Well, as promised, things have gotten harder here in order to be able to keep in touch now that I'm in the great tent city at Fort Bragg. Locally, it's referred to as FOB Patriot - a simulated forward operating base which we will be training on for the remainder of our time here. I now live in a"spacious" 16-man tent, with only 10 people in it for now. So we do have some room to spare. Most of our troops are in similar arrangements, but some have already grown to have all 16 people inside and that makes for fairly tight living. Some time later in September, my tent will also inherit another 3-4 guests and then we'll know what that feels like!
These last 2 weeks have flown by. I haven't had a day off, but did have areally great birthday last Friday. Thanks to all of you who shared in someway to send me best wishes and gifts through E-mail or real mail. I have to admit, it was a memorable day. Perhaps my favorite moment of the day was when I got a new driver's license - yes, I'm now qualified to drive Humvee's for the Army. Woohoo! In order to get qualified, we had to take turns in all of the positions in the vehicle. Which meant that I also got to ride as the gunner once or twice. See the attached (inset by Julie) picture!
Rob in the gunner seat. (It's a lot of fun riding up there now, especially since there are neither weapons nor people shooting at you. Good to enjoy the good moments while we can.)
It was good that my birthday was nice since the rest of the weekend I spent under the weather - my small pox vaccination got the best of me, leaving me feeling feverish and without much of an appetite. By Monday that had cleared up and I was back in the saddle getting through my rifle qualifications. Beyond even my expectations, I managed to qualify everything on the first go around. Even got to do some night time firing with night-vision goggles. It's amazing the gadgets the Army has to work with.
This weekend will not be "off" for us either, but our training day ended early and I found the Internet hot spot in tent city. The rest of the weekend we're going through combat-related first aid classes and even on Labor Day we'll be training. Still, I wish you the best in whatever downtime you get to enjoy. Thanks for keeping up with my family as well and may you all enjoy some well-deserved rest. We're under 50 days now until we get a leave period. Time sure is passing quickly and I'll be glad to get home for a few days. Until next update...