I've really enjoyed the people I work with this deployment (with a few exceptions, but that is to be expected – you can't get along with everyone). When I arrived in September, I was worried about being the late one, making a good impression and trying to fit in with a pre-established group. Fortunately, there had been some moving around right before I got there, so five of us quickly formed a social circle of our own, "the crew." The crew consists of the S2 OIC, the S4 OIC and his replacement "4 lite" (who was actually in the 3 shop temporarily when I got here and trained me up), the S4 NCOIC and me. We generally go to lunch and dinner together, the 2 is my battle buddy for the gym, and the 4 and I tend to have long-drawn out arguments while the rest of the group either watches and laughs or occasionally stirs the pot.
There is quite a bit of good natured teasing, especially since we all have such varied backgrounds. The S4, for example, is married with two children and about to get out of the Army, and we often tell him that has no clue how dating works since he's been with the same person since he was 19. I have quickly become labeled as the liberal feminist with extreme, unconventional views because I don't want children and plan to keep my name if I get married, among other things. They have also teased me about my love of the website Pajiba, and think I make unsafe decisions because I've met two people in person that I had previously known only through the internet. The 4 especially likes to call it the Pajiba Monologues, or make vagina jokes about it. As a result, I decided to order everyone in the crew copies of The Vagina Monologues as a bit of gag gift for Christmas . . . except I gave them out early because patience is not one of my strong suits or virtues.
It was intended as a joke, and I didn't expect them to read the books at all, but they have actually read a few of the monologues on their own (I was, of course, expecting the reading of random paragraphs out of context upon receipt). Two Soldiers saw a copy in the S2 office – one of them promptly borrowed it, and may be putting videos of him doing readings on YouTube in the near future.
Unfortunately, the crew will soon be a thing of the past – as I said, the S4 is about to head back to the States and ETS (get out), the S2 will transfer to another unit for her platoon leader time, and I am about to become the HHC commander. I'll still be here as a result, but it will definitely be a very different dynamic once it's just three of us.
Work continues to go well. I've been briefing our BN's section of the BDE BUB over conference call/Adobe Breeze (it just depends on how the internet is working that day) for nearly two months now, and apparently, the BDE still hasn't gotten over the novelty of hearing me brief. When I first started briefing, our BN XO teased me about how I'm the buzz of the BDE due to my voice and that everyone was asking about me – he actually made a joke about me being "the angelic voice" and how I was so positive and upbeat when I briefed (to quote his imitation of me, "We did some training and it went really well, and then we sent out some convoys to resupply everyone, which made people happy"). I've made calls to BDE in the last month, only to have the person that picks up tell me they recognize my voice from the BUB. Recently the BDE Commander referred to me as the "voice of Maintain" during a visit to our BN headquarters. Only yesterday, our SPO OIC told me I had a soothing voice, and this morning told me that two people from BDE asked him yesterday who I was while discussing business with him on the phone. I hope they aren't too disappointed when I leave the 3 shop, and someone else starts briefing. The BN Commander has already suggested I make guest appearances every once in a while.