"On this crap desert highway / hot wind in my face / Everything smells just like low tide / Garbage all over the place / Up ahead in the distance / A dead donkey eaten by dogs / I swear there's a wire coming out of his butt / leading over behind some logs" -- opening lines to "Hotel Camp Fallujah", sung to the tune of Hotel California
We spent the past couple days doing counter-IED training, where we got to work in small teams during mounted patrols (in a HMMWV) and dismounted patrols (that's a really fancy way to say 'walking').
When I saw the dead animal by the side of the road, I knew to be suspicious...and sure enough, if you look closely at the picture, you'll see the wire leading off into the brush beside the road.
Overall, the training was excellent. Today I had the hair-raising experience of trying to do crowd control in a foreign country (with role players, of course), but not wanting to be too aggressive by even training a gun barrel on the crowd or sending a warning shot into the air (they were blank rounds, in case you're wondering). Of course, one of them detonated a simulated "suicide vest" and everything sort of went from bad to worse, quickly. It was definitely enough to make me second-guess the original *kid gloves* approach.
Finishing that training sort of marks a milestone in this process, because the next couple weeks are going to be more purely staff work. I enjoy the field stuff, and don't really mind the staff stuff, but what has been really taxing lately has been the whole burning-the-candle-at-both-ends deal: The field from 0800-1700, and then never-ending meetings and briefing requirements. I'm about to leave the workstation now, and it's pushing 0100. I'll be back up after a quick battery recharge to start working on briefing slides with other staffers.
I've heard it said many times before that you're supposed to hate the mobilization station...it's all set up that way so that you start wishing you could be deployed overseas. A lot of the people in our unit who have deployed before realize that the daily schedule overseas is actually less stressful and taxing, so I'm hearing the laments all the time now about, "Can't we just get on the plane?"