Weathering the Storm in an Outhouse

Now this was a stroke of genius or maybe it was pure survival. I loved this story but more importantly the lesson it gives us on how to survive the many storms in our lives.  My take-away . . . we definitely need to practice more “out-of-the-box” or in this case “in the outhouse” thinking!

In June 2012,  41 young college ROTC cadets on a training exercise are caught in a torrential rain storm in the woods of Fort Lewis, WA.  The storm had come on so fast and so strong that the cadets didn’t have their wet weather gear with them or even where they could get back to their packs. The cadets were quickly soaked to the bone and freezing with the nighttime temperatures dropping to 15 degrees.

To try and get some kind of protection, they first formed tight circles with the smallest cadets in the middle.  My niece, Meghan, at 103 lbs, was encircled but the rain and cold was too much.  There was no shelter . . . except for a bunch of outhouses in a row in among the trees.  And then someone had an idea . . .

So with a quick count-off, the cadets divided themselves up into groups of four and into the outhouses they went.  Ten outhouses x 4 = 40 cadets in from the storm.  But what happened to the 41st cadet?  One of those outhouses must have been really stuffed.  In a quick phone call, I asked Meghan how did all those big guys fit in those very small outhouses?  No time to be fussy . . . two stood on the bench and two on either side of the toilet. And that 41st cadet probably had to straddle the toilet seat. Not a pretty sight or smell.

But when the rain had slowed, all ten outhouse doors popped open at the same time and the young ROTC cadets marched smartly out in formation having weathered this storm in a most unique way.  Of course, hopefully they marched straight back to their barracks for hot showers.

Still exhausted from 17 days out in the field and an immediate turn around to her next assignment in Korea, Meghan wasn’t seeing the humor in this experience.  But she will when she gets home and drys out from the typhoon coming through Fort Casey (NW South Korea) as I write this.  Home is going to look really good to her.

And our hats off to our young military volunteers for their service, commitment and good sense when weathering the many storms in our lives.  Thank you for all that you do!

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