It's been a couple of days since I've been able to get online. Friday, I went on a dismounted (no vehicles, the Army still speaks in horse cavalry terms) IED defense range. We were simulating a combat patrol down a road and into a village, and encountered three IED's on the route. When we found one, we were to take appropriate action.
I was going along with a group led by a young Staff Sergeant, when we spotted an IED. We called the location into the higher headquarters, and then moved to surround the IED. I assumed a position beside the team leader, and asked him where the IED was. He pointed to a spot about 15 feet away. He knew something was wrong when I exclaimed "Oh, crap!" The simulated IED's are harmless in that they will not release shrapnel, but they are large enough to make quite an explosion. We ducked our heads behind a small pile of dirt, and waited for the charge to go off. As the primer burned, we could feel it stinging the inside of our noses and eyes. Then, there was a loud noise and a lot of dirt and rock flying over us. Lots of fun on a training range, but I don't want to experience that in real life.
Body armor is a pain in the neck, and the side, and the back, etc. Trying to get it on and off in a porta-potty is a real challenge. There are several pieces included in the system, and people wear various amounts depending on the danger level at the place where they are stationed. Everyone here has stopped wearing the throat protectors, groin protectors, and arm protectors
The commander in charge of the base has decided that we had to start wearing everything again. I looked in my wall locker, and the extra pieces weren't there. I have already sent a box of extra stuff forward to pick up when we get to Kuwait, so I was secretly hoping that the extra body armor components were waiting in Kuwait. If I don't have it, they can't make me wear it.
I muttered to myself, "I guess I better look in that backpack." I pulled a few things out and there they were. The lieutenant on the other side of the tent saw the look on my face and said. "You know Chaplain, that seek and you shall find stuff can be kind of irritating sometimes, can't it?" So it can... may God give us the desire for things that we ought to seek, and remove our desire for the rest.