Wednesday, May 03, 2006

THE X-MEN!

I was invited to attend the recruiting seminar held in Dahlonega, Georgia this week. The North Georgia Military College is there and the GaARNG holds their recruiting seminars on the campus. I was "invited" because I am *still* not official. I packed to stay overnight and after kissing my husband good bye I left to travel about 2 hours away.

I arrived at the hotel at about 11:15 to find everyone "milling about smartly" on the balcony/walkway or just kicking back in their rooms. I grabbed my gear and was sent to room with another female, SPC Colbert. SFC Ranger greeted me with a big booming "Hello SGT Fields! Glad to see you, good of you to come." Then he and SGT Caldwell (my recruiter) began to feverishly discuss some strategy they were cooking up. I unpacked my things and came outside on the balcony/walk way with everyone else.

Soon SFC Ranger and SGT Caldwell walked up to me grinning. I smelled trouble. "What?" I said suspiciously. SGT Caldwell quickly explained "Our Team has a 'name' or 'alter ego'. We are known as the 'X-men'. We needed to come up with a character for you since you are on our team and so..." SFC Ranger contined for him "And so... you are Rogue. Rogue is so cool, she sucks all the power out of the people around her!" He then curled up his arm and hand into a snake like vise and made sucking sounds as he grabbed SGT Caldwell's arm.

Ew. Rogue certainly doesn't sound cool. They continue to tell me all about the other team members and their characters with great excitement. I am thinking, ok, what have I gotten myself into?? Grown men giving each other character names and gleefully discussing the attributes of each character. Hmmm. I smile and keep my mouth shut.

Most of Tuesday was spent at the parade grounds for a change of command ceremony. It was very nice. These guys are well practiced in close order drill. The commands went out sharply and everyone followed the commands effortlessly. The call went out to the formation for each team to report. "Team 8 all present and accounted for! Team 9 all present and accounted for!" Now it was time for SFC Ranger to report for Team 10 and he did so with "THE X-MEN ALL PRESENT AND ACCOUNTED FOR!" I waited for someone to say "WTF??" But each team continued to report. I started thinking this is pretty funny.

Later we were dismissed and we left for the hotel and to eat supper. SFC Ranger said to me "SGT Fields, did you bring PT gear?" I explained that although I had brought workout gear, I did not bring my Army PT gear. SGT Caldwell searched his things and came up with a PT shirt and shorts...three sizes too big. SFC Ranger dug out a jacket sized XL long. He then announced that PT uniform for the X-Men on Wednesday was not going to be the jacket and long pants but the jacket and shorts (since I didn't have the pants).

SFC Ranger asked me if I was going to stay for Thursdays' Team Building exercise up the mountain and the ropes course. I replied that I couldn't stay and he said "Aw come on Ranger Fields!" I laughed, me a Ranger?? SFC Ranger looked like he suddenly remembered something and SGT Caldwell said "Oh no...here it comes...". SFC Ranger looked at me quite seriously and said "I don't like having to say this and you won't here this from me again... Here is my Male Soldier/Female Soldier speech. When I see you I don't see male/female, I see SOLDIER. I won't ever make a differentiation between you or any other soldier. You won't have an advantage or a disadvantage. To me you are Ranger Fields, a soldier in the Army National Guard. OK, that's done...carry on." I actually was very appreciative of this little speech. Shows me he's thinking.

I went to dinner with several of the guys and SPC Colbert (the other female). We had a good time and joked quite a bit. After supper we watched "American Idol" on TV in one of the rooms. We joked and poked fun at the contestants and had a good time. SPC Colbert and I retired to our room and watched some Seinfeld. I finally drifted off around 11PM.

0310...KABLAM! then bright light filled the room followed by another loud boom. Were we under fire??! No. There was a big thunderstorm moving across the mountains and with the curtains cracked I could see the whole sky lighting up followed by the sound of thunder. I lay there willing myself back to sleep.

0331...my roomie's phone rings. She fumbles and answers it and says "Hello?...What? Um I think you have the wrong number..." I swore outloud and she laughed. I try in vain to sleep.

I didn't want to keep her awake so I lay in the bed thinking about the day before, about the coming day and how much I missed my little family. I imagined my Gracie all cozy curled up in her bed, of my Joshie probably upside down in his bed, covers and sheets all knotted up. I imagined my Payson snoozing quietly and hugging my pillow. Sigh.

More to come....

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