A Loving Soul’s Sacrifice

001ec9790963123e37c71fArmy Winter Field Exercise 2002: We were up in the mountains, and the landscape was covered with a thick, white blanket by Mother Nature. Soldiers had to wear what were called “bear suits” as part of our uniforms to prevent cold weather injuries. I think I looked more like a 4’9″ black teddybear than an adult, black bear like everyone else.

Some days, it was so cold that I would hold in my pee as long as I could to minimize the number of times I had to go to the stinky and filthy porta potty. Plus, having to take off all the layers of clothing and gear was just a major pain in the ass.

What was even worse was trying to use a tiny, red-light flashlight in the middle of the night while balancing your clothing, gear and weapon. I often prayed that I wasn’t on my period during those times as well, since that was just an added bonus.

Warmth, comfort, civilian clothes and the convenience of a regular toilet are just some of the finer things that one learns to appreciate more after being deprived of them.

Note: Image on right by www.chinadaily.com.cn

20100309-img_4051When mini icicles would form in my nostrils and/or on my eyelashes, and my fingers and toes would go numb, I would just imagine being somewhere sunny and toasty.

One of the few best moments of winter field exercises was gathering around with other soldiers and sharing steaming, hot and spicy Korean ramen. Ramen never tasted so good and sooo satisfying.

Once, no one remembered to bring chopsticks, so some of us got out our gerbers (a multi-faceted tool) and started shaving branches into chopsticks; it worked wonders. It’s all about improvising. 😉

Note: Image on leftby gopopgo.wordpress.com

quote-loyalty-and-devotion-lead-to-bravery-bravery-leads-to-the-spirit-of-self-sacrifice-the-spirit-of-morihei-ueshiba-188697The best moment of all was witnessing pure sacrifice. After setting up a large tent, the heater was placed away from the opening of the tent. The higher ups (to include a lieutenant, platoon sergeant and a couple of squad leaders) set up their cots closest to the heater.  

One Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO), SGT Melton, chose the cot closest to the tent entrance, where you could still feel the piercing icy wind pass through the small openings. I asked him, “Why did you choose this spot? Go get a warmer one, you’re going to freeze your ass off.”

1231-love-is-a-sacrificeHe gently smiled and simply replied, “Somebody’s gotta sleep in this spot…so it might as well be me.” I highly respected and admired SGT Melton.

Not only was he an honest and intelligent guy with a great sense of humor, he was also a very understanding and patient soul who embraced people’s quirks with a smile and just went along with the flow of life with grace.

But most of all, he was a true leader who knew what it meant to take care of soldiers. I will always remember him and his BIG heart.


~ by Bobbie on September 27, 2013.

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