Today was the last day of annual training for the battalion. Tomorrow is the first day of pre-deployment training for those who are deploying.
Last night was the last night I will be sleeping in an almost empty barracks. Just three of us are in a 40-man open bay. Like passengers on an empty train, we are spread across the whole room. I am in the northwest corner. Another guy is in the southeast corner. The third guys is in the middle on the east side.
The guy in the middle snores. But it's just him.
Today my big task is taking the battalion photo. The commander wants a photo of all the soldiers at annual training. Next year more than half of us will be deployed so it will be several years before a group this big will be together.
We set up the photo on the air strip in front of the control tower. Muir Field, the airport at Fort Indiantown, is the 3rd busiest heliport in the world.
The Delta maintenance crew towed a Chinook directly in front of the control tow and flanked it with two Blackhawks--a MEDEVAC on the right and an air assault transport model on the left.
It was a bright, sunny, cloudless day. At 1245 more than 250 soldiers formed up for the picture.
SSG Blake Andrews, one of the Chinook flight engineers and an avid photographer, helped me work out the best distance to take the picture.
It might seem like a simple question, but the place they wanted the phot was centered on the control tower, but of center with a PA National Guard logo painted on the runway. I had to take the picture with the commander, CSM and staff standing on a white blob.
Anyway, I got the picture. I'll post a copy of the picture in a later post.
I took the picture at 1300. After the formation and photo, I went back to the armory and phase 1 of training ended for me. At 1500 hours, we got a briefing that marked the beginning of Phase 2. We got the schedule of training for the next two weeks.
After the briefing, everyone in my training group moved into the barracks. No more semi-private room.
By 1730, I ate dinner and changed to ride my bike. After yesterday's run my legs were killing me. I was hoping a ride would help.
After the ride I drove home to see my family. I told the boys about what I was doing then listened to my wife read upcoming blog posts (www.miser-mom.blogspot.com) to meand a very funny book. I went back to the barracks after I finished folding laundry and fell right to sleep.