Monday, April 10, 2006
Well, I reported today to the Navy Individual Augmentee Training Center (NIACT) at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. As you read in my post a few days ago, I got permission to proceed here on my own rather than ride the bus from Norfolk. It was definitely a good choice. I was here nicely on time, and managed to catch the appropriate in-briefs, and was enjoying my dinner when I saw the rest of my group finally show up after a 6 1/2 hour bus ride. Pity them. Speaking of chow, the Army doesn't even hold a candle to Navy chow. I was not really impressed with the offerings for dinner, but then again I'm here to train, not to eat. So I shouldn't complain. Another thing I'm not going to complain about is the whole issue with uniforms. Following instructions on my orders, I purchased the appropriate rank and warfare insignia for the Navy's uniform in Iraq, the "Desert Camouflage Utility" (DCU). Well, it turns out our almost all-navy unit is trying to blend in with the Army, so our commander is going to have us wear the Army Camouflage Utility (ACU) which uses totally different insignia. And the 8-point hat that I bought doesn't match it either. So my special order from the Navy Uniform Store was a waste of money. I was able to sell my cap to someone else who was in another unit. Anyway, the reason I'm not complaining is that most people agree that the ACU is a far superior uniform. It has lots of velcro (as opposed to buttons on the Navy version) and is supposed to be more comfortable and easier to move around in. Mostly today we just had some in-briefs, explaining all the things we'll be doing in the upcoming week. They said they wouldn't put out a schedule very far in advance since everything changes -- but we do know that tomorrow we'll be getting our issue of uniforms and equipment. Oh, and we learned that the appropriate Army response to just about any question is "Hooah!" It means yes, no, and several other things. Speaking of Army vs. Navy there are some interesting t-shirts for sale in the exchange here, making a play on the "Army" shirt with "An Army of One" on the back. This one says "NARMY" and on the back, "A Fleet of One." Heh. It's an interesting process here. It probably could be made more efficient -- and interestingly the Navy is doing that too, sending a group of people to monitor the process. They say "It's a small world," and the head officer monitoring the process is one of my shipmates from my previous Expeditionary Strike Group assignment. I got to catch up on a bit of old news before coming here to make this post. That's about it for now... then I'm off to yet another meeting this evening and then an early bedtime. The day starts at 5:30am tomorrow!