Looking Forward

30 April 2013

Our Squadron completed another large clearance mission with the Afghan Nation Army. Chalk another one up for the good guys. With the amount of stuff they confiscated, discovered, and then blew in place, we should set the Taliban back a while. No injuries to any Soldiers and no damaged or lost equipment equals mission success! We continue to prepare for our eventual redeployment. Almost all our containers are packed, excess equipment is continuing to be turned in, and the new unit will be showing up soon to sign for equipment that is going to stay here.

As I was chatting with Katrin last night we discussed our Army future. My Operations Sergeant Major showed me a website yesterday that shows all available positions for my rank and qualifications. The list was huge! The more we talked about it, the more obvious it became that we will be moving again. I think we are leaning towards a ROTC gig at a major college. Heck, why not with cities and colleges like Auburn, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Syracuse, Manhattan, Boston, NC, SC, Virginia, Arizona, and more on the list. I mentioned that I was “Looking Forward” to coming home and our future… Then it hit me.

After I get home from this deployment I will be done with “Looking Forward” and anticipating future events. I believe this will be the first time in my 17 year career that we (Katrin and I) will not be anticipating a pending school, training exercise, or deployment. Thanks to the broke Army, we will no longer be able to afford the massive amount of collective training that we have been accustomed to. We thought we were going to be able to relax a few years ago when I returned from my last deployment but were quickly humbled when we arrived to Hohenfels Germany to begin my assignment as an O/C.

A little back-story: We married back in the summer of 1998 and spent the first year of our marriage separated. I was stationed in Texas and she remained in Germany to continue school and we were finally reunited in 1999. It was short lived though as I immediately deployed to Kosovo within a month of my arrival. Even during the deployment to Kosovo I knew that upon my return I would be headed off to School for a month. My next deployment was in 2004, almost four years later, but during that time I attended: Basic Noncommissioned Officer Course (2 month school in Kentucky), Master Gunner Course (3 month school in Kentucky), fired Gunnery (30 days) twice a year, and conducted maneuver training (30 days) once (sometimes twice) a year.

I was, of course, looking forward to returning from my first deployment to Iraq to spend time with my family. However, within a few months of my return I was headed back to Kentucky to attend Advanced Noncommissioned Officers Course (ANCOC) (2 months). After finishing ANCOC it was off to gunnery and maneuver training and while at maneuver training we learned we were on orders to deploy to Iraq a second time. We returned home and had another deployment to “look forward” to. While waiting to deploy, the unit decided to conduct gunnery and I took over the Scout platoon. We returned home, deployed to Iraq, and when we re-deployed Katrin and I thought that we could finally take a knee and breathe a sigh of relief. My next assignment was going to be to a “non-deployable” unit and I was going to serve as an Observer Controller.

We “looked forward” to three years of a job that was going to allow me to spend some quality time with my family…. Oh how we were wrong. I deployed to the Republic of Georgia the second month I was on the team. Yes, the same Republic of Georgia that was invaded by the Russians. And yes, the same time the Russians invaded. I made it out of there and returned home only to live a higher operational tempo than that of a line unit. We spent the whole three years “looking forward” to the next rotation, ones that happened every month.

“Looking forward” to our move to Washington, we were excited but really didn’t know what to expect. I became a Platoon Sergeant again and was assigned to a unit that was preparing to deploy to Afghanistan. Two field problems within the first four months and then I made the promotion list. I transferred units just in time to conduct two more major training events with them and then deploy. My whole career has been spend “looking forward” to another event that is going to separate my family and I. But I really think things are going to change for the better.

I am “looking forward” to getting home and being with my girls. After that, I am done with it. We may have one major training event in the next year and a half (about the amount of time I have remaining before I find another job) and I’m not going to worry about it. My next job? I’m not “looking forward” to it… I am going to live each day, with my family, to the fullest and enjoy every second. I even told Katrin that I’m not going to “look forward” to our road trip to Disney in August… I am going to savor every second with my daughters, and when it’s time for the road trip to Disney, I will enjoy every second and not “look forward” to coming home.

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