Nope... I'm not going to the beach. Vegas? Wrong again. Believe it or not, I'm not announcing an appointment to play in a sandbox. Well, actually, maybe I am... in a way. As many of you already know (via myspace, facebook and twitter) I'm scheduled to deploy again in roughly a month - sorry but I can't give you an exact date. I've received many wishes for a safe trip and safe return already which is awesome. Thank you everyone.
In the meantime, let me fill everyone in on the things that I can. If you see updates via my Twitterfeed about ECST, it stands for Expeditionary Combat Skills Training. This is a week long pre-deployment class done here at Shaw Air Force Base. It should be great fun. I spend a day at the M-16 firing range, a day going through CBRNE training (CBRNE: Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives), a day of weapons skills training (i.e. physical combat with the use of weapons), Self Aid and Buddy Care and Basic Life Support. Sounds awesome, doesn't it? The prep is more like war, than my deployment itself.
I'm heading out for 60 days for a very specific reason. There's a new building going up at a base "out there" that houses millions and millions of dollars of computer equipment. This building provides, what we call, situational awareness and looks a lot like something out of a movie. Giant screens showing the good guys and bad guys and where they're going, planes, boats, etc. It's basically where the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (OIF and OEF) are run from.
I went over once back in early Sept of 2006 and got back at the end of January 2007. From the day I got back in the US I've been asking when I Can deploy again. Finally this project came up and I got asked if I still wanted to go. I said "Absolutely, what do you need me to do? I'm sure there are floors that need sweeping. Sign me up. Whatever it may be."
I'm sure people want to know WHY I want to go so badly. Ok, I'll tell ya. That's where the magic happens. That's why we exist as a military. All those bad guys that want to undo our way of life here, are already over there and we go to get them before they get us. When any one of you wake up in the morning and make decisions about your life every day, it's because of what military people do. There are a couple of sayings I love - the first is "If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you can read it in English, thank a soldier." and the other is "Only 2 people have ever offered to die for you, one for your sins and the other for your freedom." Make no mistake, I have NO intention of dying, but I have even less intention of letting any American die here in our own country. I'm not going on marches; I'm not pulling the trigger, but we all have our parts to play. I do mine and I do it well.
I appreciate the thoughts and well wishes and prayers and crossed fingers, I really do. Just know that I'm not going "outside the wire" where it's dangerous. No mortars, no gun shots. Just lots of computer rooms. It's good money also. Most importantly it's a chance to leave South Carolina and do what I'm trained to do for the most important reasons possible.
It's only 60 days. By the time I get there, in-process, and adjust my body to the time change, I'll be halfway through and back before you know it. Internet connectivity is an uncertainty for now but I'll keep you all abreast of developments.
Thanks again for all the concern.