It was a dark and rainy night (really!) and I was on basic training.
My mission? Lead a patrol to a certain location and find out if there were "enemies" at the bridge.
So off we went.
We followed the old road into the treeline. Eventually, it petered out and we halted.
This was the point where I had to leave the rest of the team and strike off with just one person for back up.
We trotted off into the very wet woods.
Apparently, after we left, the Sargeant shook his head and said "She didn't take a bearing. I'd have at least taken a bearing..." (ie - checked my compass.)
My reasoning was thusly: I was looking for a bridge. According to the map, there was a lake ahead of me and a road on my right.
No matter which way I wandered, I'd meet one or the other, either lake or road. Follow the one to the other and voila! The bridge!
My plan worked perfectly. It helped that there was a Boy Scout camp on the other side of the inlet and it sort of brightened the woods up a bit
, but we actually pretty much strolled up to the bridge. We made our observations and prepared to head back.
My back up was actually pretty impressed with how things had worked out so far and said "Okay, you got us here, now get us back."
Uh oh. Here's where the "Take a compass bearing" part would have come in handy.
'Cause it's really easy to go to where two things meet (lake and road) because you can follow to where they meet.
Going the other way
is way harder. I just knew that the rest of my platoon was "out there" somewhere.
So I turned around and tried to figure out what to do when....Glory Be!
The lights from the Boy Scout Camp?
The lights lighting up the lake shore?
They were also lighting up the old road we'd come in on (the one I thought had petered out.)
Somewhere on that old road was my platoon.
I took off up that road, my buddy at my heels. And just when I thought I was hopelessly lost, I gave our "platoon signal" in the hope they were sort of near.
And the branch in front me moved, and I was face to face with my Sargeant.
The staff's consensus was "We have no idea how you pulled that off."
I got an "A" on patrolling.