Getting Ready For Breakfast
I awoke to the familiar sound of Army Blackhawk Helicopters flying low-level combat maneuvers over my trailer, viciously shaking everything in my room, including me. This was better than being awakened by multiple explosions with the giant voice broadcasting the warning, “Incoming, incoming!” usually after the fact. On top of my improvised nightstand an old battery powered clock radio illuminated 5:45 am. It was the beginning of just another hot, stress-filled day in Baghdad, Iraq.
My empty stomach was growling from hunger and there was little time to get to the Dining Facility before it opened. I liked to be one of the first in line because they were notorious for running out of “real” eggs. As a result, the late arrivals got watery, bland powdered eggs instead. Everyone knew the earlier your arrival at mealtime, the better the food selection. Realizing that if I wanted to quiet my hunger pains and avoid the powdered eggs, I needed to get a move on and get myself ready for the one mile trudge to the Dining Facility.
Still feeling sleepy, I forced myself out of the twin-sized bed and went through my morning routine of showering, shaving, and dressing in a clean Airman Battle Uniform. Due to the extreme heat, my steel toe combat boots smelled so bad that I kept them sealed in a plastic trash bag under my night stand next to an air freshener. Just like every other morning, I pulled the foul boots from their air tight bag and thoroughly sprayed them with a lemon-scented air sanitizer before putting them on.
Feeling the heat of the day begin to seep into my trailer, I walked over to the old rattling window air conditioner and adjusted the fan to its highest speed. Lying on the floor directly under it was my Interceptor Multi-Threat Body Armor System. Taking care to bend at the knees while lifting with the legs, I crouched down and lifted the heavy body armor and put it on over my uniform. Sitting down on the edge of my bed,...