This has been a busy, boring week. I have spent a lot of time doing mundane stuff that must be done but still turns the mind to mush. Inventories, evaluations, and a lot of correspondence about a lot of stuff that is necessary but not very exciting. The dirty little secret of war is that these things don’t stop, as much as I wish they would. We are starting to plan for our redeployment, still 4 months away, but, like Christmas shopping, you can’t start too early.
The saving grace of the last week has been the temperature. We are starting to see perceptible dips, at last. Now I never in my life thought that I would be calling highs of 115 cooling off, but amazingly enough that is the case. It has been getting down into the low 70’s at night, and staying below 100 until late in the morning. Just a couple of weeks ago it would start at about 98 in the morning and head up into the mid 120’s by 11:00, and stay there until sundown. Hopefully in a few weeks the temperature will be bearable around the clock, and we can start to open windows, and get some of the summer funk out of our rooms. In Minnesota, we look forward to spring so we can throw open the windows and get some fresh air after a long winter, after surviving in heated spaces for 5 or 6 months. Here, the cycle is reversed, and autumn gives us the chance to air out rooms that have had air conditioners running non stop, not staying ahead of the drying sweat smell in the rooms. After 6 months of sweaty socks, boots, and t-shirts, my room REALLY needs to air out. Gold Bond can only do so much.
When I think back over past deployments, there is always some environmental factor that stands out, some unpleasant memory that defines that particular place. When I was on the USS John F. Kennedy, it was the constant noise, hum, and motion of the ship. In the Balkans, it was the mud. And here, it’s going to be the heat, the pain of inhaling mouthfuls of dust and fire, and feeling the water leave your body faster than you can replace it. I believe in what I am doing here, but I will not miss this place.
I thought I would throw in a few links to some great posts I read this week. I have decided that this essay in particular, Tribes, needs to be read by everyone. Bill Whittle is a genius. Read it, and then take a moment to define yourself. I have decided that after 22 years of military service and 9 years working as a corrections officer, I have probably earned the right to call myself a sheepdog. I am somewhat at peace with the fact that even if the sheep do not want saving, and may curse being saved, save them I will, because it is my nature. I know the wolf when I see it.
Ben Stein does a great job of stating the obvious here.
Here is a great timeline of Katrina and the aftermath, and here is a nice “grey” look at the math.
For those who toss around the “chickenhawk” label.