Sunday, August 09, 2009


I found out today that I won't be going on R&R in a week. This would've been my first trip home since April. The reason - well, it has to do with this command going through a transition in mission and organization, and a big drawdown in personnel, and the requirement for decisions to be made. Not that I'm the one making the decisions, but I have to provide input on a few key aspects, and I have to do some coordination with other organizations outside my command.

The fact that these decisions should've been made three to six months ago is what really pisses me off. And the fact that a certain division in our command, whose title includes the word "PLANS", hasn't done zip. So while the decision-makers and the "plans" division will go home soon, for good, and will probably get awards and praise for the wonderful work they did, some of us will have to stay here and do their work for them.

Yes, I'm PISSED.

There's more to the story, of course, but I don't need to go into that here. I'm not a happy camper. But this isn't the first time that this sort of thing has happened in my career. When you're in, or associated with, the military, shit happens. Plans change.

Way, way back when I was on my first ship in the Navy, we went in to work one morning and discovered we had 48 hours to get ready for an extended deployment to the Indian Ocean. The Shah of Iran had been deposed. A year later, we were back out there when the hostage rescue attempt failed. So I'm familiar with sudden changes of plans. But those were driven by events outside my own command. This isn't. I know who and what made it impossible for me to go. (Well, not impossible ... just extremely unwise ... not just from a personal standpoint, either).

So I'll sit here, stew, and get back to work tomorrow. Hey, shit happens. Get used to it.


David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 08/10/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

Franan said...

Cool down my friend, nobody can stop the passing of time which is really the factor that will bring you home soon. What is your new vacation schedule? The military doesn't take leave that often. Will they add to your leave time whenever they deside to let you go? Is good to be so needed, ask for a raise. Meanwhile keep writing, I will be pending to read your ramblings.


Ted McIrvine said...

Sorry to hear about the cancelled trip home. If it helps, you might take your mind off the situation by thinking about how this tour of duty has changed your artistic vision. What have you learned about light in a sandstorm day? What have you observed about how people look in extreme heat? Do you have new heroes? New objects for sardonic caricatures?

Early September, let's trade emails and construct an interview for my Arts Spectrum column/blog. It will be about a Western North Carolina artist in Iraq ... with the emphasis on your growth as a narrative artist or any other kind of artist that you may become.


Some Iraq Veteran said...

That sucks. I remember about half-way through a deployment when our commander decided to "lock down" our FOB as a disciplinary measure for a pair of missing NODs. Many Soliders were pissed since they already were unable to make any real plans due to the changing dates for leave.

Weeks later it turned out the NODs had been loaned to a Solider who had been killed, and no hand receipt had been signed.

It was the commander's first deployment and he wasn't too bright - maybe a bit of a second rate fellow.

anyway, I can certainly understand your frustration.