So no shit, there I was.
Driving between Dallas and Fort Hood, returning from a recon for a funeral detail.
There I was, at a nondescript rest stop somewhere in the middle of nowhere.
I paid for my coffee and waited for a fellow soldier to pay for his Red Bull when an older man approached the counter. He was about my height, balding, overweight with a stained, sleeveless cutoff shirt. He looked me square in the eyes, making sure we were locked in.
With both hands pressed against the counter holding him up, he looked at me hard and asked with a straight and serious face: “Jade helm?”
I may or may not have responded with a sarcastic remark.
Without going into the details, the rest of the conversation revolved around preachers, preparations, and treason.
Without question, it was the most uncomfortable I have ever been in regards to civilian-military relations, and I’ve dealt with a lot of anti-military rhetoric, having been a part of veterans issues in New York City and attending graduate school at the School of Oriental and African Studies.
In those settings, challenges towards my military service usually resulted in me thinking critically about my decision to serve, and eventually hardening that resolve through deliberate thought.
In this instance, being called treasonous by an angry Texan, I wonderd what might be sitting on his belt. I got out of there as fast I could.
It’s interesting – and a little scary – to read on the internet about this group of people worried about an obscure military exercise. It’s a completely different and strange thing to actually be confronted by it and challenged by it.
I didn’t like it.