Friday, July 31, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Saturday, July 4, 2009
I got home in the middle of the night and surprised the kids when they woke up. They have been literally attached to me....I can't go to the bathroom without one of them with me! But it is great.
I'll take the next week off and then see about going back to Charities a couple weeks early. But I need a week to decompress and spend time with Karina and the girls. I'll write more about the whole experience as I wind down. But for right now, I am just glad to be home.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Tomorrow we go to the FOB (forward operating base) for the week. The FOB is designed to give us the feel of what the living conditions on a deployment are like. It has walls and guard towers...the sleeping quarters are basically one big room with a bunch of bunk beds. The food is apparently not so good and we've heard that only a couple of the showers actually have hot water. From the FOB we will be doing urban operations....learning how to clear rooms in buildings (not that as a lawyer I will ever be doing that!) etc. There is no internet connection or tv so I will be cut off from the world a bit (we are allowed to have our cell phones, but can only use them at night when we are done with the training day). Have gotten mixed reports of what we can expect in a/c out there....keeping my fingers crossed on that one.
So now entering week #4 (of 7 total). Am very ready to get out of here!
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Thursday evening, after qualifying, we came back to the barracks for dinner, then went back to the range around 8:30pm for a night fire exercise. It doesn't get truly dark here until 9:30 so we waited around in our gear for an hour. The night fire exercise is a chance for us to get used to firing a weapon while wearing night-vision. It was pretty difficult to see the targets, even with the night vision on. The targets are either black or dark green...in the sunlight they are fairly easy to see, but at night they are almost invisible. It was easy to see each other as we moved around, but looking downrange in an empty field, the targets were really hard to see. But that was just a familiarization course, so we didn't have to qualify or anything. Got back to the barracks a 11:30pm, but I had desk duty in the dayroom from 1-2am so I didn't go to bed until a little after 2 Friday morning. Got up at 5:30am Friday so a whopping 3 hours of sleep.
Last night, went out to eat at a Japanese steakhouse. Was really good...stuffed myself like a pig, came home, chatted with Karina for a bit and then slept about 12 hours straight! Much needed. I think we are going to a movie tonight, but other than that keeping it pretty relaxed.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
The reason I said "...again" in the title is because I just did this about 4 weeks ago in the direct commission course (DCC). So it is like the "Groundhog Day" movie....same exact thing, different day...but seems like repeating the same day over and over again.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Sunday, June 7, 2009
The hardest thing has been the separation from the other JAGs. There are only 2 of us (in a platoon of 40) in my platoon. The other JAG is female, so she is on a different floor. I had dinner with some of the JAGs tonight. We are all feeling the separation. This will be an adjustment. We are still going to eat together (dinners mostly) as much as our schedules allow. Oh yeah, I am squad leader for this week...the platoon has 4 squads. So I basically have to account for everyone, pass info to them, etc.
So tomorrow we begin anew...inprocessing, then a lot of "hurry up and wait" as we get gear and more paperwork. But this is it. Karina and the girls go to my parents on Wednesday...so they will have a nice distraction for awhile. Karina needs the break. But the countdown is on!
Friday, June 5, 2009
I am trying to decide whether I want to stay in the barracks tonight or get a hotel room. A hotel room would sort of be a "treat"...my own bathroom...a tv. I'm thinking of a long soak in a hot bath to relax these old bones! As I write this, I think I've made my decision!
Thursday, June 4, 2009
We rolled out to the site around 0930...we had PT at 5am per usual, then time for breakfast and showers. Once on site, we put up the tent and put our rucks/equipment in the tent. The tent was a large one, but with all of our gear in it, was not big enough for all of us to sleep in (43 people). So after the site was set up, we did troop movement procedures. Basically, that means moving in squads (about 10 people in a squad) in a tactical formation (spread out, covering each other, moving through terrain, etc). Did that for about an hour in the sun (in the 90s and humid, no less).
Then a MRE lunch...don't remember what I had. Then more squad movements for about 3 hours. Then dinner....it was a hot meal brought out to us. Did the assembly line you see in the movies, where you have a plate and the servers (us...we also served food to each other), basically slopped it on your plate.
After dinner, we went to a "night infiltration" course....basically a course as long as a football field. After waiting for it to be completely dark, we crawled on our bellies (with helmets, body armor, and weapon) through low obstacles while machine guns fired live rounds over our heads. There were also explosions on the sides to give us a "simulated" battlefield experience. The course was not dirt/mud as I had expected...it was gravel. Luckily, the body armor protected us from that...we also wore knee and elbow pads so as not to suffer too much from the gravel...but it ended up all over us...in every pocket!
Got back to the site about 11pm. Luckily, my squad was not tasked for night watch/security, so I put my poncho on the ground and laid on it in the tent...my duffel bag as my pillow. It was a little after midnight by the time I got to sleep. Because the tent was cramped, I couldn't extend my legs without hitting someone, but I was so tired at that point, it didn't matter. Closed my eyes, sprayed my face with bug spray and fell asleep. Exactly 4 hours later (0400 on the dot)....WHISTLING FIREWORK....BOOM! We had to get up and run to our security positions. The Cadre were out in the woods, trying to walk through our perimeter...we would "shoot" at them (we had blank rounds) and they would tell us what we did wrong. That went on for a hour or 2. MRE breakfast (which I skipped....I had granola bar instead). Took a baby wipe "shower"...there was no running water out there....but we did have 5 port-a-johns (which are quite lovely when it is 90+ degrees and humid and being used by 43 people). Thus began the longest of days....
We went on "patrol" as a platoon. Basically, taking the squad movement procedures from the prior day, we were given different grid coordinates to find and perform a task on (recover an injured person, locate a lost piece of equipment, secure a landing zone for a medevac helicopter). So we walked and walked and walked through woods, ravines, prairie grass, etc for about 3 hours. Had a MRE lunch. Then did more squad movements....taking defended positions...flanking movements, etc until 5pm or so. Then had "hot" meal.
After dinner, we had to clean ourselves up as much as possible (which included shaving again....not pleasant to put bug spray on your face immediately after shaving it!). Then packed up our gear....I had very little to pack as I really never had time to do much unpacking! Next was take down the tent...we would be sleeping outside that evening...we were supposed to be rucking 6 miles back to barracks at 5am. Also, my squad was on security that night. My shift was 2-3am. So around 10pm, I laid against my ruck (had room to stretch my legs, at least!), more bug spray on my face and tried to sleep. It was difficult to sleep, however. It was really humid, people moving around, mosquitos in my ears. Even though I had the bug spray on my ears, they would still come close enough to be heard before the spray would discourage them. Very annoying when trying to sleep! Throughout the entire trip, I only suffered a single mosquito bite (on the back of my hand). Ahhh, just when you think you know what is coming next....
Around 11:30, I awoke to the sight and sound of a distant thunderstorm. A big one. Lots of lightning. We waited. And watched it approach. And then it started to drizzle. Got under my poncho. It started to come down harder and harder. About 12:30, the Cadre, who had been told a big storm was coming, had us pack up and get into the trucks. As we were loading all of our gear into the trucks, it really hit. Buckets of rain, high winds....easy to see in the dark b/c of all of the lightning. As we drove back to the barracks, it looked like a hurricane. Get back to the barracks, unload all of the equipment and finally to my room, soaking wet about 2am. Took a shower....unfortunately a very short one as we had a line of guys waiting to do the same. In bed about 2:30....got to sleep in until 7am. Hot shower and bed felt awesome!
So essentially, that was my experience Monday to Wednesday morning. After breakfast yesterday, we basically cleaned weapons/gear until mid-afternoon. Should have gotten a nap in some point before dinner yesterday, but didn't. Got about 7 hours last night (9:30-4:30), but need more. Breakfast is now here so I've got to go!
Sunday, May 31, 2009
We will likely be doing more of the same that we have been doing here. A little more intense, I expect. I know that the last week is living on a "FOB" (forward operating base)...where we will be kept awake for most of a week....sleeping in 2-3 hour blocks all week. But once we do that, it will be done and I'll be going home.
We are going to get a taste of the FOB life tomorrow. We are going out tomorrow morning with our rucks and won't be back to the barracks until Wednesday (we get to ride in trucks tomorrow morning, but ruck 6 miles back on Wed)...our "camping" trip. We'll be sleeping outside tomorrow night and Tuesday night. MREs the entire time, except for "hot" dinners. I bought a lot of snacks to take with me (plus extra bug spray!). But once we get done with the camping trip, the rest of the week looks mostly administrative.
So week by week I am getting closer to home. But time here seems to be at 1/2 speed. Seems like I've been here for months and Charlottesville seems so long ago. Boston seems like eons ago. "Drive On" (a customary Army saying)...
Thursday, May 28, 2009
This morning at 3 am, we went out again. We had 5 hours to get 8 points. In order to pass the land nav we need 5 of 8 points...in my program now, this is not a requirement to move on to the next course (I am in DCC...direct commission course. On June 7, I start BOLC...basic officer leadership course). In BOLC, we need to get 5 of 8 to pass the course. DCC is a familarization course to prepare us for BOLC. So back to the 3am adventure...they let us plot our grids on the ground in front of the trucks' headlights for 20 minutes...then it was lights' out and we could only use our flashlights with a red lense (we have red inserts for our flashlights...red light doesn't travel as far, it preserves your ability to "see" in the dark w/o a long readjustment, and the details of the map are generally still clear). The problem with the night nav is that you almost have to be right on the nav sign to see it...as I learned with my 1st target. My 1st target took me about an hour or so to locate...I was about 50 meters from it, but didn't see it and walked in the opposite direction. After walking away from it (searching the opposite direction), I double-backed and found it. By the time I made it into the general area of the 2nd point, it was starting to get light outside so the rest of them came easier. When I got my 5th, I was on the side of one of the 400 meter high hills around 7:15am. Rather than go for the 6th (which was on the same hill, just on the other side of it), I decided to take a break...so I had some water, ate a breakfast bar and took a couple pics of the view (will have to wait for those pics...they are on a disposable camera). Then I headed back in and was about 40-45 minutes early which gave me time to eat an MRE breakfast (not very tasty).
We came back to the barracks, had a class on pitching the big army tents, cleaned our weapons and were released about 11:30am. I went to lunch, took a shower and then slept for about 4 hours....getting up just in time for dinner! So that was my day.
Monday, May 25, 2009
My role upon return to Boston is that of a legal assistance attorney...providing legal "aid" to soldiers on a variety of issues...landlord/tenant, wills, family issues, re-employment rights, consumer issues....plus immigration/naturalization. Legal assistance is perfect for me, obviously. I believe that I become eligible for promotion to Captain in December 2009 (I do not know how long the process takes from "eligible" to "promoted", but would expect it to be 3-6 months or so). Once I am a CPT, the chances for deployment become more likely. I understand that my unit requests volunteers first and hasn't had to do any involuntary deployments...but I would expect that there is some pressure to carry your own weight. As for what I'd do if deployed, I am really interested in civil affairs...being the legal officer of a unit that works with the local communities in responding to their immediate needs...be it building schools or medical clinics or establishing/rebuilding a local judicial system. In civil affairs, I'd have significant contact with the local communities and I believe that I'd be good at that.
I long to return to Charities...in many ways, things seem so much simpler there. Even though there is always a complicated case to deal with or just the mass of people that need assistance, at least I go home at night.
It may seem that I am questioning what I have done by joining the JAG. And I admit it that there are times when I wonder to myself "what am I doing here!"...usually at the end of the day when bedtime looms, I've spoken with Karina, and know that I have 6 hours to get sleep before getting up and doing it all over again. This is definitely the most challenging thing I have ever done in my life. The challenge is so much more than physical...in fact, whereas I once feared the physical aspect of it more than anything, I have overcome that part. I have proven capable of handling the physical difficulties. It is the separation from my family that is now forefront in my mind...and the question of fairness to them that I struggle with. Even though many of my reasons for being here are for their future benefit, it is sometimes very difficult to see them on the webcam and not be able to touch them.
At the same time, I do feel like I am serving our country and our world. My primary role in the service is to uphold the rule of law. As it was put to us at the law school...we are the keepers of the laws and regulations. While they oftentimes are not followed, it is our task to ensure that they are. If not me, then who?
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Yesterday, we practiced with our rifles. Not shooting, but loading, charging, aiming, unloading, etc. Today, we went to the range for some target practice. Went pretty well. Got a bit of a sunburn on the backs of my hands and neck from laying on the firing range for a couple hours. Tomorrow, we go back to qualify. Should be interesting tomorrow...we have to wear the full gear to qualify....body armor, helmet, ammo/canteen vest. Today, the instructors were just checking our form, but wanted to be able to see us up close (which will be more difficult with all the gear on). Oh yeah, I hit the target! But got off to a bumpy start...I ejected my first round because I pulled the trigger and...click...no shot. I hadn't charged the weapon...so when I went through the process to chamber another round, I ejected the one that was in there waiting for me to charge it the 1st time. And, knucklehead move #2, I got a finger pinched (just a little bit) when I charged it. But after that it was pretty smooth sailing.
2 more days until a 3 day weekend. I need it. Body is sore. Bruises just about everywhere (mostly remnants of last weeks fun and exciting events!).
Last weekend, I did get some sleep...not as much as I had hoped for, but enough to get me this far! Saw Star Trek with some of the guys on Saturday...was really good. Looking forward to staying off my feet this weekend. Think we are going to see the new "Terminator" movie...the theater in town (beautiful Lawton, OK) is just $5 for military so a pretty good deal.
Got to "see" the girls on Sunday via webcam. Was really good to see them. Earlier on Sunday I had a tough conversation with Enya...she was asking if I was coming home that day. When I said that I couldn't b/c I had "school", she said that she'd take a taxi, get a map, and take a plane to see me. Really choked me up. Karina says that the girls have been really good. I really miss them all.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Wednesday...classes in the morning. Lunch. Another class. Then we got smoked. About 3pm, 95 degrees and sunny. Pushups, pushups, scissor kicks (laying on your back, straight legs, with your feet about 6-12 inches off the ground, moving like a pair of scissors in the air). Then we did about 20-30 minutes of marching in formation around the yard. Then we ran in formation. Somewhere between 2-3 miles, I'm not sure. It was hot, very hot. Everytime someone couldn't go on and dropped out of formation we would keep going until the Cadre decided to turn us around and run back to the person and have them fall in to the formation. We did that about 10 times. I never fell out, but certainly felt like it and don't know how much more I could have taken.
Thursday...obstacle course. Overcast, but really, really humid. We raced through a dozen or so obstacles. Some were relatively easy (like crawling on our bellys under bars about 18" above the ground or crawling over telephone poles laid horizontally), but a couple were extremely difficult. "The Weaver"...on an "A" frame structure were horizontally-laid, circular wooden poles (maybe 1' diameter) that were about 3' apart. We had to "weave" ourselves through the poles...difficult to describe...over one pole and under the next without falling. So what you would do is while hanging underneath a pole with arms and legs wrapped around it (our backs to the ground...which had a thick safety mat), we'd swing a leg on to the top of the next pole, then an arm, then pull the other leg over and then the other arm. Very, very hard to do. Probably 6 poles on each side... 6 up, 6 down. I have some bruises/scraps from that one. Another one was hanging upside down from an inclined rope (legs and arms wrapped around it....our backs to the ground) and pulling ourselves about 50'....got a little rope burn from that.
Today...2 mile ruck march at 6am. In C'ville, we were doing 4 mile marches (but with a light load on our backs). The ruck (aka a hike with a big backpack) is done in boots with our rifles...about 60 lbs of added weight (I weigh 154 lbs)...at a 15-18 minute mile pace. My feet and legs did fine, but my back is really sore. I learned afterwards that I needed to position the ruck straps higher on my shoulders to take some of the weight of my lower back....lessons learned. This Monday 0520, we go 4 miles (to eventually work up to 10!!!!!!!!). That gives me 2 days to recover.
I have the weekend off. I am doing laundry right now (cleaning all the sand out of my uniforms). I plan to sleep, sleep and sleep with some eating in between! A good week, but wow, really physically demanding. The good news is that I am not only keeping up with guys 15 years younger, but am solidly in the middle of the pack. A good place for me to be!
Monday, May 11, 2009
Has been really rainy here. We ran in the rain this morning and supposedly it will rain all week. I am going to bed soon as we are getting up early tomorrow. Sounds like it will be a lot of long days during my stay here. The good thing is that at night I don't miss the tech stuff so much as I just want to go to sleep!
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Saturday, May 2, 2009
It was an interesting week. We had our "gauntlet"....running us through a variety of rules of war/rules of engagement exercises. It was very interesting to see how all of the classroom instruction on the Geneva Conventions get applied in different scenarios.
Thursday evening we had our "dining in". It is an old tradition of having dinner and basically making fun of ourselves...skits were the highlight of the evening. Classmates impersonated other classmates, faculty and the Cadre. It was very, very funny. We have quite a few talented comedians in our class...I was laughing throughout as most of it was just hilarious.
Karina and the girls are going back to Boston rather than Mexico City as originally planned. Obviously, the flu is enough of a reason not to take any unnecessary risks. Karina's Mom is still coming to Boston in July for a few weeks. The girls may go to Indiana and stay with my folks for a while in June.
The next 3 months are going to be the "real" challenge!
Friday, April 24, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Pushups: need 32, did 53
Situps: need 38, did 73
2 mile run: need to do it in 18:18, did it in 15:47
We're now into the international/operational law section....covering the Geneva Convention, rules of war, etc. Really interesting. And relevant to the news of the day...all of the issues of torture authorized under the Bush administration. The military lawyers were warning the administration that the interrogation techniques were illegal (as torture is illegal), but were largely ignored. So interesting to be learning the rules while we see what happens when they are not followed...
Graduation is 2 weeks from today!
Sunday, April 19, 2009
I am healed up for the most part. After my ankle injury, I strained some muscle in my chest (don't know how or exactly when it happened) that is still a bit sore. Carrying Enya around hasn't helped heal that one! Our final and official APFT (army physical fitness test) is this Tuesday. I'm not so worried about passing it as I am in really good shape, but I am nervous about outperforming my previous test.
We are completing our training on legal assistance...think legal aid for soldiers. This is the area that I will be doing for the forseeable future....wills, landlord/tenant, consumer issues, immigration!, etc. Next up is international law and all of the rules...this should be really interesting.
Seems like it has been forever since I was in Boston. Can't believe that I am only about 1/2 way through right now...
Monday, April 13, 2009
This afternoon I went to the eye doc to get my prescription for glasses and gas mask inserts. The glasses are known as "BCG"s....or in layman's terms...."birth control glasses". They are affectionally called that because they are so ugly that no one will come near you while wearing them. They are really, really ugly. Thick, brown plastic frames. I'm supposed to have them for the officer training.
I'm not sure whether I'll share a pic with the BCGs...although since I've mentioned it, I probably have to now. But I'll be in Oklahoma by the time I get them.
Today is also our 7th wedding anniversary. Tried to explain it to Enya tonight, but her grasp of time still doesn't go beyond a day or two and afterwards she was asking when we were getting married again. We spent Easter with my brother and his family and Mom and Dad. Was really nice and really short. But good to see them. Karina and I have to find some time to celebrate our anniversary.
Will try to update this more often.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
We completed the criminal law section of instruction this week. It accounts for about 40% of our instruction. The last week of it was doing mock court martials. It was interesting. My knowledge of the rules of evidence are definitely weak. Probably the hardest thing for me...you rarely ever object in immigration court...so yelling out "Objection, Your Honor" was tough since I'd then need to cite the actual rule that I was basing it on...that is what they don't show on tv...after you say "objection!", you have to say why..."it violates Rule 404, character evidence is not admissible to prove conduct, Your Honor." And then the other side has to respond with why that objection is incorrect or doesn't apply. Not easy for me. But I got through it all right.
We are now in fiscal law (a bit like contracts). A big snooze fest. Think tax law. Not the most exciting of topics. The instructors know it, too....in order to make us pay attention, they give us pop quizzes every afternoon (since it has happened every day, they really aren't "pop" anymore!). I've actually done pretty well on the quizzes, but it is really tough to pay attention in class. Basically, it covers what the JAGs must do in their legal review of any acquisition....so if the unit buys a pallet of bottled water for a field exercise, the JAG must make sure it is done with the appropriate funds drawn from the appropriate fiscal year, etc. Supposedly, this is a busy area for the JAGs as the Army buys lots and lots of stuff.
Many of you know that Uncle Skip passed away last week. I can't believe it. He was fine a few weeks ago. Got sick all of a sudden and left us. After my father, one of the smartest guys I've ever met. He was the tech guy before anyone even knew what tech was. Unbelievable loss to our family. Just can't comprehend the fact that I won't see him again. He has always been such a fixture in the family...
My orders came this week telling me that I'll be going to Ft. Sill, OK for my officer training. So I'll probably leave here on May 9 and be in Oklahoma until July 24.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
The "PT" results:
Push-ups: need 34, did 44
Sit-ups: need 38, did 65
2 mile run: need to do in 18:18 minutes, did it in 16:28
So the Army is certainly getting me in shape!
I have also learned that I may not be going to Ft. Benning, GA for the officer training. Most of the Reserve Officers are likely going to Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. I likely won't know until the end of the month.
We are currently being taught military criminal law....court martials, rules of evidence, etc. It is one area of the law that I am not really interested in practicing (and likely won't as a Reservist). I am really more interested in legal assistance for Soldiers (which comes in April) and international/operational law (comes in April, too). The classes have more of a feel of CLE seminars (continuing legal education for you non-lawyers out there!) which means a lot of info compressed into a small amount of time. So my brain is a bit fried right now!
Girls have adjusted and are doing really well. We've enrolled Enya in a "ballet" class on Saturdays...she was running around in her pink tights today and is really excited about it. Weather has been great since the end of last week, so we've been able to get them outside to play.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Since my last update...I survived the gas chamber! The Cadre took it easy on us though. Basically, we donned gas masks and then marched into a little room, ran around in circles and then (in order to leave the room) took our masks off, recited our name, social security number and place of birth...the Chief let me go out as I was halfway through my social...he could have held me the entire time. It mostly just burned around my eyes. I coughed a little bit for a few minutes outside, but otherwise didn't have any other issues (ie. no snot running down my face!). The rest of the week was mostly paperwork processing.
School starts Monday. 0500 PT (5am physical training) and then class at 0800. Got my first set of books yesterday. The law school is beautiful, too. I woke up early this morning (6am) so I decided to get a little running in since we are running 3.5 miles on Monday. After the run, had some coffee and orange juice in the dining area of the Residence....they have a full complimentary breakfast every day so that should be great for the girls.
I'm really enjoying this. Still an alien world for me, but I'm getting used to it. The saluting thing is still going to take some time to get used to. Karina and the girls arrive tomorrow. Can't wait to see them...seems like I've been away for a month.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Spent the day in the field, again. Did 2 mile road march with about 35lbs on my back at 7am, then spent the day outside in the cold (high of about 40 today), did 7 hours of field classes (land navigation, first aid, camouflage, etc), ate more MREs, crawled through the dirt while the First Sergeant yelled at us to "Hurry up!" and then 2 miles back. It was cold, really cold. And we stood all day long. So my legs are really sore tonight. Luckily, no blisters for me. But quite a few have them. I'm just sore and tired so I am going to bed after I post this.
This picture is off of my cell phone, so it is not so clear. But that is face paint, not dirt!
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Today was also the first time I've eaten a MRE (Meal Ready to Eat). I had chili with beans. It comes in a packet...you place the chili packet into another plastic bag that has a heat packet in it and add water. In about 2 minutes, it is hot and ready to eat. Was actually pretty tasty. The MRE also came with crackers and peanut butter & jelly, corn, a milkshake packet that I didn't have enough time to make and a candy. The whole thing contains around 2000 calories. When in the field you get 3 a day and are expected to eat them...something about the need to take in huge amounts of calories to help with the lack of sleep and all of the activity. I have 2 of them to eat tomorrow...chicken and a cheese/veggie omelet (not so sure about the omelet!).
Tomorrow, we have our first ruck march. Boots, helmets, backpack, the whole thing. Only about 2 miles as we are marching to the field where we will be spending the day. 2 miles shouldn't be too bad since we are already running that far, but it will be different with all of the gear on our backs. It is also supposed to be the coldest day so far, so I'm going to double up on the long johns!
I am really enjoying it. It helps that my classmates are nice. Can't believe that it has only been a week. Seems like a month. Karina tells me that Grace is sick and so is Grandma now (and Karina is feeling it a bit, too). So they are definitely working overtime up there. Will see them a week from today!!
Friday, February 13, 2009
Today we did a lot of drill and ceremony...marching in formation: right face, left face, forward march, etc. Was fun...well it was more fun as we did it better and the First Sergeant was happier. Looks really cool when 100 people are doing it.
There is just so much information to remember. A whole new language. Had a Chaplain visit the class today to discuss his office and role. More leadership training as well....sort of like what you would expect from an "effective" leadership training for a corporation.
So I am doing well. Enjoying it. I miss Karina and the girls terribly though...seems like I've been away forever. Got to talk to Enya a little last night and heard Grace laughing which is the best thing ever...
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Days are still long with very early mornings....mostly 4am ish all this week and done around 6pm or so. But I am enjoying it. Classmates are great. Everyone working together....pretty cool to see more than 100 lawyers doing that....very unusual :) .
Drill instructors are really good. Really tough, but smart. The guy who stands next to me in formation was born and raised in West Lafayette, IN. Now works for the State Department in his civilian job and will probably be posted at an Embassy (not in a military capacity) after he finishes his JAG training. He is a reservist as well. I've made some friends as well...we're all in the "older" category (35 and 42), reservists and married w/ kids. So we have some things in common. But even without them, I can join anyone in the class without a problem...and occasionally do when we are all split up. So I have successfully made social contacts!
Time to go. Get to sleep in tomorrow (6am!!) .
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
For my age group:
Pushups need 34..........did 32
Situps: need 38.............did 51
2 mile run: need 18:18 minutes.....did 17:32
So the latest that I've slept since Sunday morning is 4am. We have a group run (in formation) tomorrow at 5am....somewhere around 3.5 miles. Should be fun! They are cramming a ton of information into us...all day long. Some interesting, some not. Class is 112 lawyers. Largest class in the JAG history.
I just need to shower and go to bed (and take some Tylenol!). It is going to be hard to update the blog for this and next week....just not enough time. But I'll update when I can.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
I got to the base a little early and have completed the initial in-processing (weigh in, some paperwork). Had a sergeant give me a hard time about not completely filling out one of the numerous forms...sort of funny actually...he found a problem with everyone. And he complimented me on my bright orange running shoes ("you've got some real ugly shoes there, sir"). Welcome to the army!
So I am OK. A little nervous as I am out of my comfort zone...this is a completely different world. Am feeling a lot of guilt about Enya...more than I thought I would. But I made it.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
I am the only immigration lawyer in the bunch and it was obvious that they were excited to have someone with experience in the subject...mostly so that they can stop having to answer (and research) immigration questions!
The weekend mostly consisted of powerpoint presentations on different subjects...wills, military criminal code of justice and first aid for burns/injuries. Apparently, each unit has to cover these (and other subjects) annually as part of their readiness training.
I am going to be the 1st in the unit that has to complete the new required training. The 6 week Basic Officer Leadership Course (BOLC II) at Ft. Benning (1st 4 weeks at Benning are Direct Commission Course (DCC) which is actually prep for the BOLC II) is a new requirement for JAGs. So none of them have ever done it. Got lots of questions about that...so in that respect, I'll have some experience that they do not have.
So a great entry into this strange world of "yes, sir/thank you, sir" world!
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Thursday, January 1, 2009
Phase I is a 2 week orientation at Ft. Lee, VA. "Yes, Sir; No, Sir" kind of stuff.
Phase II is a 10.5 week course at the military law school on the campus of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Karina and the girls will be with me for this part.
Phase III is a 10 week officer basic training at Ft. Benning, GA. This is the real grueling "army" type stuff. Karina and the girls are going to Mexico for this part as they cannot stay with me.
Once done, I return to my job at Catholic Charities. Then it is 1 weekend a month (not overnight) with the Boston unit (about 30 lawyers) and 2 weeks of training in the summer. Deployment is always a possibility, but as I am brand new and know nothing, it is unlikely to happen for awhile.