For the last week I have been splitting my time between resuming my duties as Sergeant Tool Bitch in Echo Company (issuing high value tools from a central tool area) and writing brief vignettes about some of the soldiers in the battalion. Since the higher headquarters (brigade) wants photos also, they gave me a motor-drive NIKON SLR camera with an 18 to 200mm telephoto lens to do take pictures. I don't know much about current camera, but one of my buddies who saw the camera said it costs $3500 new and is "Awesome."
In the course of these brief interviews I have learned a lot more about the soldiers in Echo Company and as I move to other companies, about their soldiers. One of the helicopter mechanics I spoke with got fishing gear shipped from the states. One his day off, he fishes on one of the two ponds on Water Street where the water storage and water treatment plants are located. So far he has caught a catfish more than three feet long. He threw it back but it is strange to think someone is fishing in this dust bowl.
Returning to the chicken shit theme from earlier this week, I took off my Livestrong bracelet yesterday. The directive I spoke about does not allow cancer survivor bracelets, only MIA and KIA bracelets. I have worn that yellow polymer bracelet since 2001. Actually the original one broke in 2003 but the current one, though thin, is still in one circular piece and in a drawer until we go to a less chicken shit command. Although I will be putting it back on in a week if Lance wins his eighth tour. Just for the day.
A first sergeant in one of the communications units who is on his sixth deployment including the Gulf War was talking about how the uniform is the way we show we are soldiers. By complying with the current uniform SOP we show that we are ready to do whatever is necessary when the time comes. He is also taking an on-line college course in writing and is one of the few senior NCOs I have met who really wants to learn to write. He is not taking the course just to meet a requirement for his next promotion.