Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Lieutenant

The Major in charge of our team told me that I would be paired up with a 1st Lieutenant (promotable) and gave me his contact information yesterday. I emailed him and introduced myself, and he called me this evening. I think we're going to get along really well. He's Celtic, like I am, so how can we go wrong. He's also done a year in Iraq and has some good experience from there. The pieces just keep falling together. So far, they are falling together nicely. One day at a time, we'll get this thing done.
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Not quite the beginning

It's not quite the beginning. It really started several weeks ago with a call to National Guard Bureau about a "job posting" on Guard Knowledge Online for ETT's in Afghanistan. Then things took on a life of their own, and while I don't have "hard copy" orders yet, I know that I'm to go to the mobe station to hook up with my team on January 2nd. I've had to jump through hoops to get here, too.

The first guy I talked to was a Sergeant Major who asked if I was the MP who had called him earlier. "No," I said.

"What's your MOS?" he asked.

"Well, my primary right now is 19K (armor crewman...)"

"I don't need any of those," he interjected flatly.

"I know. I'm also an 11B (infantry,)" I finished.

"What kind of a soldier are you?!" he demanded.

I was taken aback. He sounded stern, almost as if he were questioning my behavior at the moment. "What do you mean, Sergeant Major?"

"I mean, are you a sit-around soldier or a get-out-in-the-field soldier? I need some ETT's, and it's not a cushy job."

"I don't want to sit around, Sergeant Major. I'm calling you because of the E-7 11B positions on the spreadsheet with the 218th. I figured those were ETT's."

"They are. Do you have a BRB prepared?" he asked.

"What's a BRB?"

That's where it started. It turns out that a BRB is a short military resume, a Biographical Records Brief. Then it got better. What a journey... and I've never left the state. Probably more on that later, but it included a sit-down with a Colonel, lots of running around, and a couple of scares that I wasn't going to get to go.

For those of you who know Bill and Bob, this journey is made partly in their honor. If it weren't for them, I wouldn't be capable of performing this service for anyone. There's a lot of redemption in this for me.

My children don't know yet. I don't want to ruin their Christmas. They will have time to adjust later. It won't change their world, but it will make the pain shorter. The part of me that wants to tell them now is selfish. They will have a nice Christmas and then I will tell them, and we will have a week or so together before I leave for training. I have been a soldier since before any of them were born, so they are used to me leaving for periods of time... but not fifteen months.

I hope to document my journey through this blog. If anyone reads it and gets anything from it, so much the better. If no soul other than myself ever sees it, that will be okay, too. It is to help me see the changes and evolution as I go through this event. I feel like a child talking about what they will do when they grow up, because this is just that foreign to me. I have no idea what it will feel like, who I will meet, what I will face, if it will hurt, or if it is the beginning of the end of my life. I will probably laugh at this a year from now. I wanted to start as close to the beginning as possible. There's a lot that has gone into this already, and I'm still at home.
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