I served in the U.S. Army and twas he second woman assigned to my unit in Germany. Liz was the first, and she arrived in the morning, while I got there in the evening. Cheese worried about us all the time, so you can imagine his panic, when he realized he would have to take two women on Reforger. (Reforger was 10 days, but I got sick with Strep on day 5, and Cheese gratefully sent us home early). These European war games included troops from many nations. Our unit was responsible for repairing electronic equipment, including the very early models of computers. Traditionally, for Reforger, our unit would bring a long trailer that could be hooked up to a generator to provide power, and served as a repair shop. When the guys got tired, they'd move the equipment to the floor and sleep on the work tables.
But now there were two young women, and Cheese wasn't comfortable with that. He wanted to make sure we got field experience, but he also recognized the need to protect us. As the number of women in the Army increased, the number of rapes did, too. Every new duty assignment included a seminar on rape prevention. During Reforger Cheese made sure Liz and I had an armed guard with us whenever we left our area.
There was one little problem.
We only found the latrine once in five days. So, you're wondering. What did we do? The guys just wandered off into the woods to do their business. If someone came upon them, it was just another guy, so no big deal. There were very few women out there, and we never saw any others. Unfortunately, wandering out into the wood wasn't an option for Liz and me. We had to wait until dark.
Reforger was held in September...12 hours of daylight.
You can imagine how full a bladder gets in twelve hours. Twelve long hours. Out unit was located deep in the German woods, surrounded by tall, skinny trees. No stars. No moonlight. We could hardly see our hands before our faces as we staggered away from the long trailer trying to find out way with only a little help with our flashlight. We didn't want to draw attention to ourselves by having the light on us broadcasting what we were doing. And flashlights ruin your night vision.
Now let me describe the lame uniforms we had to wear. For one, they were tropical lightweight. Isn't it brilliant to send women, dressed in fabric made for the warm tropics, to freakin' cold Germany? They were also pooly designed (I'm sure they were anticipating that we'd have desk jobs). Whereas a man's uniform included a zipper in the front (go figure), our fatigues had buttons on the sides. It's a little too adventurous for me to have to undo 6 buttons, when you really, really have to go.
Liz and I made our way far enough from the trailers to be sure (kinda) of our privacy, and we split up for some privacy. Remember now, there was no latrine, no raised anything with a seat. Squatting was required. I guess I was in a bigger hurry than Liz, because I'd already assumbed the position, when I heard her scream.
I immediately stood up.
And immediately squatted down again. Um ... you don't shut off the bladder after holding its contents for 12 hours. I called out to Liz, frantic to know if she was okay. She giggled. Seems she'd backed into a tree and thought someone had grabbed her. O_o
I was mortified. We only had four sets of fatigues, and we were scheduled for ten days. Now I'd soiled a quarter of my clothes.