Monday, November 28, 2011

Dust, old cars, and moon rocks

I forgot just how much I loath this country, with its wet-dog smell and silt blown into every crevice. But I'm here, after a marathon series of flights. It's good to be well prepared, but there is a down side to the four duffel bags worth of uniforms and gear I was issued.

I thankfully have my own little teeny-tiny living cubicle, which is a major improvement from living accomodations on my last deployment! I am looking forward to learning the job well and making the most of this year.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

On Thankfulness

I scraped my plate and placed it on the counter in front of the DFAC worker. "Good mornin'", I cheerfully wished her.

"Good morning," she replied. "How are you?"

"I'm so good it hurts."

"It's good to be thankful," she said. And it is.

We celebrated a Thanksgiving lunch today. I managed to restrict myself to a not-quite-obscene amount. Even now, in the midst of a recessession, and facing a rougher economic forecast than many previous US citizens, we still have much for which to be thankful.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

When it's packing time...

APFT shorts, shirts, jacket and pants
Army Combat Uniform, 2
Atrix Lapdock
Books, reference
Boots, Protected Toe
Boots, Temperate
Knife, fixed, custom
Knife, folding, Spyderco Manix 2 Translucent
Light, tactical, ElZetta
Light, red
Lotion, sun protective
Personal hygiene kit
Running shoes
Shirts, brown, t
Shirt, longsleeve, button-up
Socks, boot
Socks, white

What is this list? Well, if you haven't guessed, it's just some of the things I'm packing for my deployment. This is the part I really hate, arranging and guessing what's going to be most important and valuable in an environment in which I might have to carry everything I need for an extended period, and in which I will definitely have to move everything myself.

My job description includes travel to FOBs, so I bought a Maxpedition Doppleduffle from Optics Planet. I want a bag big enough to carry enough gear for a week or two, but still light enough to be portable. I also wanted a bag big enough to carry most of my gear until I get to Fort Benning, where I know I'll be issued a lot more gear. The LapDock I got in the hope that I can use it instead of my much heavier, bulkier laptop when I travel to the FOBs. Look for a review of the Doppleduffle in the future on Seek Cover.

I face this deployment with both trepidation and anticipation. I've been away from my civilian job for about a month now, and despite spending some of that time training in Battle Creek, I am eager to feel gainfully employed again, to feel useful. I also know that everything changes us. I hope I can successfully apply all my previous life lessons, and come back from this deployment as someone I like even better.

(And, Tamara, I'm sorry I didn't get to make it out to visit y'all in Broad Ripple. I'll make it a priority after I return.)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Veteran's Day

History is part of everything else. Science is based on observable, repeatable fact (though my friend Matt says science is actually based on curiosity, and that observation is just a tool). That observation and recording is history, the written record of what has transpired. Without history, nothing that happens has context. It is just meaningless data. History helps us understand what is happening now, based on what has happened before.

Our veterans have been present for some of the most harrowing moments of our recent history. We cannot know how future generations, from their distant perspective, will judge us, but we can choose to live bravely, and with honor, as so many of our previous family has lived and died.

What is now called Veteran's Day was originally created to celebrate the end of the destructive horror of World War I. Read about "Armistice Day" here.

Happy Veteran's Day.