Note: This post is not meant to downplay the seriousness of riding in a convoy. I fully realize our men and women are put in harm's way every day when they ride in a convoy overseas. Their experiences are likely much different than my training convoys stateside.
Yesterday, my little family returned home from my big brother's house in Cedar, Minnesota. Since we have three year old, we took two days to drive up and two days to drive back.
My husband, a retired Army First Sergeant, and I could not get over the number of military convoys we saw on the road, both coming and going. These were mostly in Illinois and Wisconsin. Our guess is they were on there way to or from their annual training, or A.T., for the Army National Guard, maybe to Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, or Camp Douglas.
Having spent nine years in the Army Guard myself, I have driven in quite a few convoys. I really liked it. Here are some of my most vivid memories:
*the smell of diesel as everyone readied their vehicles in the motor pool, waiting to line up
*the site of hummers, deuce and a halfs, cargo vehicles, wreckers and Avenger missiles systems lining up in proper order
*the feelings of both excitement and dread, not exactly knowing what was to come
*feeling literally blessed as our Chaplain, dressed in white gown, did the sign of the cross as each vehicle left the motor pool
*the oppressive heat and uncomfortableness (if that is a word!) of the metal seats
*feeling "cool" as hundreds of passing cars beeped their horns or waved in support of us
*feeling "cool" to be part of a convoy, seeing 10-15 Army trucks in a row is an impressive site
*feeling embarassedd when women passerbys flashed us, assuming all the uniformed people were men!
*having a blast with my friend Shanna, listening to music and telling stories
*feeling relief and anticipation upon arrival of our destination, sometimes in pitch dark and when we weren't allowed to have any lights on but flashlights with red lenses, then setting up the same way
Seeing those vehicles the last few days sure brought those feelings back. It is times like those you really miss wearing the uniform.
If you have "convoy memories" please comment below!
C, Geat story. My convoys were a little different. Usually comprised of a carrier 4 destroyers or DE and us along with a sub or two that no one was suppose to know about but we all did. Our job and the job of the destroyers and destroyer Escorts was to act as a screen for the carrier. The problem always was that the carrier would speed up to launch aircraft and they would leave us behind. Catching up was always fun we would hit top end about the time the carrier was done launching aircraft......oh yeah and no one ever "flashed" us.....well maybe a couple of Marines but we all know how they are.....just kidding all you marines out there.
Bill, thanks for the comment!
I never thought of Navy ships as "convoys", but I suppose that is exactly what they are. Pretty cool really!
Being able to be on an aircraft carrier is on my bucket list :)
Yes, I am quite sure the Marines flashed you. Haha
When I was a kid growing up around the Army (my Dad made it a career), I always loved convoys. Particularly, the long ones with tanks on flatbeds, "duece-and-a-half" trucks loaded with Soldiers and pulling fuel/water tankers, jeeps, quarter-ton trucks with radio boxes, and various other vehicles. Sometimes my Dad would be in one of the jeeps, and we kids would try to find him. We would see him with his men, in fatigues, some with their weapons, and in their machines of war. I was so proud of him!
Later in my life, as a young Marine. I had my own chance to ride in convoys. It wasn't as much fun when you had to load the trucks and ride down roads that had been (hopefully) cleared of mines just a few minutes before. I was in a small four vehicle convoy taking a radio up to Phu Bai, from DaNang, when we were ambushed coming out of Hi Van pass. RPG's took out the the fuel tanker and we had some badly burned Marines. That kinda soured me on convoys.
I don't see too many of them any more, but every now and then a small convoy of reservists will go through my little town headed for training somewhere. It brings back memories.
I was involved in one convoy to blow up a "whole" bunch of Grade IV ammo,bombs,etc. The coolest thing was the big blonde guy about 6'3" with a sweatband on his head manning a QUAD "50" on the lead 5-ton truck. Circa 1971 in S.E. Asia.When all that blew up we could hear shrapnel whizzing past and we were over a mile away from the site.