Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Newbies

I was walking back from the chow hall this evening when I came upon this soldier. She was talking to another Joe before they bother turned and looked at me, as I was walking by. “Excuse me Sergeant.” She said. I thought she was going to ask for directions or something. It happens from time to time and I could read peoples faces to tell that they’re lost. “Can you walk with you to the end of the block? I need a battle buddy.” Oh, they’re definitely new. Battle buddies? Oh, I remember that. That was when we first got here and we had to have a battle buddy with us wherever we went. “Sure, no problem,” I said.

As we were walking she started fretting as we approached her unit commander. He was walking with an LT and I guess they were walking to chow. She was getting worried, I could tell. I don’t know why. There was some tension in her voice and she said, “Oh, here comes my commander.” Her sensitivity surprised me. What was she scared of? She wasn’t doing anything wrong. If her commander said anything I would’ve told him that I’m walking her to her pad as her battle buddy.

On the walk back to the pad I gave her some information on where she might get a phone. We’re leaving in a couple of months and some of the guys in my unit may be selling their phones already. I also explained how to access different phones and how to call online with Skype. It’s a computer program a buddy of mine showed me that allows me to make phone calls over the internet. I like it because it’s really cheap, like 2 cents a minute, and the quality is almost as good as a regular phone.

I also told her that the ‘Battle Buddy’ rule will go out the window pretty soon. I explained to her, “We used to do that too when we first got here. Don’t worry, they’ll forget all about ‘Battle Buddies’ in a month. Do you see anyone else walk around here with them? We had all kinds of rules when we first got here too. Don’t worry about it.”

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