I’ve always imagined what life would be like living on a US military base overseas, and recently I was giving the opportunity to visit them on the First Ladies 60th Military Appreciation Tour. It was an incredible, eye opening experience.
Our final stop on Tour 60 was to North Camp in Egypt, just south of the Gaza Strip. We started our day taking a C-295 from Sharm el Sheik to base. Once we arrived, we were briefed on the security system used to enforce the 1978 treaty of peace and keep the base safe.
Next, we learned about the different roles of the servicemen and women ranging from dog handlers to the bomb squad. I met Janet, a service dog on base, and learned about the extensive training the dogs must go through before they arrive at North Camp. They showed us their bearcats, explosives robots and Christal even had the opportunity to wear one of the bomb suits. I can’t imagine wearing an 80-pound uniform in the 100-degree Egyptian heat.
After, we headed to the DFAC for lunch to talk with the servicemen and women about their lives and families back home. This was a great reminder that the time we have with our loved ones should never be taken for granted, or even the technologies we have to keep us connected. One of the servicemen recalled a time that he was deployed where he only had 30 minutes a week to call home. Fortunately now, they each seem to have daily FaceTime sessions incorporated into their schedules.
Every Friday night the servicemen and women play ultimate frisbee. We headed to their game to cheer them on and perform a halftime routine. Ashley and Christal jumped into the game of frisbee as well. After the game, Redskins alumni Mike and Darnian hosted a game of football trivia and held a Q&A about their time in the NFL. Although most of the servicemen and women on base were fans of other teams, it always amazes me the way sports have a way of bringing people together.
I am very grateful I had a glimpse into our service men and women’s everyday responsibilities and routines. I’ve gained a new respect for the sacrifices they make for our country and I’m so grateful for their service!