Thursday, August 12, 2010
One of the least physically intensive, yet loathed activities in the activation process is administrative lanes. This may be due to the fact that it often occurs at the unit level and state level during pre-deployment. Both of these usually take the better part of the day during a drill weekend. Once at the deployment post, there may be even more soldiers doing this at the same time, guaranteeing at least a day spent in the process.
During this, legal papers and information, medical histories, family information, pay/benefits information, and various other tasks are taken care of. Usually this involves a large room filled with rows of chairs packed together tightly, in which soldiers sit for a minute, get up, and sit in the next chair over for hours as soldiers filter through stations in semi-orderly manner depending on what tasks they must attend to.
Some of the processes for today were anthrax, smallpox, and flu shots; blood draws for HIV testing, cholesterol levels, and other lab testing; pregnancy tests; and for some of us older soldiers various panels checking for issues 20 year olds don't need to worry about.
For all that, most of the time is spent waiting in line. Most soldiers anticipate this and bring something to help pass the time. Games on phones, Kindles, and other electronic devices are something the young troops take for granted, unlike my early days, when the paperback book was seen in most cargo pockets. But then and now, there's still the soldier's classic pastime: the deck of cards.