So, after a ridiculously long wait in the St. Louis, I eventually made it to Ft. Bragg, NC, just at 11:30 PM instead of 5:30 as originally planned. My unit was kind enough to pick me up at the airport, and initially, I was expecting that they'd just drop me off at the barracks and let me sleep. But, they had other plans. Because of the tight training schedule that we're on, even though we arrived so late, I went straight from the airport to the hospital's offices, where I sat down with the other 3 soldiers who arrived on my plane and spent the next 2 hours filling out paperwork. Finally, at about 2:00 AM, I was taken to my barracks where I got a wonderful 4 hours of sleep.
From Monday until now, we've been continuing to "inprocess". We spent most of Monday getting "death by powerpoint", basically 8 straight hours of powerpoint lectures. (Yes, it's as exciting as it sounds.) On the upside, I now have a much better understanding of where I'll be going and an approximate idea of when we'll be leaving. Unfortunately, for security reasons I can't tell you either one, but you'll all find out soon enough. I found out that I won't be at the main locations that most of my CSH is going to be. I also found out that my commander described the living conditions on the site that I'm staying at as "Hell on Earth"... we'll have to see.
Today, we spent most of the day being issued equipment, some of which is pretty cool. I learned how to put together my bulletproof vest (which has a self-destruct eject handle if it gets caught in an emergency... how cool is that?) and was given a bunch of "free" clothes, coats, and other army stuff. We have to give the big items (backpack, etc.) back, but apparently we're going to get to keep most of the clothes and coats. If nothing else, they'll make good camping gear down the line.
Sleeping conditions here are not half bad. Usually, when Army medical staff get sent to another post, we end up staying in a hotel off post because there's not housing available. Here, they've set our entire CSH up in a barracks that is vacant right now because its usual occupants are already in Iraq. The room itself kind of resembles a dorm room... actually it's quite a bit nicer than any of the dorm rooms that I stayed in in college. I've got my own private bedroom with a bed, desk, etc, and then share a kitchen and bathroom with the orthopedic surgeon who lives next door. Unfortunately, there's no internet access (I had to go to an internet cafe to post this), but that's a small price to pay, especially since we're getting all of our food for free from a nearby dining hall. It's not quite as nice as a hotel (no maid service, no TV), but as none of us were able to bring cars, it's not a bad setup.
Well, it's time for me to sign off. The internet time is running out and I need to go home and pack up my room some. There's still a pile of Army cold weather gear on my bed that needs to find a new home, and we're getting a whole new pile of equipment tomorrow.