Friday, April 15, 2005

A Little Predictability Please!

For as long as I have been in the Army, I have heard commanders talking about how they intend to make our lives (their soldiers) as predictable as possible. I'm not sure exactly what they are doing to accomplish this, but it seems as a whole the Army needs to rethink it's strategy here.

This deployment has been a perfect example of the vast number of shortcomings we are having in this arena. I graduated BNCOC (A school required for the rank of Staff Sergeant) in September of 2004, when I got back my 1SG called me into his office and told me that my team was to rotate into theatre and replace a team on the ground. "Oh, and you are leaving in two weeks." Hey congrats, I know you just spent two months away from your wife and son, and all of last year deployed, but here you go again. That's ok. I have been in long enough to know that this is what my job is, and I can accept that. What has got me riled up is, they knew when they sent that team out they were going to have to replace them, so why are my guys and I getting two weeks notice?

Well two weeks turned into two months as Thanks Giving was approaching. What the heck is going on? All of us have put our lives on hold to prepare for deployment and we are sitting on our hands waiting for a decision to be made. Who makes the decision? What is it they need to decide? and When are they gonna tell us what is going on? Soon word comes down that "you won't be leaving until after Thanks Giving so if you and your guys want to take leave you can, but we need your leave requests by the end of the day." Hmm, it's 1400L and end of day formation is at 1645L, great I have a little less than three hours to find out if fourteen guys want to take leave for Thanks Giving and then get all of the requests done for them.

After we all return from spending time with our families for Thanks Giving, it is back to the waiting game. What is going to happen now? Time went by and time went by. Before we knew it we were a little more than ten days to Christmas. The word comes down again, "You won't be leaving until after Christmas so get your leaves in ASAP." Wow. Nothing like last minute. So I get all my guys psyched up to go home for Christmas and enjoy the biggest holiday of the year with their loved ones, and then....Psych! Your plane leaves in four days. Can you jerk us around a little more?

I guess I shouldn't have asked that, because as I have stated before the people we work for out here have managed to pick up right where our unit in the rear left off. Now with our replacement team on the ground, and right before a major exercise we are being jerked around again. The team they sent has ISSUES! First of all one of the team chiefs they were gonna send with the package doesn't have a security clearance so he had to be scratched the day before they flew. That means I have to leave my guy in his position to fill the gap. He was none to pleased about that. Now we find out that another soldier in the package doesn't have the proper security clearance and will be going home. More than likely I am gonna have to leave someone for him to.

Now the magnifying glass is on the new team. The Package NCOIC is brand new to the unit and does not know the equipment so there is little faith in him, even though he is a competent NCO capable of doing the job. They don't have anyone trained on a crucial piece of our equipment, so they might need some one to stay for that too. "Maybe we should just keep the old team and send the new one back." Gee, that sounds great. We are supposed to get an answer in a matter of days. I'll believe that when I see it. That means that myself and another NCO on my package will be back up over 500 days deployed in a two year span for the second time in three years.

At least I am making a tax free buck.

I want to clear something up really quick. On my losing weight post, the weight loss is not intentional. It is entirely accidental. My goal weight has been and still is 205. I just want it to be mostly muscle mass not flab.


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