Sunday, July 23, 2006

Adventures in Sleep Deprivation

I'm back from New Jersey. Was it everything I hoped it would be? Only if I were hoping for a hellish week full of senseless military BS, crippling heat, and a filthy, stinky body. But did I still kinda enjoy it? Maybe a little bit.

Phillies Stadium
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
It all began last Saturday when we flew from SLC to Philadelphia. We had to wait in the USO in the Philly airport for a ride to Fort Dix, and by the time we got there, it was pretty late. We checked into billeting for the night and tried to get some sleep, because we knew the next week would be hella busy.


Awaiting Departure
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
Sunday was full of deployment briefings and equipment issue. We received M-16s and MILES gear. That afternoon, we were bussed to Lakehurst Air Engineering Station, where the whole exercise was being held. Unfortunately, when we got on base, they weren't ready for us, so we sat on the tarmac and waited...


Wasting Time
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
...and waited...


Baking
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
...and waited. The heat was amplified by the asphalt, and I was losing my patience. It was already dark by the time we finally got to the play area. And as soon as we got there, I was placed on guard duty. Guard duty is amazingly boring, and pulling it at night is even worse. I sat on post from 1 AM to 8 AM.


Building a Bare Base
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
After getting relieved, I found a random cot and tried to get some sleep, but by 10 AM, it was already sweltering, and sleep was just not going to happen. So I found the rest of the Utilities guys, and helped them set up our shower/shave tent.


Hard Work
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
I know it looks like we're just sitting around, but honestly, we worked really hard. Doing all that physical labour while wearing all our gear in such heat and humidity was gruelling, and if we didn't take regular breaks, someone was going to fall out.


Alaskan Shelters
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
The rest of the day consisted of putting up tents.


Building Up
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
And more tents.


Working Hard
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
And more tents.


Sundown
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
And still more tents. The Commander wanted to get everyone bedded down that night. And even after we had enough tents for everyone, we continued to put up tents. I was working on a crew with my friend Nick, who is a structures guy, and therefore, in charge of putting up tents. He asked for help putting up a California Shelter, which is just like all the other tents, except much bigger. Our deadline was to have it up by 5 AM so Services could use it to serve breakfast the next morning. We made it, but just barely.


Me
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
After working from 10 AM Monday until 5 AM Tuesday, I was pretty wasted. I grabbed all my bags and went to my tent, but still ended up sleeping outside. I was woken up at 8 AM and told I had to pull security duty again.


From Post 5
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
As I mentioned, security duty is amazingly boring, but it's not exactly physically demanding. You just sit and watch. And sit. And watch. They always post two people, so at least I had someone to keep me awake. I was relieved at 6 PM, so I went back to the Utilities guys to see what was up.


Stephanie
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
Here's Stephanie looking all bad-ass, which is misleading because she's a total sweetie. She's one of my favourite people to work with. I was a little disappointed to hear she won't be going with us to the desert this fall.


Doug
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.



Gabe Snoozing
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
Again, I promise you we worked really hard. Really.


Brad & Chris
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
Probably the most exciting thing that happened all week was Tuesday night when a big thunderstorm blew in surprisingly fast. It was all lightning and rainy and windy and everyone started freaking out.


Guy & Nick
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
We were loaded into the back of dueces and transported to a big aircraft hangar until things blew over.


Taking Shelter
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.



Nick & Wendy
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.



Kyle & Neil
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
We weren't sure how long the storm would last, so we all grabbed cots and started laying down. We only ended up staying for about two hours. We returned to camp expecting to see tents laying all over the place, but it wasn't that bad. We stayed up until about 3 AM tightening ropes and tugging on canvas, but overall, things were in pretty good shape. After that, I decided it was time for me to finally take a shower. Field showers are pretty useless, but it felt nice to wash away at least the outter layer of filth.


From Post 2
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
After getting a nice four hours of sleep, I had to pull security yet again.


Bark
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
I got bored, so I started experimenting different angles with my camera.


Blur
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
I can't decide which one I like better.
I ended up staying on post until midnight. Since we don't have them in Utah, I'd forgotten how annoying mosquitoes are.


Adrian & Amber
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
We got up at 6 AM, and were told the exercise had ENDEXed. You can't imagine how happy we all were. All day Thursday consisted of tearing down camp and reconstituting all our equipment.


Me & Scott
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.



Tasha & Stephanie
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.



Tear Down
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
Tear down took most of the day. After that, we all just chilled out. We had to stay in camp Thursday night. Most people were leaving on Friday, but a select few of us were stuck there until Saturday. We got shipped back to Fort Dix and stayed in billeting.


Kelly's Pub
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
Some of us that were stuck overnight wandered out the main gate of Fort Dix to a nice little place called Kelly's Pub. After such a long week, I can't begin to describe how good a cold beer tastes. Plus, there's a local brew in the area called Yuengling, which is one of the best lagers I've ever had.


Playing Pool
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
There was a group of about twenty of us, and we had a great time drinking and playing pool.


Drinking at Kelly's
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.



D-Runk
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.



Ox & Nick
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
Did I mention we had a lot to drink?


Lt White
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.



Ox & Me
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.



Walking Home
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
I'm not sure how late we stayed, but we walked back to billeting in time to get about an hour of sleep, shower, and meet the airport bus at 2:30 AM. I arrived home early yesterday afternoon, and it was great to be back in a nice, dry environment. I just hope I never have to go that long without a shower ever again.

3 comments:

Mike said...

I like the first bark photo better.

And going to an aircraft hangar for a thunderstorm - that's cheating! :)

The thunderstorm was a LOT bigger, and I was at Busch Stadium hiding in the room where they make snow cones.

shelley said...

Dude, get some sleep!

Jess said...

Nice to have you back home.