I hope this note finds you all well. I'm doing okay. It's very cold here right now, but no snow or rain.
Deployment is an experience that I shall never rush to visit again, although I'm very thankful to be making whatever my contribution is to the mission here. As some of you pointed out before, it is something of a re-learning of the Army for me. Any of you who is familiar with the movie "Groundhog Day" will understand when I tell you that I wake up feeling like Bill Murray. Well, except for the random IDF that manages to adjust my perspective from time to time.
Our Christmas holiday was pleasant enough with an attempt at a traditional dinner, followed by a small party and gift exchanges. My guess is that when folks bragged about how good the food is downrange that they must have been talking about Iraq, or even Kyrgyzstan. Here, not so much. During the party, my office, the S1 shop, did a skit of "A Christmas Carol" where I played Bob Marley. They tell me I was a hit. :)
The new year entered quietly and R&R season is already upon us. We recently had to take some extra effort to accommodate a young couple who plans to be married while on R&R, but somehow forgot to request the same leave dates. That was fun. Not. God bless 'em. No matter that they've only been acquainted for about 3 months.
And then there are my soldiers, most of whom seem to be adjusting well enough, except one who I suspect has that adult ADD thing, or perhaps didn't get enough attention as a child, or a combination of things. God bless me. He's a very bright kid, but makes me wonder if I was ever that young. He loves to marvel at how I'm almost his mom's age, but "look so young." *Grumble*
And then, there's his issue with authority thing. He's been counseled three times by three different NCOs in the short time we've been here, and I promise to goodness, the other day I wanted to punch him square in the chest. *Sigh* But the urge subsided soon enough. Somebody, please tell me that this too, will pass. Geez Louise! I haven't had soldiers in almost 7 years, and every day I wonder what it was that I did as a younger soldier to have such nonsense revisited upon me.
They have something here call CSM-led NCO PT. Our CSM seems to have lost his mind when it comes to PT. Dragging fuel hoses (full of rocks) and running with sandbags (full of rocks). Heaven forbid that the sandbags break open while you're lifting them onto (or off of) a T-wall, and dirt, sand and rocks pour directly onto your head and all in your face. Or worse, the top of the fuel hose pops loose and Sergeant Major says, "SSG Swint, put more rocks in there! And hurry up!"
Hurry up? More rocks? How about a handful of sand and a quick tightening of the top while Sergeant Major wasn't looking. God bless America. I'm definitely feeling my age, and ever-looking forward to re-deployment home, but hanging in here. My knees seem to be holding up so far. Lord, get me to retirement.
All in all, I feel like we have been extremely fortunate and blessed not to sustain any major injuries/casualties, although strangely, some soldiers (mostly the Pathfinders) seem to be annoyed that we're not more engaged. Go figure.
I still pray constantly. It also helps to combat my occasional bout with the blues, I believe. I miss my grandma. I miss my uncle. Some days, I cry in my tent. Thank goodness, NCOs get our own rooms, so I can keep my brave face on.
For those who missed my Facebook status, I'm driving here in Afghanistan. Yes, someone let me loose on the roads, albeit just here inside the FOB, thank goodness. It's a small thing, but it helps break up the monotony of it all.
Planning my R&R in Vegas (my first trip), so I may not manage a short stop in the DC area during R&R. Either way, I hope to see as many of you as possible upon my return later this year. And oh yeah. Sold about 10 more books. Woohoo!
Well, that's about it for now. I'm off to go drive something called an LMTV (I think). They tell me it's a 5-ton vehicle. I hope it has windows and a heater. Outta the way and clear the roads, bishes!
As always, take care and God bless.