Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Journey So Far, or, This Might Just Be a Listicle...

Last Friday (20 Oct), my wife pointed out to me that it was the one year mark of my enlistment in the Minnesota Army National Guard. So to mark that, I want to share the posts, give some updates, and have some fun with Top 10 lists... this post might seem disjointed, but hopefully there's some fun because of it!

Here is what I wrote about it last year, accentuated by my wife's wonderful photography:

So Amanda has been my primary documentarian for the past 36 hours or so, and a lot has happened in that time. Shaved a beard, went to Ft. Snelling, took the ASVAB test, had the most in-depth physical of my life, and ultimately got sworn into the National Guard. I'm now a citizen soldier, so I will be doing drill one weekend a month, while still teaching at North Lakes (if anyone was concerned about that)
I know that I haven't shared this process with many of you, so let me try to get everyone up to speed and let you ask questions if you want:

I think this may have started as I was getting First Aid/CPR certified at the Y most recently. I've held those certifications off and on since I was 15, but for some reason I really got into it with the most recent renewal. And because I got into it then, I went and got the Wilderness/Remote First Aid certification after I went through Wood Badge and so that I could provide that certification for high adventure trips with my scout troop. If I wasn't hooked already with the First Aid/CPR, it was the line and sinker after Wilderness First Aid. I realized how much I wanted to serve others and be ready for those kinds of lifesaving situations. So I also got myself certified with the Red Cross to teach all those courses.
But I still wanted more, so I ended up talking with a National Guard recruiter at the State Fair. Both Amanda and I met with this recruiter, and as we learned more about training opportunities and how that could fit with my teaching schedule, it became more and more appealing (and the extra income isn't too bad, either). I talked with people in my life who have prior service experience, both in the Guard and in other branches, and their honesty and candor gave me a good picture of what this step might mean. That all led up to yesterday, when I went through MEPS at Ft. Snelling. My experience at the Military Entrance Processing Station was grueling, since I did the whole thing in one day, as opposed to the standard two-day processing, but I came out of that with a 68W MOS; some of you know that term, for everyone else, it basically means that I'll be getting training and entering the military medical field. My goal is to become an instructor at the Regional Training Institute (RTI) at Camp Ripley on my Guard weekends... it will take a lot of work to get there, but I'm excited for the challenge!
Amanda says that I should end this narrative with a sonnet... I'll start working on that and get back to you...

Believe it or not, this was actually the view when I was done at MEPS

The updates:

  • I finished BCT this past summer. I spent 10 weeks at sunny Fort Leonard Wood, with all-expense paid vacation, courtesy of the Army.
  • I am working on training orders... I finished out the last school year teaching at North Lakes, and my plan had been to apply to change my training orders such that I would go straight from BCT to AIT. Instead, I drove home with Amanda and two of our friends after BCT. I expected to be here for a few weeks and then ship again, but the saga of obtaining training orders continues. 
  • Once I arrive at AIT, I will need to pass the national EMT test (and then continue with the combat portions of training), so once I return home I will have that certification. I want to take that and upgrade it to a paramedic certificate, so that I can work as a paramedic on the civilian side.
  • I still want to teach at the Regional Training Institute, but I know that I need some Army experience to get there... I might try to become a flight medic in order to be an outstanding candidate as an instructor.

About that sonnet... 

No sonnet yet, but I might have an upcoming limerick. Check back on the blog next time!

And now, the first Top 10 list (I make no apologies for the inside jokes)

Stupid Sh*t BCT Privates Say:

     10. "I loved being PG at RSP... I did it all the time."
     9. "Yeah, I learned all my D&C at ROTC."
     8. "As soon as I get to my first duty station, I'm buying a Mustang."
     7. "Don't worry, they'll let us have our phones on the weekends."
     6. "They won't mess with us on Sundays."
     5. "My food tastes better when my heels are together!" (usually shouted on prompting from a DS)
     4. "Drill sergeants are people, too."
     3. "PT gets easier in White phase."
     2. "Yeah, I would have qualified, but my weapon kept jamming on me."

All the all-time, stupidest thing that privates say:
     1. "Yeah, I'm 88M now, but my recruiter said that I can re-class, so I'll probably go special forces."