Mobilization – Day Two – 28 November 2009

Today was the day where we all finally came together as prepared for our movement to Fort Dix. The final travelers arrived in the morning and we had a few hours of briefings arranged for the Soldiers and available family members. We had attempted to do a formal Yellow Ribbon, but were unable to do so due to limited funds and poor interpretation of Federal Statute by our higher headquarters. Had the event been fully funded, more family members would have been available for both the briefings that were provided today and our Farewell Ceremony scheduled for tomorrow. Ultimately, it may not being the worst thing that happened, but it really shows the actual priorities of those in power above us.
Mobilization and deployment is the main mission that all Army units train for, regardless of unit type or component. Part of this mission is caring for the families left behind, and one thing created to help do this is the Yellow Ribbon Program. In my opinion, however, higher commands have confused the need to support their peacetime missions with the need to fully support deploying units and their family members. They pay lip service to caring about families but in the end seems to prefer excuses to answers and do not do enough to provide all that is needed. I do not know if this is something that is spread out amongst all other Army Reserve commands, but it is definitely shown in the actions of those in power of the 316th ESC.
It may be a simple gripe based on my status as a dual-status technician within the organization, but I see an organization wrought with poor planning and mismanagement of government money, deciding to fund long active-duty tours for people who are simply doing the same job that a full-timer should be doing and is already paid to do. It would be interesting to see an audit of the Army Reserve and the misuse of taxpayer monies paying for unneeded tours, especially those people that are simply giving a headquarters extra depth at a position that does not require it. If a backup is needed for certain tasks, it is simple enough to add it as an additional duty to someone else, simply as a backup. I experience this in my own employment; all it takes is a good manager or supervisor to identify all work in a section and identify a primary, alternate, and where appropriate, a tertiary person to perform all the work. We have done this with some success within my own work section. I feel that it can work at higher levels as well. More people, at the expense of fully supporting mobilizing units, are just an easy solution, not necessarily the right one.

Mobilization – Day One – 27 November 2009

Today was the official first day of the mobilization of Task Force 334. Today was mainly a travel day for those Soldiers who had to travel long distances to reach East Windsor, CT in preparation for our travel to Fort Dix, NJ for the final CONUS training event prior to our arrival in theater. However, this day brought on some emotion for many of the Soldiers as we began to meet and begin spending time with each other.
One of these traveling Soldiers, SGT Dawn Champion, said something that caught my attention as we were preparing to leave to a party. She said that the day was kind of like a family reunion; had just been together a few weeks prior, but we were already getting back into those newly formed bonds that we had formed by training together six of the previous eleven weeks. We had truly begun to develop the close bonds that would be required as we moved forward and actually deployed into theater.
The second part of her comment is what gave me pause, however. She was already looking forward to that time in the future where the deployment would be over and we would all go our separate ways. While many of the organic Soldiers would simply stay with the unit and keep in touch, all the others would return to their home units and potentially lose touch of what everyone ended up doing after this deployment. While this may be inevitable due to various circumstances, I know for sure that one of the reasons that I am planning on writing this book is to document what we do while we are together as the Task Force, but also giving us something that we can all have to remind ourselves of the time we spent together. Even if this book is never officially published, I hope that it is part of something that can at least be shared with the other 58 members of the Task Force. One thing I told SGT Champion tonight was that it was my intent in the least to maintain contact with everyone as well as I could, especially those that I now consider friends. I envision a book like this as that link and reason to keep in contact. We will see what actually comes to be.

Wow, I Suck at Blogging

I would like to think that I have just been super busy as an excuse for not blogging recently, or a whole lot over the past few months. But in all reality, I have not really had a lot to write about. This needs to change, seeing as how I plan on writing a book on this deployment. If I don’t write now, it might be even harder to write then.

I have some ideas for themes for the book, but might be difficult to actually write a book until stuff starts happening. For starters, however, here is one idea on the possible layout of the book. I plan on it to be similar to “Band of Brothers” or “Generation Kill,” a “war” book with various stories within. It might be interesting. Let me know what you think so far.

Prologue
Introduction to the Soldiers of Task Force 334
An Introduction to the Army and Army Reserve
Pre-Mobilization: Getting a Reserve Unit Ready for War
The Sociological Experiment that is the U.S. Military
CHU-Mates
The Big Boss and His Big Dreams
Hello, Mr. Smith
Epilogue

Some Good News

As of 11 October, you are looking at the new Staff Operations and Training Specialist for the 334th QM BN. Got the official job offer on Thursday, with a confirmed effective date of 11 October. I’ve only been doing the job for around 17 months or so, so it is nice to finally get paid for what I do on a daily basis. I just wish it would have happened earlier so I could have been raking in the phat cash all along. As it stands now, I’ll get approximately 3 1/2 paychecks at my new pay grade before going on leave without pay for the deployment. At least when I return, I’ll receive a step increase and have a year credit as a GS-9 under my belt. It’s only a matter of time until I’m rolling in the phat GS-14 cash on a daily basis. Senior Executive Service, here I come!