Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Day One: Drinking from a firehose
One day down, 398 to go. Or so goes the worst case estimate. I had an eventful trip to Norfolk, as the first of my three flight legs was so delayed that I wouldn't be able to make my connection, and all the other possible flights were full. My wife and I decided to make the drive up to the San Francisco airport to catch the second of my flights, which gave us an extra hour together on the road. I wish I could say that we used the hour efficiently, but it was mostly just a few quiet words. The one benefit was that there wasn't an awkward, extended goodbye as I had to go through security and then wave from the other side of the "glass bubble". We had a quick kiss and hug at the curb before I headed in to the terminal and she drove off with the kids to watch the plane take off. After a lot of flying and waiting and more flying and more waiting and a long cab ride, I finally got to my room at about 2 am, and had to check in at 7:30 am. The 2am part wasn't bad. After all, my body thought it was only 10 (before the time shift) or 11pm. But boy was getting up early hard. And of course, the powers that be chose not to have any sympathy for jet lag, as the first day was chock full of administrative check-in items and briefings. The terminology we all used was "drinking from the end of a fire hose." I think I caught a few drops here and there. We ended at about 6:30 pm, just as the galley was closing down dinner. No matter, I think I'm going to get together with some of my new best friends and go find some place to watch NCAA Basketball tonight. Not that anyone is that interested in basketball, but food and beer will make the game enjoyable! Ironically, after today's busy schedule, the rest of the week is going to be very slow, with lots of "down time". It's essentially time to catch up on all the prep work we should have done (and I did) before we arrived. I wish things could be more efficient, which they probably are on a grand scale, but not a personal one. I did find out a bit more about my job. I'm a member of a brand new organization that the Navy is creating for this assignment, the second time in my career that I got surprise orders to a "new" outfit. It's called Joint CREW Composite Squadron One. Right now they have little more than a name and a motto, "Si Aerem Moderaris Vincis." I'll leave it to a reader who knows Latin to translate that for me. I met my new Commanding Officer. The bad news is that I still don't have any more information on where I'll be and what I'll be doing. But the good news is that the CO is very interested in finding out peoples skills and strengths, and putting them in the "right job" for their abilities, rather than filling a particular set of billets that was originally requested. That gives me a bit more confidence that I'll be employed in something I'll be able to contribute more effectively to, which is good. I hope to be able to contribute a lot. And based on what's going on and our mission, I am sure I'll contribute a lot... our organization, working with all the soldiers already over there, will be saving lives. It's hard to beat that for job satisfaction.