Christmas conversation was good; he enjoyed his gifties from home, which included a hot pot for instant hot water, instant food goodies (cocoa, garlic mashed potatoes, etc), chocolate covered coffee beans, and yes, the outrageous deodorant.
Army Christmas at his camp consisted of a morning football game that he'd rather have skipped due to freezing weather, and turkey and roast beef for dinner, choices they don't normally have.
Apparently I wasn't the only Mom to send "Listerine" in Listerine bottles for Christmas; he told me that several of the guys in his company received Christmas "spirits" and that they managed to come together and have a bit of a party. "There was a lot of laughter," he told me. That made me smile, it makes me smile as I write this.
In other news, it's cold there now, and they're asking for space heaters. They can see their breath in the tent they sleep in at night. We've sent 2 off, along with those instant hand and foot warmers that you slip into gloves and socks, that last 12 hours or so. Gloves and socks and stocking caps are on their way.
And people, Our Boys are working too hard over there.
When I say "too hard," I mean 20 hours on, 4 hours of sleep, followed by 20 hours on again, for days. He talked about being so exhausted that they had to pull over and sleep on the road to make it home, one day last week.
Image borrowed from wrair-www.army.milWhen they returned, they were told they couldn't go to bed; instead, they had to stand in formation and wait for a visit from General George Casey, Army Chief of Staff.
45 minutes, they had to stand, and then they had to stand through his 2-hour speech, and through a Q&A after.
I'd like to don army boots, grab a rolling pin, and head over there to klunk some heads together.
Dear General Casey,
Hey, Just One Mom here. My Sons had slept 16 hours of the last 96, the day that you came to visit them. Have you ever heard of a little thing called "sleep deprivation?!!" Here are just a few symptoms, listed on Wikipedia:
Don't you poo-poo me, either, George. I know they're big, brawny soldiers, trained to endure a lot of conditions that we mere civilians can't imagine. But these guys are loopy from exhaustion, and if you don't mind, George, I'd like them to be perky and alert, from now on, as they scour dirt roads in front of them, trying to avoid running over one of these:
- blurred vision
- clinical depression
- decreased mental activity and concentration
- weakened immune system
Yeah, 2 teensy little copper wires. If they run over that archaic, but still effective scotched-taped section...well, as you probably know, the roadside bomb goes off.
I'd hate to think that there injuries, or worse, that could have been prevented by a freakin' nap.
And, since, these are the guys that ride in front of your convoy, General, to make sure that you don't get hit, you should take good, good care of them.
So. The next time you head over to visit my boys, I want you to get out of your stupid humvee or your helicopter, or whatever it is, with little sleepy mats and cartons of milk. You go and figure out which of those guys haven't slept since the day before yesterday, and you send those that want to back to bed, promising them transcripts of the speech you're getting ready to give.
That's right. They are all this Mama's boy.*
Don't you roll your eyes at me, either, or you won't get any spaghetti.Love,