Monday, February 17, 2014


Before reaching DEROS, you will have become short.

Becoming short takes a while. You have to remember how many days you have left. You don’t think about the day you’ll walk to the Freedom Bird, but you always know how many days you have left.

After you have been in-country two months and five days, you will announce, “Busted three hundred today.”

Everybody will laugh. Then you will bust two-fifty and two hundred, one-fifty and one hundred.

Busting one hundred is a magic day. Two digits, Man. You’re into two digits. Busting one hundred, you’re almost three-fourths done. You don't think about busting one hundred as being more than three months remaining. Three months is a long time. Busting one hundred puts you on the edge of being a short-timer.

There is no official designation of what short is. Busting thirty-one days, maybe. At some point, you can say “I’m so short, Man, I got to stand on a rock to take a leak.” Or, “I’m so short, Man, if I fell down, I’d be below the ground.” Or, “I’m so short, Man, I don’t even cast a shadow.”

Designating yourself short is a realization that it’s almost over. But you can’t let that realization get in the way of reality. You can’t think about being short. You can announce your status, but you can’t think about it.

If you are lucky, you won’t do much of anything the last week. You have to clear post, just like Stateside. Doesn’t matter that “post” is base camp, you have to clear post.

You have to go to places on base camp you’ve never been before, only heard about. You have to take a form to finance, the base camp library tent, the EM or NCO club tent, Provost Marshal’s Office, and so forth.
People at those places will check lists of names and see if your name is on the list and if you owe the army any money, such as a bar tab at the club you’ve never been in or if you have any overdue books at the library tent.

You have to clear company supply, too. If your company has a good supply sergeant, he’ll ask you if you turned in all your jungle uniforms, TA-50 and anything else issued, and you’ll say, “Yes, Sergeant, I have.” A good supply sergeant will take your word. A good supply sergeant will sign the form.

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