Another day in the trenches

The war against CV is an overlay atop being ancient & retired
My not very traumatic experience with “war”

So this is a war eh? I think I’d feel better without that analogy. Life in the trenches in WW1 or slogging thru jungle in WW2 was much tougher than this. But then I am not at the front. Those folks, the medical workers, the delivery and infrastructure people, they are fighting the war, confronting the invisible enemy. I’m in a little trench, a spider hole, of my own design. Makes me think of “Ground Pounder Day” in Iceland. I’d been in the Navy (the USN) about a year. I was finished with tech schools & at my first assignment, Iceland. The US forces up there were by treaty part of the Icelandic self defense force. One day a year we needed to be out in the lava fields playing war. The rest of the time me and my crew sat at consoles listening for Russians. That involved headphones and teletype, not rifles and grenades. Never mind. If the “balloon” went up (if the shit hit the fan) we’d be ready to defend the island. An old timer at the base told me how to handle ground pounding day. “As soon as you get there”, he advised,”start stacking rocks and collecting moss”. The chunks of hard lava built up a wall to windward. The moss got stuffed into the cracks. He told me to also take a couple of sleeping bags. Lava isn’t the softest stuff to sit on. I had a rifle but no ammunition. I had a little radio. By mid morning I was snug as a bug & awaiting the main event. At our end of the valley, higher up, sat an army cannon. A mile or two away, at the other end of the valley, a couple of abandoned trucks. I can’t remember doing anything military that day. I listened to 60’s rock and roll from Armed Forces Radio and waited. I might have had a book, can’t recall…that was 1964, a long time ago. When it got late enough in the afternoon a megaphone announced the moment we’d waited for. The day’s highlight. Above and behind me the cannon roared. Might have been 90mm. Not my area of military expertise. Anyway it was loud. What I most remember was how long the projectile took to reach the other end of the valley and the cool sound it made as it flew above us. Time stretches when you wait for a shell to land. They must have had it sighted in because a few seconds after the cannon roared the target leaped into the air. An echo reverberated up and down the valley. Wow, I thought! My first and only taste of combat. Pretend combat. I didn’t enjoy it enough to switch from the Navy to the Army. The war in Viet Nam was heating up at that time but the Pentagon never called. Used to be civilians just cheered while the soldiers and sailors did the fighting. In the nuclear era the “war fighters” will mourn civilians. That’s new. Novel virus from China moving west, that’s a recurring theme in human history.

Published by glensketch

Retired from electronics industry. Ex USN ex USAF ex expat in Ecuador.

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