Friday, September 14, 2007

Been Away for awhile

If anyone out there is still reading this....Sorry for not posting for ab out a year or so lol. I've been pretty busy.....The Army has had me running all over the planet. I'll give you all a quick update...went to OCS and got my commission as a 2LT....went to BOLCII, got married to HH6, went to my Officer Basic Course, got certified in Level 1 Modern Army Combatives, moved to Germany. We just arrived in Germany and I'm getting ready to head Down Range. Time flies...anyway....just thought I'd let anyone who cares know Im still alive and doing well...Ill try and be better about posting!

Friday, September 29, 2006


So yesterday I swore in and shipped....well...tried to ship anyway....bad weather in DC kept my flight from Syracuse I ended up not leaving untill 5:30 this morning. Of course I took advantage of the last night at home to spend a few more hours with HH6. She has been holding up very well so far...Im proud of her. I'm not sure what I expected...but she's made it alot easier than it could have been...she's a trooper.

So I finally arrive in Atlanta...head to the USO....and they tell me and my little travel buddy to get lost...we can come back after we've finished training. Nice. Long story short...Im stuck here untill 5PM waiting for the bus to Benning. Almost there.....

Saturday, September 16, 2006

No news is good news?

Thanks to all my commentors! Wether it's a few words of encouragement or a tidbit of information that I was missing, ym readers and commentors usually fill in the gaps, thanks again! So the more I read about about OCS, the more worried I was getting about this whole process. I have read numerous complaints that it has gotten soft and is too easy...etc etc....then Becky's comment, explaining the BOLC system made perfect sense to me. OCS is known as a "Gentlemans course". It's not a boot camp (by the time you get to OCS you should have already gone through boot camp). So the Scope of the course is to teach you how to be an Officer. Some may despair the lack of leadership training in the current iteration of OCS, but thats what BOLC II is for. This approach may not make sense to everyone, but believe it or not, it makes perfect sense to me. I may be way off base here, but lets look at a commision like an MOS for a minute. When you go to AIT you learn to do your job....if its language school, your main focus is on language, much less so on PLDC or other things. So having a "how to be an Officer" school actually makes sense to me. Then we can look at BOLC II as to be a leader...again..I'm comparing this to the enlisted process, but it makes sense to me. I actually think that 6 weeks of training devoted to leadership is going to be more effective than 14 weeks of knife and fork training, admin training and all that jazz...mixed in with whatever time they have left for leadership training. I'm actually a little impressed. As an 18x candidate, I was pretty impressed with the 18X pipeline. I thought OSUT for infantry soldiers was genius. Apparently this is a different Army than the one I saw when I was on active duty. Kinda interesting.

Things continue to progress on the Home Front. HH6 remains stressed out, but she puts on a brave face for me. Sometimes, though, I can see beyond it and just how scared she is. I wish she would believe me when I tell her everything will be fine. When she gets all nervous, its starts to make me nervous..hehe. I'm scared too though. I'm scared that I wont make it through OCS, and I'll have to come home, and face her as a failure. I'm scared that when the time comes for her to move down to wherever I am, she won't want to anymore. I'm scared she'll meet somebody better while I'm gone (well not really, I mean...who could be better than me ;) ?) But yeah...our stress level at home is kinda high, but the fact that we persevere through it and find a little time to laugh at ourselves and each other gives me faith that we have a bright future together.

Monday, September 11, 2006

I sense a Disturbance in the Force

Ok, the more I think about it, the more suspicious I get about not going to the WTC and not having a branch assignment yet. I registered for the army OCS websites forums, and almost everyone has had their branch and follow on orders to BOLC II and BOLC III (whatever those are) and their OBC class dates already. Somehow, I can already feel the Army's hot breath on the back of my neck...both of its sweaty hands on my shoulders...whispering seductively into my ear, "this wont hurt a bit.....just relax..." This situation kinda reminds me of last night's Family Guy season premiere...where Peter goes to the doctor for a flu shot and ends up getting a Prostate exam. One of greatest fears is that I'll be branched Infantry and expected to complete jump school and RIP right after OCS....HMMM....oh well...

The run has me nervous, mainly because I havent been doing much (any) running lately. Of course I am now in the old man age group so I have 17 minutes to run the 2 miles....hopefully adrenaline will kick in and Ill do OK. I havent smoked in over a month now, so that should go in my favor during the run. It helps to be able to breathe.

I was given notice that TG resents being known as TG, so from now on...she will be known as HH6 (house hold 6). She wont get it, but all you mil-blogger types should. HH6 is understandably nervous and upset about my departure, but her continued love and support keep me going. It's going to be hard to be away from her for so long, but I guess we had better prepare for that. I really wish I had some kind of idea as to what Branch I'll get so we could start making plans for her to come and join me after OCS. I'm already looking forward to Christmas Exodus and coming home to her. It's going to be a nice break.

If I sound slightly panicked...well...I am. The ball is rolling a bit faster than I'd like it too, but there's nothing to do about it but hang on and hope for the best. With any luck I should have my commission by the end of January and more info well ahead of that.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Go directly to OCS, do not pass go, do not collect $200

So Thursday was an interesting day. I went back to MEPS to sign my OCS contract. I found out that I wont be going to the WTC at all. I leave directly for reception and start my OCS class on 10 OCT. Its sort of short notice, but seeing as how I was supposed to ship Thursday, I guess I cant really complain. I'm working at Best Buy untill the 23rd, then I'll have about 5 days to pack up my apartment, put everything in storage, and say my good-bye's. No idea what branch I'll get, I'm hoping for MI or Infantry, which I really dont think are unreasonable. It's possible that my airborne DQ could keep me out an infantry who knows...maybe by then I'll get to see a doc who can get me cleared for airborne duty. I'm not sure how much blogging I'll be able to do in between now and when I leave, and I'm pretty sure that it's not gonna happen once Im at OCS, but we'll see.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Officers Board

Well, Finally some good news! I actually sat my Officers Board Friday. It was quite an experience. I've never had an experience like it before. It was pretty intense to say the least. I found out Thursday afternoon that my board was actually scheduled for Thursday morning, yes you read that correctly...I missed my first board...apparently there was some miscommunication. Oh well. So I was told to be ready and meet my recruiter at the station at 7:30 to head down for the new board. Thursday night was spent in a panic, TG went the extra mile and printed off the Army Core values and a bunch of other study material for me to look at when I got home. She also checked my suit for wrinkles and Ironed my shirt while I was in the shower the next morning. She made coffee and got me ready for the day ahead. It was great. She really made things alot easier and showed me that she really supports what I'm doing and is willing to go out of her way to help me any way she can. Big points for her. On my way from the station, she called and said her mom had brought me up at her prayer group and they had all prayed that I would do well at the board. Now I'm not a super religious guy, but that meant alot to me. Then her mom called me and wished me luck too. I was feeling pretty good at that point. Then I got another phone call from her little sister, who's in Grad school in Indiana, again wishing me luck and telling me she had every confidence in my ability. It was a pretty emotional experience, in a good way. It's great to be overwhelmed once in while, especially with love and support. It really took my mind off my worries and helped me to focus. I can't thank them enough.
I wont get into specifics about what they asked me, but to anyone considering applying for OCS, READ YOUR ESSAY AGAIN RIGHT BEFORE THE BOARD! Know and be able to clearly state why you want to be an Officer in the Army. I will relate a funny story from the board though. One of the members of the board asked me why I wanted to be an Officer in the Army instead of the Navy. Now the real reasoning for this was of course Special Forces, but I was so amped up, I drew a total blank. My first response was "Well, Sir, Thats a good question". to which he replied "Thank you." and proceeded to wait expectantly for my answer. The best reason I could come up with was "Well, Sir, I didn't care for Ship-Board life." to which he replied, "what didn't you like about it?". I replied "well, sir, it's dirty" That casued a few raised eyebrows, let me tell you. There I was, sitting across from from 3 Officers, basically telling them I was afraid of getting dirty. Not my finest moment. I did manage a decent recovery and the rest of the board went pretty smoothly. So smoothly in fact, that The board reccomended me for OCS.
Before I left, I was in the PAO office for the batallion doing some paperwork, and I noticed a bunch of little lapel pins that say "Proud of my Future Soldier". So I grabbed a few, one for TG, her mom, and my mom. I need to get a card out to Indiana for her little Sister. Small gestures to let them know how much I appreciate them. I called TG and told her I had been approved, which prompted another round of congratulatory phone calls from her mom and sis. It was a stressful day, but it had a great outcome. Finally something in the Army went my way!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Nothing To Report (NTR), captains mast

So, amazingly nothing has really happened this week. I had been told to expect to go to the officers board either Wednesday or Thursday, and possibly even Friday. Then I got word that it's not happening this week, and may, infact, not happen at all. Apparently, the Army has an issue with my disciplinary record from the Navy. This wasn't an issue when I wanted to enlist, but apparently it has become an issue since I decided to apply for a commission. I suppose a back story is in order here.

At my first duty station I had what effectively amounted to 2 separate chains of command. In order not violate OPSEC, I wont go into specifics about where I worked or what I did, lets just say I didnt always work for the Navy. Anway, in order to take leave, you submitted your leave form through both of them. In this particular incidence, I submitted the form through both and recieved approval from both. If memory serves me correctly, I wanted to depart on leave in a wednesday. On that day, I recieved a phone call from the my Navy COC telling me to stand by, there was a manning issue from the other COC. I was told that I would be able to take my leave as soon as it was sorted out. I recieved no further word from either COC, despite numerous phone calls, so at close of business on Friday, I departed on what I believed was authorized leave. I was called by the command duty officer at home in NY on Sunday, and informed that I was AWOL, and asked wether or not I planned on returning. I was somewhat surprised, and made best possible speed back to my duty station. When I arrived I was told to change into a dress uniform and stand by. I was informed that I was being charged with article 87 (I think...whatever AWOL falls under) of the UCMJ for "failure to follow proper leave check out procedures, and would attend a professional review board that week. I was removed from my position and placed on X-Division (command detail work) untill further notice. Here's where I really FUCKED UP. A professional review board is made up of E7's and above (only enlisted). It's basically your chance to plead your case, eat humble pie and kiss ass. If you do a good job of that, you may not have to continue the process of NJP, it can be settled with a written counseling statement and you can go alon your merry way. Instead of doing this though...I went in all kinds of pissed off, waving my approved leave form around like an ass and basically being a cocky douche-bag. Needless to say, it was decided by this review board that the 3 hours of ass raping they doled out wasn't nearly enough, and I would be passed on up to the XO for an Executive Officers Interview, which is the door step to Captains Mast. I was much more humble during the XOI, in fact I didn't say anything at all, just stood at attention and got my butt stretched again, this time by an officer. He even told me I had disgraced the memory of my best friend ( a sailor, and my housemate, who had been killed a few months prior in a motorcycle accident ). I left the XOI in tears, with his reccomendation that I continue along the path to standing tall in from of the man.

One thing I love about the Navy is its traditions. a Captains Mast is still conducted the same it was 200 years ago. Its published in the plan of the week, and all personnel not on duty are required (or at least encouraged) to attend. everyone stands in a formation in front of a podium, and the members of the review board, and my divisional COC form a sort of horse-shoe formation in front of a podium. When everyone was finally assembled, my sorry ass was marched in, and I stood in front of the podium, at attention, while the captain (CO) reads the charges against you. He then asked me for my side of the story, which I humbly gave, then he asks all the officers and members of the board what they think. Basically they all say that the accused is the biggest sack of shit in the Navy, and he should be shown the door, given a bad conduct discarge (BCD, Big Chicken Dinner), and keel-hauled. This can actually go on quite a while depending on how many officers and chiefs you have managed to piss off. Each one individually tearing you apart. Finally, the XO is the last one to speak, and he says something to the effect that you arent a TOTAL loss, and given the proper dose of punishment, you might be motivated to turn into some kind of decent sailor. The CO then make his descision. In my case is was something like, "Petty Officer B2G, after hearing the testimony of your chain of command, I find that you are, indeed, the biggest shit stain on the skivvies of the Navy, and if the XO hadn't said there was hope for you, you would be swiftly departing the Navy on the end of my shoe. Instead Ill take his reccomendation that you be punished severely, and in fact given the maximum punishment I can give as an 05. I sentence you to a reduction in rate to E3, forfeiture of 2 months pay and allowances, and 30 days confinement (in my case restriction to quarters), and 30 days of extra duty. Report to the Command Duty Officer for orders, dismissed. The disposition of your captains mast is then published in the next Plan of the Week, (which is read daily at muster) so that anyone who missed it gets the whole scoop on your shame and disgrace. All in all, its a humbler. At least they didnt rip the rank off my soulder right there.

So, after that, what did I learn? I learned accountability! I also learned that I had been running around the command acting like an asshole, and enough people were just waiting for me to step on my dick so they could drive it home. If I had made better descisions, like acting like an NCO, and not taking the leave, even though it was approved. If I had not pissed off everyone under the sun, maybe it wouldnt have gotten to that point, It probably would have just been a written counseling and some good advice about pulling my head out of my ass. Did I learn that lesson and apply it? you bet your ass. I eventually was promoted to E4 (again) and then to E5 before I left the Navy entirely. But it appears as if I'm still being punished. Oh well, we'll see what happens.