by Chris Murray
In 2015, as a young Infantry lieutenant, I found myself once again in a crowded, overheated battalion conference room. I was attending what seemed to be the hundredth staff meeting since I had arrived at the unit two months earlier as my Battalion was preparing for a deployment across the Pacific Ocean. My battalion commander provided a significant update to our logistical coordination: we would be chartering a massive cargo ship to carry our Strykers, Blackhawks, Chinooks, humvees, and all supporting equipment with us. Then, throughout the deployment, this cargo ship would shuttle our equipment between the various host nations for our training exercises. As a shiny new lieutenant, I didn’t understand much being said in the meeting. But I understood that for an Infantry battalion accustomed to having logistical support arranged for us, this was a serious undertaking for our S-4 shop.
I glanced at the S-4 to see his reaction to the news. The S-4 was asleep. Granted, he was attending probably his sixth or seventh “urgent” meeting of the day, and today had been calm compared to his past few weeks. Fresh out of Ranger School, where sleeping was a capital offense, I withheld the urge to throw a pen to wake him up and spare him his head. Poorly positioned to help, I instead scanned the rest of the staff. Two others were dozing off, and pretty much everybody in the room looked ready to do the same. It wasn’t even lunch time. We were sleepwalking into a deployment.