15 May 2009

Camp Atterbury, Indiana. April 2009

Ssgt Greg Sanchez and I at the always rain-soaked rifle range at Camp Atterbury, Indiana shortly after zeroing our newly issued M4's.

What I remember most about the Midwest is what I liked the least about it; bugs, humidity, an abundance of poison ivy, and weather that changes more frequently than Charlie Sheen's love interests. The Bible says that God promised that he would never again destroy his wondrous handiwork by flood. I'm beginning to think that God has a rather acute sense of nostalgia. Camp Atterbury's weather is more like Seattle than Seattle is like Seattle. Walking across the PT field is more like walking on a giant sponge that cannot possibly hold another drop of water. The rain was almost constant, broken only by an occasional day of sun that would warm things up just enough, to bring out the swarms of gnats like Banzai crazed kamikazes. Atterbury has been a US Army training site for deploying soldiers since 1942. Ironically enough, that's the same year that they apparently stopped doing any improvements on the facilities. Soldiers, however, are experts at invention and adaption, and it wasnt long before our barracks began to look like home.....that is, if your home looks like a post-Katrina trailer park. All manner of personal accoutrements hung from walls and bunks; girlie posters, bath towells, laundry bags, and various pieces of uniforms. It was almost as if someone had projectile vomited digital ACU camouflage in a wide and neverending arc. Specialist Scott Lynch, who we affectionaltely refer to as "Scotty Too Hotty" for his Hollywood good looks and chiseled Spartan physique, insisted on covering every square inch of his living space not with posters of the latest Hooters girls or Playboy centerfolds, but with posters of various boy-bands. Not that Scotty is gay, he just thought that it was funny as hell.

After our arrival at Atterbury in a pouring rain, we quickly got ourselves settled into our barracks. Training for war however, would not begin for several days. First, we had to endure hour after endless hour of in-processing. Visits to medical, dental, vision, and legal had to be taken care of. Wills and powers of attorney, life insurance and financial matters all had to be addressed. Each line seemed longer and more tedious than the one before. Many of us swore that if we had to endure one more fucking briefing on combat stress or suicide prevention that we would rather drink a Reverend Jim Jones Koolaid cocktail than continue on with this torturous existence that was cruelly masquerading as our daily life. A death in combat is a death with honor. Washing ones mouth out with buckshot out of the desperation borne from standing for 6 hours in line, only to be poked and probed by a nurse who looks far less like the naughty nurse of my teenage fantasies and more like the wife of a Russian beet farmer....not so much.

Mercifully, our baneful existence would soon come to pass, and in a few days we would get down to the business of training to do our jobs......
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