Pro Deo Et Patria- An Army Chaplain

I am a chaplain in the US Army, serving in Iraq. I'm keeping a blog to share my thoughts and experiences while deployed. They are my thoughts and they don't necessarily reflect the opinions of the US Army! :)

Sunday, August 21, 2005

A spider story

Next Week will be our capstone field training exercise. This will involve taking a long road march (4-5 miles?) out into the field and setting up our tents, TOC (Tactical Operation Center), and reviewing all that we have learned during a somewhat intense four day and three night period. We will most likely have scenarios in which we must respond to mass casualties, do a memorial service or ceremony, call for a medevac for injured soldiers, perform field worship services, face a mock chemical attack, be prepared for roadside bombs, and so on. It will be a tiring week, but it will most likely be the most exciting and fulfilling of the course.

There is one thing that will challenge me more than anything: the potential presence of spiders in the field. Ok- I’m joking when I say that, but I heard a spider story today that was unnerving. One of my fellow chaplains was unpacking his ruck sack (the metal frame backpacks we use in the field), when out crawled a hand-sized spider, which he killed right away. This took place in his room- here in the building in which I am staying. I guess it means that I will have to be vigilant, and check my boots and sleeping bag on a regular basis when we are in the field. I don’t look forward to that.

Tomorrow night we have a recall formation, in the parking lot of the Chaplain School. This has not been the standard practice on recent weekend. Normally, on Sunday evening we just check in with our squad leaders to let them know we are in the area and back from any trips we may have taken over the weekend. Tomorrow, however, they are requiring us to be there in uniform, at 1900 (7pm) for an in-person formation.

I have a theory: they might change the schedule on us to put us under realistic pressure. I doubt that is the case, but it is a theory that I have at least entertained. We shall see. According to the schedule, we head out to the field on Tuesday, early in the morning, but it wouldn’t shock me if they changed it and actually sent us out Monday in the morning. I guess I’ll just be ready either way.


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