Well, we are in Kuwait. Camp Virginia, to be precise, a transient camp not unlike Camp Buehring, where we spent a few days before heading to Iraq last year. Back to tent living. It's not too bad. I have my inflatable sleeping pad for my bad back, which makes the cot tolerable. We are crammed in pretty close together, which brings with it certain frustrations. Alarms, for one thing. People set alarms on their iPhone things or alarm clocks or whatever at weird odd middle of the night hours, then sleep through the ringing/beeping/foghorn sounds, which prompts me or some other light sleeper to stumble over to their cot, kick it and hiss, "Turn off your fucking alarm, asshole."
Other than that it's a joy. Except not really. It is hot. I mean hot, hot. Iraq was hot, no doubt, but this is some sort of special heat. It's up in the 120s to 130s and does not cool down at night. It's like there is a fan blasting super heated air on you wherever you go. It's miserable and makes one not spend any more time then necessary out of doors.
Yesterday we, or the majority of us, spent four hours sitting through a Combat Lifesaver recertification sourse. Let me explain a bit. Back in the very early 90's, the Army started a program called Combat Lifesaver (CLS). It was designed to give front line soldiers the skills to keep battlefield casualties alive if the medic was otherwise busy. It focused on the basics, airway, breathing and controlling blood loss. It was a week or maybe even two weeks long, if I recall. The grand finale was you got to stick your buddy with an IV. It was set up to give one soldier per squad these extra skills, and was appropriately difficult for the subject matter.
Fast forward to today, and CLS has become pretty much mandatory for all soldiers, especially those deploying. I've been through it maybe five or six times. Like any training that the Army decides everyone will go through, CLS has become a watered down shadow of its former self. Now I think it is like three days long. Some of that is due to natural training evolution, for example, the IV requirement has been deemed unnecessary and dropped from the course. The recertification, that we went through yesterday, is four house of lecture (Death by Powerpoint) and practical excercise. I wouldn't call it a complete waste of time, but...we are headed out of the combat zone.
This place has the usual Army amenities. A PX, USO, MWR, Starbucks, Pizza Inn, McDonalds, like that. I'm sitting in the Starbucks right now, in fact, typing this out with two fingers. It's even hot in here. But it could always be worse. We could still be in Iraq. Although Graywarz and I agreed that having to do a year here would be much much worse than Iraq.
Speaking of that, our flight has been pushed back twice. We were originally scheduled to fly out tonight, but yesterday we were told it was pushed to the right 24 hours, and I just was told it was pushed right a further 12 hours, which I guess means we are now set to fly sometime Friday morning. Maybe. I have no clue when that gets us home. And of course that time is subject to change.
I just spent the last three hours, literally three freaking hours, uploading a mess of pictures from our time in Iraq. I painstakingly went through and edited out all name tapes, access badges and the like, then went through and arranged them in chronological and subject matter order, then loaded them. It took three hours because the connection here is slow. And after all that, inexplicably, they didn't load. So no pictures for you. Sorry.
So that's what's up with me. Standing by to stand by.