Where family, friends, and strangers can come to follow the life of a soldier as he tours the globe.



Today I received my orders for my upcoming school. I will be gone for several months starting in the near future. I am going off to school to learn the job I will be doing once I am deployed. Several of you have asked me to lay out a time line of events, and what I will be doing over the next few months. Since I am still not sure what I can and cannot discuss here, I will be as vague as possible with still trying to get the point across.

The first step in deploying is to get MOS-Q (Military occupational specialty-qualified) that means going to a school to learn your job. I am doing that by going back east for about 3 months and getting all up to speed on my cool new job (photo-journalism).

After that comes what is often referred to as "the train up". This is where the unit goes to another installation and does all the Hollywood fun stuff. Practicing kicking doors and mounted and dismounted patrols and ambushes. Fun stuff, if you have the right people with you. The jury is still out on that one.

Once the train up is completed, and everyone is deployable, the unit will leave the U.S. and head for exotic foreign places. The time line is not really set in stone at all at this point, but the rumor mill is talking about a mid-summer leave time. We will see. Could end up being early fall, or for that matter not even come at all.

That is it in a nutshell. I am just happy that I got everything I needed to fix or prepare done in time to get to school. I am really looking forward to this whole experience. It will be a great opportunity for me to advance my military career, get myself back into good shape, help some people, serve this nation, and hopefully get me in a position where I can actually write and publish a book about the whole thing.

So, as always, feel free to leave comments. Keep me in your prayers, and I will hopefully return soon and unscathed.


How we got here...

Since I set up this blog, I really haven't expanded on what it is all about. Sorry about that, I have been super busy. So, some history is in order. A little over ten years ago I began a journey that I thought would never go the way it has. Matter of fact, I had no idea how it was going to go. I joined the Army in January 1997. I was an artilleryman for my four years of enlisted service. I left active duty from S. Korea in December 2000.

I extended my enlistment into the Oregon Army National Guard as a construction engineer. I spent one year in that unit and decided it was time for me give being a civilian a try. Then it happened. Let us not forget the cowardly attacks on this great nation on a quiet sunny morning in September. I was finishing up my enlistment in the Guard and doing so-so in junior college. I struggled quite a bit with the idea of just going back into the active duty military, but ended up settling on being a lazy civilian. Then the news started in 2003. I watched people I knew fighting in Iraq in real-time on the news. I missed the invasion. I missed the march up. I missed the capture of the ace in the hole. I was pretty unhappy with the way things had turned out. Shortly after the march up, the Military channel started with all of the programs. I struggled with wanting to go back in, but had become pretty sedentary and was basically too lazy to do what I felt I needed to do.

Then I met her. I started seeing a girl I went to high school with in May 2005. That whole deal didn't work out, but she showed up just about the time I was talking to a National Guard recruiter. I had had enough. I had been watching everything happen on TV, and I was missing it because I was on my couch watching it. She motivated me to get back into shape, take the plunge and get back into the fight. For that I will forever owe her a debt that can't be paid. I joined another engineer battalion in late May 2005 as a communication specialist. I spent almost two years in that unit waiting to get a school slot for that job. It never really materialized. Again I was struggling with the idea of getting out of the guard. Never getting my chance to be in the fight. Two days before my ten year anniversary of joining the Army, a friend of mine in another unit got in touch with me and asked me if I wanted to go to Iraq as a photo journalist. I was so excited about this news that I was unable to sleep for three days.

Sunday, January 7th, 2007, on the 10th anniversary of the day I joined the Army, I was granted my wish. I transferred to a public affairs unit that has been put on alert to go to Iraq with an infantry division sometime around the summer of 07. I am leaving to go to journalist school in Maryland in the very near future, and find myself once again so excited, nervous, and unsure of my future that I can barely contain myself.

Yes, I volunteered to go to arguably the most dangerous place on earth. Yes, I accept the fact that I might never come home, but that is going to be in the hands of God and the end of my M-4 rifle. So now is the time where I get the questions, comments, hugs, prayers, concerns, and occasionally disgust. To most of these I answer vaguely, and with pride and honor. I am an American soldier. I have really only known soldiering for most of my adult life. I have personally known 7 friends who have given their life in this fight for our freedom, and been associated on some level with about 12 others. I lost one friend in the attack on the pentagon. If for no other reason, I need to go to Iraq for my fallen friends. I ask that you all say a prayer for the safe return of myself and my brothers in arms. We will win this fight. With the resources, time, and support of the American people, the result will be a free Iraq, and an America that does not have to fear another 9-11.