Article 15’s and MREs

3 February 2013

It is pouring rain and has been raining for the last 18 or so hours. A large lake has been forming behind our building, only increasing in size as the rain continues to fall. It was coming down so hard a few times last night that the sound of it hitting the tent woke me up. I hate being woken up in the middle of the night.

The one good thing about the rain lately is that the line for the chow hall is considerably shorter. The unit we are attached to are from Georgia, and it would almost seem that they think they will melt if they are out in it for more than a minute or two. Our FOB is growing more each day and our limited resources are beginning to become harder and harder to get. The normal wait for chow is over 30 minutes of standing in line and a haircut is now well over two hours of waiting. I think it is now time to start shaving my head again.

Why don’t we build larger facilities, you ask? Well, as some of you are tracking, we are pulling out of this place next year! It put near takes an act of Congress and a blessing by the Pope to get an additional roll of toilet paper these days. That’s just figuratively speaking of course. We, in no way, are hurting for supplies. It’s just that anything to do with expanding the base or building anything “enduring” is almost impossible these days. Outer lying FOBs are being retrograded and turned over to the Afghan’s which means more Soldiers are moving to the larger FOBs. With us leaving, more people are dealing with less. I sound like a damn Fobbit now…. This is still better than any of my other deployments.

The Super Bowl is tonight, or actually 3am tomorrow morning. The USO has sent us a large package with a bunch of food, candy, and decorations for the big game. I spent some of this morning decorating our building for the big game. The bummer part about watching the game over here is that we cannot see the commercials. The game is broadcast on Armed Forces Network, and part of the deal of allowing AFN to broadcast the game for free is that they are not allowed to show any commercials. And I am sure, like with any show, movie, or game watched by a bunch of Soldiers, a lot of smack will be talked.

I had to conduct an Article 15 reading last night; one of my least favorite parts of my job. One of my Soldiers was working at an outer lying FOB and left his weapon in a latrine. Thank God it was found by an American Soldier. Had it been found by a local national and not returned, his career would have been over. As it stands now, the Commander may take some of his rank, pay, and make him work a couple weeks of extra-duty, but he will be able to overcome this. I will keep him busy with his extra duty… We have plenty of weapons that were left by the prior unit that need cleaned and with the recent flooding of the FOB, plenty of buildings that need mopped.

Update on the Article 15: Commander has decided to give him 7 days “Extra Duty” where he will work for me doing odds and ends jobs; demoted to E2, and took two weeks pay (both suspended 180 days). Basically, the kid is going to work for me (not a good thing) and will keep his pay and rank unless he messes up again in the next 6 months.

I finally shaved my head! I do it every deployment, but due to the ability to Skype with my family every morning, I have been hesitant. Katrin likes me with hair on my head, and I like keeping her happy. I woke up this morning and had enough. The line for the Barber was way too long, so out came the clippers. I called my girls this morning and Katrin let out a yelp while Tabea stood behind her with her jaw to the floor. I realized that this was the first time, other than a couple pictures, that either of the girls had seen me like this. My Grandfather on my mom’s side was bald, and the Gibson family is known for some thin hair; Katrin and the girls may have to get used to it!

Today was spent working on release from theater packets for some of my Soldiers. The draw down in Afghanistan is happening, and it’s happening quicker than most of us thought. A vast majority of us will remain for the full 9 month deployment, but some that are out of jobs are going home. If they don’t have a requirement to be here, we are sending them home. It actually works out for us. The group that was left in the rear doesn’t have our Troops best interests in mind. Most are getting out or are not organic to my Troop. With us having the ability to send some guys home, it gives us the ability to give them projects that will help with our reintegration at the end of our deployment.

Winter has reared its ugly head again… It snowed last night and the temperatures are not raising much above freezing during the day.

Thing I miss most about home: The ritual of going home. Driving south on I-5 and thanking God I don’t live on the north side of post as I see the north-bound traffic at a stand-still. Taking exit 114, driving up Nisqually hill, turning right at the gas station and reaching down to untie my boots. Pulling into the alley and hitting the garage door remote, parking the car, and taking in the smell of the home cooked meal Katrin has prepared. I take off my boots, look up, and more often than not, Tabea is at the door to greet me with a hug and kiss, Kiersten runs to the door with an ear to ear grin, as Katrin patiently waits for her turn. I miss my girls.

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