One lesson I’ve learned from reporting military news is that plans constantly change. Things are no different out here at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La.
While I originally anticipated flying about three miles away to Forward Operating Base Anvil to watch a battalion close down a camp, my flight got pushed back two hours to midnight, then eventually cancelled because of the potential for rain. Instead, I will fly/ride out there this afternoon.
So, I spent the night at Forward Operating Base Sword. After an early morning Thursday, I was excited about the opportunity of getting eight hours of sleep. But, my first night sleeping on a cot in the barracks wasn’t as successful as I'd hoped. After an hour of playing on my phone, I finally fell sleep.
Beep, beep, beep. “Incoming, incoming,” was broadcast over a loud speaker.
“What does that mean? Am I going to have to put normal clothes on and go outside?”
I hadn’t heard that before, so I didn’t know.
But, the other soldiers just chatted quietly, presumably, about how it was nothing.
"All clear," the loud speaker broadcasted.
"Man, that woke me up for nothing,” I thought, as I tried to fall back asleep. But, the night was full of little interruptions from sleep, from the rustling of other soldiers who basically are at arms-length from one another to knocks on the door requesting to speak with certain soldiers. I’m not sure if the disruptions are an every night occurrence for soldiers, but if so, it shows their ability to adapt to whatever situation they’re in and work long, hard days with minimal sleep.
And, what greeted me this morning as I woke up at 7 a.m.?
Beep. Beep. Beep. “Incoming, incoming … All clear.”