We rode the overnight bus from Fort Hood back to El Paso, and this time it was a shorter ride for some reason (probably because we didn’t get lost like last time). I managed to get some sleep, but the next morning was very sore from sleeping on the uncomfortable bus seats.
Last time, we were at Westbrook, which is way out in the boonies. This time, they are keeping us at McGregor Range proper. It’s off the 54 highway going north from El Paso into New Mexico. Here is a satelite view of what it looks like at this place:
The idea behind McGregor is to make it look like a FOB (Forward Operating Base) in Iraq. They have barbed wire fences all around, and signs in Arabic/English warning you to keep away and not take photos. Every couple of hours, prayers are broadcast over loudspeakers in Arabic, just like would happen at a FOB in Iraq. And of course the arid, desert environment is similar to that of Iraq.
They have been doing a bit more training here. This is a big base for desert combat training, with armored humvees, and plenty of desert. We spent a night doing a field exercise where we returned to Westbrook and then defended it while people shot blanks, had Iraqi wedding parties (shooting in the air), and then attacking us with mortars and gunfire. It was kind of fun.
This weekend, I return to Camarillo for a 4-day pass. After a month away, I am VERY much looking forward to this!