I heard on the news this morning that today is the 1-year anniversary of the last military combat brigade coming home from Iraq. Yeah, I had a grump over that a year ago, when I wrote this post, entitled "Last Brigade Home? Can I have a Word, Please?" Feel free to have another look.
I grumble there because of the media/government spin on that event. As the world celebrated, my kid was still in Iraq, with the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team-3ID.
They returned home on September 27, 2010, and 3 months later, in January 2011, he was shipped back to the National Training Center in Fort Irwin in California to began training, again, to deploy to Iraq. With a Combat Brigade.
It was a month-long school, and they returned to Texas for further training, more practice—day practice, and night practice, in-the-hot-sun practice and pouring-rain-until-midnight practice. Five more months they trained and practiced, until their deployment date, in July.
They weren't practicing yard work, people. They weren't practicing cake-baking, or sewing, or changing tires. They were practicing spotting the enemy. Markmanship. Looking for roadside bombs. Staying alert under exhaustion, and keeping an eye out 360 degrees around them. Using equipment and radios and communicating with one another to save each others lives, and their own. They were practicing and training in combat.
There isn't a lot that has me walking around spitting nails, but the spin on this morning's news grates on me. Brian accompanied over 600 soldiers to their flight a few weeks ago, and 600 more the next day. Combat troops, they were. Do we pretend they're not there?!
Rawrf! I just did you a big favor and deleted 4 more paragraphs of ranting. I'll wander off to another like subject instead.
In the end, as I mentioned here before, Brian was granted his 1-year dwell time, and he did not deploy. He is instead going to school after school. He just finished a Warrior Leader Course, and is training now for an Air Assault school in October. Yesterday he had to do a 12-mile ruck march with only 40 lbs of gear on his back. He skipped the advice to wear pantyhose, and here's a photo of his (right, I think) thigh, as a result:
He has a matching left thigh, and today had more physical testing, this time a series of obstacle courses and repelling from towers. He was going to be an uncomfy boy. After my first question ("Can can I blog your thigh?"), I informed him that there's a product called BodyGlide, sort of like a deodorant stick, that is supposed to prevent this chafing. I picked one up at Body 'n Sole today, and popped it in the mail, then sent him this text:
God, my kid makes me laugh. The BodyGlide will be too little too late, but at least he'll have it next time he needs it. And there's always pantyhose.
Oh, wait--ANOTHER thing that grumbles me a little bit, while I'm the subject of my soldier babies. People, this is a trauma bay that looks like most any other trauma bay in Any Hospital, U.S.A.:
And this is one that one of our soldier babies, Jerrica, just posted recently. This is the trauma bay she works in, right now, every day, in Iraq.
Which one would you choose for your loved one to be treated in, if she or he had a traumatic injury?
I understand our troops aren't living in the lap of luxury when they deploy, but I still often panic when I get a clearer sense of what they have to work with.
Sigh. As always, dear reader, if you're interested in sending a care package to a soldier, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.