...must eventually come to an end.
It's official...the 211th MPAD is no longer a "unit in training for mobilization". We are done...no more training, no more PowerPoint classes, no more ranges. With the exception of a few loose ends we are "validated" and ready to depart. It's mostly paperwork and getting the last of our uniforms...a downhill slide for us.
Our final moment came and went quietly...no fireworks, no cannons, no thunder. Perhaps that's because our last scheduled training event was a live fire exercise with live ammunition and lots of pyrotechnics going off around us. Perhaps it's because after almost 4 months of ongoing training there is just nothing left to say. Whatever the reason that day that we all have strived for since 10 October is here. Iraq...here we come!
There was some quiet contemplation of what we'd accomplished in the van on the way back to the barracks. Well, except for the younger Soldiers in the back complaining about the radio station. Hey, the old folks are in the front! We get to pick the radio station and if it's 60s and 70s oldies rock-and-roll then so be it. You can harass your own Soldiers when you're older and in charge. ;)
We have our 4-day pass beginning tomorrow and today is "pre-" pass with downtime and weapons cleaning. It's a chance to start finally packing our gear for the trip overseas. I packed my "A" bag today (we have "A", "B", and "C" bags...each containing specific items). Well, packed is a loose interpretation of putting 10 pounds of potatoes into a 5-pound bag. The "A" bag contains our JSList, protective mask, and our IBA (Interceptor Body Armor) plus a few other items. It was a tight fit but it's all in there. Of course, I can't lift the duffel bag it's so heavy! But it's packed. Next to pack is the "C" bag with the rest of the gear I won't need until we hit Kuwait and do a bit more training there.
Our time at Ft. Dix is running short...one more week...two more weeks...who knows? My final directive to my Soldiers for all this pre-mobilization prep is simple: Keep your bags packed and be ready to go on a moment's notice. Who knows when that bird is going to fly!
Off to New York tomorrow...see ya then.