I spent Thursday 8/07/08 covering Oregon National Guard soldiers in the desert south of Boise, Idaho.
Its amazing what those men and women are doing on a daily basis---without a single complaint---at least none that they shared with us.
First, they're drilling over and over in the hot sun. I know I'm a bit of a whimp, but I was soaked in sweat just standing there in 100 degree heat, with no shade, carrying my pen and note pad.
The soliders are wearing helmets so heavy they made my neck hurt--and more importantly, heavy anti ballistic vests that weigh, I think, 40 pounds.
I wore one a few years ago when I embeded with Oregon troops in the desert of New Mexico. I was exhausted after the first day--and I'm pretty sure I cheated and did not wear it to the bathroom at night like I was supposed to.
They're wearing that stuff and carrying weapons and on high alert with the sun blazing down on them and they seemed in a good mood.
It made me want to pull my sagging stomach in and put my shoulders back--at least while I was around them.
If you have a soldier over there training---preparing mind and body to go to Iraq---you should be proud.
They're an impressive group.