Date Published: 26 May 2004
I managed to find a place to use the Internet at the Education Center on post. I'll try to post something every few days while I'm here. I know several other LT's and a great many more enlisted soldiers are being called up from the IRR, so I thought I'd use this opportunity to share some of my initial experiences. There's nothing very exciting here unless you're really interested in how in-processing works for IRR officers, so be forewarned...
For the most part, everybody has been reasonably helpful on an individual basis, but unfortunately the coordination between individual stations/units has been sorely lacking. Apparently my friend and fellow 1LT Chris and I are the first IRR soldiers to come through here in over a year, so nobody knows quite what to do with us. We got in Saturday and I already posted about our plush accomodations. That was all arranged by the TSB and has worked out fine. They were pretty cool about allowing us to leave post, etc, before we had to show up Monday (the 24th) morning. We're both officers so they expect us not to do anything stupid. They don't trust us to drink, however, as there is a no-exceptions no-alcohol policy for all mobilizing soldiers.
We have no transportation, so we have been calling for post shuttles as needed to get from place to place, or just walking when necessary (transport is not always available, and we were not authorized POVs nor given a vehicle). We spent Monday at the hospital signing up for Tricare and getting some examinations. We don't have to pay for meals since we're being mobilized, but we do not get issued new BDUs nor do we get TDY pay. We may be getting a clothing allowance (like the one we got just after we were commissioned) since we've been inactive more than 2 years, but that remains to be seen. We also went to the dentist Monday. We did not have valid ID cards (Chris had none, I had an old one) which caused us constant grief as we went from place to place, and nobody knew what to do with us when we arrived at each place. A checklist we received from the AG unit we were assigned to helped us to keep on track with what needed done, and where. However, nothing was scheduled in advance so it was all on us to make arrangements and try to show up at the right place at the right time.
Tuesday was spent at the hospital again, including vision and hearing checks, general physical exams, and an array of shots. We need to head back tomorrow to let them check our TB Tine tests, which take 48 hrs I guess. After finishing up at the hospital, we went back to the AG unit and completed our payroll, life insurance, DD93, and other paperwork before pretty much clearing from that unit (and coming under the complete control of the training support battalion (TSB), who will be training us for the next week or two). The paperwork at AG also included setting up some documents for Michelle to use to get her Tricare and ID card, which we were unable to do prior to my shipping out nor could she do Monday morning while she was on post (which was very frustrating). Hopefully the documents that are being sent to Ohio for Michelle now will allow her to get set up.
Wednesday morning (today), we headed over to the CIF (clothing issue facility) to receive our uniforms (we're still running around in civilian clothes because we were told not to buy any uniform items - they'd be issued) and other necessary training gear (LBE, suspenders, ammo pouches, ponchos, etc.) for the time we're spending at Ft LW. Sadly, the CIF people had no idea who we were or that we were coming or what to give us. So after going back and forth between there and the TSB (literally back and forth, by car, to opposite sides of the post), we finally resolved that we were not in fact going to be issued any BDUs and that they wouldn't issue us any of our other equipment until Friday. We did learn that we will be getting DCUs(desert combat uniforms), but not until we received orders to ship out from FLW to our destination unit (so, a few days before we leave FLW). We wouldn't be training here in DCUs -- we needed to get our BDUs squared away for training on our own. We did manage to get over to the ID Card Center and now we both have ID cards, though, which is a good thing.
Chris had to get a wisdom tooth extracted Wednesday afternoon and is currently doped up on Vicodin while I've been dealing with Finance trying to get our pay hooked up and working on getting my uniforms presentable (we both bought new PT uniforms this morning, since ours are out-of-date, so if nothing else we can wear those instead of civilian clothes in the future).
Tomorrow we should get our pay set up with finance and get our TB tine test results at the hospital. Friday we'll do our CIF equipment issue. This weekend is a 4-day training holiday so nobody is doing anything Friday through Monday (except the civilians at CIF). Our command at TSB has gotten us a van we can use Thursday through Tuesday, so we should at least be able to catch a movie or go out and get some food this weekend, and we may try to hook up with some EOBC lieutenants to see if they have any cool plans for the weekend.
Next week should all be actual training, including a couple of days of classroom stuff and then a couple of days of range qualification (probably just M16, no 9mm or anything cool). Once the TSB is done with our CTT (common task training) stuff, we should have a week or two of Engineer training at the Engineer School, but that hasn't been scheduled yet and so far I don't think anything has been coordinated on that end so it'll be interesting to see if or when we get slotted for that training.
That's about all I know right now. It sounds pretty certain that Chris and I are going to Iraq, but that won't be definite until after we get to our CRC (CONUS Replacement Center) and find out where the Army needs us. Assuming no extensions, I have only 360 days left to go.
Steve is an experienced software architect and trainer, focusing on code quality and Domain-Driven Design with .NET.