Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

I have a lot of memories of Thanksgivings at my Grandparent's place in Vermont, but they all seem to mesh together. Same relatives, same discussions (okay, okay arguments) and the same dinner every year. God I miss those days.

BUT, the most memorable Thanksgiving I had was in 2003. I was in Iraq with my platoon and we were out guarding a radio tower that was pretty remote. We were out there for a week, which had its' bad and good points.

Bad Points:
- Hot food only came out once a day (if we were lucky with the supply convoy).

- It was GUARD DUTY, which meant our primary focus was long hours of boredom.

- Support was at best 20 minutes away.

Good Points:
- Had Internet access. This at a time when the home base was just getting wired and the computers had a mile long waiting list; and we'd gone months without phones, let alone email. There were 3 computers and we each rotated through them during the night to chat (Instant Message) with our friends and family back home (a rare treat!).

- Had AC and Heat in the rooms we were staying in. At the time, the base was still fairly open and there was no good way to heat/cool the individual rooms. This was largely the result of the place being stripped by the local populace before we showed up. And I mean STRIPPED. Even windows and sinks were removed from their fittings (so, you could say they even took the kitchen sink. Hey, my blog, my choice!). AC/Heat was a luxury to a bunch of tankers who lived in building shells or on vehicles for the last 8 months.

- We were 20 minutes away from the command structure. This meant we could basically run our own show. We even had about a 2 mile line of sight, so command couldn't sneak up on us for a surprise visit.

Why was this one memorable (aside from the whole, being in Iraq thing)? Because each of my soldiers got to IM with someone back home, and the convoy arrived with still warm food for our Thanksgiving Dinner (something I was willing to bet we weren't going to get at all, based on the track record). Plates were run out to the guard points and the rest of us got to enjoy a warm meal with people whom were brothers (not by blood, but by fire).

The best thing of all... NOTHING HAPPENED during our time out at the guard point (well, except for the company 1SGT collapsing a bunk under his own weight while shoveling down his turkey dinner. That's funny, I don't care who you are). When you go a week without bullets or bombs in Iraq, you are thankful.

It's a great memory I still hold to, and I just wanted to say to anyone reading this Happy Thanksgiving. To any veterans that might be reading this, THANK YOU. And to anybody still in the service (or over there right now) keep your head down, and come home safe.

(I'm the blonde on the right hand side, middle)

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