Monday, January 31, 2011


I'm sort of glad I didn't update this journal while I was spending time in Rear-detachment (while the rest of my unit was training).  It would have been an uneventful post with a complaining tone because of the seeming lack of urgency in processing us new guys.  Well we eventually got issued our rucksacks and gear and joined the rest of the unit down in Fort Polk on the 17th.  Sarah was in Texas from the 13th until the 17th, so our time together was cut short a few hours by my departure, but it was a great visit nonetheless.  We went to the 1st Cavalry Division museum on-post and watched all three Jurassic Park movies.

Upon arriving in Lousiana, I did a bit more in-processing and finally moved into the CHU (combat housing unit) with the rest of my platoon and squad.  I arrived just in time to join the sustained force-on-force part of the training cycle.  That means that there are actors and insurgents living in "villages" around the base 24 hours a day and we must maintain securtity and mission cycles as if we were in-country (wearing our laser-tag gear at all times).  Our mission mostly consisted of route clearance, driving slowly in convoys looking for IEDs.  I spent all of my time with my squad leader riding in the Buffalo.  One night, however, the forward operating base we were living on was attacked by insurgents and we had to sweap back through the base to establish security.  It was pretty exciting, since the alarm went off after everyone had gone to bed and everyone was scrambling with weapons and ammo.  2 F-15s did some close flyovers to drop flares and illuminate the night.  After securing the front gate, my job was the personal security of Captain Stevens.  Amusingly, our senior enlisted in the company is First Sergeant Rogers.  I'm sure some of you got that without the hyperlinks.  Another awesome name belongs to the training master in charge of critiquing our mission preparation and execution.  His name, no lie, was Captain Blizzard and he totally lived up to the title.

All of this training was to simulate living and working in Iraq, for which we should be deploying in May.  I'll have more to post later (and can answer any questions you might have), including a bunch of beer reviews from the past month.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Kindle Post

First thing: I will not be going to Louisiana for 30 days with the rest of my company for JRTC (Joint Regional Training Center, I think).  I have no idea what they'll have us doing while the rest of the company is gone.  In-processing has been tedious and full of breaks.  After arriving we were quickly shuffled off to our units for the four-day holiday weekend.  Our units were not really expecting us since most of the companies' members were still on leave from Christmas and such.  We were given rooms and quickly put on a four-day pass with the rest of the base.  On Monday we resumed in-processing paperwork, but the short workdays for the medical and office workers limited the progress we could make.  Tuesday and Wednesday were even less productive with inconvenient scheduling of information briefings and our low priority amongst the supervising sergeants' many tasks (prepping equipment and personnel for JRTC especially).  Interestingly, one of the Drill Sergeants from my training company is my platoon sergeant here.  I didn't know him in Missouri since he was in a different platoon and transferred here in September, but he recognized my name from the roster.

My barracks living quarters are pretty nice.  I have an NCO's room with my own bathroom and no roomate (yet).  I have room to hang my hammock from the front door jam to the bathroom door jam.  The building is near a nice dining facility and about a twenty minute walk from the company offices.  However, the lady from the housing management office told us that we are in overflow housing and we'll probably move within a month.  I already ordered something to this address and UPS has failed to connect with me, so it's probably best to wait until I move or get more instruction on how to recieve mail.

The 3G and Wifi are variable but I can eventually recieve emails, weblog comments, and facebook messages through the Kindle.  I have used it as a mobile web platform just as much as I have for reading books.  I finished my first Kindle_book over the weekend and found it easy and comfortable to read.

Typing this on the Kindle has been kinda slow going, but better than having someone looking over my shoulder at he USO.  It's impossible to copy/paste links here, though.  I hope everyone had a happy new year and going back to work or class isn't too arduous.  

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Beginning

New year, new state, new job, new engagement.
New obligations and tribulations.  New opportunities and adventures.
Time for a new weblog I think.

I can’t make any promises on post regularity or content, but I can give a summary of my life at the moment and topics I’ve the urge to write about.

I am a Private First Class recently graduated from One Station Unit Training as a 12B Combat Engineer.  On the 27th of December I arrived at my first duty station: Fort Hood, Texas.  I’ve been assigned to 1st Cavalry, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, Special Troops Battalion.  I‘d like to share whatever training and deployment news I can as well as general musings about army life, the military, and related topics (with as little military jargon as I can).

I am also recently engaged to be married to a beautiful girl named Sarah.  However, my fiancé has another semester left at the University of Pittsburgh and I have my Army obligations, so no date or details are set.  Even if you know me personally, please don’t take anything posted here as definitive or official wedding news.  We’ll use facebook and the regular old post office for that.

Reviews.  I will try and review things I have personal experience with such as issued and personal-purchase military gear, camping equipment, and programs and applications for my Kindle.  Maybe some books and music as well.

Another type of review I intend to do here is more for my benefit than readers’.  I received some books about beer for Christmas and I think I should be more deliberate about trying different beers and determining my personal tastes.  My general preferences: Brown ales, Pale Belgian ales, and Amber lagers.  Most recently I had a 22oz Maudite from Unibroue for New Years eve.  It was excellent.  A sipping/savoring beer, of course, and rather strong at 8% ABV, but rich and complex in flavor.  A subtle and pleasant taste of pineapple lingers on the palate.