Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ft Lewis II

The weather patterns are fairly different than I’m used to: Storms without lightning and thunder, clouds for days on end, and fog! The fog around here is amazing. At home, we’ll get fog, and occasionally it will stick around for a full day. Here, it’ll show up, overstay its welcome, and still not leave! The hills behind the barracks are covered with trees. A few days ago, the fog came in, and we could see it traveling different routes, we actually watched the fog come in, roll though an open area, and then climb in a channel as if moving through a tube through the tree-tops. It climbed up the hill in the tube before saturating the area and finally filling in the gaps. It was rather odd to watch, especially as we were at the range with constant volleys of gun fire erupted between us and the view.

Daily life: We’ve finally settled into a routine, (other than listening to rumors.) Wakeup, eat, hygiene, barracks maintenance (clean the bathroom etc), get ready for the day’s activities which has mostly been classroom/hands on with our New Commo equipment. I learned last week that we, the MN Guard, is the first unit to deploy with the complete commo system. Take that active duty! (there’s often a bit of rivalry between us “Weekenders” and Active component, the latter claiming NG stands for Nastie Girls and that we don’t know what we’re doing.) I’m doing what I can to catch up to the kids that I’m leading, (ok, 3 are about my age and 1 older, but the others are all pretty young.) I’m feeling a bit over my head, and I’m trying to tell myself it’s normal while simultaneously using that as motivation to keep studying in the evenings. I’m very grateful for all the intelligent people that we’ve gathered, that I will lead and who will help train me as a leader, and find it amusing what an oddball group it is.

Rumors: We’re getting pass! We’re not getting pass!$#@ We’re going to Bagdad. No we’re not. We won’t be getting leave. We might. There’s no commo mission. We’ll be diverted to Afghanistan. We’ll be extended. We’ll be cut short. It’s amazing what happens when you put a group together. Here’s what I know: We’re going to SW Asia (read the newspapers). We are going to get to play with computers. Our personal and protective gear that we got issued is SWEAT!! The body armor that I got issued in June, that’s old news: we got new ones here that are way better (and way more expensive I’m sure!)

While I’m much less busy than some (including Dave, who just got here but I’m sure will be playing makeup until we get home next year!) I’m busier than I’m used to and that’s why I haven’t talked to many. At the same time, I don’t have all of the tasks that I do at home: help with the dishes (we have chow hall and MREs), shovel the driveway (the few times it’s snowed were light), and the ones I really miss: getting the kids to bed and tucking them in, swimming, playing, tickling, hugging etc… While nothing can replace those things, it’s easier to know that I’ll be in a much better position when I get home: I’ll have a strong resume, great experiences, good income for a year, and hopefully the economy will have recovered and I be able to find a job! Hope everyone is well, and don’t hesitate to call!
Ciao, K

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Ft Lewis

I've made it to Ft Lewis. It's a beautiful area, about 45 minutes from Seattle, and 2 hours from Portland. The first weekend here, I was able to get off and dip down to Jon and Cindy's for a three day weekend. Not wanting to be a leader without men, I took one of my privates with me (I extended the invitation so as to not leave him stranded.) On Friday Eric and Hubred and I went East to the mountains for sightseeing and a hike.

Notice the house

My Cousin Eric.

A few days later, it was back to work. This was probably the most physically demanding of my Advance Party days. We unloaded more than 1,000 weapons, and put them into the vaults. this was about a six hour job, of moving crates and racks, and making sure each and every weapon was clear of ammo before Ft lewis would let us put them away! ARRRGGG!
The Main Body ARRIVES. This is McCord AFB, their flight in the foreground, Rainier in the background.

This is a blurry pic from our barracks. You can't really see in the pic, but Mt Rainier is beautiful (center frame)!

And last and least, our barracks area. we had snow for about 1.5 days. Last taste of home for a while?