After 7 days of reintegration (minus the 4 day weekend we got for Thanksgiving), Leslie and I are about to head out on our celebratory excursion to France and Italy!
For those of you wondering what my "re-integration" program consisted of, it was nothing more than annual check-ups on medical, dental, personnel, and finance related issues. When a unit deploys, soldiers are basically re-stationed from Ft. Campbell to Iraq during the deployment and the re-re-stationed (?) back to the post upon their return. In short, we had to change all of our files to show that we are no longer in theater. Luckily no day lasted longer than a few hours and I was back at home for lunch everyday. Other than getting up at about 0515 every morning, it wasn't that bad of a process. Now Leslie and I can enjoy the fruits of our labor for the past 5 months with a trip BACK across the Atlantic (at least for me).
A customary policy within the military is to grant a period of roughly one month of optional leave to personnel who have been deployed for any length of time. Known as Block Leave, soldiers can take up to 31 days of consecutive leave days before beginning the "Reset" phase of a deployment life cycle. So, for the entire month of December, we do not have to work...well, those of us that are taking time. The only catch is that we are not just given 31 days of FREE leave; instead, we are required to use our regular leave days, or as many as we have accumulated. Active duty military personnel are given 30 days of leave every year, so if you've been deployed for a year, you're are essentially using up all the leave days you received while deployed. HOWEVER, if you took the maximum 18 day R&R leave while deployed, you really only have about 12 days to use. As a result, if soldiers don't have at least 21 days of leave (you are allowed to go in the hole up to 10 days), you can't take the whole month off. Such is the case for me, since I took about 3 weeks off after graduation from Officer Basic Course in Maryland before arriving at Ft. Campbell. Therefore, Leslie and I are only going on a 12 day trip and will return just in time for the holidays.
I hope this update finds all of you doing well and looking forward to a wonderful holiday season with your families. I seriously doubt that I'll be able to post an update while on our trip, because we'll be in the midst of enjoying some AWESOMENESS!!!
So, until then, I bid you a farewell.... and take care!