I have recently been informed that I will be deploying to Iraq for six months. Yes, I know that is not a long time compared to some tour lengths over there, but I am still not looking forward to going. I am not even sure when I will be leaving, or what I will have to put up with beforehand in regards to training requirements.
And then there are my cats, my stuff, my apartment. What do I do with all that? I will NOT give up my cats. I waited too long to have them, and I will not give them up just because of a deployment. But who do I trust to watch over them and make sure they do not get hurt or get outside? My parents have offered repeatedly to take them while I deploy. I would prefer to keep them in Oklahoma. I do not particularly like the idea of flying them all the way to Washington. But I may not have a choice. No one has offered to watch them here.
Whenever I am told of a deployment, I look back on previous TDYs or almost deployments. I say almost because I have yet to deploy. My time is coming. I know it.
My first TDY was while I was stationed in England. I went to another base in England to help provide security from the protesters who were very unhappy about their country's involvement with the war in Iraq. My second TDY was to a two week training course in Germany. I do not really count that as a visit because I did not get to see much of Germany while I was there.
In the midst of all this, I was an alternate to deploy at least once. This reason allowed me to fire my rifle for the first time in a year in a half. That should not have happened because I am required to fire the rifle twice a year. How I managed to slip through the cracks was beyond me, but they were not going to let me fire. They quickly changed their minds when I told them I was an alternate.
When I arrived here in Oklahoma, I had many more opportunities to go TDY. My first while stationed in Oklahoma was Nebraska for an air show. I was the team leader, somehow. I was not happy since I had no idea what was expected of me. We stayed off base. The room I got was spectacular. I have not had a room like that since. My second was to Alaska. I spent a week wandering around the base. The team leader and I went fishing on base. We caught a lot of fish, irritated the base motor pool (much to my amusement and annoyance), and even went on a sight seeing tour on a water plane to Mount McKinley. Number three was to Washington. My parents and brothers were delighted to see me for a little bit. My fourth was to Florida. I would have enjoyed that one, and the two that followed later that month, much better if I had gone with a better team. I do not like to babysit people. Military members are adults. They need to start acting like them. I soon went to Delaware and North Carolina. Then, I did not go TDY for over a year. My next TDY was to Florida for two weeks of training. I did not care much for the training, especially since I did not really learn anything new. The reason I enjoyed the time there was because my team was a very good one. People will make or break the TDY or deployment. Actually, that could be said about any job or place a person may go to. Last January, I had to drive down to San Antonio for two weeks of training that seemed more like a vacation than anything else, especially since some portions echoed the training I had endured not even two months before. I learned that San Antonio freaks out about the slightest drop of snow or ice. Two days of classes were canceled and we ended up having to stay an extra day because of it. I was not happy about that because I had to drive back here like a bat out of hell to beat the ice storm that was threatening to hit. Three months later, I went to Delaware twice. In September, I went back down to Florida for the third time. This time was considerably more enjoyable than the first time, because I did not have to babysit the team members I went with.
I have nearly gone on three deployments since I got here. The first was canceled because I asked to go through a course that was required before I sewed on my current rank. I was pulled from the next one because the Air Force wanted me to retrain into a different career field. The reason I did not retrain is because I had only two options. I do not like big dogs, and I am absolutely terrified at the idea of trying to teach people how to shoot their weapons. I have seen some of the people I work with shoot their weapons. I do not even want to see how people who have not fired in three or four years do. So far, I have been on at least one other deployment. That one got canceled, though. Another base picked it up, apparently. However, I do not think this one is going away.
I have not tried to get out of any of them. I will not try to get out of this one, either. It is my time to go, and I will go. I will not like it, but I have little choice. It has been too long. It is not fair for others to deploy back to back while I have not gone at least once. I will make the best of this deployment, and hopefully meet some good people and learn a lot. I shall see.
More to come.