We had visitors at lunch from Battalion Headquarters. A Captain and his staff were here to inspect our facilities and make an assessment of our needs (living quarters, showers, mess hall, etc.).
After lunch I was asked to tag along with the team and answer any questions regarding mess hall issues. I walked them through the large cleared area behind the mess hall and made my case for a new mess deck. Captain Cavagnol held back and let me sell the idea. He knew I was asking for a lot, and it was probably more of a wish list. When the Captain thanked me, I said, “Sir, I’m not finished.” I led the group to the north end of the mess hall and pointed out another cleared space. “This is where the cook’s quarters should be.” I argued that we had to maneuver through a path of triple strand barbed wire in the dark to start breakfast every morning. To my surprise, he had his team measure the space, and he said, “A 16′ x 16′ tropical hut would fit nicely here.”
That night Cavagnol took me aside and said, “I think you’re going to get your wish, but the Division Engineering Officer would have to approve it first.” We talked about the logistics of managing a larger facility, and he appreciated my confidence in this project.
Sumo was still concerned about having a private shower, and I assured him it was on my agenda. We talked about building it next to our new quarters and joked about installing an immersion water heater so we could have hot showers.