Thursday, July 31, 2008

Are you going to miss your family?

I get that question at least weekly, often from very earnest people who must think I have not considered that getting deployed might involve being separated from the people I love. With 181 days to go till we go on active duty, and at least 35 of those days in training, I do think about being separated from my family--a lot.
Our motor officer has been deployed twice--once with 48 hours notice, once with almost a year's notice. He prefers 48 hours. "You don't have to keep thinking about it," he said. "Just pack your shit and go." Our motor officer is a warrant officer, the rank between enlisted soldiers (like me) and commissioned officers (captains and generals and so forth). Warrant officers are like consultants in the business world--experts, but not managers. So people turn to them for advice about everything--in the same way kids expect teachers to know everything.
In this case, I'll disagree with Mr. Consultant. (Male Warrant Officers are called Mister as opposed to Sir for commissioned officers.) I like having time to spend with my friends and family, to get things in order at home and at work before I go, and I like being aware of the clock ticking.

Every Week in Cold War West Germany, Gas Mask Drills

Every week during my three years in Cold War West Germany,  the Tankers of 1-70th Armor had a MOPP drill. Gene Pierce, Abel Lopez and...