Today we left the friendly confines of Manas Airbase for Afghanistan on an Air Force C-17. It was a quick two hour ride and then we were all hard at work again locating and separating our bags from everyone else’s. This task should not be taken lightly folks. Imagine you have just taken a flight with 200 other people only to find once you reach the baggage carousels that everyone else on the flight has the exact same bags as you do.
That is the nightmare I am speaking of. We all have the same military issue bags and must find our 3 bags among all the others. If there is one psychological disorder I possess, it is overwhelming anxiety when it comes to my stuff being separated from me and mixed with other people’s stuff. It drives me mad and I am not comfortable again until I know I have every item back in my possession.
When I was at Marine Corps boot camp, the drill instructors loved to have everyone dump their footlockers containing all of their gear on the floor. They would then have everyone push all of their stuff into the middle of the squad bay and make a huge mound out of it that they would often call â€œMount Suribachiâ€ after the mountain on Iwo Jima which the famous flag raising photo was taken.
I think I handled all of the screaming, berating, stressing, sleep deprivation and every other psychological test they put you through at USMC recruit training quite well, but this was the one thing that would make me physically nauseous. It was usually followed by being allowed about 15 seconds to get whatever stuff you could grab and get it back in your foot locker. Some recruits would have 10 bars of soap in their footlocker, some would have none. You just had to figure it all out later. It drove me nuts, and this offloading of baggage isn’t much different.