From the Soldier side: (Some of the following is true.) I can’t figure it out, but over the last few years, a few Soldiers and former Soldiers I know have moved out of California into places where it snows. The mid-west, upstate New York and Ver-cold-mont are some of the places these Joes have moved.
I hate the cold. I hate my teeth chattering, I hate it when I can’t feel the ends of my fingers or nose…and I hate it when snot freezes. I really don’t like being cold…that’s why I’ve always tried to live in warm places. (and I didn’t mind the heat in Iraq) Most of my childhood years we lived in snow country. It was fun when I was a kid, but having to work in the snow and cold is something I hate. (Did I mention that I hate getting cold?)
So, when I see pics on things like Face Book from some of my old buddies in the snow, I ask them: “and why did you move there?” The first winter I was stationed in West Berlin (Weapons Platoon, C/2/6) we had the coldest winter they’d had in 100 years in Germany. I remember a few times driving my Gamma Goat truck around with a trailer full of 81MM mortar ammo (HE – High Explosive rounds) and sliding across the road in 6 wheel drive. Or the convoys we drove on where there was always at least one truck heater that would break and the crew would be freezing their ass off for hours.
Or the time our brilliant company commander took us out into the forest in Berlin for a training day. We had all this really good cold weather gear that we never used…that we asked if we could bring it. The commander said we wouldn't need the gear, so we left it in the barracks. After we got out in the woods, he thought it’d be a great idea to spend the night out in the cold. We froze our asses off at 10 F.
We ran the truck heaters all night rotating troops in the cab to thaw out. When we ran out of gasoline for our squad stoves, we tried running them on diesel. That failed. We burned C-rations boxes, twigs and anything we could find to keep warm. To this day, I still think that company commander was an idiot.
Then, many years later I joined a National Guard unit that’s “world mission” was to respond to Korea. So guess what we did…. Cold weather training. I was even tasked with giving some of the training. I got very good and cold weather survival, but I still hate getting cold! We’d go up to places like Truckee, California and sleep outside in the snow. Nuts.
I changed National Guard units years later and we went to Minnesota in the winter to train for Bosnia. Many of our California troops had NEVER been in the snow. The California first sergeant we had thought we were supposed to go outside for our morning formation.
One time in Minnesota, we were standing outside in company formation. We were in our spit shined boots, starched field jackets and all. Standing tall. But it was so damn cold outside, that when the First Sergeant started talking, his words froze solid and hit the ground. We picked up everything he said, took it into the barracks and thawed the words out. But, we got them all mixed up, so we had no idea what the hell he said. We think he was drunk, so it didn’t matter.
When I asked the Minnesota First Sergeant where they had formation, they said: “ya know it’s too cold outside, we have our formations inside the barracks.” I helped do some of the vehicle training for our troops. I found a frozen pond that we could spin a Humvee around on and we had a good day.
When we got to Bosnia , it was summer. By the next winter, we had pretty cold weather (for us California troops). Whenever I got to drive one of our NTVs (Non Tactical Vehicles) I ‘d find a big parking lot, make sure it was clear, then grab the parking brake and spin the car around. One day, our dumbass team leader tried this…on the road and sent his NTV into the ditch. He was a dumbass and got fired later. Bosnia was as cold as a well digger ass in Alaska in the winter.
Did I mention that I hate getting cold?