It's very near time to head out and finally start doing what we've been training to do for what seems like eons. For us, it is now a test of patience, a time of "hurry up and wait"...that Army staple that still makes me crazy, 19 years after I first enlisted.
Speaking of 19 years in (and my 5th deployment), I finally have my very own, specially-fitted protective (gas) mask. It's an M45, while the rest of the Army gets M40 masks. My face is too long and thin to fit into an M40...the medium smashes into my cheekbones and I can't get a seal while the small sits on top of my cheekbones and I can't breathe (which, apparently, is bad). Either way, I walked away from the M40 fitting with bruises. As I tried on my very own, brand-new M45 mask I was thrilled to think that no other Soldier had snorted in this particular mask. Ever. Seriously, there were only Annmarie snorts in there and it smelled like the interior of a new car. The other 19 Soldiers in my unit got brand-new, unfired, M4 rifles and they were thrilled. I have a new mask..!
It's the little things in the Army life that keeps us going. And happy.