FORT BLISS, Texas – I was climbing in, on, and around an M1A2 Abrams tank parked on the uneven, bushy terrain of the sandy training grounds at Fort Bliss.
The tank and its crew had been out in the desert for days, taking part in a large exercise called Bulldog Focus, which was unfolding for miles all around us.
As I took pictures and asked the crewmembers questions, First Lietenant Eric Gonzalez, a former tank platoon leader and now an adjutant in the 1st Armoured Division, said something that perked my ears.
He bemoaned the sun, and wished for rain. Not fully understanding, I asked him why.
“The rain is good because, one, it conceals your dust signatures,” Gonzalez, who graduated from West Point in 2015, told me. “So moisture when it’s on the ground obviously keeps that down.”
It also “makes things a little bit quieter,” Gonzalez said. “If it’s still raining, you only hear the rain – you don’t really hear vehicles that well. If there’s a high wind, if there’s a storm or anything like that, your chances of hearing a vehicle are dramatically reduced.”
“Bad weather if you want to go camping,” Gonzalez said, “but in combat situations sometimes it’s not the worst.”
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