Sunday, September 30, 2007

New Brigade Commander, My First Parade Since the 70s

On Saturday morning I was one of a half-dozen members of Echo Company to participate in a Brigade change of command ceremony. the last time I was in a large ceremonial formation was in the 1970s in Germany. I wondered if I would do something dumb, but I managed to follow all the orders. The formation looked very good. From what I remember from the 70s, they looked better than some active duty units.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Installing Motor Pool Computers

This weekend's drill began at 7 pm with a formation under a beautiful clear sky on a starlit night with a nearly full moon. After the formation I filled out the paperwork to get dogtags then walked to the motor pool. The motor pool is a little more than a mile away walking on the range roads that are closed to cars. It is a 3-mile drive around through the security check point. I am the only one who walks. and what a night to walk. 60 degrees. Moon bright as a searchlight. I listened to Letters 8, 9 and 10 of the Screwtape letters. Letter 8 is on undulation as the normal state of human life. Works for me. iPods are great.

When I got to the motor pool my squad leader asked me if I knew anything about computers. I said I did and spent the next 90 minutes setting up four rather old desktop Windows machine. No network. They are just used for shop manuals--much easier to update than the paper manuals. At 930 pm I walked back. We were dismissed for the night at 10 pm. I decided to drive home rather than stay in the barracks. I figured I would sleep better at home. And I spent most fo the ride talking to my friend Abel Lopez. We served together in Germany in the 1970s--tank commanders in the same platoon. Most of the phone call was about the many similarities and few differences between the Army in 1977 and in 2007.

Nothing Until November

the modern Army is high tech, but the flow of virtual paper is along the same lines as the days of quadruplicate e-mails. After filling out that 37-page application for a security clearance, I was told this evening my application was rejected. The reason: one-year enlistees are not eligible for Security clearances. Actually, it turns out that "being on a one-year" (to use the training NCO's syntax) also means I cannot apply for school. I am eligible to re-enlist November 17. For those who might wonder, I re-enlisted for one year at the advice fo my recruiter. If I enlisted for three years, I could not get a bonus. By re-enlisting for three years after serving 90 days, I can get a $10,000 bonus. It seemed like a good idea, but it does mean I may have to wait until April for the school.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Just After Midnight

Just after midnight last night I finished the application for a Secret Security Clearance. The result is a 37-page PDF summarizing my jobs, my friends, my addresses and my overseas travel in the last 7 years. The seven-year cutoff was great for me. If I had to reconstruct 8 and 9 years ago when I was overseas every month I would have been up till 3 am.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Changing the Schedule; Fitness Test Standards

On Monday I started letting people at work know that I would not be going to the school in Sacramento until next year. Since I got the cervical collar off on August 2 I have been training to pass the fitness test. It's not too difficult for men between 52 and 56 years old: 20 pushups in 2 minutes, 28 situps in 2 minutes, run two miles in 19:30. I was concerned about the pushups because of the injuries to my right shoulder in May. But I can do the 20 in just under a minute, so I should be fine. The situps and the run should be no problem. But there is no way I am going to max it. For a 100% score in each event I would have to do 56 pushups, 66 situps and complete the run in 14:42. If you want to see the standards for your age: www.apft.net

Monday, September 24, 2007

Work toward January school slot

Today I got the application form for a security clearance. So now I can work toward getting into the chemical weapons detection instrumentation school in January or April.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

No School

Today I got a message from saying I would not be attending chemical weapons school. Reason: I need a Secret Secutiry Clearance. Now I can plan the next three months.