I can’t remember how this story popped up recently, but I was reminded of it … so I thought I would share it to the world.
I went to high school in Wiesbaden, Germany because my dad was in the Air Force. At the time, one of the largest US Military hospitals in Europe was in Wiesbaden.
When I was a senior, I volunteered to help the hospital with one of its training exercises. They needed actors to play various wounded roles so they could be prepared in case of a bombing, plane crash, etc. They drove a busload of us out to the nearby Army airbase where they dropped us off in a field and we were to play our parts until hospital staff showed up for triage.
I was given the role of “shell shocked” and told to wander around beyond the hangars, act disoriented, and be mildly uncooperative when the hospital crew showed up. I was sent off alone as the rest of the fake injured were “immobile” due to their “injuries” and on the other side of the building from me.
As I started to wander off alone on a US military base wearing civilian clothes, I heard somebody shout “FREEZE! DON’T MOVE!” behind me. Thinking this was part of the exercise I sort of glanced but kept wandering around “disoriented.” Suddenly I heard the voice much closer and much more menacing warning me not to take another step.
I stopped and slowly turned around to see a soldier in full battle gear pointing his M16 (with bright orange plug in the barrel that I didn’t immediately notice) at me and demanding to know who I was. Clearly this was NOT part of the hospital training exercise. I stammered out my name and told him I was with the hospital group and showed him my military dependent ID card. He asked a few questions, I answered. Once he realized I wasn’t a threat, he escorted me back to the rest of my group where the hospital folks were doing their triage and were NOT out looking for me.
The soldier found the ranking officer and told him the situation and handed me off. Apparently there was a combat training exercise happening on the base at the same time and neither group knew the other was going to be there.
Anyway, I certainly didn’t have to do much acting as “shell shocked” for the rest of the exercise, having just been staring down the barrel of an M16 and thinking the soldier was ready to use it!
This post has been day 64 of #100DaysToOffload