I don’t envy any of my Western states brothers & sisters that have to do Annual Training in this heat. Regular followers of BOHICA Blues (especially at Patreon) know that I got surprised by a sudden Annual Training in June that I thought I didn’t have to attend … now I’m glad I have it out of the way! Going downrange in this heat and haze would be a rough way to spend part of a summer.
A few years ago in the iconic military comic “Terminal Lance”, about life in the U.S. Marine Corps, creator Max Uriarte commented that only in the military could you take something that sounded like fun and turn it into a grueling chore. In his case he was talking about “wearing cammies and hanging out at the shooting range with your friends” but really just about anything done in the civilian world that can be made to feel rewarding has a military counterpart that grinds you down into a pile of grumpy, bloody gristle. “Do you like camping?” I remember the recruiter ask. You can probably fill in the rest of the story right there.
Nowadays, I still like camping but I fully intend to get a trailer and do that which I once swore I’d never do: luxury camping; getting away from it all by bringing it all with me. It’s not that I couldn’t sleep under the stars any more or sleep in a pup tent, it’s just that I would probably find myself waking up before sunrise by instinct and start stumbling around in the dark doing pointless tasks, eating meager amounts of cold food, and checking my phone to see if I need to do a radio check. I still enjoy hiking, too, but I am picky about how much I am willing to carry on my back, and I will endure the weight of more “pogey bait” (casual, unofficial snacks that are *not* military chow) than I ever carried on duty– just to have it.
So, since there are a lot of new readers lately, Joe and Juni are both in the same unit (it’s actually how they met) and so what affects one affects both. They both get to do Annual Training together while their daughter (& dog) gets traded between the two sets of grandparents, which thankfully both live in town and make family care plans much easier.