Saturday, September 09, 2006

Mobilized!

(Thursday 9/7/06)

Today at 9:34 AM I got a phone call from someone in the 88th RRC (Regional Readiness Command). They need an engineer officer and asked if I could go. I said yes. So the wheels started turning.

Monday I travel to Ft. Snelling, Minnesota, to start the SRP (Soldier Readiness Process). This is some kind of a records check, and probably a physical exam, to make sure I am deployable. Apparently they started doing this because too many people were showing up at their mobilization stations not ready to go. After that I come home, and wait for orders. They tell me the orders will probably come quickly.

I don't know where I'm going, how long I'll be there, or what I'll be doing.

Apparently this unit has been mobilized since August 9th, right before I went to Korea. They have come up short an engineer officer, and have this high-priority, short-notice backfill. I was next on the "Hey, You! roster", as they say.

So far nobody I've talked to can tell me exactly what to expect, although I found out that I'll be part of 3rd Army and I'll start out by reporting to Ft. McPherson, Georgia. From there I'll be sent wherever they need me. One person speculated that it would be to Kuwait, where she knows they need a facilities engineer at a major logistics base. But she said there's no way to really know because things change every day.

So I may end up in charge of some buildings in the desert someplace. Not quite what I had in mind, but I guess somebody has to make sure the air conditioners are working and the camel drivers don't walk off with the walls. I told Anna it sounds very boring and safe. :-)

At first when they told me I had to travel Monday and report Tuesday, I thought that was it - that I had to take all my stuff and I wasn't coming back. I didn't find out otherwise until later in the afternoon. But I'm still going to pack all my stuff this weekend, just in case. My guess is that they will cut orders for me to report on very short notice, and I'd rather be packed now than have to come home and jump through hoops to get ready in time.

I told Malinda and the kids, and asked the kids if they wanted to come over and hang out some this weekend. I'll be talking to them some more tomorrow - we're going to get them dependent ID cards so they can use the medical benefits (which are very good). They can also use all the other military facilities, but are unlikely to do so since they are all so far away from us. We're going after school tomorrow.

So Korea turned out to be a shakedown cruise, and a very good one at that. I feel pretty ready to go - just a few things to iron out, and I was already in the process of doing so. I thought I'd have a little more time to prepare, but I guess not. I don't suppose anyone's ever completely ready. The exact moment when I said "yes" was an interesting one - I felt a whole surge of mixed emotions. Mainly it's excitement and pride to get to be a part of it, mixed with regret and apprehension about being away from my children. I hope they are able to understand, but I'm kind of afraid they won't, not really. I don't know that there's any way to avoid that - they'll just have their own perspectives on it, and I'll have to do my best to make sure they understand why it's important for me to do this. Anyway, I'll miss them. I hope we'll succeed in maintaining some kind of regular contact.

Well, there's a lot to do and not a lot of time to do it in. Better get to work...

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