Last week we spent in San Diego, “in-processing,” which means we were having all of our orders checked, our medical and dental status’ re-checked, getting fit for uniforms, ensuring (as best as possible) our pay accounts were up to date, polishing off any legal issues, and just getting to know one another,

This week has been spent in Camp Pendleton, doing medical training that is appropriate for our work out in Afghanistan.  We’re practicing as a team / as many small teams for the bomb blasts (IED’s), the high-velocity gunshots, etc.

Fighting PrinciplesIt’s been a very valuable week for all of us: not only have we gotten to know one another much better than before, we’ve been able to practice in these facilities (excellent facilities) exactly the maneuvers and scenarios we’ll be encountering in the field.  Having done this once before, I can attest that the classes and exercises have been “spot-on,” and that it’s been a very valuable rehearsal for all of us.

The living quarters have been fine:  You’re not in the Marriott, but last time I did this we were in tents in the field.  This time we’re in “sea-huts” which are a lot nicer.

Sea Huts and court

BedThere’s my little bed, and my two little travel-buddies (“Ming-ming” and “Skinny Bear”) resting on it.  Those little guys go with me everywhere.  I didn’t like the spring cot so it’s folded against the wall.

We’re on a Marine base so the the helicopters are flying overhead at all hours, the howitzers have been going off all afternoon, there are “tank crossing” signs, and the chow hall is chock full of young Marines all training and working toward their futures.

The particular gang I’m with here are excellent:  they’re the finest Americans there are.  I’m proud to be part of this group, and as daunting a prospect as it might be to go into Afghanistan with a company of individuals and live, eat, work, and sleep with them (sleep in the same huts, not, well, never-mind!) for the next 8 months, I am really confident that with this crowd it’s going to go well.