27 June 2005

The Deployment Begins

I have left Hawaii and I am TDY en route to Kuwait with a one week stopover in El Paso to attend CRC training, I will highlight the week's events.
CRC Day One:

Well 0400 comes mighty early and even after 10 years of this stuff, it still is quite a shock
to actually get up that early, the mind remembers but the body isn't in the mood to obey. The drive in to the fort was quiet and dark, it finally hit me, I actually did volunteer to go to Iraq for the third time. A quick formation and a short bus ride later and it was breakfast time Army style. Breakfast was the one meal I always enjoyed in the military, french toast, hard boiled eggs, juice, toast and fresh fruit, what's not to like. The portions are of a good size and best of all it's free, again what reason would someone have to complain. It seems hard to believe it was 10 years ago that I was a young E-1 calling out my last 4 of my SSN because the drills couldn't pronounce my last name, and yet here I am I have come full circle back to the beginning and yet not really the beginning. I have been around a little while now, and the young privates and specialists look like kids that should be at prom or on spring break, even the Lieutenants and Captains look so young and eager to do their duty. Robert E. Lee once commented that "it is good war is so horrible, or else men would grow to love it", I have seen the war twice now and upon my return from this trip I expect to hang up my campaign hat and enjoy a nice quiet life far from conflict and bloodshed. A piece of land by the beach, my wife, and my dogs and I would happily never return to war after this trip. Anyway let me get off my soapbox and continue to tell the average non military person what CRC is like.

Breakfast ends and we proceed to the SRP center to get briefing after briefing and reams of paperwork to fill out. After the paperwork we got the preventitive medicine briefing telling us what to eat and what not to eat in theater, as well as what the local flora and fauna wil do to us. During the briefing someone (a green suiter) apparently had a grand mal seizure, the local medical staff responded quickly and it appears he was ok as he was led away on a stretcher. Finally the briefings were over and it was time for some real fun.

Standing in line is an art form the military has taken to the extreme degree. We are always in a hurry to get somewhere to sit down and play an insane version of musical chairs. It appears the chairs are given to make comfort a possibility, but with the constant sitting half standing shuffle from one chair to another, I think this is an idea that needs to be re-thought. So it's a quick medical screening to determine your needs and then off to the shot room. The Army loves to give personnel vaccines whether they actually need them or not. I got off lucky this trip to the sandbox, I only needed three shots as well as a TB test. I closed out oy Hepatitis A and B shots and I am now good for the next 5 years, along with those two Typhoid was on the menu today. The typhoid shot actually burns a little when it goes in, not nearly as bad as anthrax but it is still irritating. Along with those shots I had blood drawn for HIV testing, G6 testing (to see if I am allergic to the current anti-malaria drug) and (add in later). So now that I have about 6 holes in my arms they decide it's time to get my eyes looked at to see if I am blind in a gas mask or not. Apparently the last two times I passed the vision test weren't enough, so we went through it again . Anyway I can apparently see without my glasses so I moved on to the next station, and for the first time today I actually hit a SNAFU. My blood sugar test I got done in Hawaii was processed incorrectly and I now need to go out and get another one. The trick will be to get it done in enough time to meet the deployment needs, as of right this minute I am undeployable until I fix this issue with my blood sugar. The good news is that I have until Saturday as I am not flying with the majority of the other personnel here. My company takes care of our travel and puts us on commercial flights on large carriers. This time I get Lufthansa (German Airline) and if I'm lucky I can use my skymiles to get an upgrade to business class, if not then the bulkhead seat will do just fine.

After the medical section it's on to Administrative issues, such as your Will, Power of Attorney, the Chapain's services, and other assorted bits of paperwork. A long wait to finalize these events and then it's off to First Aid training.

I'll give the Army credit, I went through Basic and AIT 10 years ago, and yet the medical training stayed with me. The first aid training was several blocks of instruction on different types of injuries and how to treat them. Each block of instruction was oncluded with a written test for the first few parts and then we had a hands on Practical exercise on Head injuries, sucking chest wounds and severe extremity wounds. Eeerily enough when it was time to apply the bandages, dressings and tourniquet, I remebered how to do it as if Drill Sgt Thompson was over my shoulder yelling at me. The Army knows how to train people, it's amazing what you remember from the dark recesses of your brain when memory kicks in. Anyway that's all for today, we have completed our training and as of right now we are in hurry up and wait mode, so we can find out when tommorrow's formation will be. Tommorrow looks just as insane, as we have to see the teeth doctors and the CIF people. That's all from Fort Bliss for now.

Caelestis out

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