A photo of the Bradley I was in that got "shot" in the scenario at the National Training Center.

The past 36 hours have by far been some of the best and worst moments in the box. I got to ride in a Black Hawk with the division commander. But then, at my request he left me with one of the maneuver battalions. I only got about three hours of sleep, which was more than the company commander I embedded with. The soldiers of Alpha Company, 1-12 Cav, were great guys and while I enjoyed hanging out with them, it was a rugged, fast-paced lifestyle.

Traveling with Alpha was the first time I’d ridden in a Bradley. It was also the first time I “died” in a Bradley.

During the mission today, which involved about four hours bouncing and bonking my head in the Bradley, we got shot by an anti-tank missile. The ramp opened up and a man looked at me and said, “I’m sorry, ma’am, but you just died.”

Technically, I can’t get killed in the scenario, because I’m not part of the game, so I left behind the notional injuries of my fellow passengers to follow the surviving members of the company onto the buildings they were trying to clear. Even though I knew it was all a scenario, I still found myself wrapped up in the storyline. I covered my purple jacket with a black shirt and did my best to keep up and take photos at the same time.

In the end, they made it to the buildings, but all of the “enemies” inside had already been killed. A notional bomb had been dropped on it right before our eyes. I can’t image why I didn’t see it.

The other downside to embedding with the maneuver battalions is they don’t seem to sit still, and the back of a Bradley is no place for typing or trying to connect to the Internet.

So now I am back at brigade to ensure the paper doesn’t miss a day of NTC coverage.

And there is only one day left! Tomorrow I get pulled out of the box.

First order of business is a hot shower.

The second is a meal not ready to eat. I would like it prepared with fresh ingredients and served indoors with a table and chairs.

Oh the things I have taken for granted.

Contact Rose L. Thayer at rthayer@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.

Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here.

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