Oh yeah, I almost forgot. The first night we were in the field, Dan got a concussion. Our company NBC (nuclear, biological, chemical) guy is this… hmm. Ya know, I don’t want to talk bad about the kid, so let me just say that he probably won’t be going to the soldier-of-the-month board anytime soon. Anyways, NBC super trooper had his rifle slung over his back and caught Dan right above the eye with his barrel when he swung around for some reason. Dan blacked out, puked, and did all those concussed things. After getting sent to the rear and examined, he was confined to quarters for three days and will be on profile for the rest of the week, precluding him from participating in any training. This sucks because in addition to Dan being down for the count, my SAW gunner, Peter is a friggin’ sick-call Ranger and always seems to be getting blood work done or having his tonsils looked at or having his snoring looked into or having his excema examined. The day Dan got clobbered, I lectured my guys on “The Aura”, the dark force that causes soldiers to get injured. My squad is having aura problems these days. Oh yeah, one more thing. The new guy in our squad, Cola, is going through the classic situation where his live-in joint-checking-account-having girlfriend decided to change all the locks on their apartment and drain his bank accounts. Cola won’t be part of this exercise either so he can try to sort out the mess this financial succubus has made for him.

In three hours it will be 3am and I’ll be waking up to start this operation. Rather than try to be witty about the monotony that is Army life, let’s get to the part where I bore you with personal photos.

Me at Bastogne, er, I mean at Fort Drum

Shameless close-up to make the mom happy– the pain in my toes apparent on my face

Frigid but beautiful

All hail BOB! (big orange ball, a.k.a. The Sun)

Firing machine guns from atop Humvees

This is how you warm your feet when they get frost nip– the medics make you put them on some innocent bystander’s bare belly. (This is Akintade.)

Me and Willy performing synchronized bowel movements– we’d get up but we’re both frozen to the toilet seats

The biggest sleep-over ever– This is the moment where everyone is stripping down and getting into their sleeping bags and it becomes painfully apparent that no one has bathed in a week due to the symphony of body odors that crescendos as each soldier hops in his sack

Ray’s family– Melissa is now a sandy blonde and Socky is sporting his knit wool cap

Willy celebrates every moment, even the ones filled with freezing pain