Nothing but memories

I took a drive today over to Fort Campbell. In the past, when I was stationed there it was a simple process to get on if you were visiting. Just give the guy your Driving licence and presto he gives you a 1 day pass. Now they upped security bigtime. Anyway I was able to get on, and drive around a little. The place looked abandoned. Maybe because it was a saturday, or probably because they were deployed. I drove around everywhere except the airfield cause they of course had added security. Nothing or no one there but memories. It was about 5 years ago when I drove off Ft. Campbell for the last time. I was signing out of Terminal leave I was there to eat a lunch with some friends at a Chinese place that is no longer in business. They presented me with a coinbox to house my Air Assault Coin that I still have. I imagine they are deployed now.

I passed by the railhead that no doubt took many vehicles and equipment for their overseas trip to Iraq. The road (Mabry Rd) was the same road that Thomas Allison was caught speeding on the way to SOATC. This is the same guy I had to sit next to in training and administer an IV in Combat lifesaver course. He in turn had to give me an IV. He really got "smoked" as we used to say. SGT Mosquito laid into him for speeding.

"Who drives a blue and grey truck?!" he said.
"I do" said Allison.
"Drop!" said SGT Mosquito.

I drove up "Bitch hill" (California Rd) the hill that will "make a bitch out of you". I struggled many times on this road. Up this hill. Many blisters. After a badly sprained ankle -walking up the hill as the finish of the 8 mile road march with 70lbs of gear. I had sprained my ankle the previous day.

I got out and looked for the log that we set in concrete with all of our names on it from class 07-99. The log was gone as was "Talladega" a muddy little circle with low points perfect for adding water via a hose and perfect for SOAR wannabees like myself to crawl in. But the chin up bar was there. The obstacle course was there, as well.

I drove back on Mabry Rd. Saw the small paved path that was used in Air Assault School for the 12 mile road march.
That part was about mile 10 if I remember. I drove past the air assault school still the same as I remember it. It was newly built when I had to go through it.

Ft. Campbell though abandoned, had many newly built buildings. Buildings, that as a single soldier, they constantly promised us would be barracks. Nice barracks - similar to apartments. I got out and left barracks that were made before the Vietnam war. I drove past these barracks that still had some poor garrison soldiers walking around. They were not of my old unit. So the old promise of new barracks for my old unit must have come true at some point.

A bit of a sad day seeing buildings named after people. Like the CPT Mark so and so finance building. Or the SFC Gary so and so dental facility. These men must have lost their lives probably recently.

For a minute the year was 1999 and I was back there getting my ass kicked in the 4 mile timed run. Memories that I hadn't thought of in years had come back. Passing by the many places on Route 41A. Po' boys tires. I was once strapped for cash (like a majority of soldiers) and my supervisor suggested me to go to "Po' boys" and get some tires to pass the monthly vehicle inspection. (an army thing) I never went though. I rather spent the $20 more and bought Wal Mart Tires instead of Po' boys maypops.

Pistol Pete's Pawn shop was closed down. I remember this was the place I bought some replacement Gore Tex gloves for CIF turn in upon ETS'ing. Since I had lost them. The asshole who worked there tried to get me to buy a cheap ass knife for $5 and I told him it wasn't worth $5. So he ended up giving it to me for $2. I still have this knife in my glovebox. (since transferred from my old car). I ended up finding my gore tex gloves later and now use them in cold weather.

The "Williams" gas station, truck stop and restaurant had since changed into a "Pilot" gas station with wendy's. It seems everything has changed. When walking back to my car I saw the USA Today and its front page headline about Iraq, the insurgency, and a number of troops needed etc. One picture had some troops in an ambulance Hummer. Another picture had a smirking George Bush on the side. I didn't pay attention to what it said about Bush. The evening sun was warm on my face and there was a nice breeze going. I went back to the car. Got in and drove home. Nothing here but memories. No friends. No good times like it used to be. Nothing.

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