02 February 2010

Why I Love Army Life

Sherpa realizes he hasn't been bringing the funny much recently. Instead, he's been heartfelt and reflective. I cannot allow this to continue.

So, in celebration of being back on "indefinite temporary full-time stateside military duty" as of yesterday, I thought I'd share with you some of My Favorite Things about Army Life:

- You never have to dither over what to wear in the morning.

- There is always coffee. Not necessarily good coffee, but there is coffee. Coffee that you can chew.

- Provided you don't spill coffee on yourself, the daily maintenance of the digital sage-green-and-tan Army Combat Uniform (ACU) is pretty minimal--there's no more spit-shining your boots anymore, or pressing and starching your uniforms. Of course, you do have to wash the ACU in Woolite, but that's weekly maintenance, not daily.

- Gore-Tex desert boots are nice and toasty, if not exactly slip-resistant.

- The Army cattle-prods you into doing regular physical training (PT), but also gives you the time during your duty day in which to do it.

- People are generally friendly, and focused on solving problems, rather than on creating them. I cannot say this of every place I have ever worked.

- You have regular access to the Reserve Component Automation Systems (RCAS, and pronounced "ar-kaz"). This is the computer network that all the full-time National Guard personnel use. Now, when a full-timer says "well, the file is available on the RCAS," you can actually get that file. The Great Firewall of China is nothing compared to how the Army has successfully secured information access away from the traditional "M-day" Joes-at-home. I'll probably expound on that theme later, but for now, let's just say that it's like upgrading from dial-up to cable-modem, access-wise.

- You get to keep a knife or multipurpose tool on your person at all times. And size matters.

- Everyone knows your name, because you're wearing it.


  1. Why I love the blogging life: I meet guys like you, I meet old friends, ky woman & coffeepot, for two, and hope to follow exciting adventures and ridiculous situations. Please try to keep the blog up and out of site of the hyper nervous. Some take theirs private and invite those of us out here to join. You can be more honest that way. I followed Kaboom from the beginning and my youngest son was considering service until they took Capt G off - he saw it as the enemy within and didn't think he could handle it. I didn't think he would either. My other son is in AF - pilot - has been to Afghanistan during his duty. I traveled through Stan in the early '70 - on a bus and hopping from place through the middle - Kabul to Herat. It was quite a trip. It was my first all Moslem country. You better believe I was covered head to toe - not in a Burka but in my own form of covering. It worked - not a hassle from anyone and the women were very friendly and accepted me into their world. Was heart broken at the Russian invasion and the subsequent Taliban take over. These poor people have been through so much being the country people need to get through to get somehere else - such as me on my way to London from India - stories for another time. I am a nurse and wish I was younger. I met a National Guard recruiter and when I told him my age he laughed, shook his head and said no. God be with you on your service and thank you for it. with love - lorraine

  2. @Lorraine: Thanks for the good words. As a longtime blog-reader but relatively new blog-writer, I've been positively gob-smacked when it comes to the immediacy and instant intimacy of this medium. I've been at this for only a couple of days, yet I've already met many new friends and fellow travelers--you, Ky Woman, Coffeypot, Jeff Courter, to name but a few--and it feels like there's an automatic familiarity and trust there. It's heady stuff.

    I'm also in awe of your travels. I've just finished Rory Stewart's "The Places in Between." Have you read it? I plan to review the book more in detail in a later post, and would love to hear your thoughts.

    In case you're a reader, and into what my friends call "personal travel adventure" books: I really connected with Bruce Feiler's "Walking the Bible," having been blessed with the brief opportunity to travel in that region.

    Thanks, by the way, for your family's service. I don't know if your youngest son is still looking for ways to serve, but, if uniformed service doesn't appeal to him, the State Department needs new foreign service officers. And there's always Non-Governmental Organizations for hands-on, help-the-people experiences.

    Finally, please pass my regards and thanks to your pilot. Sherpa's Dad was Air Force, and he's got a soft-spot for blue-suiters.

    I look forward to exchanging more stories in the months to come ...


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