We recently asked one of the baddest of all the Anarchists, Katie Burns, to compare distance racing on a full-tilt sportboat with her recent experience deployed in Iraq. This is the real deal – enjoy it.
It was about 1300 hours and I was leaning out over the rail of Pete Hunter’s Wairere, staring at the water of the Chesapeake Bay as we cut through it. We were only about 10 miles into the 120 mile “Down the Bay” race from Annapolis to Hampton, and the rest of the race was becoming more and more daunting. A short time later, I was miserably spewing the remains of the previous night’s rum drinks while still hiking over the rail, wondering why the first time I ever got seasick had to be during the first leg of such a long race. By the late afternoon, the temperature had dropped and we started getting pounded by waves. By nightfall, I was wet, freezing, foulied up, and STILL spewing, when I came to this realization: Clearly, I was back in The Suck.
The Suck. Whenever someone asks me why I rolled out of bed one July morning in 2003 and decided to enlist in the Army, I struggle to come up with the right answer. The truth is that I have no idea why, and I may never know. I just did it, and anyone who knows me well would understand; I am simply the kind of person who wakes up in the morning and decides to enlist in the Army, just as any normal person would decide to make pancakes. However, in July of 2003, I was an unlikely candidate for the United States Army. I was 18 years old and 102 pounds soaking wet. I could barely keep a Laser upright on Hampton Creek that summer, let alone trek off with my body weight’s worth of gear in a rucksack. Of course, anyone who tried telling me so only pushed me to train harder, so off to basic training I went. I was hell-bent to be a Soldier.