Thursday, December 22, 2005

Back to the grindstone

I was just looking over my posts, and I've noticed that I've kind of steered away from "life in the military" as it were. So I figured I'd better get back to doing what I said in my header that I'd do. First though, I'd like to say thank you to Shannon. Other than my wife you are the first person, that I know of, to check out my blog, and the first to leave any comments. I always value input of all kinds, so please, leave any questions, concerns, or suggestions in the comments section of any post.

I Know I kind of skimmed over my entry into the Air Force, and I'd like to cover that now.
I will add more and cover my time in the military so far, the places I've been stationed, places I've been sent TDY (temporary duty) to, and my one deployment, soon to be two deployments.

I'll start from the beginning. First off, my father is a retired Marine. He served for a total of 26 years, 10 active duty, and 16 in the reserves. I grew up a so called "military brat." So I knew a lot of what I was getting myself into for a long time before I ever decided to join the military. There wasn't too much about it that I didn't know. I learned basic marching a drill movements, how to keep your "military bearing," and how to make "hospital corners" on my bed by the time I was ten years old. At ten years old, I was no different than any other kid in that I wanted to grow up to be just like dad, in this case, a Marine.

By the time I was in high school, I had changed my mind about the Marines. I had the utmost respect for them, but I knew I did have the self discipline, physical fitness level, or the "KILL, KILL, KILL!" attitude that it seemed to require. I also had no desire to develop those traits. In fact, I wasn't sure I wanted to be in the military at all. My father didn't encourage it, talked about it wasn't that conducive to having a family, which is something I knew I wanted since I was in 6th grade. He instead urged me to work to be an engineer of some sort. Not a technician type of engineer that goes out and builds things, by a designer type. He always talked about how cool it would be to invent a car that cost less to run than your phone bill, or some other bit of technology that still hasn't been created. He made me believe that I could do that, even made me believe that's what I wanted to to. So, by the time I finished high school, I had already had college level math and science classes done. It also helped that I picked up on math easier than most people...

Anyway, my senior year, I decided I wanted to go ahead and join the military, but I wanted to do it as an officer, which meant college degree first; what better way than through ROTC? The Sir Force was the most technologically advanced branch of the service when it came to specializations in jobs, so that is why I chose it at the time. Well, that and the fact that my father told me they valued family and education much more than the other three branches.

Anyhow, I went through the process of applying for the ROTC scholarship, I had only one problem. My SAT scores got to the review board two days after the deadline as a result to a computer failure at the SAT Board scoring centers. Well, the Recruiter I had at that time wouldn't do the paper work to get me a waiver, so I was denied. Then my Recruiter said he could no longer help me and told me that if I still wanted into the Air Force, I would have to go see another recruiter who just happened to be 80 miles away. Needless to say, I decided to forget it. I graduated in 1994 and head to community college.

Five years go by, I've decided I want to be a high school history teacher instead of an engineer, and I was dead set on staying out of the military. Don't get me wrong, I still respected the military and the people who served more than anyone else in the world, but it just wasn't for me. I felt that everyone had a responsibility to serve their country, and I was going to fill it by becoming a teacher and teaching the next generation of Americans.

Anyway, its 1999 and I'm working at McDonalds as a manager, trying to make enough to pay for school. I got fired because someone else stole some money and no one know who. I was the one responsible for it, so I was held accountable. My choice was to go back to living with dad, or on the streets, then I get an instant message from an Air Force recruiter while surfing the net. Well, I'm 22, just lost the only dead end job I could find, and I needed to get my life on track again. My choice wasn't hard to make.

As to why I chose the Air Force when I finally joined up over any of the other three branches, well, I already told you about my reasons not to join the Marines. Joining the Army was similar, they didn't place a high priority on college either, so I decided against them. The Navy was one I never wanted to join because I didn't want to go be on a ship or a sub for six months at a time, so that left the Air Force.

I signed up and two weeks later, I was off to Basic Training. That's how I got into the military. If you have any questions or want any more details, please leave a comment and I will answer those questions.

I will address my choice of career field in my next blog post.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Brain farts in congress

Hey everyone. Hope you're all having a good holiday season. Got all your Christmas shopping done? Hope so, its going to start getting hectic at stores soon as all the last minute shoppers go out to do their last minute shopping.

I was watching the news today while I was eating lunch. Can you believe what Saddam is saying? Giving alegations that he has been beat and tortured while in U.S. custody. The nerve of that man! Well, if a man is what he can be called. I hate to say it, but if I had been one of the guys that found him, I would have shot him and claimed that I thought he had a gun. I hate feeling like I would have killed a man in cold blood, but there are few people in this world that I think deserve death more than him. Beat and tortured, huh, in my opinion, he's lucky to be alive at all. As it is, he still has AC and television, which is more than 3/4 of the Iraqi population can say.

Another thing they said on the news is that the defense spending budget is being held up because of the issue of drilling for oil in the north east part of Alaska. Tell me something; what in blazes does oil drilling in Alaska have to do with the defense budget?! Why has the drilling there been tacked on as a side note to the defense budget?! You trying to tell me that my shop, squadron and base is running low on money for repairs and such because some braindead polotician decided to add a controversial footnote to the defense budget bill that has nothing to do with the defense of this country? What kind of idiocy is this? Who voted tese morons into office?! Wait, we did... Makes you wonder what we were thinking, doesn't it? Time to send another letter to the congressman. This is the kind of stuff that makes people who are brain dead raise their hand and say, "Isn't that kind of stupid?"

Anyway, just though I'd ramble on about stupid people in control of things that seem to be beyond their intelligence.

Well, gotta go get back to work. More water breaks to fix.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Frozen brains

Well, its been a few days since I've been able to log in. With the Holidays here and a probable upcoming deployment to the Middle East and half my shop there now(to return home before I deploy), life has been a bit hectic.

It's been worse here lately. Last week the temperatures here dropped below freezing. That in itself isn't bad, but there seem to be a lot of people that are bound and determined to prove that there is no intelligence in the military. As everyone knows, when the temperature drops below 32 degrees, water turns to ice. Anyone who has passed a basic high school level chemistry class can also tell you that when water freezes, turning it into ice, it expands. If that water is in an enclosed space where there is no room for expansion, it will break what ever is containing it in that space, a pipe for example.

Now, I'm sure everyone knows that water is delivered to most buildings through a system of pipes, and distributed through out those buildings with more piping systems. So, how do you keep pipes inside a building from freezing, and breaking because of the expansion of the ice? Well, most anybody with an ounce of common sense would tell you that you keep the heat on, and the doors and windows closed. Would you not agree with that? I sure would.

Well, like I said, some people are just bound and determined to prove that there is no "military intelligence" in the military. As I'm sure you can guess by the content of what I've written so far, a bunch of people left doors and/or windows open all night long, and all day in some cases. We've got more than 2 dozen water breaks on base right now. And we've got about 8 or 10 people that work on the base water pipes. Water breaks take an average of 5 to 8 hours to fix with 3 or 4 people working on them. So, that means about 2 water breaks a day that can be fixed on average with the number of people we have available to work, and that's only if we have all the parts we need. If we have to go downtown for parts, that will add an extra hour to the fix time. And sometimes, we end up breaking a part we need in the process of installing it, meaning we have to go back and get yet another one. Anyway, if everything goes perfectly, we can get 2 fixed per day. That means it will take more than 12 work days before we get them all fixed. Here's the kicker though, it's supposed to get below freezing again next week, and every night this week. So you can pretty much be guaranteed that some moron will leave a window or door open in several buildings across the base, causing even more breaks and making our work period that much longer.

These people make me think that their brains were froze by the low temperatures as well as the water. I mean, its common sense. They graduated highschool, passed the ASVAB test(well, I hope they didn't get a waiver for that), and they are trusted to maintain billions of dollars worth of equipment, so what's the deal? Is it too much to ask to close the door? What was the phrase mom always used to say. "Close the door! Were you born in a barn?!"

Thursday, December 08, 2005

What's wrong with this picture?!

I've been doing some reading in the past couple of days. I know the primary purpose of this blog is not political or current events, but this stuff I've been reading and hearing is getting out of hand.

All around me is why we should be out of Iraq, why we should never have been there, why we can't win, yada, yada, yada. Whet the heck kind of country are we turning into?! How in blazes can someone think that the most powerful nation and military in the world can't win this fight? What, do they think our opposition is a bunch of Halo characters with powerful technology?! Or are these just deranged, paranoid, idiots? What ever the case, they are elected leaders in our government. John Kerry, Howard Dean, and John Murtha, just to name a few, are out of their minds! I'm no politician, but it would seem to me that they are trying to commit political suicide. Kerry's statement that U.S. troops are terrorizing Iraqi women and children and Howard Dean's statement about not being able to win in Iraq are sure fire ways to turn many people against them, including those who voted them into office.

I tell you, if they were my senate representative, I'd have a few choice words to say to them. I want to see a politician that forgets about what he thinks, and puts out what the people he represents think. That's a politician's job right? Represent the people in their districts? These guys must really be disconnected from reality to think they can say and do these things and not upset most Americans.

Here is a page of the "terrorist" acts which our American troops are committing in Iraq. Makes you wonder about the sanity of Kerry and his statements.

On another note, you should really check out this post from a recruiter. You can also find his web page in my favorite links list. This will let you know a lot of the good things that are happening in Iraq that you never hear in the news. It does have a bit of swearing in it just so you know. He got a little riled up before he wrote it, and you will see why. In any case, any of you who read this and happen to be represented by one of the offending government representatives, please let them know how you feel. Write a letter, send them an e-mail, whatever, but make it clear to them what you expect from them. They need to start doing their job, not spouting off their mouths about things their constituents don't agree with.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Flags at half mast

If you notice flags at half mast today and wondered why, please referr to my previous post about what happened on this day many years ago. We honor the lost American lives from the attack on Pearl Harbor today by flying the American flag at half mast today. Please remember them and their sacrifice today, as well as those currently serving and risking their lives on your behalf.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

A fatefull day

In 2003, I spent the Holiday season in Iraq. I don't have a lot of friends, and very few family members that actually keep in touch, so I didn't get a whole lot of correspondence while I was over there. There were a few very dear friends of mine in Alaska that kept in constant touch via e-mail while I was there though, and they kept my spirits high. Christmas is hard on many military members. The holiday season has the highest suicide rate of the year because of the loneliness that our job generally causes us, especially when we have family that we are away from for the first time in a long time, or when we're single and long for the comraderie and togetherness we knew as children. Many people just don't understand what it is we go through while we are away from our friends and family, and, sadly, many people just don't care. This Christmas we again have thousands of military members around the globe, away from their family and friends, and who feel isolated, lonely, and uncared for.

For Christmas, I got half a day off from work. We generally worked 12hour shifts, 7 days a week. It wasn't fun, and it wasn't easy. I remember what it was like. I also remember that I got 3 care packages, and a few letters. Mail is the life and soul of morale while deployed. I could get a letter from my worst enemy, and I would be overjoyed because I got a piece of mail. People here in the states take little things, like a letter from a friend, for granted, especially in this day and age of computer technology where I can send you an e-mail in an instant. When you're deployed though, you don't always have time to read your e-mails. You can't take them with you when you go off shift so you can read them one more time before you go to bed. You can't sniff them, or hold them to your heart, and you can't keep them private, cause someone is always hovering over your shoulder waiting for their turn on the computer so that they can check their e-mail too.

There is another date in December that we should all remember, and remember well. It is the date of one of the most infamous events in American history. Until September 11, it was remembered as the most tragic, single event in American history. While I was in Iraq, I wrote a short essay and sent it to someone back at my homestation asking him to try to get it published in the base newspaper, but he was unsuccessfull. Below, I write it for you, as it is something I feel everyone should know and think about. Especially as the anniversary date of this tragic event draws near.

A Day To Remember
Sunday, December 7, 1941, a day that should resound in the hearts of every American. On that day, for those of you that do not recall, we were intentionally and deliberately attacked. Bombs and gunfire fell on us like rain in a thunderstorm. We were caught unaware and unprepared. A valuable lesson was learned that day at the cost of thousands of American lives. On that day, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor!
60 years later, we learned that lesson all over again. This time though, the American lives lost were civilian men, women, and children much more than the military. And once again, we, as a nation, decided to take the battle to those who hate our freedom and peace.
This year, December 7th falls on a Sunday all over again. As that day approaches, I ask you to think on these things. It's the same fight now as it was then. It's the same price to pay now as it was then. And we learned the same lesson now as we did then. These are some things we need to remember in light of that lesson. 1) We are Americans. 2) Freedom has a cost; it never has been, and never will be, free. 3) Americans will always, willingly, pay the price for that freedom.
Some people back home think we shouldn't be here now. Some think we should leave now, and that our leaving is past due. Some think our president made the wrong decision to come here in the first place. I have one question for those people and any of you who may believe the way they do. "Where would this country be, if we had chosen to turn the other cheek back in 1941 as you expect us to do now?"
We are the United States of America! We put on this uniform for our country by choice! We chose to protect the rights we enjoy! We chose to stand while others run! We chose to place our own lives at stake so that those at home wouldn't have to! We are the strongest, richest, most powerful country in the world, and it is the choice to serve, that we have made, that made that possible, for nothing is stronger than the heart of a volunteer. My friend, our choice to do this makes us volunteers.
So, on December 7, 2003, remember where we've been. Remember those have have done this and gone before. Remember that now, just as then, we will prevail. And when you finally go home, you will do so knowing that you are the reason we are free.
Keep in mind that I wrote that in 2003 while I was deployed. I know December 7th isn't on a Sunday this year, but the message still remains the same. Also, keep in mind that I was writing it for a primarily military audience. I share this with you all so that you might be reminded of things that are important. If we can't recall and learn from our past, then we are doomed to repeat the mistakes we made again.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

The Uknown Soldier

As part of a continuing professional military education program, Air Force members are required to complete certain courses during certain time frames. Ones a member has become a Senior Airman (E-4), he can not be promoted to Staff Sargeant (E-5) until he/she completes Airman Leadership School (ALS). I took this course in November of 2002. Each class had to design, plan, research, and perform a presentation at the graduation ceremony/dinner, which had commanders and first sargeants from every students squadron as well as other distinguished peopl which very upon availability.

my class decided as a group that we would do a presentaion about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We sat down and discussed what it was that we wanted to do, show, and demonstrate. We decided on a slide show, a recreation of the "changing of the guard" ceremony that is actually done at the Tomb in Arlington National Cemetery, and a speech that gave information on the Tomb itself, it's purpose, the bodies that were placed inside the Tomb, and what the Tomb actually represented. One person in the class designed a short slide show and we used music from the "We Were Soldiers" movie as a backdrop for the slide show, a group of several other students did the guard changing, and finally, the speech, which included a narration of the guard changing, was broken into four parts in an effort to get more students involved in the actual presentation. I enjoy writing and I had a personal feeling of conection to the subject, so I volunteered to write the speech. I did the research and came up with a rough draft, which the class as a whole went over and made notes for revising and shortening, after which I rewrote it. When we were all done, I had the sudden urge to write a poem as inspiration hit me strongly. I wrote the poem down, and it was added to the presentation as the closing. Here is that poem, which I hope you enjoy.

In Remeberance Of The Unknown Soldier
By: Robert Jeffrey
Their country called,
Their time had come,
They shouldered their packs,
And they grabbed their guns.
Where they come from,
Is everywhere,
All walks of life,
They didn't care.
They did their jobs,
They stood their ground,
They fought with fury,
As devestation rained down.
With their futures unknown,
And their time uncertain,
They fitfully slept,
With nightmares for curtains.
When the dust settled,
And the smoke had cleared,
Their lives were paid,
But our freedom's secured.
As we look back,
At the battles gone by,
We rememberthe price we paid,
Ans ask, "Was it to high?"
If we ask that of those,
Who remain nameless this day,
Thay'll tell us that nothing,
Was too much to pay.
So remember the many,
Who are dead and gone,
For in their deaths,
Our lives can move on.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Basic Military Training Ceremony

Back in the end of 1999, I went through Bast Military Training, or BMT for short. On the Sunday morning after graduation, at the chapel on, it was traditional for each of the graduating flights to come up with a poem to read in front of the congregation of trainees and the parents and loved ones of the graduating flights. I don't know if this is still done or not today, but I thought it was pretty cool back then.

I co-wrote the poem for my flight, which was read by 10 of the graduating Airmen, myself included. Below, I have posted that poem and hope you enjoy it.

By: Robert Jeffrey and Curtis Bittle
We came in the night,
Anxious and scared.
The black hats came at us,
From everywhere.
After night and day,
Of scream and stare,
Comes the Solemn call,
Of "Taps" in prayer.
From the shock of the day,
And the wide eyed worry,
Our hearts are then moved,
Beyond the hurry.
With silent steady steps,
We stride.
Hope shines past threat,
Our guiden pride.
We marched around the base,
Processing here and there.
We stopped at the barber,
And lost all our hair.
We all got our shots,
In our arms and our rears,
We tried to get along,
With our flight, our peers.
PC and classes,
Study in free time,
For the tests we must take,
Of our bodies and minds.
Though we may know,
The worst day's next,
One step ahead,
And we pass the test.
We built our confidence,
Through FTX and Warrior Week,
We shot off the guns,
Our adrenaline at its peak.
Then in our blues,
Graduation did come,
With the hope/knowledge that Honor Flight,
Was ours to be won.

Thursday, November 24, 2005


Well, today is Thanksgiving Day, and once again thousands of American service members are hard at work around the world. Every base has guards posted, command and control centers still operate, planes and jets are still maintained, battles rage in areas of conflict, and American lives are placed in danger to ensure that your freedom continues unabated. As I sit here, in the comfort of my own home writing this, I personally know more than a dozen airmen and soldiers who are working in and around Iraq. They may get an extended lunch, but most will work a good 10 to 12 hour shift, just as I did on Thanksgiving and Christmas during my tour in Kirkuk, Iraq.

Many people question the importance of our involvment in Iraq and Afganistan. Many want our men and women pulled out as fast as we can get them out. Sadly, many parents, who were proud that their son or daughter joined and served our country, now degrade their sacrifice because they gave their life in that service. How can one honor the fallen, but not honor what they fell for? How can you blame any one person, whether he is the president or not, for the price in lives that our country has paid in this conflict, when each of those that died volunteered for the job they had? The draft was not imposed for this conflict, so how can my service be the fault of the government, or the president? I knew the risks when I signed the paper, raised my hand, swore the oath, and put on my uniform, and I'll guarantee that every member of today's U.S. military knew those risks when they did the same.

Many people say that we had no reason to be there in the first place. In response to that opinion, I ask this: Is your freedom worth more than your neighbor's? The U.S. Constitution proclaims that all men are created equal, and that they have the inherit rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Are the people of Iraq and Afganistan not to be considered men? Are they not also entitled to these rights? Is it not right and good to help lift the yolk of tyranny from that of our fellow man? How can we be wrong in helping those who can not help themselves?

Now the primary complaints that I hear are that the people of the countries we are helping don't really want us there as evidenced by the continuing acts of violence against our people. Better check that line of reasoning with some facts. Over 95% of the violent acts currently being committed in Iraq are not being committed by Iraqis, but by terrorist dissidents that are entering the country from else where, many coming across the border from Syria. As a person that has been there, I can tell you that I have never been treated with more respect and gratitude than by those Iraqis I had the good fortune to meet. You can see it on their faces as plain as day that they have been allowed out of their fear of Saddam and his evil rule and that they can't thank us enough.

To see the places that the children played and learned, you would have thought they must have layed on their bellies the entire time to avoid gunfire. Schools riddled with bulletholes, playgrounds and parks torn assunder by various explosions. One such playground was rebuilt by members of the U.S. Air Force in Kirkuk, Iraq in 2003. The place was swept for mines and IEDs (improvised explosive devices), barbed wire, and the thrashed play equipment removed, and then a group of Air Force Civil Engineers rebuilt the entire playground. The community, seeing that we had ensured safety before beginning work came out to help with the process. The children were ecstatic about the reconstruction.

The tools of war were everywhere. While I was stationed in country, the base I was at had a regularly scheduled detonation of confiscated weaponry every week. Every 6-8 days, you would see a firball rise into the sky, followed by secondary explosions in the same location. In the short time I was there, over 4 tons of munitions were destroyed. For a while, money was offered to locals in exchange for weapons and ammunition to be destroyed. I met with a ten or eleven year old boy who brought in RPGs, ammo and other small arms. These tools were so prevalent that he brought in a wagon load of the stuff every day, and took home in a week a monetary equivilant to what his father probably earned in a year. The program had to be discontinued because the ,monetary cost was just too high. Given all this, how can we not have had reason to be there in the first place?

In my opinion, if you aren't willing to risk your life for some one else's freedom, then you don't deserve your own. Yes, this is my opinion, and I don't not expect or ask others to agree or disagree with me. I don't ask others to fall into line with this line of thinking. As an American, it is my right to have this opinion. As a member of the U.S. Air Force, I live this opinion. My family has served this country for over 230 years, some as teachers, some as preachers, some as farmers, and many as military members. At least one person from every generation as answered the patriotic call of service. My brother just joined this year, making two people from this geeration. My father is a retired Marine, I have a great uncle and two grandfathers who served in World War 2 in the Army, and this list goes on and on. We know the cost of freedom, for it surely is not free. There is a blood price on freedom, and those who would deny that fact are either deluded, ignorant, or both.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Average everyday life

As you can see by my profile, I'm a utilities systems craftsman. Well, just so you know what that is, it's basically a long way to say that I'm a plumber, though it also includes water and wastewater treatment, pressurized air lines, and natural gas lines, all both interior and exterior. It's my job to make sure every facility on the base has drinkable water, hot water, working drains, natural gas when necessary, and air lines when necessary.
In addition I also have to make sure that I'm ready to deploy at a moments notice. This means I must have bags with equipment, clothing, uniforms, toiletries, and tools ready to grab and go at all times. We call these bags, which can double as luggage, "mobility bags."
As you saw in my last entry, we also have war time training. Our wartime jobs are not the same as our jobs here at our home bases. When we deploy for war, not only do we do our normal job, but we also do everything we train for in the "exercises" that we do. We don't go without anything we need, and we don't go without knowing how to use everything we have.
At this base I, along with the rest of the people in my shop, are responsible for the maintains and care for millions and millions of dollars worth of assets, equipment, and facilities. Next time you see a young person at their job, just think about this. The average 18-24 year old person is responsible for a few thousand dollars, at most. In the military, you have 18 year olds responsible for fixing multi-million dollar aircraft, ships, and structures. Not only do they do their jobs, but they do it in conditions that are worse than most convicts serving life in prison. Then compare the paychecks. Yes, I know a 4 star general can make over 4,000 dollars a month, but your average serviceman, with 2 years of military service, makes just over 1,000 dollars a month, plus health and dental care, housing and food allowances, and a small annual clothing allowance. I don't list retirement here because at that point, there is no guarantee that they will stay in for 20 years, which is the minimum amount of time required in military service to be eligible for retirement. Clothing allowances may be enough to cover needs for those who have jobs that keep them at a desk 90% of the time, but for those of us out digging trenches, filling sand bags, and repairing buildings and such, the allowance is no where near enough to cover the costs of maintaining acceptable uniforms, and much of that money comes from our own pockets. The housing allowance for a single, 18 year old, in many cases, wouldn't cover the cost of a one-bedroom apartment and the inherent utilities. The food allowance is around 250 dollars a month, which is enough if you have a slim diet. With increasing inflation problems, food prices are going up faster than our food allowance. Now, with this comparison in mind, I'm sure you would agree the the stress of the average 18 year old military member is much higher than that of someone his/her same age in the civilian world. As such the honor he earns with such a sacrifice is ten fold.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

War Training

Well, this is Thanks Giving week, and therefore a short week. Last week we had an exercise. For those who don't know, that's what we call our war games, or wartime training in the Air Force. We dress up in our battle armor and chemical warfare suits and practice for the real thing. I can't say that it's all realistic, but the training is something that we need to be sure we'll be ready for the real thing.
We don't do live fire training here in the Air Force, though I know that other branches have in the past done live fire training. I can't say they still do today in all honesty, but I know they used to within the last 25 years. My father is a retired Marine, and I know he had live fire exercises. The Air Force doesn't because of safety issues; instead, we use blanks. Sometimes we joke around like little kids yelling, "I shot you," "no you didn't!" We have a little fun with it. No one I know actually enjoys the exercises, in fact, most of us hate it. It cuts into personal time because we normally have to do 12 hour shifts, sometimes longer depending on the timing of a simulated enemy attack. It really screws up our sleep cycle and we generally feel like we've got jet lag for the next several days.
Anyway, some of the training includes doing our jobs with a gas mask and gloves and the rest of the chemical gear on. It may not sound to tough, but it a lot more difficult than it seems. We have 2 pairs of gloves, so doing things like turning wrenches, or swinging a hammer, or pulling a trigger suddenly becomes 10 times harder because you can no longer feel what your holding, and there isn't much room for movement inside the trigger guard of the M-16. Peripheral vision is very limited because of the gas mask, so driving becomes more difficult, not to mention using the gas and brakes are tough when you are now wearing rubber boots over your combat boots, making your feet about one to two inches longer and wider.
We train on repairing craters, doing damage assistants, facility repair, facility construction, and actual combat among other things. We "kill" off people to see what the next person in the chain of command will do and if they can handle the stepped up responsibility they suddenly find themselves in. That was one thing everyone hoped for. If you got "killed" you got to go home for the rest of your shift, you came back the next shift though.
Well, just thought I'd give you a very brief glimpse of some of the war time training we do. We've been doing one every month and it lasts about a week at a time, though we won't be having one in December. If anyone has any questions regarding any specific types of training, just respond to one of my posts, and I'll let you know whatever I can.

To begin with

I'm in the Air Force and have been for 6 years. I have been deployed to Iraq once and will most likely be returning to the Middle East in the near future. With this blog, I will post things that I do at work, things about the life style of the military, personal essays and or poems that I have written in the past or will write in the future, and any other little tidbit of information that I think relevant to this site. You may ask any questions of me that you wish, and I will answer them to the best of my abilities. Keep in mind that some questions may be inappropriate for me to answer because of classification levels, Privacy Act issues, and critical information, as it is called in the military.
With that in mind, I also may go several days or even a week or two without posting anything at all. Rest assured I will return to answer and inform you of things in due time.
If it should so happen that I am rendered incapable of logging in anymore due to severe injury or death (keep in mind that I am in the military) my wife will log on and post one last post on my behalf informing you all of such an incident.