Editor’s note: As a special service for our readers, WND is running a series of dispatches from Allan Wall chronicling his transition from civilian life as he prepares to fight with his National Guard unit in Iraq. Allan will write for us as often as he is able in order to let our readers vicariously experience what people in his position are going through. We hope you will check regularly for Allan’s dispatches and encourage your friends and family to do likewise.

TEXAS – The National Guard normally trains for one weekend a month, and for the two weeks of “Annual Training,” usually in the summer. This annual schedule involves several big challenges. One is that due to the limited time available, training time is short, since time is also consumed by transportation and administrative matters. Another challenge is that guardsmen are civilians who have to adapt to the military lifestyle for short periods of time, and then return to civilian life.

In a deployment, however, guardsmen suddenly become full-time soldiers.

My unit is now is in its sixth day of deployment, which means we’ve only just begun.

On Aug. 18, in the afternoon, a ceremony was held here at our Texas military camp, attended by some family members. Following the ceremony, the guardsmen were allowed to leave for the night with their families, and many did so. I didn’t, of course. My family is in Mexico.

On Aug. 19, the deployed guardsmen had a road march, donning their rucksacks and marching several miles on the military camp. This was followed by several first-aid classes.

Today, on Aug. 20, after a calisthenics session in the morning, classes were held relating to chemical protection – for example, the use of masks and chemical protection suits, and decontamination.

According to the schedule, tomorrow we are to depart from our current military camp and be transported to another, to train there for the next several months.

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