One benefit of military service is the recognition that not all authority is meant to thwart our good times; sometimes it is meant to protect us, preserve us, arm us with the knowledge and skills to survive in difficult or life-threatening situations. As a result, we were open to the advice of my unit’s senior non-commissioned officer (NCO), who touted the idea of camping our way along the French side of the English Channel. He spoke of the beauty of the beaches, the friendly reception afforded to visiting Americans, and insisted that it would be the “vacation of a lifetime.”

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