Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Moving out

For some reason I keep thinking of the Billy Joel song of the same name. Well, I apologize about the much delayed update here but, it's been crazy trying to get everything in place for the movement OCONUS. Here's a quick run down...

...because it's good to, we had a 'big one' that lasted about 2 weeks (1 to setup, 1 week to execute, 2 nights to break it all down). It consisted of my team of 3 donating some equipment for this exercise and the entire thing was a practice run of how we are supposed to conduct business overseas.

For me this consisted of hunting down and nagging at contractors who are doing the real 'communications work' and telling them about our problems. A very frustrating experience for me b/c that type of work should be something I can do.

It's also tough being the sysadmin for the entire battalion and having to negotiate with contractors for administrative passwords for computers (we had to go down to getting a specific list of computers that we required passwords for - talk about a pain - it's not like there are trade secrets on this machine that I'm going to steal!).

The exercise was deemed a success by the superiors so someone got a feather in their cap. And so I smile and move onward.

4 Days Liberation

We were granted a couple days off, I went home and spent the time watching movies and having some fine dining with my parents. I managed to see 3 movies and purchase a couple more games for the deployment. Also nabbed a copy of Crash (great movie). It was good seeing Mom + Dad - this good bye was a lot more challenging than the other 3 we've done so far b/c this is the real deal. (I've only said that 3 times before now. so this was tough despite the practice.)

Packing To Go

So, we had a last minute uniform swap to conduct, which meant most of my gear couldn't fit into the number of bags we were allowed to check. You should see this pile of stuff! (I'll need to remember to get a photo of it all) I've maxed out 2 duffle bags, and my MOLE rucksack - I had to start using a carabiner to get a couple of items secured onto the dang thing! The duffle bags acted as counter weights for the stuff in my rucksack. I look kinda like Atlas... or something.

I also had to hand off a couple knives (Gurber and boot knife) to an NCO at the last minute (he managed to find his rucksack in the trailer we loaded everything into while mine is probably crammed under the entire groups!) b/c knives aren't allowed on the flight but, we can bring firearms...is it safe to say the tail is wagging the dog here?

Anyway, I'll repost when I manage to get over there and settled. Thanks everyone for the emails and I'll try to write (email/snail mail) when I get time!

Take care, it's going to be a long flight.


Saturday, September 10, 2005

Photo update!

Photo Pool
I've decided to post some long over due photos of the past couple weeks. The first couple are from my Philly trip from Labor Day.

The one to our immediate left is of a couple soldiers. I felt it was a moment to commemorate M.C. Escher. I'm still working on a title for it. Tenatively, 'A View of Rusty Blue' seems fitting. Rusty Blue is the van we took into town.

After that photo, my travel group moved on to the Liberty Bell! I snagged a shot nearby, notice the crack! It was a pretty impressive experience. Soaking in all of the history. There was a certain energy in that area.

After some shopping and other touristy adventures, we stumbled upon the tomb of the unknown soldier. The soldier within was from George Washington's army of the revolutionary war. I found the writing on top of this tomb chilling and to a certain extent sad. I was feeling varying types of identification and appreciation.

On a much happier note, one of the good soldiers joining me on the trip wrestled the jaws of a mangey beast while I just sort of stood there and smiled for the camera.

So that concludes photos from my trip to Philadelphia for Labor Day '05.

Back on site

Here's a quick look at the living conditions out in the wood line. This was one cold September morning out in the woods. A couple guys lacking watch caps went for an improvised shall. I think it's catching on!

While we were out in the woods, my crack team of signaleers taught a class on radio antenna set up, while they executed the training, I snapped a couple of shots of the team at work. This shot is toward the end of the practical exercise.

That last shot was completed a couple days ago. This past weekend, we set up a couple of additional antennas to support additional training on our installation.

I'll work a couple more photos into the blog for this week, until then...stay sharp!


Tuesday, September 06, 2005

My Day in Philly

So, we managed to get Labor Day off - I grabbed a couple soldiers together and we went into Philly with much gusto. It turned out to be an incredible trip and I managed to grab a couple books and CD's along the way.

We spent most of our time doing touristy things in the historical district. I'll post some photos here soon.

So we saw the Liberty Bell, location of the 1st Congress meeting, 1st House of Representatives meeting, the location where the Constituion was drafted, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier etc. It was pretty incredible. I had a blast and the weather was spectacular.

The night before, we managed to hit up a Wally mart and I nabbed a couple games for 10 bucks a pop (and a Miles Davis CD).

So, now I'm all set. I had 1 disappointment, a couple CD's containing ripped music (that I made prior to deployment) display the songs in 'Windows Explorer' but when I do a copy to my new external drive, the copy fails because of some cyclic sync buffer error or something. It's strange and annoying as some of my most favorite tunes are broken. I figured it's copyright protection but, I could be wrong.


Friday, September 02, 2005

Hooah! Army Training!

So the past week has been spent learning staff work. Quite possibly the most non-physical training a soldier can do in todays mighty...US Army.

This has amounted to spending most of the week in a class room learning how the military shuffles paper and makes decisions.

To say it was the most exciting material to review is like saying watching golf on TV is more action packed than, say... a Terminator movie.

The past couple of days have been more a drill on how this process works. Despite these intense class sessions, I have managed to get a lot of thinking about my not-quite-so-immediate future knocked out.

Beyond this training there's a little more and then a validation process to contend with - this process involves a collective test of our ability to conduct our business. Once that process is complete we move forward to the near objective.

Labor day should be pretty sweet. I'm planning to head into town for a couple hours, catch a movie and then do a little R&R in a local cafe or something. In anycase, I'm still a couple days out - until then...this is ct wishing all of you out there in 'reader land' the best of wishes.