One More Reason

Filed under: — lana @ 10:40 pm

I keep a running list. On the left side are the Pros, the reasons to stay in the Army. Mostly it tends to involve things like “pays the mortgage.” The right side are the Cons, the reasons to get out and never, ever look back. Let us check an example or two, shall we?

Today was my best friend’s wedding. It was in Northern Virginia. I am told it was lovely and fun and everyone had a fantastic time. Though, see, I wouldn’t know: the military kept me in Arizona.

I am in the middle of an exercise. Because it is an exercise where you schedule the timing for the tests, I could have gotten away with having nothing on Friday, the day of the wedding. I could have hopped in my car, driven north, gotten on a plane, flown east, taxied to the hotel, gotten changed, gone to the wedding, eventually gotten back on a plane, and would have arrived safe and sound for further testing on Monday.

This past Monday was scheduling day. I had discussed my plan with my head instructor, she said to give it a shot. I am doing very well in the class, so why not? I put together the schedule. A little work and a little bargaining and Friday was clear. I told my head instructor. She went over to check with the Senior Course Non-Commissioned Officer. He is a Marine, but he smiles sometimes. I have caught him. He can’t fool me.

He told her if it were up to him, sure, no problem, but it has to get past the school Sergeant Major because it is still a training day even though I can set my training pace during the exercise. He was told “No” before he even picked up the phone. The Sergeant Major wanted no words: a policy was out that military could not leave the area on a training day without having completed at least part of the day with the exception of emergency leave. Civilians taking the course, as roughly half the course is? No problem. But military is being paid to be in Arizona, so the military must be in Arizona and be trained.

Shot down and angry, I decided to go ahead and schedule one more test for the day to fill in the time (I had intended to do that test maybe Monday or first thing Tuesday), so I didn’t get extremely bitter, but it happened anyway. See, on a full day off during this exercise, since most people don’t get one anyway, we are technically more than welcome to sit in our hotel and not even really roll in to say “Hello.” But military must do that from somewhere within shouting distance of the base. Not so for civilians. A civilian friend of mine, as a matter of fact, left for a wedding today. She did roll in during the morning because she is reserve Air Force and today is the Air Force birthday (ceremony was short and we had cake), but then she went and caught her flight out. Me? I decided to come in around 0800 and didn’t leave until around 2030. If I have to be here because the Army won’t let me be anywhere else, may as well stick around and finish up every last little thing on a Friday night.

The mortgage is still getting paid, so the Pros side has yet to be affected in all of this. But my list of reasons to get out grows nearly daily. Today, on top of already being angry that I once again had to miss my best friend’s wedding (I missed another best friend’s wedding over the summer because the course got bumped so the scheduling didn’t line up) when she spent every day visiting me in the hospital last year among seeing me through countless other things usually involving pints of ice cream, I also found out that when I get back to Germany next Friday I get to unpack, find my Army stuff, pack, and head out Monday for the field for a few weeks because everyone of higher rank will be otherwise tasked somehow and they need an NCO-in-Charge for an exercise. Nevermind that I am nearly out of medication because I kept having to stall doctors for a class that kept getting bumped, a month (soon to be two months) late for an MRI on that pesky battlelord in my head, and had some rather critical meetings and tasks lined up for the weeks ahead already. Nope, they needed an NCOIC, and actually when you spin the wheel of choices it has already narrowed down to about a 75 percent chance of landing on me anyway these days given the manning and taskings.

As though I really needed the “Get Out” side to get longer. If it keeps up like this, I am going to need more paper…

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