Friday, July 29, 2005

Feel the Heat

The other day the daytime high hit 130 degrees. Today might be hotter and of course we have guard duty, meaning we get to stand in concrete guard towers for eight hours in the oven-like heat.

Worse still, as much as I was celebrating mid-July as the hottest part of the summer, I'm now hearing that the hottest part of summer is still to come, possibly consuming the entire month of August. Here I was thinking that we were on the down slope when in fact we have still to yet walk through the furnace.

There's much discussion here about whether we should be able to remove our uniform blouse tops in the guard towers. Some argue for maintaining our uniform and thus preserving our discipline. Others, including our medics, argue that wearing all this stuff in such heat is debilitating and just downright dangerous. One guy had to get 'stuck' (intravenously given fluids from an IV bag) yesterday. But yet the debate rages on.

On the good news/bad news side, we were also recently issued new, better plates for our body armor. The plates are ceramic and the new ones stop even more kinds of bullets, which is nice. The bad news is that they are two pounds heavier per, so they add four pounds to our load. I've seen some guys just pack the new plates away, not wanting to deal with the additional weight, especially in light of the lack of times that we've actually been shot at.

When I go on guard duty later this afternoon, it will be just after the hottest part of the day. I hope that when I start to hallucinate, that I will have visions of skiing through knee-deep Idaho powder...
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