Flashback Friday: Snowbound Training

Me in training at Fort Dix

All that snow (ha!) earlier this week brought back some training memories.

I spent a few weeks at Fort Dix in New Jersey in 2007, preparing for my deployment to Iraq. At least, I was under the impression I was going to Iraq then. I was going to be working in the public affairs office at Balad Air Base for the summer. When I wrote today’s Flashback Friday post, I was still under the impression that I was going to Balad.

But midway through my training, I was reassigned to the three-man combat news team.


That was a rough time for me. I was away from Martin and Miss C. Just a few weeks earlier, I discovered my neighbor moments after she committed suicide, and then I got the news my job was going to be different. And suddenly, training for two weeks in a blizzard for a summer in the Middle East that would routinely involve convoys, mortar attacks, almost daily interaction with the locals in two extremely different cultures and countries … I remember feeling anxious that two weeks of combat skills training wasn’t going to be enough for a job like that.

While I still think the combat news teams back then should have received more training, the truth is that the training we did receive was pretty awesome, and our instructors were incredibly passionate and dedicated to ensuring we knew enough to get home safely.

They crammed as much as they could in the time they had us because they knew our lives depended on it.

And my team did get home safely using the lessons learned at Fort Dix.

So here’s my entry from March 2007 that I wrote during my combat skills training course.

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Confident in his masculinity, Jaz wore his sister’s pink jacket yesterday evening to show solidarity for International Women’s Day. So adorable was this that it took less than 10 seconds for someone to point it out.