JAG-ged Edge
Trial Defense Services (TDS) Deployed
By: Andrew Efaw

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Monday, 15-Nov-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
12 Hours of More of the Same

11/15/04: Today was the Mob brief at the Post theater, starting at 0700. They have you sign in and give you your smallpox deferment questionnaire there. If you don?t have the smallpox paperwork, allegedly you have to do the whole brief and the SRC (Soldier Readiness Center) over. It was about 28 degrees this morning and the theater?s heat was out. They finally got the ?heat? on about ? way through the morning but the heat was not hot. Instead it just added a wind chill to the air. At one point, it got so cold that they moved us outside so at least we?d have the benefit of the sun. I worked on CGSC during the briefs. In the afternoon session, the Bragg PAO NCOIC spoke. She was very good and had a lot of really funny stories about soldiers and the press. I got a call shortly into the p.m. session that my weapon had arrived. Apparently is got hear on Friday, but was ?lost? in the mail system. The Berretta was in huge cardboard box of Styrofoam ?popcorn.? It was broken and down and scattered throughout the box. It was like bobbing for apples. I took it to the Arms Room, which is housed in an old refitted WWI stable. It appears to be run by a combination of idiots and thugs.

Saturday, 13-Nov-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark

11/13/04: This morning I got up bright and early and hooked back up with the 818th to go through the gas chamber. They have been very cool and have sort of adopted me. I went M9 PMI with them last night. My mask and weapon have not arrived yet, so today they let me borrow one. I went out with LT Warner who happens to be from Charleston, WV. The chamber was one of the block buildings with a sand floor and skylights. As we stood in line, he gave a down and dirty on how to use these masks bec. I have never used these newer ones. With these you have to do a filter exchange with a buddy in the gas tent. Anyway we went in and the gas was thick. I could feel it in my throat as soon as we went in. First they made us run laps, then we had to do side straddle hop and then low crawl through the sand. After that we had to do the filter exchange. To do this you have unscrew the filter from the front of your mask. When the filter is off, you are exposed to the gas so you have to hold your breath. Then you take your filter and screw it into your buddy?s mask and vice versa?all the while not breathing. Someone next to me dropped their buddies filter and it wasn?t a pretty sight. I can only imagine the stress in a real situation. After the mask exchange, we lined up. I ended up near the center of the room right beside the can where the CS gas was burning. Then they made us take our masks off. I tried to get big breath and close my eyes but ended up breathing some anyway and had to open my eyes to get out. You immediately start coughing, your nose runs, your eyes burn and skin itches. Later, when I got in the case, the CS on uniform started burning me again. Monday, I set to go to the 12 hour Mob? brief. Hopefully, my weapon and mask will arrive by then too.

Friday, 12-Nov-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
PVT Ryan Meets the Swamp Thing at the Blair Witch Project

11/12/04: Did land nav today. I was supposed to hook up with elements of the 818th Maint. Co. from Fort Meade Md. But they failed to show, so I did course by myself in the pouring rain. It was like Buckner all over again. I felt like a real soldier for the first time since I got here. I think this is first time I have had to do a course by myself and with a pace count since I was in FAOBC. Units are sending their people through in groups and some with GPS. I had a GPS but wanted to do it the old school way. A member of the cadre had supplied me with a copy of the answers so I knew I would pass one way or another. The first point was pretty difficult bec. I lost my pace count and was redeveloping my compass skills. I got the next four without a problem. I went back to the 818th and got the scorecard to do night landnav. Again, I went out completely by myself. In the background there was automatic fire from the machine gun ranges nearby. It got very dark very fast and the rain was coming down in buckets and I got lost. I finally just shot a straight azimuth to take myself back to the road. A big tree branch broke and fell in front of me. That scared me and I started moving faster and somehow I got stuck in the middle of swamp. All around me were vines and underbrush and moonlight glinting off water. I took big leap in one direction that I thought would be solid ground and was knee deep and muck. It was kind of like being trapped in B movie, Private Ryan Meets the Swamp Thing at the Blair Witch Project.

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