There are a lot of units passing through here on their way home or on their way north. I’ve had the opportunity to meet a number of Army service members from a lot of different units. 4th ID, 149th Maintaince, the 3rd some thing or other. The names and numbers of all these units are a challenge for a sailor like me to learn and remember. On the flip side, I’ve been saluted three times now by Army personnel who mistake my Second Class crow for a Colonel’s eagle. I’ve had several people ask me about the Navy rank insignias in an effort to better understand who’s who. Likewise, I’ve been taking the opportunity to get some lessons in their rank structure as well as the Army culture.
It is interesting to compare the perspectives of various people with regard to being at Camp Spearhead. From the perspective of our unit, we are forward deployed to a hostile zone. They don’t want us to salute Officers because that would give them away as leadership personnel and therefore a priority target. There are lots of lectures about wearing protective gear and potential attacks, etc. Yet, when I talk to guys from units coming in from up north, this is the safe area. They are expected to salute, they can finally take off their body armour and helmets, and they turn in their ammo and clear their weapons. This creates an interesting dilemma for the soldier meeting a Navy officer on the road. The soldier’s commanders expect him to salute that officer but the officer may well go into a rage at being singled out as a target. It seems interesting to me that these issues are not resolved universally by the base commander and then put out to all personnel through the various chains of command. Apparently, each service is left to their own devices on some/many things. A more unified stance at the top would certainly help to create a more unified force in the field.
Related to this is the intra/inter-service rivalries are also very interesting. The more mature individuals grasp the fact that all of us have a specific mission that is contributory to the objectives of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. But reading the bathroom walls it is apparent that their are some out there who think they might be able to do it without the contributions of any one else. Always entertaining is the sophmoric mind.
I need to provide some clarity on the day count. I actually set boots in Kuwait on Sunday evening at approximately 2000. I arrived at Camp Spearhead at approximately 2200. Monday, March 8 was my first full day in Camp Spearhead so I will be counting that as day one.