So It Begins...

Date Published: 29 April 2004

So It Begins...

This is my first post to this blog, which I've just set up. I'm going to try and maintain it while I go through my deployment, but of course there will be times when I'm not able to access the Internet. I've set up my wife, Michelle, with a blog here as well, and she'll be able to post news and other stuff when I'm not online.

As a bit of background information, I enlisted in the Army in 1995 as a PFC in the Ohio Army National Guard. I went to Basic at Ft. Sill, OK and AIT at Ft Jackson, SC. Oklahoma sucked; South Carolina was nice. My MOS, which I never used, was 75F, which was basically a data entry job. I completed AIT in June of '95, I got married in August of '95, and I started ROTC at Ohio State University in October 1995. I went to Ft. Lewis, WA for my advanced course as a ROTC cadet and was commissioned a 2LT there on July 25th, 1997, shortly after I graduated with my bachelor of science degree in Computer Science Engineering. I branched Engineer and became a platoon leader with C Company, 112th Engineer Battalion, Mechanized, in Columbus, Ohio.

I attended 20 weeks of Engineer Officer Basic Course in 1998 at Ft. Leonard-Wood, Missouri. I was promoted to first lieutenant (1LT) in May of 2000 (almost a year later than I would have been but for some bureaucratic snafu). In 1999 I had moved from Columbus to Kent, Ohio, as well, and in 2000 I began taking night classes for my MBA at Kent State University. In 2001, I requested and and was granted a change in status from active to inactive national guard status (ING), which meant that I no longer drilled on weekends or did annual training, but I was still available to be re-activated if need be.

One can only be in ING for 1 year, after which time one can either return to active status or be transferred to the Inactive Ready Reserve (IRR), a federal pool of inactive soldiers. I transferred to the IRR in 2002.

Upon receiving my 2LT commission in July 1997, I had to sign a contract committing me to a minimum of 6+2 years of service, with the +2 being IRR duty. I had thought this was only 6 years and that in July 2003 I was completely separated from the Army, but I realized some months later that I was mistaken.

In February 2004, I was contacted by some human resources people at Ft Leonard-Wood who confirmed that I was not out yet and wanted to update my contact information. They assured me that they were not imminently activating me but did ask if I wanted to volunteer to re-enter active duty status. I declined.

In April 2004, after spending a week on the road with my family for a conference followed by some time at DisneyWorld, we returned home and found an answering machine message from someone in Ft. Leonard Wood explaining what I should do upon my arrival there. This was not the kind of news we were expecting after 9 days on the road and a 2-day car trip from Florida to Ohio, and the message didn't provide any details about when I was supposed to report for duty. I wasn't sure if I was already late. Our mail was on hold at the post office.

So the next day, Monday April 26th, we got our mail and I received my orders, which specify that I am to report for duty on May 22nd at Fort Leonard-Wood, as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. That's just under 4 weeks away, which is certainly better than, say, April 24th. Michelle and I are doing everything we can now to get our businesses squared away so that she can run them in my absence, and to get me prepared for duty.

Steve Smith

About Ardalis

Software Architect

Steve is an experienced software architect and trainer, focusing on code quality and Domain-Driven Design with .NET.