Since there won't be much exciting to write about once we settle into a routine, I am not writing these at the speed they are occuring.
In the last note, we arrived at Logisitics Support Area Anaconda (LSA Anaconda)...
Anyway, since we tumbled into bed about 0400, our hosts told us that they weren't going to come back and get us until 1400. No worries though, because one dining facility (DFAC) is right across the street from transient housing.
Around 1400, they pick us up and take us to the 3rd COSCOM headquarters. My unit, 4th CMMC, is part of the 13th Corps Support Command (COSCOM) at Fort Hood. Except that in April, the 13th COSCOM renamed itself into the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), 13th SC(E). We are replacing the 3rd COSCOM and the 19th CMMC, so the first order of business is to get photo ID badges with our security clearances identified so we can get into the HQ building.
After we get badges, our host points us in the directions of various offices to meet our counterparts and then our host vanishes. OK. I go meet the guy I am replacing and we chat a little, but then it is time to go eat. Gee. I don't know where any of the other folks in my group are, so I go eat with the folks I am replacing. After dinner, I am left on my own... no vehicle ... and no idea where transient housing is! Wow. Talk about wonderful hospitality! Gee. I would think they would be glad to see us (because they can soon go home) and might be happy to show us around for a day or so. Even if it is simple directions like "If you want to meet back here at <insert time>, we will give you a ride to the DFAC and back to transient billeting." Perhaps they are soldiers involved in the fight, and too busy for simple courtesy or perhaps I was in a grumpy mood that day. I remember thinking "Maybe we should just leave and go back to Fort Hood..."
Anyway, I grab the nearest soldier and start grilling him for information.
- Where is DFAC #1? (Oh right. It's dark so I don't know which way is south.)
- How do we get there? (OK, so where do I catch the 'COSCOM bus'?)
- How long does it take? (20 minutes? Is it really that far away? )
- Is there a unit formation for physical training? (OK you do PT on your own.)
- What time is Physical Training? (So you don't really bother doing it at all...)
- Are there special uniform requirements? (What? A reflective belt or vest after dark? I thought we were in a combat zone...)
So I wander off to go find the bus and start trying to remember out which duffel bag (A, B, or C) it was that I packed by PT gear and reflective vest in. The trip is long because the bus travels very slow and stops several times on the way. I think it may be faster to walk. It is only a mile or so. I get back to billeting and find that most of the others have already managed to find their way back.
The next morning, MAJ Tate and I are the last to get up (since we were the last to bed). We are just heading across the gravel parking lot to the DFAC when our hosts show up, start unloading some tables and chairs, and ask for the key to the transient billeting. They say that some other soldiers are coming and they need the building open so the new soldiers can put their bags away, but not to worry because they will be there all day. OK, MAJ Tate gives them the key to the door and we go eat breakfast.
After breakfast, we go back to transient housing to get our notebooks, only to discover the door locked and the parking lot empty! Talk about being mad... I was livid! I couldn't believe the NCO had lied to us (maybe not intentionally but lied none the less). As smoke was coming out of my ears, I started looking at the door and making an assessment. I quickly realized the hinges were on the outside, so I whipped out my Gerber. Although I snapped a very small piece off the tip of the knife blade, I had the first two pins out of the hinges in about 45 seconds when the First Sergeant of the host unit showed up and asked what we were doing. When we explained, he called on his radio to find out if anyone had seen the host NCO. When it seemed that no one knew where he was, I had the third pin out in another 20 seconds and we went in to get our stuff. MAJ Tate and I put the door back up and re-set the hinge pins and walked over to catch the bus.
Later that day, when we ran into the battalion executive officer, he mentioned that the radios had been crackling all morning with folks upset and bothered that we "broken into" the transient billeting. We laughed, and I said he should make sure that they spell my name correctly so credit (or blame) is accurately placed.
The day got better as we started getting a feel for the layout of the base, the distances involved in moving around, and the options for doing so. We started working with our counterparts to prepare for the arrival of the main body, and making better preparations for their arrival. We didn't want them to experience the same challenges we discovered. I also started getting computer accounts for the advance party, and making arrangements for the procedures to get the main body all their computer accounts. We also started doing assessments of the work responsibilities and how we would each arrange our divisons/sections to cover the 24-hour operations of the HQ.
After a few more days, the main body would start arriving, 100 per day for the next 6 days...
In the mean time, we had to get some basic things done, including getting temporary housing and figuring out the transition to get all of 3rd COSCOM out of their billets and all of 13th SC(E) into billets. It will definitely be pretty crowded and awkward for the next couple of weeks.
Next: Housing areas, facilities and amenities of the camp, and mortar attacks...
Peter / Terafan