Archive for the ‘California’ Category

It’s been roughly two weeks since we made our triumphant return to Fort Hood as conquering heroes of the California desert — some of the most welcoming and hospitable terrain this side of the Mississippi, I’m surprised it wasn’t already inhabited when the Army showed up — and since then the question I get asked most is, “What the hell did you do?” 

Well, if you assumed “absolutely nothing” you’re absolutely correct, but I’m only a small piece of the bigger picture so I figured I would finally take the time to try to paint that picture for you.  Plus, it’s a great excuse for me to post a few pictures and wax poetic about my road to becoming an American legend.

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Goodbye, Texas.

We left early on January 3rd, for what would be approximately five weeks of preparation and training, and after about three hours in the air we began our approach for landing over some of the most lush and vibrant property I had ever seen, I just knew this was going to be a comfortable stay.

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Almost

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paradise.

We landed at what appeared to be an abandoned airport in the town of Victorville, California, a place that looks like it falls somewhere between nuclear wasteland and zombie apocalypse, and took a roughly one hour drive to Fort Irwin, California. We were able to see all that Victorville, Barstow, and Yermo had to offer along the way:

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Absolutely

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nothing.

Once we arrived at Fort Irwin there was plenty of unpacking to do before we could go play in the sand, considering we essentially moved the entire unit to California for the duration of our stay, and we had to make sure all of our equipment arrived in good working order.  We received on-the-job training along the way from subject matter experts and were eventually validated on all of our systems.  While in this phase of the cycle, we worked and stayed on main post Fort Irwin in transient housing where the accommodations were modern but ice cold showers were the norm (Seriously, I think I had four hot showers the entire time we were there and it was 40 degrees at night on average.  FEEL SORRY FOR ME!).

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A picture of nothing on Fort Irwin’s main post.

Once we were deemed mission-ready, we moved to the middle of the Mojave Desert to begin what ultimately amounted to 17 days of war games, including a full opposing force and combat like conditions (all just for training, of course).  While I did my communications thing the infantry and cavalry did their killing and destroying thing and the mission was ultimately deemed a huge success.  Throughout the 17 days in the desert I took just zero showers (seriously) and at times even crapped in plastic bags (super seriously) — plastic bags for your freedom.

All joking aside I learned more than a lot, was able to do my job from start to finish, and was able to see full scale military operations in real time.  There were definitely some cold nights and colder showers but I certainly enjoyed the training for the experience that I gained.

Road trippin' through the desert.

Road trippin’ through the desert.

Plus, now I can tell my grandchildren that I single-handedly won The Fake War.

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The satellite on the far left is what I pretend to be working on when somebody is looking.
Also, this is a fancy panoramic photo (click to see it in full size) that I took with my NEW iPhone 5. To my BlackBerry: if you’re reading this, I’m still really sorry about how things went down and I never wanted it to be like this. I’ll never forget your tactile keyboard.