20060821

500 Miles

Well, it was actually less than 100 hours and a little more than 500 miles this weekend, but it behind me now. Sort of a bitter sweet deal. There is so much that I enjoy about being in the National Guard. Some things I don't, but overall I am a 'Happy Soldier'. :) Thursday was a long day. I got up at my usual time so that I could get out the door no later than 5 Am to make the 80 mile drive in time for 1st formation. One soldier did not make it in time because his car had been totalled and his ride to drill 'forgot' about needing to pick him up. I drove out to pick him up and then on down to AP Hill in Virginia. The rest of the day was spent having the sections that did not certify practice and prepare for testing. A lot of walking. The 'highlight' was Thursday night havikng to run all over our firing point (and for artillery it can be a fairly large one) getting names for those who needed to qualify with the M-16 the next day. Friday we certified the three remaining sections and got each of them 'occupied' on the firing line in time to get a few check rounds down range. I did not participate in the rifle qualification but 18 of 22 men who went qualified. Saturday was spent performing howitzer live fire missions. Pretty laid back and I was able to take some picture (more on this later) and some video as well as get on the gun again. Saturday night the guys from my battery gave me an ice water shower akin to the gatorade baths you see in sporting events. Man was that cold. After spending three days in the upper eighties with a pretty good humidity level it was a slight shock - but it felt good! The guys had heard that this was probably my last live fire weekend. Yesterday I had to drive back to the armory and then back to battalion/brigade headquarters to attend a retirement briefing. I went to try and get the overall picture of how to get the paperwork in, etc. I ended up with even more questions than I started with so I will be exchanging e-mails, etc. for a little while. One thing that made me raise my eyebrows some was that the IRR (individual retired reserve - which I need to go to if I want to have any retirement benefits) is the #1 source for 'experienced' soldiers!!!! *sigh* I have not shared that information with my beloved as I want to make sure I completely understand all the implications before I do so. Overall it was a pleasant weekend. The temperature was lower than it normally is in August, and there was no rain. The pace of fires was good once the rounds started going down range, and the pace of training was moderate. I really like the guys I train with, and to some degree I really enjoy the 'mission' of the Guard. But I love my family more than I love the Guard - and I miss them and the things to do with them on these weekends. Some highlights of my career are: Basic Training 'Top Tube' award as an Anti-Tank gunner and getting to fire a live TOW missile Flood duty - several times The response of my unit after 9/11 My active duty stint Hurricane relief last year Over all the Lord has blessed me with the priviledge of working with some great guys over the years. Not all of the duty assignments have been enjoyable and not everyone I've worked with has been chipper. But I am going to miss it. Updates: none Verse for today: Psalm 105:1-6, esv Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice! Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!5 Remember the wondrous works that he has done,his miracles, and the judgments he uttered, O offspring of Abraham, his servant, children of Jacob, his chosen ones!

3 comments:

Bob said...

That just has to be the coolest. Getting to fire M-16's and Howitzers. Thats just got to be the coolest thing to do. I really appreciate the time you have taken out of your life to serve our Country. Just saying thanks seems so shallow. I hope you have a great week. I'm looking forward to reading more of those Samurai's Tales...............

samurai said...

It is a blast! Over the years I've been able to fire machine guns (but never the .50 cal), grenade luanchers, and even one TOW missile. The TOW was by fire the biggest deal for me - but the M102 howitzer is a very. very close second.

Those are some of the things I will miss. :)

John B. said...

So what about those pictures?!?!