Wednesday, February 28, 2007

New Stuff

I had several fears when I learned that I would be going to Iraq with a reserve unit, based mostly upon misconceptions formed when I was on Active Duty. Two of the biggest fears I had were that we would be using old, 1980s style equipment and that the unit wouldn’t know its ass from a hole in the ground. The last two weeks have put these fears soundly to bed.

The first few days here were more of the same - paperwork and medical readiness checks. Luckily, I received most of my vaccinations when I deployed to Afghanistan, so I only needed two shots. By the third day, most of my aforementioned fears were assuaged as I had been through equipment and weapon issue and I was ready to start training with my new team.

The weapons and equipment I was issued are all brand new. Never before have I seen a new weapon in the Active Army, let alone the reserves; yet here I am with an M4 carbine rifle and 9mm Berretta pistol right out of the box! My rifle is mounted with a laser sight/scope, and I was also issued body armor (which weighs about 50 lbs), camelbacks, gloves, fleece caps, etc. etc. Five years ago we wouldn’t have received any of these things, so it’s good that the military has figured out some basic needs of Soldiers in combat.

Once I began training time started flying by. While most days are long and tiring (especially since everywhere I go I am in full body armor with my weapons), the training has been pretty fun and realistic. I am no longer with my friends from Ft Jackson and Ft. Lee - we've all been placed into different "teams" that will be doing different jobs in Iraq. I still talk to my friends though – we just aren’t spending as much time together.

The team to which I am now assigned is from one reserve unit and they all know each other well, so the past week of training I've spent alot of time trying to get know them. We've spent hours in a language lab learning Arabic, driven through roads that simulate being in Iraq (i.e. how to react when attacked), learned new hand-to-hand combat techniques, and received classes on various topics dealing with Iraq. I am definitely glad to have this time because it will prepare me even more for situations I haven’t had to face in over 3 years; however, I still wish we were leaving tomorrow to go to Iraq so I can get home sooner! I will be posting pictures of our training in my pictures link so check that soon. Also, thank you to everyone who is reading this, and thanks to all who have left very supportive feedback!

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