Some anecdotal proof that one year is about the tracer burnout for a combat advisor.
First, I do believe I'm getting a little cranky as my tour here winds down. Things that I should be taking in stride are irking the shit out of me, to the point where it is showing through my usually sunny disposition. Some examples:
-the DFAC: look, the Mungadai are really lucky to live on a large FOB with a large DFAC that has about everything you could want to eat (whether you should actually eat everything you want is a different story altogether, especially now that we're not spending fourteen hours a day burning calories by running around the ville in body armour). But, not all DFACs are set up uniformly, and you kind of need to know where you're going to get what you want. If you've never been in the DFAC before, step to the side, out of the human traffic flow, in order to do your recon. Don't stand in the middle of the "path" gawking. Otherwise, there is a very good chance (and getting better every day) that certain combat advisors will counsel you with a ballistic application of a food tray up against your damn head. Capische?
Next, the purpose of the DFAC is to allow you to grab and consume your chow and then haul your happy ass back to work. The fact that our DFAC is very large ups the percentage that you can find some food that you will actually enjoy consuming. But hey, all of our chow is line-hauled in. Which means that you don't stand at the salad bar trying to cherry pick the very best of the veggies, dumbass. All of the lettuce is slightly brown and wilty. All of the cucumbers are freezer burned. Either eat it or pass on it, but don't stand there holding up the line in pursuit of building the perfect salad. The rest of us have jobs and therefore don't want to stand there all damn day. Again: Tray. Head.
-Showers. I've been in the Army a long time. I've deployed a lot. So I've pretty much got the ergonomics of my morning ablutions down pat. But I'm not that good. There are 14 showerheads in two abutting trailers for about 167 swinging dicks. That means that there is not enough hot water to go round. If I can enter the trailer, brush my teeth, shave, shower, towel off, and exit the trailer and you've been in the shower the whole time, then you are a hot water Blue Falcon.
-Paranoia. I've been sitting with my back to the wall, scanning people's hands and eyes, and dodging every trash and rubble pile in the street for quite a while now. Total paranoia is total awareness. So maybe I'm just interpreting the news a little differently than I otherwise might. But does knocking out and hospitalizing 34 people with just a little spritz sound like a bad batch of froo-froo juice, or a trial run? And a Google-employed computer super genius gets bonked on the head by a 100-pound tree branch in Central Park? And all the trees in the area are healthy, even the tree from which the offending branch fell? C'mon, what world are you living in?
12 months, I'm good with. 24 months? That's stretching it.