A Break and a Change
Today was a maintenance stand down day, so most of us did not have to report for work. Instead we slept in, got some exercise and by mid-afternoon were able to take in some sun sitting in folding chairs and laugh together. Our overall stress level dropped by at least a factor of ten, at least until we got unexpected news late in the day.
As soldiers, deployed, it's almost impossible to get away from work. Even when we are officially released for the day, we return to our tents and hang out with the same people we worked with all day. Imagine having to live with that annoying co-worker (and I'll admit I'm that guy for some of the soldiers here) after you have just spent all day with them at the office. Now, throw on top of that the whole idea of hostile fire.
With the whole day off, though, we got a chance to breath, or rather to catch our breath after a month and a half of working, working, working. Many of us didn't leave our tents all morning. Then, by 1500, we relaxed outside by throwing the football and some horseshoes, shooting the breeze and trying our best not to talk about work.
Our lieutenants showed up with a couple of cases of "near beer" (nonalcoholic). We iced it and drank up, talking about the days back in the U.S. Tasting and smelling the beer, while enjoying the sunny warm spring day gave me the chance to think about all of my friends at home and get away, even if it was for only moments and only in my head, to get away from here.
Then, the lieutenant gathered us around and gave us the news that we will be leaving Al Asad.
-- Written 4/1/2006
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