Sunday, March 19, 2006
Why I'm Going
Many people echoed the same question that I had on learning of my assignment to Iraq. Just what business does an officer that the Navy has spent millions training to run a nuclear power plant and drive a submarine have running around in the desert? Well, this news article explains a little bit about what's going on. I've edited this post to remove a lot of the details of the job for security reasons. You should know that it's important, and it will hopefully save some lives. When I leave Monterey on April 2, I'll be spending a week in Norfolk along with others, getting our final medical screening and other necessary things done; then about April 9 I'll begin a 2-week course at the Navy Individual Augmentee Combat Training (NIACT) course in Fort Jackson, South Carolina. It's almost like boot camp (but without the pushups) and the main focus will be mandatory training in defensive use of my M-16 that I'll be issued. It's the shortest of the possible training pipelines, leading me to believe that I'll probably be assigned to some "relatively safe" headquarters spot. Sometime late in the month I'll fly off to Kuwait for more training and then on to Iraq. Once my boots touch the ground in Kuwait, it will start a 365-day clock. Included in the 365 days is a 15-day "R&R" trip back to the states, which I'll be sure to take advantage of. It's nice at least having that one bit of certainty, a guaranteed date when I'll start my journey home. I'm generally looking forward to my job... after all, real military operations are exciting on some level. It will be hard being separated from my family for a year, but it's a sacrifice I volunteered for, and if I didn't do it, someone else would have to. Might as well be me. I hope and pray that what I do will save lives and help bring stability to the country.