Monday, December 1, 2008

Back to my Roots

Well, I'm back in Georgia, at Fort Benning. I was born in Georgia about 2 hours away from here. I got in on Saturday, and we made our way to CRC Fort Benning, where I am processing for the deployment. Our living quarters suck, but at least it is only for a week. It's four people per room (2 bunkbed sets, 4 wall lockers) There is no privacy (shower room with shower heads sticking out of walls) and you have to make sure your stuff is always locked up so no one steals it. It's about 12-14 hour days getting everything done that needs to be.
Before I came here, I was able to spend a few days back at home for Thanksgiving! It was fantastic (even when Sharee put makeup on me when I was taking a nap:( ) Hailey and Lacey were happy to see me. And it was great to be with Sharee again, to be home and to feel normal for a while. We had Thanksgiving over at our home, and we took care of Pies and the pumpkin rolls. It was fun having almost all of Sharee's family over.
Back to being at Ft. Benning... I did medical processing this morning, which wasn't as bad as when we did it at Ft. Jackson 2 months ago. I only had to get one shot this time (Anthrax, 2nd booster). I was supposed to get Smallpox too but they didn't give it to me because I might have had a tiny patch of Eczema years ago. I'm glad about that, the smallpox shot is a nasty one to heal from. Only 3 real days of training left, since the 4th day is really just getting ready to get on the plane. It is slowly becoming more real that I am actually going to Iraq. Not scared, just a tiny bit nrevous about not knowing exactly what they will want me to be doing while there. From everyone we've talked to since being recalled, they all say that where we are going is the best place to be and that we should enjoy our time. I'll be sure to start adding pictures when I get to a place that allows you to do that kind of thing. Which probably will be when we get situated at our station. I will also be adding a link to the news reports that I do, so you all can see what I am doing over here. I'm guessing the next blog will be from Iraq, since computer access here is about a 20 min. drive away from where we are staying.

Quote of the Blog:
Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.
Mark Twain

Friday, November 14, 2008

Another Delay... Big Surprise!

We learned today that there is another delay in our moving on to Fort Benning, Georgia. So, sparing you all the details, we should be here at Ft. Meade, MD until at least next weekend. By then the issue should be resolved. That also delays our flight date to Iraq a week. So, the time is ticking on our deployment already, so the longer we stay here the less time we are in Iraq. That's good I guess, but we will be making a lot more money when we get over there. Sharee reminds me though that "money's only money." So, another week of PT here, and of digitizing music at Radio Row at the schoolhouse. Other than that bit of news, nothing new here. Every day is pretty much like the last, and every weekend consists of trying to get away from the barracks for a little while. I talk to Sharee a couple of times a day and the girls every once in a while. Hailey likes to talk to me, which makes me feel good (since she's normally not a phone talker), and Lacey mostly just waves at the phone. That's all.

Quote of the Blog:
Change before you have to.
Jack Welch

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Back to the Grind

I am now back at Fort Meade, MD. I was able to go home for a 4-day pass. It was really nice to be back home and spend time with my three girls! Lacey took a little while to warm up to me again. She even went as far as to not look in my direction on the way home from the airport. I kept tickling her leg and she started to laugh. Monday she was very clingy to me though. So, at least she remembers me. Hailey was excited to see me, which made me feel really good. She told me about how her first dance class went and all about her (now) 11 Webkins. I loved just spending time with my family again! But as it always does, time went by way too fast. Also, I got to see my newest niece, Marlee. (I hope that is spelled right) She looks just like her older brother. That's wierd too, to think of Griffin as an older brother. I even got to hold Marlee for a little while before she started crying. But I don't feel bad, because she won't even let her dad hold her without crying. We didn't expect to be able to see each other so soon, so we were just grateful for the time we were able to be together. Now I'm back, doing to whole Army thing. I'll be here till the end of the week. Then on to some more training at Fort Benning, GA. It might be hard, but totally worth it to prepare for deployment. Hey, anything to help me stay safer. I guess all I have left to say is that I adore my family and miss them so much already! Sharee will appreciate the quote this time...

Quote of the Blog:
I love being married. It's so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.
Rita Rudner

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

OH YEAH...That's why I left the Army!

So today has been pretty aggravating! Everything was going well until about 5pm. Let me back up and start at the beginning. We(SPC Bramble and I) are now volunteering back at the schoolhouse. That is so we can avoid as much of the regular Army stuff as possible. We sit in radio studios and digitize (put into the computer) music. That way the students can do an all digital radio music show without having to use actual Cd's. Anyway, that really consists of us listening to the music while it is digitizing (we have to get the audio levels perfect). We really are left alone, and we can take a break whenever we want. That is from 8am - 4pm. Then... we have to go to a formation, to get the info we need for the next day. THAT is where the day started to go downhill. I had to check in with the personnel office, and found out that we still have no idea when our orders will come to go on to Fort Benning, GA. Second, I had to go see the Platoon Sergeant and ask about taking a 4-day pass this weekend so I can go spend a few more days with my family before I'm deployed to Iraq. It should be a no-brainer for me to get it approved because number one, we already graduated so we are just hanging out till we leave. Number two, it is a holiday weekend and thus a 3-day weekend anyway. So it shouldn't be that hard to get them to say yes, right? Wrong! Earlier in the day the Platoon Sergeant asked me to mapquest the distance from here to home as part of the needed paperwork. When I brought him the distance, he said that it was over 300 miles and that the pass is denied because it is too far. (If it is over 300 miles you have to take leave) So I said, "Well, then can I take leave to go home for the 4-day?" He then asked how much leave I have saved up (in the Army leave is accrued at 2.5 days of leave per month of service). I told him I had 2.5, since I'd only been back in the service for a month. So, I asked if I could use 1.5 days of advanced leave as well. To which he replied that is up to the commander because since I am deploying I might not be around long enough to earn back the advanced leave (he said this while drawing his finger across his throat, indicating I could die before I "earn" 1.5 days of leave!). So, needless to say I am pretty pissed off about that. So, in order to see my family I am re-doing all the pass paperwork with an address for a hotel in Hershey, PA. They evidently don't really care where I go or what I do, as long as the distance matches up on their paperwork. So, the end result should be the same (I'll go home), but as is the way of the Army, I need to jump through pointless hoops to get there.
Then I went to the formation where we were talked to like children about people not cleaning up after themselves, and what the punishments will be for those who continue to be messy. The worst part was that to say that took, no joke, over 30 minutes! This is the kind of stuff that cemented my decision to get out of the military. I'm hoping that this kind of thing doesn't happen on deployment, but maybe that is just too much to ask. Maybe though, since the unit is National Guard and tend to have a more realistic(civilian) approach to things.

Quote of the Blog:
Common sense is not so common.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Graduated DINFOS

We had a VERY informal graduation ceremony for SPC Bramble and myself today. We completed all of the requirements for the refresher course mid-day today. We also found out that we don't leave here for another two weeks, and then we will be going on to Fort Benning, GA. We are making our way all up and down the East coast. So, in order to not get stuck doing something stupid (like painting rocks) we volunteered to assist at the school in the broadcast classes. Figuring that we just re-graduated the course, we should be a little help to the students that might be struggling a bit, but they need to approve it through the Student Company Sergeants. So, I hope they are alright with that. That's about it for right now. Just letting you all know.

Quote of the blog:
We are what we believe we are.
C. S. Lewis

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Moving along at DINFOS

I officially moved on to the Television portion of the refresher course here at the Defense Information School (DINFOS). We finished the radio portion this morning. It went much better than I was expecting. The last time I touched a radio sound board was the last time I was at DINFOS (over 4 years ago). It came back pretty fast. I wish our mission in Iraq was to run a radio station. It is a LOT of fun. So, anyway, we started T.V. today and will be done with that by mid-day Friday. I was doing TV only 7 months ago (when I was still active duty). The difference now is that we are learning a new editing system. When I first went through DINFOS I learned on AVID PRO, which is what I edited on the entire time I was in the Army. Now the Army is moving over to using Adobe Premiere Pro CS4. That is actually what the Mobile Public Affairs Detachment (MPAD) that we are going to in Iraq is editing on. So, we had the option of making it easier on ourselves and just doing everything at the school on AVID, but we figured we need to learn Adobe, so we might as well start learning now. It is easy enough (since we already understand how to edit using other systems) to learn this new one. When I get a chance, I'll read the manual and play around with it and know every aspect of it within a few months. After equipment turn-in on Friday, we will have a graduation ceremony (yes, just for the two of us). I guess some of the DINFOS big-wigs are going to come to it (It's a rare thing for people to come through as recalls). I guess that's it for new information. I was able to take a few pictures with my cell phone, so I'll add those as well. They are not good quality, but it's better than nothing. Before we go I am going to try to get real pictures of the sound booths, the radio station booths, and something from the TV side as well. Until then, these pictures will have to do.

This is DINFOS, from the front.

This is me at the front windows of DINFOS

Quote of the blog:
Benjamin Franklin

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fort Meade, MD

I finally made it to Fort Meade, MD. I got here about 11:00 at night on Tuesday. We were given a room (no linens) and went to sleep (and froze (the heat was turned on Friday night)). We began our training at the Defense Information School (DINFOS) on Wednesday. The training is supposed to be 10 days long but because we got here late it will only be 9 days for us. On Friday we completed our first third of training which is the writing for broadcast and announcing skills portion. We had to write a few broadcast story scripts. We then were graded on three recorded in booth news vocal reads. It is really surprising how quickly all of the things we were taught years ago come back to you. Starting Monday we begin the Radio portion of our training, then Wed. we will go on to the T.V. portion. We will be all done on Friday. From there we should go on to a mobilization site, then deploy. It is really neat to see our old instructors again and hear them teaching the new students. I still miss my three girls a whole lot, but I get to talk to them daily, so at least we are still connected.I have a few pictures taken here, but won't really be able to put them up here till tomorrow(ish). It is kind of ironic that here at the Public Affairs School, we have the least amount of computer access. As a side note, we did get linens for our beds on Wed. and were able to have restful sleep since that first night. Since I am only here for about five more days, I'm not giving out the address here. I probably wouldn't be here by the time it arrived. I should find out within the next 2 weeks what my address in Iraq will be and I will make sure everyone knows it as soon as I do. Also, the instructors have been really helpful preparing us deploy. In addition to the training we are doing here, they have linked us up with multiple broadcast journalists that are stationed here now that have deployed within the last few years. They have been able to give us specific insite into our job over there. Each person has a different aspect that they seem to focus on. One talks about the technical side of things, one the mental/emotional, one the physical. So we are begining to get a good idea of what to expect. And from what I hear, the base where we will be located is pretty comfy as far as deployments go. Of course I would much rather be home and never have to go, but as long as I'm going I am glad things are turning out like they are. I love you all, and will write more as I know more.

Quote of the blog:
Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.
Oscar Wilde