Monday, August 31, 2009

Aedes from Hades

They're probably not Aedes at all, of course, but they surely are from Hades.

Culex doesn't even begin to rhyme with anything, nor does Anopheles (except, perhaps, with Mephistopheles, I suppose, but that wouldn't help much, though the allusion might be fun to pursue -- some other time).

So for argument's sake, we'll just leave them as Aedes.

I would just as soon leave them altogether.

There actually weren't many at Summer Camp - South, much to my surprise (and relief). There were none that I was aware of at Summer Camp - West, which is not a surprise, since that's an area that usually doesn't have them anyway.

But boy, are there a lot of them here!

Not so many (in fact, almost none) in the cantonment area, but once out on the ranges, look out!

The other day, for example, the Unit Ministry Teams (UMTs) were doing our UMT-specific training after having been told to show up in full battle-rattle. We piled into a van (no mean achievement, given our added girth and weight with the body armor on; SPC C certainly tips the scale at 350 pounds with his gear on) and were driven out to a range that was set up to resemble a village somewhere Down Range.

The training consisted of each UMT simulating a "Religious Leader Engagement" (RLE) --walking into the "village" to be greeted by the townspeople, who might or might not be friendly, and remaining alive through the course of meeting the local Mullah (Muslim religious leader).

The trainers would only let one UMT at a time participate in the RLE, so that meant that the rest of us had to wait in the midst of a field at some distance from the action. It was immediately apparent as soon as we opened the doors of the van (parked in that field) that the Aedes, or Anopheles, or Culex, or whatever, were flying in wait for us.

Since no one had told us we were going to a range, I'd not prepared myself for this eventuality. (We'd most recently been doing "Chaplain Ultimate Fighting" in the pugil pit in full battle rattle, and those infernal things were not an issue.)

They immediately started dive-bombing me, much to my chagrin. No matter what continent I happen to find myself on -- Europe, Asia, North America, South America (so far) -- if one of those beasties is around, it'll be on me in moments. I swear they're worse than sharks that can sniff out small quantities of blood in the water from far, far away.

It was almost a relief to go into the "village" and get attacked by humans, because I was pretty sure they would only simulate drawing blood.

Though, to be completely truthful, each time SPC C went through the Situational Training Exercise (STX) lane, he wound up bloodying one of the attackers or other. Not that he was trying to, mind you, but when he moves quickly, that's a *lot* of inertia, and anyone in his path is going to notice him! And lose a little bit of himself, as it turned out.

The morning was exhausting, but quite good training. Unfortunately for me, though, I came away covered in small welts, even under my clothing.

If I never see another mosquito again, it will be too soon.

Blessings and peace to one and all,

Fr. Tim, SJ

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1 comment:

Kanani said...

Sorry about the mosquitoes. This was a funny post and I really enjoyed it...despite the bites!

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