Monday, November 30, 2009


Well, in case you haven't picked up on the recurring theme so far... there's a lot of "down time", otherwise known as white space in this whole process.  We got here to Ft Jackson, SC Saturday morning... only to find out that we really don't have anything to do until Sunday night (about an hour from now).  We're actually staying at McCrady Training Center, which is about 15 miles across the big wooded base from Ft Jackson.
Since I drove down here, I offered to take a few folks into town (Columbia) with me.  I got a room at the Hilton and we went out for dinner nearby.  It was nice to sleep in a nice comfy king size bed with real sheets and pillows!  And the shower this morning was great too!  Now starting tonight I'm in my little bunk bed rack that's barely as long as I am tall, and the showers are the pits.  I guess this is all part of the process of getting us used to the 1-star accommodations in Iraq...
I'm in a barracks with 40 racks, and there are supposed to be 38 of us in here.  There are 4 showers (things could get crazy in the mornings).  There's a dining facility about 100 yards away, and it sounds like most of the time we'll get up, eat, and get on a bus to go over to Ft Jackson proper for training, then back here for dinner, and back to sleep.  I here it's about a 30 min drive over to the other side. 
Time to go over and see what dinner looks like here, then we have our "welcome aboard" at 7pm.  Here are a few pics of what I've seen so far...  Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

That's me getting fitted for my gas mask, and the contents of my first (of 4) seabags of uniforms and other gear... 
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

1 day of work crammed into 4 days...

yep, you read that correctly... this is a "short" week due to the holiday on Thursday, so we only have 4 days instead of the usual 5.  Which means we only have 4 days to complete about 1 day of work instead of 5 - whew, rough week.   ;)
Well I cleared medical today, so that pretty much means I'm cleared to go on the mobilization... tomorrow I'll finish up changes to my pay records to put me on active duty, then after I pick up my new uniforms on Friday I'm off to Ft Jackson, SC to start the Aaaarrrrmy training!  That will be about 3 weeks of what they call "immersion training" - that pretty much means they try to make it difficult for us on purpose, so we're prepared for the typical difficult conditions in theater.  So we'll have a bunch of guys sharing big tents or barracks, sleeping on cots, showers and heads a short walk away, long days of carrying around all your combat gear and weapons, etc...  I imagine we'll be up early in the mornings (5am?), spend a lot of time on the ranges firing M-16 and 9mm, and some time hiking through the woods, and pretty much be really tired when we get back to our barracks and go to sleep. 
But I'll let you know how it goes when I get there!
And here's another request for anyone using Skype to give me a call sometime - that might be my primary means of communicating from Baghdad, and I'd like to make sure it works well before I leave. 
(This pic shows how we spent most of the past 2 days...)

Friday, November 20, 2009

it begins...

Well, I'm in Norfolk, just finished checking in at the NOSC (that's Navy Operations Support Center) to start my mobilization.  There were about a dozen other folks with similar dazed and confused looks on their faces also checking in today.  I talked with a few of them, they're headed to all sorts of places, and I feel kind of lucky that I'm going to Camp Victory to work on something that is at least related to what I usually do in the Navy Reserves. 
Today was another day (ok, half day) of kinda frustrating administrative requirements and waiting around for someone else to work on checklists, forms, etc.  (Maybe I just have a low tolerance level for this kind of bs... I think I'm really going to be tested over the next year!  ;)  We're done for the weekend  until reporting to NMPS (Navy Mobilization Processing Site) on Monday morning.  (Kinda funny, we show up to start active duty on a Friday, "work" for a few hours, then have the weekend off... why not just start on the Monday morning?) 
The weather is nice, I'll enjoy a nice weekend, and get back to the "processing" (medical, shots, uniforms, etc.) on Monday. 
If you use Skype, give me a ring sometime, "Bultar2020". 

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Aaaaarmy Training Sir!

It's Tuesday night, and Thursday morning I drive down to Norfolk to go on active duty on Friday...  I'll spend a week there (that's Thanksgiving week...) doing more admin stuff, medical, get uniforms, etc., before heading to Ft Jackson for some "N-Army" training (is that pronounced "Narmy"?), that would be the Army training all Navy folks go through before heading to the desert.  Hopefully I'll be able to post frequent updates while I'm there to tell you all about it!  (I hope it's just like what Bill Murray went through in Stripes!)  I'll be there about 3 weeks, and then I'm getting a good deal among good deals as I get to come back home for Christmas and New Years!
More soon, stay tuned...

Friday, November 6, 2009

Could they make this any harder?

I'm down to just 2 weeks before I report for my MOB, and I have to say, it's been pretty frustrating lately with all the admin requirements...  Lots of paperwork, that really doesn't seem to matter much, but has to be done anyway (and then once I get to NMPS I'll have to do some of it all over again!).  And anyone that has ever had to use NKO knows how difficult - and time-wasting - that can be, but let me tell you... some of the courses you have to take for a mobilization are pretty bad (content and presentation, on top of the impossible-to-use interface).  I'm not usually one to publicly bash anyone/thing, but what a mess.  I'm actually looking forward to being in Iraq - just to have all the preparations and training behind me.  Of course I don't want to leave home, and wish I had a lot more time at home with my wife and friends before I go!!
Well, I'd better get back to the NKO training...