Friday, February 27, 2009

Home again

I made it home OK. It sure is good to be back even if only for a few days. Everyone was excited to have the opportunity to join their loved ones at home for a few days. It was Aiden's birthday yesterday and Heidi is having a party for him tomorrow - I'm really looking forward to that because I'll get to see ALL my grandchildren and also my son and his wife, and my Brother and Sister-in-Law, my niece and a few other friends - I can't wait!

I went to SITA for lunch today and it was reassuring to know things are well there - again, the support from my company and co-workers is something I just can't express enough gratitude for.

Thank you to ALL of you that have commented on posts - I hope to be able to continue to post once I leave the country - I promise all of you I will do my best.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Homeward Bound

I'm sitting at the airport about to get on the plane to ATL!!! HOOYA!

All went well with CST - all the certifications are complete and many have already departed. Cleaning the barracks was NOT a lot of fun and there is still work to be done - I feel bad we had to leave it - but there are still some of our people (from other units) left to finish the job. We did to most of the work.

So home for a few days - how many? Well, that's any one's guess. I'll take them one at a time. We could be called at any time to travel to our POE (Point of Entry) which at this time is Norfolk, VA - but like everything else, it could change at any time. A lot of people at CST had changes made to both their reporting points and dates/time - many of them drastically - in terms of 7+ days. So - hopefully, we get at least a couple of days home.

Hope to see many of you one more time.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Last Training Day

Wow! It's hard to believe that this is our last day of training!!! WHOO HOO!!!

Or better yet, Hooya!!! (as the Army says)

I don't think ANY of you reading have ever heard me say WHOO HOO - but I'm sure many of you will hear me say Hooya when I get back - it's just the way it is... :-)

Formation in a few minutes - then a full day of training. More to come tonight.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009


It's hard to believe that we have less than a week left. We are currently booked on a flight back to ATL on 24 FEB. It leaves SEA @ 1206 hrs and arrives ATL 1946 HRS. I do not know the logistics plan passed that yet so don't ask. :-) Furthermore, things change so fast, who knows what will happen in the end.

Training continues today for me with classes from 1000-1700. Then I have a billeting planning meeting @ 1800 with my two deployment NCOIC's to assign bunks @ Bagram. With any luck, we will be assigned to Camp Cherry Beasley which are actually Army barracks and away from the primary Air Force camp. This seems to work well for the guys who are there now who we are replacing. Chief Rearick has been a huge support in getting us set up for the transition and we expect everything to be very smooth once we arrive in country.

So I'll be busy today (starting in a few minutes) and the rest of our days are packed till we leave. The 23rd is a clean up day for the group and the CC and I will have out briefings with the Senior staff from the training Brigade.

All in all, we've had a very successful three weeks here and once again, all the training was very beneficial and should serve us all well down range.


Monday, February 16, 2009

1 more week!

Time is flying by. We finished the Convoy Live Fire exercise yesterday and today many people have some time to catch up on some personal stuff - like laundry, cleaning, etc... Some of us have training this afternoon - including me. Others will be off today. The CC and I met with the senior Army leadership for an AAR (after action review) yesterday evening and they we very surprised with the way our group performed for the exercise. Everyone was motivated and took the training seriously and this is the important piece that many just don't get.

The group before us didn't finish their exercise until 2300 hours on the last day, and we finished by 2000 - three hours earlier AND we have 40 pax (people) that had another training class from 1800-2000. We still managed to get all the HMMWV and weapons cleaned and turned in.

Oh, that reminds me - I posted some pics and video on my photo site

Keep checking this photo site for more pictures of CST. I'll post a different album once I reach Bagram.


Saturday, February 14, 2009


Today we had a Combat Live Fire Exercise!!! I took some video with my cell phone and I'm going to see if I can post in a few days. We have one more day of this training and tomorrow will be a long day. Once again, I think the training we are getting from the Army is very well thought out and planned. I've met with some of the top people here @ Ft. Lewis and all of them are very concerned with making sure they present an accurate picture for us and we are all well prepared to go to our respective places.

It's Valentines Day today and to be honest, I had no idea until my daughter told me. I fell bad because I usually do something special for my one and only Valentine and the day went by with just a couple phone calls.

All the guys had a hard day and we decided to celebrate with a PIZZA party! It should be here in a few minutes - pizza for everyone in the Chief''s barracks! :-)

Everything else is going along fine - it's hard to believe that we are now more than half way thru our CST training. I'm looking forward to a short stay back home and a few nights to sleeping in my nice KING bed!!! The bed I get to sleep on here is WAY too short! :-)

Miss you all!


Thursday, February 12, 2009

4 Day Exercise

We start a four day exercise today. Convoy Live Fire! Should a lot of fun! I'm a truck commander! All vehicles will be up armor Hum-V's (M1151/HMMWV). We will have lots of vehicles assigned and this will be really good training. ALL of the training we are receiving is TOP-NOTCH and very valuable. All the Army guys/gals here are fantastic - very motivated and passionate about what they are doing!

Yesterday we had LAND Navigation training - old school stuff with compass and map. I think I walked more than 5 miles thru the woods and to tell you the truth, I'm done with walking for a few days!!! That was pretty intense and my feet were killing me at the end of the day! I have two nice blisters to show for it! :-(

All in all, the weather has been pretty good - all the snow is melted now - yesterday was a beautiful day - highs in the mid 40's. Nice day for a walk in the woods - that was the only good thing!

Looks more and more like we are coming back to ATL - as much as I hate to say that because things change so fast, anything is still possible. I sure HOPE we get to come back. Time will tell as we get closer to graduation on 23/24 FEB.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Snow Day!

Look at THIS! It's looks like CHRISTMAS out there! It's not all that cold, but it sure is real snow! The temp is close to 36 degrees and much of the snow melted on the ground - but we are getting so much of it, it's starting to stick a little. Sure is pretty out there!

Had a map reading class this morning and we are finished for the day. More paper work to do and we are going to the woods tomorrow to practice what we learned today. Sounds like a lot of fun!

I'm feeling better with each passing day now - almost back to normal! Just a couple more days I and hope this bug will leave me for good. I've been sleeping well since they fixed the heat in our barracks - those are the buildings you see in the background - yes, they ARE old - they date back to WWII!!! One of the guys staying with us said his Grandfather actually stayed in one of these very buildings and had carved his name in the walls - he's still looking for his Grandfathers signature location and hasn't found it yet.

All is well.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Down Day

Nice! We had a full day with nothing to do. Well - most of the guys anyway. I kept myself busy for the day by completing paper work for my 56 pax team down range. A Chief's work is never done! We have a big exercise coming up that sounds like a lot of fun.

It snowed here today - more like hail, but it was white! Sounds COLD - but it doesn't feel that way. I'm feeling better with each passing day. I actually felt pretty good today - all things considered!

I miss my family!


Saturday, February 7, 2009

A day at the range

WOW. Talk about a FULL day of training! We spent the whole day (and I mean the whole day) on the M16 range - the Army training was very good and the folks that were there to help us went above and beyond to make sure as many people as possible were qualified! I can't say much more about the training, but I will say this... Tracer rounds fired at night are AWESOME! Especially LOTS of them! :-)

More training every day - all the troops have a really positive attitude and that makes a HUGE difference for me. They brought us a hot meal out in the field for dinner and believe it or not, I think even my Mother in Law would have appreciated the quality!!! Excellent! And right on time and schedule!

I've been a little under the weather the past few days - I think I'm on the upswing today and coming back! I'm not out of it yet, but I can tell you I feel a whole lot better today than I did yesterday.

We've also had pretty good luck with the weather - although it was foggy and straight nasty all day, it never rained and thank God for that! Things could have been much worse.

More cool stuff coming up.

Miss you all.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Mt Rainier is pretty cool to look at!

This is a photo taken with my phone by the Commander. We sat thru several briefings today and we were issued some gear. You may note that the comments specific to my day are generic - and this is just the way it has to be - I hope you all understand.

The food here is GREAT! Lots to choose from and lots of it! AND - it's ALL good!!Weather has also been above normal - very comfortable during the day and cool to cold at night. The first two nights the heat was all JACKED UP and it was cold as crap in my room, but last night not so much so I think my guys found something! :-) It's really great to work with a bunch of CE guys who can literally FIX ANYTHING!

CC and I are working directly with a couple Army folks and they are nice to work with! I enjoy talking with them and it's nice to get their perspective on the military.
I'll try to take some more pictures tonight with the better camera - looks like another beautiful night and the mountain view is spectacular in certain places.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

First full day of CST

My first full day of CST was not very exciting. Basically, it was a lot of hurry up and wait for nothing. I was up @ 0445 and did an hour of PT! Breakfast/then a bunch of meetings and getting to know our way around. Lots of paperwork and planning for the 22+ training days. The CC (LtCol Lehman) is the Senior officer and I am the Senior Enlisted for 139 persons. We are working closely with the liaison persons between the AF and ARMY. Tomorrow is nothing but in-processing/equipment check and a meeting with the Brigade Commander (Senior Army Leader here).
Everyone seems to have made it here now - we will find out for sure in the morning during our first full formation.
I'm living in a WWII barracks and my room is VERY cold! The weather has actually been pretty nice during the day! Although the air temp is only in the 40's during the day, you don't need a jacket and it feels comfortable to stay outside. The bad part is sleeping. I hope it warms up a little inside tonight. I like it cool for sleeping, but not THAT cold!
We did get a spectacular view of Mt. Ranier this evening as the sun was setting. It was beautiful and you can see it pretty well from our main camp area. I tried to get a picture, but I couldn't figure out the right camera settings till it was too late. I'll try again and post a picture if I can get one.
Internet is goofy here - sometimes in/sometimes out - and when it's in, it's not very good - even with my phone.
I'll keep posting as often as I can - it's late and I have to get up early - more coming soon! :-)
Thanks for all the comments -
Janet - thanks for the offer to DVD the game - but to be honest, I didn't have time to watch it live and I really won't have time to watch the DVD - but thanks for the very kind offer.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Arrived in SEA

I just landed in Seattle. I'm at the Airport and we have a few hours before the bus comes to fetch us. No word on watching the game tonight.

It's 39 degrees - for some reason, it doesn't feel that cold. Looks like a nice week ahead for weather - they tell us the post is pretty muddy and you need a 4X4 vehicle to drive around! :-) Sounds like fun!

More to come...

I miss you all already!