So, the “working” part of the Annual Training is over, and now it is time for the “relax and enjoy Germany” portion. As mentioned, the troops can stay in a 50-mile radius of Grafenwohr. There are advantages and disadvantages to that. The advantage of course is that if anything happens to any of them, someone from the Battalion is relatively nearby. The downside is that they are in an area that is thoroughly populated by other troops, so in a way they don’t get to experience a lot of the real Germany, a place I found quite enjoyable. But for these guys, that’s probably just enough in their comfort zone to enjoy the experience.
So I had a whole backstory about the exercise they are attending in the EU. About how the American troops landed and joined with Dutch, Belgian, and British troops at the Franco-Belgian border, and rushed to Grafenwohr for the field exercise. There, the German forces were defending from a simulated attack being carried out by Czech, Polish, and Lithuanian forces. I gave the overall idea a bit of thought in case it ever provided any opportunities for comics, but not much came up. The problem is, in a multi-national field exercise where you’re a “guest”, you don’t get a lot of opportunities to hang out with allied forces at the individual soldier level. Commanders sometimes talk amongst each other with allied forces, but the soldiers are all doing their own thing. When I was part of one of the last “REFORGER” exercises, I had to go out of my way to interact with some of the British forces we were operating near.
But now that the exercise is over, a lot of these allied forces are also given some time off and providing a boost to the local beer economy. A mysterious and friendly British fellow known only as “Sergeant Wilson” meets our heroes and challenges them to the “round the world beer challenge”. I’ve seen variations of this in bars and pubs around the world– there appear to be no one specific set of rules but the basic idea is to have one beer from each country “around the world”. For example, Heineken represents the Netherlands, and then usually Dos Equis or Modelo represents Mexico, Peroni stands in for Italy, and so on. One universal constant is that Budweiser always represents America, and it is usually somewhere in the middle of the challenge. I tried to understand the reasoning for this, and this was what I came up with.
I hope out there that the real “Sergeant Wilson” has a laugh and enjoys a beer.