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.