Filed under: — lana @ 9:41 am

Were I a pool of water, mosquitos would be breeding upon me.

I moved from one base to another early this week, but have yet to find myself on a plane bound for adventure, danger, and fecal-matter-filled dust. Current estimates range anywhere from another week to another month stateside before everyone can finally get together and figure out exactly what is going on.

This is not to say, however, that there has been a total lack of activity upon my most recent arrival. As I wandered from counter to counter in the airport trying to find a rental car smaller than a freight vessel, I noticed that there were remarkably few bags circulating on the belt at the pick-up area. I wandered a little closer and discovered that the reason for such was because in the interest of bad weather the airline had only put a few bags on the plane, and since military bags tend to be heavy they had omitted anything that looked at all military-like. All four of my bags had failed to make the cut, and presumably were still sitting somewhere in Atlanta, or perhaps taking a nice Carribean vacation while they had some extra time. While I didn’t care much about the fact that all I had was the uniform I was wearing and a blanket crammed into a backpack, I was a bit concerned that the airline didn’t look at the rifle case in my luggage and think to themselves, “Gee. That sure does look like a firearm. Maybe we should try to squeeze that one on because the military really doesn’t appreciate it when their weapons go missing.” Apparently, that was beyond them, which made for a much more entertaning time of calling around to figure out where the rifle was, when it would arrive, and how I would be able to get it from the airline once it finally did show up. Made more interesting by the fact that upon arrival I had neither a hotel nor a telephone number.

Eventually, it all sorted out and I acquired all of my missing luggage, to include the weapon which I then had to lock up in an arms room in the middle of the night. A fantastic first impression on my gaining unit, to be sure.

The drama has since continued to follow me, as an officer I vaguely knew from my old unit where no love was lost upon my departure decided to tell tales from my days as a specialist, several of which I have little to no recollection of and one which I am pretty convinced may not have ever occurred, complicating things as he runs the exact unit to which I was supposed to be attached. It is a peer system in this unit, and so he has been very sulky about it and said that he doesn’t want me around. Myself having no real desire to work with him, I can’t say as I disagree, so now they are trying to figure out to which country they want to send me or if they simply want to reroute me back to my original assignment for the deployment. I am a little perplexed, as I never worked directly for this officer, but acknowledge that many officers tend to parrot what they hear from other officers and his boss and I really did not get along by the time I departed my previous unit, so the bridge I thought was crossed in fact was burned and now I am in another holding pattern while the drama works itself out. I mostly sit around doing soduku puzzles and waiting for someone to decide my fate.

It could be a few more days, it could be another month before I know to where I am bound and to what task I might be assigned, and certainly before I can get on a plane with my bucket and shovel for another fun tour of building castles atop the dunes. I am almost out of puzzles, but there is a bookstore next to my hotel. And of course, it is always fun watching mosquito larvae grow…


Center Ring

Filed under: — lana @ 3:56 pm

Word on the street is that nothing that is easy ends up being worth it in the end. I certainly hope that is the case, because this deployment has been drama after drama after drama. Certainly, I note, not anything close to “easy.”

Today someone somewhere finally decided where I need to be and when. Unfortunately, they happened to do so right as everyone was gearing up to leave for a long weekend. Everyone in the company to which I have been reporting had left or was on their way out the door, they couldn’t find transportation, transportation couldn’t find anyone else, and as it turned out someone had gotten a flight for me yesterday but no one had bothered to let me know or go pick up the ticket.

So the circus began, with everyone confused about how to get me out the door over a long weekend and running around and calling people and people ignoring other calls. I met people that didn’t exist and hung around offices deep in the annals of the processing center that hardly anyone can find. I had a process and a ticket and no one to sign for it and five minutes later had someone to sign for a ticket and a process that no one had. Mostly I just wandered around and said, “I don’t know, can you help me?” an awful lot.

I have a feeling that one or two people from the company to which I belong are going to hear about the three-ring extravaganza come Tuesday morning, but by then I hope to be on my way to my next stop on the journey. Once there, everything here officially becomes Someone Else’s Problem, with the exception of the fact that my orders are still not completely correct and I’m positive there is a long list of people with little to no idea of exactly what is going on.

And I would put myself very high up on that list of people, come to think of it.


On The Move to Nowhere

Filed under: — lana @ 12:31 pm

So I left Germany and flew back to the United States for a week of processing and general silliness that goes along with deploying as an individual instead of a unit roughly a week ago. Since then I have met some very nice people, learned absolutely nothing, and filled out multiple pieces of paper in triplicate. I also have enough copies of my orders to wallpaper an entire small home.

But apparently, those orders are the problem.

Yesterday they asked for volunteers for baggage detail. We don’t exactly get full service on our flights to and from our scenic locations, so we have to load our own bags onto the plane. I raised my hand to volunteer with the knowledge that usually the poor folks selected are repaid for their trouble with a first class seat. The Sergeant First Class organizing the operation stared at me for a few moments, thought a few seconds more, and then promptly announced to me and the 400 or so other personnel present that he didn’t think I was going anywhere and should see him after the formation.

This came as a bit of a shock, though was moderately amusing to many of those present, and after the formation I met with the NCO who then told me that he actually didn’t know exactly what the problem was, only that there was one and it stemmed somewhere in the annals of the orders system. The following morning a very friendly major who works with orders and personnel cheerfully explained that when my unit amended my orders changing my assignment, they accidentally forgot to change the location to which I needed to go for preparations. While the location was still stateside, it was not where I currently hung my hat. In addition, because my orders were only partially amended they need to get them modified again so the government will actually pay to send me where I needed to go in the first place.

So I get to wander around like a lost puppy for most of the day as everyone else prepares to depart for all points dusty and wait patiently for the new orders to get the new flights to go reprocess and then finally head out to the delightful dunes I call home. I would love to say I am surprised at how it all turned out, but I have long since come to realize that whatever seems simple in this lovely Army life is bound to go wrong anyway, so I may as well just accept my doom and try to sneak in a nap whenever I can to give my brain a rest from trying to logic things through.

Luckily, it looks like I will be able to get a decent amount of naptime in the next few days.


Headin’ Out Once Again

Filed under: — lana @ 10:58 am

Less than 48 hours before my flight, I finally received some orders that said I am off again for the land of fun, sun, and a little bit of jihad.

Begin panic.

Not from me, as I figure one way or another I will get everything done because someone somewhere will make sure it happens. Actually, that turned out to not be quite true, as in reality very few people actually care in the Army if you have spoken to Army Community Service before you head out the door. Most of the places I had to go barely seemed to care. My legal briefing consisted of “Do you have a power of attorney? How about a will? Okay, good, that’s your brief. Lemme sign your sheet.”

So a day of running around and then a morning of tidying up and I am ready to head out the door once again for the wide open spaces of Iraq. Fire up the jingle trucks and pretty up by bathing in the waste canals, folks, I’m headin’ back for more!

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