Monday, September 14, 2009

New Job

It's pretty common for an officer to change positions about every 9 to 12 months. Normally, they start out as Platoon Leaders before transitioning into either a staff position, of in my case, the dubious honor of XO.
The Executive Officer (XO) is second in the chain of command for a company or troop. Since I'm in a Cavalry Squadron, not a Battalion, we are considered troops, not companies. Being a Logistician usually means that I stay within the realm of Logistics, i.e. I stay within my support troop, move to another support company, or go to the Brigade Support Battalion (BSB) and serve on their staff. Notice I italicized the word usually. That's to emphasize the way things are supposed to go.
Right before the Labor Day weekend, my commander told me that I would stay in my current position, the Squadron Maintenance Officer/Platoon Leader, until roughly December or January. At that time I would transition to D troop XO position. Not even a week later, I got called into his office only to find out that I would be taking over as XO, but not for D troop. Instead, I would move over to the Squadron's Headquarters and Headquarters' Troop (HHT) XO slot.
Without going into too much detail, HHT consists of the Command Group (Squadron Commander, Squadron Executive Officer, Command Sergeant Major and all their staff), as well as the Headquarters' Troop, made up of the Troop Commander, First Sergeant, myself, a field artillery platoon, medic platoon, and a few miscellaneous soldiers. Although just about all XO positions require the same work, this troop has a little more headache. It's a very thankless job, with responsibilities ranging from property accountability, long and short-term planning, logisitical support and maintenance (the only thing I'm proficient in), physical security, and about a dozen other things.
If you're wondering how well I'm taking this change, the answer is... not so much. Logistics Officer usually stay within the realm of support, so going outside this sphere and being assigned to anything BUT a support unit is a big transition. So, things are going to be a little intense for the next several weeks/months. Lord willing, I'll rise to the challenge; but, I'm definitely not looking forward to the future's uncertainties.
Fran├žois de la Rochefoucauld once stated that, "The only thing constant is change." Things are definitely going to change for me.... the question is how much?!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Insanity

in⋅san⋅i⋅ty [in-san-i-tee]
–noun, plural -ties.
1. the condition of being insane; a derangement of the mind.
2. Law: such unsoundness of mind as affects legal responsibility or capacity.
3. Psychiatry: (formerly) psychosis.
4. extreme folly; senselessness; foolhardiness.

While I'm sure we've all heard the cliche, "Insanity means doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results," if you look up the term on dictionary.com, this is what you're going to get. The fourth definition, I think, best describes what I just witnessed during the UT v. UCLA game.
Leslie and I have a sincere love for the Big Orange, but seeing the performance of Jonathan Crompton today reminded me of the past four seasons (two with Eric Ainge and one with Crompton), not the Rocky Top Revival the Knoxville News Sentinel boasted on its cover page last week. Despite the strong performance by virtually everybody else who stepped on the field, #8 managed to defy every prediction that favored a UT win.
Now, I know many of you out there believe in the notion of keeping an under-performer in the game to either a) give him a chance for redemption or b) teach him a lesson by working through his shortcomings. However, this is where I think the definition of insanity (however you choose to define it) is applicable. Although I didn't get to watch much of last season because I was busy "defending our freedoms and liberties" in Iraq (just wanted to throw that out there for pity and defend myself against anyone who wants to argue with me); I'm pretty sure Crompton played the same way he did today. So, if one agrees that insanity is in fact repetitive action with the hope of different results, or foolhardiness, then he or she has to believe that continuing to play him will never yield anything but under-performance and failure.
I'm not saying I hate the guy and think he deserves to be thrown off the Henley Street Bridge, but let's at least see if doing something different, i.e. starting another QB, can revitalize the offense and get something going in the air. I seriously doubt Stephens can do any worse than 4 interceptions and a fumble. Yes, I'm counting the one he threw on the second to last play of the game even though it was negated by the UCLA off-sides because he technically threw an interception.
I await your responses....Wade!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

REFRAD

As I'm sure you all know by now, the Army (more generally, the federal government) loves acronyms. Because of this obsession, I am now considered a REFRADer. This term means RElease From Active Duty.
Yes, that's right, I have asked the Army to release me from my active duty contract. This can happen as early as a year from one's End Time in Service (ETS) date, which for me is 19 Sep 2010. This means that on 20 Sep of next year, I will no longer be on active duty; instead, I will either be in a drilling Reserve or Inactive Reserve component. This difference between the two is pretty self-explanatory, in one I drill one weekend a month and two weeks a year, while in the other I don't do anything, but can get put back on active duty if another conflict arises. If I haven't already stated this, an individual makes an eight year obligation to the military when he or she signs a contract. Mandatory years of active duty are really the only thing that distinguishes the commitment. I agreed to serve a minimum of three years active duty, while another might elect to only be in the Reserve.
Although technically I submitted my Unqualified Resignation (UQR), this distinction is very minute from the REFRAD. So, now I am one of those guys getting out before the Brigade deploys again (good Lord willing). Despite having over 365 days until I get out, it can arrive in the blink of an eye, so now Leslie and I are preparing for our relocation back home....in good ole K-town!
Hope all is well with you and yours.