The Army shuts down around Christmas and New Year’s, even for units that are mobilizing apparently. We have been forced to take some time off from training and preparing for this deployment because our certifiers and trainers wish to take leave. This is not completely a bad thing, but we are so close to deploying, they should just validate us and let us get into theater sooner. It was great to get home and spend time with family and friends. But we will come back to Fort Dix and simply wait for a flight.
Ultimately, it is more a problem with MTC as a whole since we wasted a lot of time doing training that we had already completed previously or spending too many days sitting around waiting for them to find something for us to do. Big Boss, for some reason, did not want to waive the training requirements for the handful of people that missed RTC training, tasks that were common warrior tasks and things that we could have simply reinforced on our own with these Soldiers as needed. Maybe they wouldn’t let him do this. Either way, he could have used his rank in a more favorable way from the beginning and got us on the plane and starting our mission sooner.
Furthermore, we were all charged 11 days of leave, most of which will be advance leave, because we were not going to return back to Fort Dix after our initial 4-day pass and sign back out. If we were regular Army Soldiers, we would have been able to “sign in” telephonically and only been charged seven days of leave. But because First Army is local to Fort Dix, and because they could have people available to sign us in, we were forced to either return to Fort Dix in person to sign in/out or be charged the entire 11 days of leave. This is yet another way that Reservists on active duty are treated differently than their active component counterparts. But this is not something even our Commanding General can influence, so I guess it is something that we will just have to deal with.