrant officers, because all of us crusty warrants have kids and bills to pay and divorces to fund, and so can’t afford the all-night per-diem-fueled benders that the butter-bars can. Also, you kids get off my lawn!

But they are kids – as a relative baby-face myself, it might sound ironic – but some of these young officers might not yet be old enough to drink. Seeing young privates is one thing; you know they’re supposed to look like that. But officers…I guess that in the units I’ve been a part of, the lieutenants had at least a couple years under their belts before showing up (whether by luck or by design), and so I never dealt with the stereotypical new officer. Us new warrants dutifully salute the new lieutenants, and marvel at their youth and naivete after we pass. I’m sure they’re not all clueless naifs, but it doesn’t help when you overhear them saying things like, “Are you wearing your warmsies?” on a cold November morning. Would you like some graham crackers and a nap with your “warmsies”?