I’m sure if you’ve spent more than a minute in the Army you’ve heard the saying, “If it’s not raining, we’re not training.”
With the wonderful weather we’ve been having here in Central Texas lately, I’m starting to wonder if any training is getting done at all.
I mean, what kind of training can you do with no obstacles to overcome, such as enough mud to bury a light/medium tactical vehicle up to the doors?
I’m joking of course, because training the world’s finest soldiers never stops. But I must say, I really find it difficult to come up with a time I was out in the field and the weather was actually nice and clear.
Maybe it’s selective memory. Maybe it’s just that nice, sunny days with temperatures in the upper 60s don’t stand out enough to remember. But for the life of me, it seems that every time I went into the field it was either raining, snowing, cold, miserable, windy or so hot you could cook a meal on the hood of your vehicle.
The worst times were preparing for deployments to really hot places, such as southern Iraq or Djibouti.
It’s no wonder my thoughts get scrambled at times — my brain was slowly being roasted inside my helmet while I was deployed.
Yet in order to prepare for the 120-plus temperatures, we went to places like Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington. In the dead of winter. With wind-chill temperatures in the single digits or the negatives.
I get that we have to learn to fight in any climate — it makes us an effective fighting force no matter where we end up to defend freedom. But seriously?
If it ever snows in Djibouti, or anywhere in the Horn of Africa, then we’d be looking at a global weather event because the magnetic poles decided to migrate about 5,000 miles.
Yuma Proving Grounds in Arizona would probably have been a better place to acclimatize to those temperatures prior to deployment.
We are supposed to have wind gusts up to 25 mph, though, so maybe it would be a good day to head to the rifle range and practice wind adjustments. Or refine ‘Kentucky windage’ capabilities.
Better yet, pile on the full combat load, strap on that 80-pound pack, grab the M2 .50-caliber machine guns and go for a nice, 36-mile stroll. Wait — last time I did that, it was raining cats and dogs in North Carolina, my poncho was covering my M2 upper-receiver group and I was wading through water up to my chest.
Whatever you decide to do, try to at least remember it. It’s not often you’ll get a training day this nice.
David A. Bryant is an Army retiree and the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. You can reach him at email@example.com or 254-501-7554.