Vote Republican. Cling to your God and Guns.

17 September 2006

"Wake Up, This Is An Alert!!!"

During the Cold War, the mission of the Second Armored Cavalry Regiment was to patrol 671 kilometers of the border between West Germany and East Germany and Czechoslovakia (the 11th ACR patrolled north of us, only their sector covered only East Germany, along the Fulda Gap). There was always a presence of at least a Cavalry troop at one of the Border Camps situated along the border, in case something bad happened.

As such, the Regiment had a very high operational tempo, and we were always doing training or patrol missions, 7 days a week. Additionally, we also had exercises to keep us ready. These exercises, called "Alerts", tested us to make sure that we were ready to deploy and defend against Communism *spit* at all times.

If the war ever happened, my unit was supposed to be completely out of our base within 90 minutes, every last person and piece of equipment. That is not a long time. As such, all of our equipment was always loaded as if we were going to war.

This story is about such an exercise.

I am asleep in my bed, and all is well.

All of a sudden, I hear a banging on my door, and someone is screaming at the top of his lungs, "ALERT! ALERT! EVERYBODY GET UP! THIS IS AN ALERT!"

I looked at my watch. It was precisely 0302 hours.

My roommate, Johnny D, immediately got up and turned on the lights and put his uniform on.

Perplexed, I asked him what was going on. He explained to me that this was a go to war exercise, and we had to get our gear together and go to our platoon area.

I said to Johnny D, "Ummm, Johnny, I got here YESTERDAY!!! I have no gear!!!"

"Relax, we'll just get you to see Top (the First Sergeant), and see what happens. If you're lucky, we won't be going out to the field."

"Great," says I.

So I get my uniform on and go with Johnny D to the platoon area. I meet my Platoon Sergeant, Staff Sergeant Sargent (I am not making this up). He looks and me and Lance, who is more confused than I am at his point, and he takes us to go see the First Sergeant, who is outside somewhere making sure that all our vehicles are lined up and ready to leave the base, if so ordered.

I look around the airfield. It is a mass of controlled chaos, if that is a proper phrase. All the troops were moving and lining their trucks up, helicopters are running and warming up and soldiers are moving everything around in a rushed but organized manner. Everyone I see is armed with their weapons and in full "Battle Rattle".

And I am standing around with my thumb up my ass, with nothing to do.

After meeting the First Sergeant, he tells us to hang around with him for a few minutes until he can figure out what to do with both Lance and me. All of a sudden, I look over and see the Squadron Sergeant Major walking up.

Now, I had been in the Army for almost 2 years, and all of it up to this point was in a training environment. So when one saw the Sergeant Major, it was like talking to God (I was always more afraid of the Sergeant Major - or any senior enlisted soldier- more than the Officers). He walks up to my Fisrt Sergeant, looks at me, and says, "Where is your helmet and gear, Specialist (I was a Specialist E-4 at the time) Clark?"

I almost felt my bladder empty. My throat tighted, and I immediately wanted my mommy.

Before I could answer, the First Sergeant said, "He got here yesterday, Sergeant Major. We'll get him inprocessed and his gear this week. In the meantime I am just keeping him out of the way."

The Sergeant Major was not very happy with that answer (they tend to like to see soldiers moving around and working, instead of standing around doing nothing), but he accepted it and moved on, anxious to find other soldiers lollygagging.

Eventually, the exercise ended, and all the vehicles and equipment was put back in is place, ready to go to war another day...

Such was my introduction to the 4th Squadron (Redcatchers) of the Second Armored Cavalry Regiment.

And I loved almost every minute there.


At 9:46 AM, Blogger Roger C. said...

You should archive these entries and start putting them together in chronological order somewhere. This is good stuff, and well written.


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