Saturday, September 23, 2006

Cleared from my unit

My "to-do" list is growing much more slowly. It now has 99 entries, although most are either X'd off as "completed" or at least checked off as "well-started". A couple of those items involved going in to my reserve unit and processing out, which I did yesterday afternoon.

I had to turn in all the equipment they had issued me, most of which I had taken to Korea. Lots of Army equipment is considered "organizational", which means it belongs to the unit. When you join the unit they sign it out to you, and when you leave you have to give it back. Duffel bags, protective mask, web gear, canteen, rucksack, sleeping bag, etc etc. Pretty much everything but your uniform. So I got that done.

I also had to pick up my personnel file and medical records, which they were supposed to have sent with me when I was mobilized and went to my SRP, but did not. I had spent most of Thursday 9/7 and Friday 9/8 at the unit trying to get these records created in the first place, then they made copies of things to send with me, and then when I got to the SRP, the SRP personnel asked "Where are the originals?" They ended up making copies of things and giving me a pile of stuff to put in my permanent record folder when I got back and picked it up at the unit. So now I'll do my best to remember what's supposed to go in it, and it will probably still be missing something when I get to Ft. Benning. Oh, well - same old left-hand/right-hand problem as usual. SNAFU.

One other thing I had to do was to sign my Officer's Evaluation Report (OER), which is basically your report card for how you did in an assignment. Even though I was in the unit only a short time, the people I worked for seemed to think I did a good job. I am glad I was able to get rated for my time in Korea - my last OER was from before I got out of the Army in 1993, and with a promotion board coming up next year it is important to have some more current evaluations in my record.

The unit was assembling for their weekend drill, and it was nice to get to see a few people once again before I left. I didn't get to know very many people very well since I wasn't there that long, but living and working with them in Korea for three weeks, I did make some friends. I got to shake their hands and promise to keep in touch, which was good. I thought I might have to just "disappear" and not see them again, which I hate to do. The Army's web-based email, the so-called "AKO" account (for "Army Knowledge Online") will enable me to find them and keep in touch, which I could have done in any case. But it's still nice to shake hands and say goodbye.

They also did something very nice - the officers in charge of my section gave me a commemorative plaque to remember my service with the unit in Korea. It contains a piece of barbed wire from the Korean DMZ, which is now the last remaining Cold War frontier (seems appropriate somehow, since I am basically a recycled Cold Warrior - a "retread" as they said of WWI veterans during WWII). They said they were planning to present it to me at the unit formation, but because I got mobilized and am leaving, they just gave it to me as I outprocessed. They also said some nice things about me, which is always a boost for your ego! I thought it was a very nice gesture. There will definitely be a place for this plaque on my "I Love Me" wall with the rest of my military mementos. Here is a photo of it:

(Note to self - learn to post photos!)

(Later note - well, I tried their image uploading tool a number of times, and I can't get it to work. I have too much to do today to mess around with it anymore. But I there are other photo posting options that involve outside services - I'll figure out a way!)

(Much later note - here it is finally!):

Korea Plaque
Originally uploaded by

Well, it's Saturday morning and the list is waiting! Claire has a swim meet today so I'll be going to that later this afternoon. Otherwise it's more packing, sorting, and preparing...


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