Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sleep in a Building , Eat in a Tent

For the two months or so we are in stateside training, we are living in three-story concrete buildings more than 600 feet long with four entrances on each side. The two main buildings our unit lives in are side by side and together are almost 1/4-mile long. In front of the buildings is a 100-foot wide paved area with parking near the buildings. On the far side of paved strip, more or less centered between the buildings is a 200-foot-long, 100-foot-wide pair of tents with shipping container-sized enclosures in between. The tents are our dining facility called The Mobilization Cafe.

If you are curious this Web site has photos of the Mob (long O) Cafe, our barracks and other local landmarks.

Each side of the Mob Cafe seats 288 soldiers at tables that seat 16. I'll say more about the food and the service in my next post, but the seating is definitely high school cafeteria with uniforms. Junior officers sit with junior officers, pilots with pilots, fuelers with fuelers, sergeants with sergeants (also junior with junior, senior with senior), enlisted soldiers divide by age and sex, above and below 25 years old. For all the dividing up by age and sex and rank and job, almost no one divides by race. When I first joined in 1972 I was surprised how integrated the military was compared to civilian life. It's even more so now. But if all mechanics of all races sit together and talk shop, they don't generally sit with clerks and fuelers. I don't think that will ever change.

SPQR and America

Senatus Populusque Romanus The Senate and People of Rome Some of the soldiers I served with in Iraq talked about getting an SPQR tat...