Fort Dix, Finally
After a long bus trip that began before sunrise in the drizzle in Richmond, we finally arrived at Fort Dix, N.J. around 14:15 on Friday, Oct. 21. The original plan was to fly up on our Black Hawks, but the weather was too nasty to risk having so many members of the unit on board.
As soon as we arrived, before we were allowed to offload, we were introduced to the active duty Army by getting briefings on Fort Dix policies and contraband amnesty.
The amnesty brief outlined items we were not allowed to have like drugs, including prescriptions not in your name, alcohol, and knives over three inches long. Since pilots are issued survival knives that are least eight inches long by the Army and they're allowed to keep those, the rule against personal knives doesn't seem to make much sense. And it affected the unit the most, since many National Guard soldiers carry utility knives.
After getting the briefings, we were herded off of the buses and into the barracks. We filed down the long, narrow hallway -- standard in older barracks -- and stood in lines to be issued room keys (several soldiers per room) and to be fitted for new body armor. I wonder if the new body armor is a result of last year's controversy?
Next, we herded ourselves to the chow hall for dinner, which was served at 16:30. I am used to 20:00 or so, so it felt early.
When we returned from dinner, the tractor trailers with all of our personal gear had arrived. Normally, in most units, there is one person that grabs his own stuff, runs to their room and starts unpacking while everyone else busts his butt to get all the gear inside.
But this crowd seemed to have bought into the team concept early. I didn't see one person seek out his own gear. Enlisted and officer, we all hauled the baggage into the barracks. Granted, this was only the fourth day of our deployment, but I think it's a sign that the unit's morale is good.
To my knowledge, there have been no instances of soldiers whining and crying and I've been impressed with the willingness and understanding of all in the unit.
Once finished with unloading the personal gear, around 18:00, we assembled for a briefing lead by the Alpha Company Commander, Capt. Heins. (The captain has asked that I not use his first name in this blog.)
Capt. Heins announced the next day's schedule, which included one particularly asinine procedure, and he didn't sugarcoat it. "We are scheduled to turn in our brand new sleeping bags, issued in the last couple of months. Later in the day, we will be issued new ones, of the same type."
The company includes several older Warrant Officers who have what we call "large dispositions," that is, they don't take any bull. When the crusty Warrants heard the sleeping bag instructions, they just laughed.
One CW4 raised his hand and asked CPT Heins if he was serious. The Captain said he wished he could make this stuff up. He then turned the meeting over to 1st Lt. Pridgen, my platoon leader, for our first company briefing about contracting scabbies, and kept us laughing with his descriptions of how the disease was contracted and its symptoms.
The brief ended after that and we were released from duty for the day. Most of us went to our rooms to unpack and get ready for the days ahead.
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: Ron Haley LCDR USNR | October 31, 2005 04:22 AM
Posted by: Daniel | October 31, 2005 09:15 AM
Posted by: Anthony | October 31, 2005 11:37 AM
Posted by: Seth | October 31, 2005 11:52 AM
Posted by: Dwaine | October 31, 2005 12:32 PM
Posted by: Seth | October 31, 2005 12:54 PM
Posted by: d arthur | October 31, 2005 03:56 PM
Posted by: CW3 Gordon Cimoli | October 31, 2005 09:52 PM
Posted by: CW3 Gordon Cimoli | October 31, 2005 09:55 PM
Posted by: John C. | November 1, 2005 02:21 PM
Posted by: Charlie Brown | November 1, 2005 03:52 PM
Posted by: sgt Turner | November 2, 2005 11:34 AM
Posted by: tammy gray | November 3, 2005 02:59 PM
Posted by: Military Brat | November 4, 2005 03:28 AM
Posted by: A Retiree | August 8, 2006 05:55 PM
The comments to this entry are closed.