Sunday, April 30, 2006
This isn't the Hilton
I'm back from our three days of desert training, and figured I'd pop in long enough to post an update about the last few days. The training we went through was some of the best training I think I've ever gone through in the military. I was with a really good group of guys and most of us maintained positive attitudes throughout the whole thing, despite the spartan living conditions. To be honest, I was prepared for much worse, having envisioned sleeping under the stars in a hole I had to dig with my Army-issued trenching tool. What we had were air conditioned tents, although we were packed into them pretty much like sardines. If you didn't know your friends well before this trip, you knew them a lot better afterwards. Our food supply was the famous MRE, an abbreviation for "Meal, Ready-to-Eat". I hadn't ever had one, and I have to say I'm rather impressed at what can be packaged into a box that won't go bad. It comes with its own heater (just add water) and there are several different varieties (somewhere in the 20s) ranging from beef enchilada to meat loaf to chili macaroni to spaghetti and meat sauce. One of the most fun parts about the MRE experience is that although you choose your "main course" by bag number (#3, for example is beef ravioli, my lunch) all your accessories are pretty much random. There's a lot of horse-trading after everyone opens their package. I consistently traded away my peanut butter and bread for the much preferred cheese sauce and crackers. (The jalapeno cheese is a cherished item!) And I gave away my cookies whenever I had a chance to get skittles. All in all, it was a good experience. We kept busy, and that made the time go by faster. And it makes us appreciate our current conditions (16-man tent, but with an actual bed) even more. I certainly didn't take the shower for granted after 3 days (we were a very stinky bunch) and I'm in a long line to do laundry. This will be my last post before I head up north. I don't know when it'll be yet, but you'll know when I post again when I get there.