Thursday, December 18, 2008

At your service.

An uneventful week this week at Camp McCrady. While waiting on my paperwork I have been tasked as the duty driver, shuffling new arrivals around to appointments, back and forth to Ft. Jackson and off to the airport onto their next destination in a 12ish passenger van. VERY Exciting.

I have my tickets for Sat morning to fly back home for the holidays. If my paperwork has not completed before then, I will have to come back to McCrady on Jan 4th until it is done. I am being told different things in regards to my paperwork so I am taking everything they say with a grain of salt. With only one more day to go, I am skeptical that it will be done in time.

Regardless, I am going home on Saturday. YAY!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Unfit for Duty

In soldier terms, being labeled "unfit for duty" represents something shameful..... unsoldierly....... weak. To them you are useless, maybe even lazy or scared. People who can't pass a physical fitness test or struggle to keep their weight down are "unfit for duty". People who are depressed or suffer from mental illness. We see in the news all the soldiers coming back from Afghanistan without a limb or having had serious injuries and still they want to go back to fight next to their brothers and sisters. They are strong, not weak.

While I never served overseas, this week I was given the red stamp "unfit for duty". I will not be going to Iraq. In a few weeks (hopefully less) I will be going home. After seeing the orthopedic specialist and having several x-rays of my spine, they determined that my scoliosis is significant (much more than I thought! I had never seen the x-rays before!) and participating in activities necessary while overseas could cause further serious injury and chronic pain. Not only am I exempt from this mobilization, but I am now being processed out of the Army altogether. I am done.

I feel very mixed emotions about this. I feel elated that I can stay home (of course!) and can't wait to see my family again. At the latest I'll be home in early January before the Spring semester starts. It is a relief knowing that I can't be called back again, as now the talk of a surge into Afghanistan will surely cause an increase in Inactive Reserve soldiers being mobilized.

On the other hand, I can't help but feel kinda sad too. I loved the Army and my job while I was active. It was intense and exciting. I felt like I did a pretty good job, got promoted, awarded, etc. We were blessed to be assigned to a strategic unit (not tactical). Compared to most others, we had it great.... cushy. Thousands didn't even get to come home from Iraq.

So, I can't help but feel kinda shamed that I am complaining about the little pain in my neck. I understand it is a legitimate issue, but compared to others who have lost their limbs or lives, my little pain seems more like an excuse. An excuse to get out of something I don't want to do. And it worked, but not without casting a shadow on my career as a soldier. And now, something I was very proud of having done will have to be swept under the rug and tucked away.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Hello Mudda, Hello Fadda. Here I am at....Camp McCrady.

So... it's been a while since I've posted. A lot has been going on in the past month and I'm sure I'll fill in when I have time.

At the moment I'm here in Camp McCrady, a small little former National Guard post on the corner of Ft. Jackson. I should be here for a few weeks while I finish inprocessing into the Army and then I'll be going down to Goodfellow Air Force Base for a few more weeks of training. My uniforms were all reissued to me today, so now I am officially a soldier again.

So far it has been interesting to be here, as my inprocessing into the Army almost 7 years ago was SO different, and seeing some of these places has brought back major deja vu. I was expecting to arrive here and find hundreds of others in the same boat as I.... recalled involuntarily back for some reason or the other. Instead I find that all BUT 3 of the group of only 16 that arrived on Sunday are retirees who have volunteered to return to active duty in stateside positions for bigger retirement benefits. So of course being retirees, they are all high ranking officers... Colonels, Lt. Colonels and Majors. Of the three of us that were not retirees, one I know volunteered to come back to Active duty from the Inactive Ready Reserves, and the other I don't know about yet. I feel very out of place here, and can't help but feel like this all should be a big misunderstanding....... did I accidentally volunteer for something? I guess I just won the lottery this time? This unit must have needed a linguist, and they drew my name out of the hat?

So, my further lottery luck. Somehow I was chosen by our cadre to be the group leader to keep us all together and make sure everyone gets to where they need to be. Lovely. Normally if I had a bunch of privates I'd just raise my voice or make people sit around and wait. But how does one tell 13 high-ranking officers they can't going anywhere?