Sunday, January 21, 2007

Leaving Ft. Eustis

I made it through all the hassle of out-processing week. Golf Company is so inefficient it isn't even funny. At one point, they told us to be in the classroom at 1300 for information about leave forms, and then finally let us go finish our other out-processing at 1500 after we just sat and waited for two hours - I wasn't exactly in a charitable or patient mood to begin with since I found out on Wednesday afternoon (graduation was Thursday) that I had to get extra paper work filled out as a result of going overseas. And then I wasted two hours in the class room. Fortunately, I'm only going to Germany - the Korea people received even more paper work, and found out about some shots they needed graduation morning (small pox and anthrax; actually anthrax was optional - optional in the Army of course meaning now or later).

I hit the road on Friday morning, pulled something in my back while attempting to shove an overloaded suitcase on top of another overloaded suitcase in my trunk (it finally closed, though), and made it home after being on the road for thirteen hours. By the time I hit Indiana, my oil light started coming on and beeping at me whenever I got onto the ramps with very sharp turns. I was about 5,000 miles overdue for an oil change . . . (once again, I really have to wonder about how I ended up in the Transportation Corps).

I relaxed yesterday, and went to see The Last King of Scotland (I'm so excited to be back home - there are a ton of movies I've read reviews for in the past month that just weren't showing in Virginia, and they are all showing here - I'm not sure if this weekend just happened to be the wide release date for them all, or if Champaign just shows slightly more not so mainstream films than Newport News, being a college town and all - either way, I'm planning on seeing Volver, Little Children and Curse of the Golden Flower - I loved Gong Li in Raise the Red Lantern, and she's in this one). I can't believe I'm going to have to give up going to the movies once I get to Germany - they have a more limited selection and I'll have to wait longer. I guess I could always watch them on the economy but I don't like the idea of watching American films in German (it's like those Chinese/Japanese film and anime purist who refuse to actually watch dubbed films) - maybe I'll be able to find a theater with subtitles.

Today, we cleaned out my closet, so I would actually have room for all the clothes in my luggage. In the next week or two, I'm going to be doing a lot of sorting through my things to figure out what's staying, what's being shipped, and what I absolutely can't live without and therefore must go on the plane with me (take a guess which category my computer falls into).

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Manassas Run

While Manassas Run wasn't nearly as bad as some of the infantry style FTXs I've been on (I'm of course referring to the ten days at LDAC), I wouldn't exactly say I enjoyed the experience. All I can say is that I hope to God I get assigned to a Movement Control Team or a Cargo Transfer Unit because if I get anywhere near a truck platoon, I'm going to get myself killed. Granted, I think they went about it all the wrong way: we basically went on STX lanes without ever having really gone over battle drills (a slide show and a walk through with forty+ people that couldn't hear anything doesn't count). It would basically be like taking a freshmen in ROTC on an FTX without ever having explained what a squad attack is and then evaluating them on their execution of Battle Drill 1A. It also doesn't help that everyone was saying, "in Iraq you would have uparmored vehicles so you wouldn't get out of the vehicle" - let's train for Iraq then.

Surprisingly enough, I did very well on my evals and actually had the fifth highest grade in the class. In order to create more eval positions, they actually made two people plan the missions and two different people execute. Fortunately, I got planning, because if I'd had execution I probably would have had the worst grade (apparently, one of the guys was making fun of me to the other guys - granted, I was slightly clueless, but this guy is pretty out of it on a general basis).

I just hope somebody actually trains me on something before I ever get deployed - as far as this place is concerned, I definitely don't think they utilized their time very well. I honestly still don't really know the difference between most of the trucks or their capacities (of course this is coming from someone who didn't even know how to open the hood of a car she'd had for four years until six months ago - yeah, I belong in Transportation).

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The stupidity of it all

Just when I thought we'd gotten through the worst of the bullshit, T-School manages to surprise me with its utter inefficiency and stupidity. As everyone keeps telling me, "this is not the Army, this is not the Army."

This was our first week back from Exodus, and it really sucks being back to regular duty hours. Also, despite the fact that I was here over Exodus, I still feel like I have a lot to get done for out-processing, so I'm not happy that of the week and half remaining, I am going to be in the field for one week and unable to accomplish anything.

Thursday morning formation started with a long speech from the 1SG about our current lack of motivation and energy (apparently, the fact that we just got back from leave should make us energized rather than even more unhappy about being here). Once she was done with us, our TAC took over the formation and talked to us for at least ten minutes. Once again, he told us that we need to listen and support whoever is in charge (i.e., the Platoon Sergeant of the week - he gave a lot of those speeches when I was in PSG), and then talked about how even the prior service people don't know everything. Basically, one LT made him mad, so as a result we all got an earful instead of him just speaking to the one person.

We got done with the morning training pretty early, but our TAC wanted to talk to us, so we waited a little bit for him before we went to lunch. Not a big deal, except he was kind of a bitch about it: "On the schedule, training goes till 12 so if I want to talk till then, I can." Well, actually I would say that argument doesn't hold because that's the instructor's time, not his. He then went on to say how everyone needed to get a haircut while staring directly at me. After that more widely directed comment, he said that even the females needed to get haircuts as he stood right in front of me. Can't this guy ever address people individually instead of always making a huge thing out of it in front of the class? The standard for females is the edge of the collar - my hair is shorter than that. I tend to slouch but I do not need a haircut. I was pissed (and I had already started the day in a very bad mood for other reasons).

We also finished up the afternoon pretty early (3:30) but weren't allowed to leave because once again our TAC had something to say to us. After waiting for an hour, somebody decided to issue us knee and elbow pads, and then finally our TAC came in, asked whether everyone was there because "no one is allowed to leave without being released by him," and then told us what time formation was the next morning before finally releasing us at 5. We waited an hour and half to be told nothing. Also, one LT walked out on our TAC while he was talking - this was the same guy who had pissed him off earlier in the day, so basically, all of the bullshit on Thursday was just the TAC trying to assert his authority over us. How very immature. I love being in the middle of a power struggle.

Friday was more of the same. A detail of four had to show up early to draw weapons, but our TAC didn't show up, so our training was off to a great start. Additionally, we had a 7 am briefing scheduled but the guy didn't show up until 7:15. In theory, it's not a big deal, but if we pulled that same type of crap, we'd be in so much trouble.

They split us into groups for the morning training, but even that was completely inefficient. 1st and 2nd platoon were out preparing for the live fire while 3rd platoon waited in the class room. In theory we were supposed to get a GPS class, but no one ever showed up. Then we rotated, and had to wait in the class room. Once again, we spent about one to two hours sitting around waiting. Then at the end of the day, they started issuing us a bunch of stuff in a somewhat disorganized fashion. I think I filled out about two or three hand receipts because they'd issue us things, and then remember that there were more items which we needed. Instead of getting it all done at once, they dragged it out. Also, instead of getting this done when we were sitting around doing nothing, they waited till the end of the day, so once again we couldn't leave until after all the offices I needed to go to were already closed. Also, I have a handheld GPS now but no clue how to use it since they never gave us the class.

Tonight I have a meeting with my group about the next week, and then I need to finish up packing. Up until last week, I was ambivalent about leaving here: there's a lot of idiocy but I still have fun on occasion, and at least I have weekends off and regular hours. Now I can't wait to get the hell out of here. Anyway, I won't be posting for the next week since we'll be at AP Hill but then again, the no updating thing is kind of becoming a theme here so I guess that's not too much of a surprise.