As I woke up this morning, the reality that I’ve been wearing the same clothes for two days without a shower is setting in. So is the fact that I’ve spent the entire day yesterday wearing a backpack with all my reporting equipment inside. I feel dirty, dusty and achy.
But there is no way I’m complaining. These soldiers have been out here for nearly two weeks now without showers, many sleeping in tents or Humvees. And because we aren’t living on a secured base, they have to walk around at all times in full gear. They also have to carry their chemical threat gear in a bag that hangs to the side. I’m grateful they don’t make me wear my helmet as well – although it would hide my dirty hair.
Last night we got hot chow for the first time. Even though I had to eat it standing up in the dark and cold, it was very good. A nice change from the MREs I’ve been eating although one I ate yesterday had spiced apples in it, which were my highlight of the morning.
But I’m not here for the accommodations, I’m here for the stories.
I’ve met so many interesting people doing some pretty amazing things for the brigade. A female soldier I met has the goal of going to Ranger School and another woman I met is one of a handful of women to complete Pathfinder School.
I’ll be sending their stories back to Killeen soon. But first, I’m heading out to embed with one of the maneuver battalions to see the battle from the front lines.
Contact Rose L. Thayer at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.