It had been raining not long before we arrived back at Summer Camp - North, but while our gear was being off-loaded and collected, the rains abated. My duffel bag and ruck sack managed to get a pretty good coating of mud in the process, but that's just par for the course.
The beds in this place are still as hammock-y as they were last summer, but I was grateful to snag a lower bunk this time. (With my knees as sore as they've been for the past few months, I was grateful not to have to clamber up to a top bunk.) My back rebelled against the lack of support, but I was counting on it being only for a few days, so I tried not to dwell on how uncomfortable I was.
After all, this was a *lot* better in terms of living conditions than they once were, and could just as well have been. It was *so* good to be Stateside!!
We had to report for the loathsome out-processing briefings at 0700, so I showed up at the DFAC for breakfast at 0615. I figured I was doing pretty well, given that I hadn't often even eaten breakfast while in Iraq or in Kosovo.
I saw a few of my Aviation buddies in the DFAC. They were dressed in civilian attire, and ready to board the buses home to Kentucky. I felt sad that I'd not be able to wish them all well as they left for home (finally!), because I had to attend briefings at the times their buses were leaving.
Our briefings (finance, VA, JAG -- I can't even remember them all at this point!) droned on and on and on, until it was time for lunch. I was able to meet up with a friend of mine who had been on med hold there at Summer Camp - North for a couple of weeks before we arrived, and I took him to lunch at the All-Ranks Club. (A bit pricey, but it was nice to be eating anything back home in the U.S. of A!)
My friend has recently become someone who goes to a lot of AA meetings, and it was a relief to be back in the presence of folks like him! I learned that he had some friends he wanted to introduce to me, so that sounded like fun, too.
The briefings resumed and consumed most of the afternoon and early evening. Truth be told, there was some interesting and important information put forward, and I'll be taking some of the stuff from the Veterans Administration back to give to my Dad, who's a Korean-War-era Army veteran.
Demobilization (DEMOB) involves a lot of hurry-up-and-wait, but if I remember to breathe, I've found (both at Summer Camp - South, after Iraq, and now here) that what needs to get done gets done according to a rhythm and timetable other than my own, and I have a much better time if I just go with the flow.
Of course, if it weren't 'sauna time', it would seem to flow a lot better, I'd bet! It has been ghastly hot and humid since we arrived.
Blessings and peace to one and all,
Fr. Tim, SJ