Back home, the usual SOP for celebrating New Year's Eve has been to go out for an early dinner with long-time friends, then crawling into bed no later than one minute after midnight. Yep, my spousal unit and I are pretty much the definition of "Party Animals". So, after a long, full day of work, I was prepared to happily retire to my CHU with a slice of North End pizza and a cold bottle of O' Doul's, and call it an early night. I was running out of gas real fast, and I was finishing up with my Facebook page when WHAMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!, there was a great explosion outside, the concussion toppling the paperback books I had stacked on my desk. Like a startled prairie dog, I popped open my door, seeing everyone else down the row doing the same thing. Then the "Big Giant Voice" loudspeaker broadcast the indirect fire warning (Better late than never, eh?), "BWAH! BWAH! BWAH!...INCOMING! INCOMING! INCOMING!" Knowing that these "Special Holiday Gifts" from our adversaries usually come in multiples, we all sprinted for the nearest bunkers. Once esconced inside, there was the usual joking that comes from being under enemy fire...anything to take our minds off the situation. In my bunker, we had an easy conversation starter...commenting on the variety of pajamas which folks were wearing. There were soldiers wearing Mickey Mouse PJs, Philadelphia Eagles PJs (ironically, worn by a guy named "PJ", who isn't from anywhere near Pennsylvania), "Barbie" PJs...(I didn't ask the dude where he got those, or why he chose to wear 'em, as he was much bigger than me.), and my favorite...my boss was clad in PJs with one of the 7 Dwarfs, "Grumpy", gamboling about the fabric. You can bet I'm saving up that fact for use later...
There were three more salvos of projectiles before the Giant Voice rasped, "All Clear!" (I believe the Army hired Ernest Borgnine to record these announcements.) We all wandered back to our respective CHUs...I confess in my case it wasn't for a good night's sleep, as the combination of adrenaline and plain old scaredy-cat nerves kept me up until dawn. Fortunately, New Year's Day was pretty quiet, with no investigations requiring me to be anything approaching fully alert.
The good news was two-fold: Nobody on our base got hurt, nothing vital was damaged...and the Other Team was sacked for a big loss of yardage on the play, and will be "out" for the rest of the season. (A football analogy is much more likely to pass the censor's review...but you get my drift!)
One postscript: A few days later, I was leaving my CHU, headed to work, when a giant tractor-trailer rig pulled up just outside our housing block. A sergeant wearing a combat engineer unit patch hopped out of the cab and motioned to me. "Say, d'ya have any idea where this new bunker is s'posed to be located?", he asked. I glanced up at the nice, extra thick preformed reinforced concrete bunker and huge stack of filled sandbags on the trailer, pretended to consult my pocket notebook, then pointed to a vacant spot about 20 feet from my door. "Why, right there, sergeant!" I replied with what I hoped was a straight face. "Thanks, sir!" the sergeant shouted, and I briskly strode away. By the time I got back from the office 14 hours later, there was the Taj Mahal of bunkers...minus a cot and carton of condoms, of course...just a few steps from our unit's billets. I'm still half-expecting to get a call from the MPs, asking us to investigate the theft of the Commanding General's bunker, but so far, so good! Now, all that remains is to see if I can stretch my TV cable all the way out there...just in case we get attacked during the Texas-Alabama game, or even worse, the Super Bowl.