On this episode of What We Brought Home, our guest shares a tremendous loss from one of his Iraq deployments and how he's learned to cope with the untimely passing of friends and fellow Soldiers.
This episode contains some common military terms that might not be familiar to everyone. Here is a quick explanation to provide context:
Patrol Base - a small, often temporary, base, usually closer to a city or town, that houses dozens of personnel. They are usually fortified with some type of wall and a gate. Units use them to rest, refit and launch operations.
FOB - Forward Operating Base - usually a medium size fortified base that houses hundreds of personnel. These are typically surrounded by large walls and are heavily defended. FOBs usually have many more resources than patrol bases like a better chow hall, a motor pool for vehicle repairs, an internet cafe, phones to call home, more comfortable accommodations, etc.
Gold Star Family - one that has lost an immediate family member in the line of duty of military service.
Training - Our storyteller this week references an event that happens during "training". For those who haven't experienced it, it might be hard to envision what training actually is and what the heck our storyteller is talking about. Army training is typically conducted in designated areas on base, usually out in the woods or on an arms range. During training, there are specific tasks that units are out there to practice. These tasks usually occupy most of the day but there is often some down time in between events. It's often during these in between times when young soldiers might feel inspired to challenge their leaders (often new Platoon Leaders (PLs)) to a friendly test of their hand to hand combatives skills. This is usually a morale booster and the PLs play along as they are happy to see their units working together to accomplish a common goal. Many times, a whole platoon will gang up on their new PL and place them in a nearby mud pit or tie them up or draw funny things on their face. It's considered a right of passage for most PLs, especially in the Infantry, and it usually (but not always) means that your soldiers feel generally positive towards you.
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