Linda Maye Adams

Soldier, Storyteller

Moving, Military Style


Moving in the military is always messy and stressful. So much so that the military classifies it as one of the top stressors.

But that’s when the soldier had a family — a spouse, children. But for the single soldiers who lived in the barracks, we always had problems with the sergeants, who seemed to think all we had was two duffel bags.

Not the TV set, video player, computer, books …

Lots of books.

Fort Lewis kicked us out of our barracks on main post, to move to the old World War II “temporary” barracks on North Fort. That was six miles away.

Initially, all the men were moving, but the women’s barracks wasn’t ready. We hit a holiday weekend, and the women were told “Move now!” A hurricane hit Washington State that weekend. So I’m throwing stuff in the back of my Geo Metro, which was a roller skate of a car, as I get pelted by high winds and rain.

Drive up this winding, six mile road as the rain battered at my little car. Got to the new barracks, hauled out my stuff, made a mad dash inside, dropped the stuff off, and back for another trip.

The problem part of the move was my computer desk. It wasn’t a monster like the ones you can get today, but it had a hutch, so it wasn’t going to be fitting on my roller skate car.   My squad leader had promised to come by with his truck, but he was a no show (boo! Boo!).

It was getting dark out, and I was trying to figure out what I was going to do about this desk. I was the last one in these barracks, and I was stuck. Then one of the other platoon sergeants stopped by to check the barracks, and he had a truck. Yay!

It was probably good that I was the last one there. We discovered that the orderly room had left behind the company guidon. The first sergeant would not have been happy if he discovered it Tuesday morning.

After that move, I couldn’t find anything for ages because of Army expectations versus moving expectations.

Unpacking is messy. The Army expected us to be inspection ready immediately.

Yup. Those two things didn’t work together. But somehow, it made sense to the military.

4 Comments

  1. I didn’t realize that you were allowed so much stuff.

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    • One solider had a sofa she got in Germany, and another had a huge tailored clothing collection from Korea. But everyone still has the image of the soldier from World War II, living in an open bay barracks with just a bunk — including some of the sergeants. A lot of the new rules then, which were still changing, focused on making things better for us and not treating us like we were essentially in a prison or could only live like a monk.

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  2. Pearl R. Meaker

    “Yup. Those two things didn’t work together. But somehow, it made sense to the military.”

    I’ve heard that from a lot of folks who have been in the military! A lot of the everyday things they have you do don’t really make much sense.

    Glad you didn’t have to leave your desk. 🙂

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