Class of Love (Letters From Home Series Book 1)By: Maryann Jordan
As a high school counselor, I worked with many students who joined the military after high school. A few of them I stayed close to and watched as they matured during their enlistment. I know letters from home meant so much to them and they were the idea behind these stories. For those, and all who have served, I dedicate this story to them.
When writing military romance, I do a lot of research in my desire to accurately portray the soldiers’ jobs, duties, and situations, but know that in some areas I will fall short simply because I have never walked in their boots. I hope my readers will focus on the love story, while appreciating the service our men and women in the military.
DFAC – Dining Facility
ACU – Army Combat Uniform
MWR – Morale, Welfare, and Recreation
bird – helicopter
(September – Ethan)
Tan. Brown. Khaki. Beige.
In Afghanistan, the color scheme rarely changed for someone in the Army. Good for camouflage…bad for morale. I’d been here for six months and the rest of my tour loomed long and hard in front of me.
I jogged along the wide, dirt path between the large, tan tents, the Moon Dust swirling with every step of my boots. The sand-colored powder that covered the ground, kicked up with the wind, our steps, and the movement of every vehicle.
Looking down the long row of tents, each one was almost the same as the next. Same color, generally the same shape. Everything here was bland…the dusty road, the tents, the sky when the wind blew, and even our clothes. I sometimes wondered if the monotony of our world was to match the monotony of our duties.
Coming to the tent I shared with my squad, I kicked the dust off my boots before I darted inside, glad to be out of the burning sun. The heat was oppressive, bearing down with a blistering intensity that made you want to hustle to get where you were going while at the same time zapping you of all strength.
It was only when you stepped inside that the differences in the tents became evident. Each side of ours was lined with three metal bunk beds, footlockers at the ends and tall metal lockers in between. I felt lucky to have a small tent. Lots of soldiers were packed in tents with twenty or more bunks. Hell, ours even had mattresses where some bunks were barely more than cots. Sparse compared to most people’s standards, but over here, we learned to take our advantages wherever we could find them.
The floors were wooden, scuffed and worn planks. Not very aesthetic but better than just the dirt. We also had air conditioning and heat—a real luxury considering the weather in this country.
This tent held my squad and was not too far from the airfield where we worked. We had a card table in the middle, often used for poker nights. Pictures were taped to some of the lockers…wives, families, girlfriends, pinups. A couple of strings of drying laundry crisscrossed the space as well. Walking past the first two bunk beds, I came to mine in the back corner. That was another small advantage. I had the side and back wall next to my lower bunk, giving me a sense of privacy.
When I first came to Afghanistan, I had the front top bunk and as soon as the squad member with the back corner rotated home, I claimed dibs on his space. I didn’t have any pictures taped to my locker—no wife or girlfriend, and hell, my old man sure as shit didn’t deserve a place there.
Jerking my hat off my head, I ran my hand over my short hair, noting it was almost time to get it cut again. Deciding to take care of that later in the week, I nodded at the few members already in the tent as I stopped at my bed. A large, padded envelope lay on my blanket, assumedly left there by my best friend and bunkmate since he had gone to the mail tent. Looking over at Jon, I tilted my head in question, observing him opening up a large box.
“What the hell is this?” I asked, continuing to watch as he dug into the now open box, pulling out several well-packed bags of cookies.
Jon shot me a victory grin as he ripped open a bag and shoved a homemade cookie in his mouth. Answering while chewing, he replied, “We got these in the mail. You know…shit sent to soldiers. They were giving these out at the MWR.”
The MWR—Morale, Welfare, and Recreation—was located in a large tent containing a library, computers, pool tables, and games. They gave out whatever they could to keep up morale. The Army tried to make us forget we were fighting a war on the other side of the world, but there was only so much they could do.
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