Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Ressurecting the Blog

A little over two years ago, I posted my last update before leaving for Afghanistan.  What a ride it was - I had little to no time to post, an extremely lethargic to non-existent internet connection, and legitimate concerns about preserving operational security.

It's ironic that during the year of my life during which I had some of the most blog-worthy experiences of my life, I have no posts to document them.

I have thought several times of resuming my blog - I have so many excuses as to why I haven't.  Primarily, life back home didn't seem anywhere near as interesting as back in "The 'Stan".  I don't have any new stories about gun fights or social injustice.  Nor do I have any pictures of an austere battle ground littered with primitive stone houses and people dressed in traditional garb.

However, as I look back at my posts over the years, and the comments left by friends and family, I realize that the real value of these words is that it provides a connection to who I was and benchmark to who I have become.

It doesn't matter where you are or where you have been - it's the friends and family associated with those places that made them important.  Afghanistan would have been a completely different experience for me without people like Sergeant Brandon Copely, Lieutenant Commander Samuel West, and 1LT Eric McAndrews.

I hope to honor some of those memories in future posts, but in the meantime, I hope to capture this life at home that may not be as exciting, but is just as meaningful.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

It has been some time since I have posted on my blog - I have been in Afghanistan for about 4 months now - it's hard to believe some times.

Time has gone by so quickly and I haven't had much chance to post about the experiences I've had here and that may be a good thing.

Life is more complicated than good and evil; other factors include ignorance, manipulation, fanatacism, etc...

I wish I had the answers to some of the more difficult problems in the world - but that's why it's easy to be a Soldier - you aren't afforded the luxury of an opinion, you simply enforce the will of the people as dictacted by their elected leaders.

I hope you're all in good health and happy!

Stewart

Monday, June 29, 2009

Here I go again on my own!

Okay, maybe not on my own - but they don't have an 80's glam rock song for "Here I go again with my platoon of Cav Scout killing machines!"

It's almost 0200 and we are going to get on a bus for the airport and supposedly fly out of this lovely training base and enter a secret destination in the Middle East before we go to Afghanistan. I'll give you a hint, it's a country that end's in "stan" (if you don't get this joke, try looking at a map of the area).

I wish I had taken more time to enjoy relationships before I left - I think we take friends and family for granted. I am grateful for the opportunity to have met so many people, and actually gotten to know them on a personal level. My dad tells me that the purpose of life is learning to have successful relationships - I am probably misquoting him, and I'm sure he would include more than that.

I don't want to sound dramatic - I don't think I'm marching off to my death. I think I'll be back in a year enjoying gelato, wrestling with Eli, and blasting bunnies on the weekends again. I just want you to know that I am extremely content to be a Soldier. Regardless of the politics of this war, whether or not you agree with the current or past president, I am privileged to know these men, and I wouldn't trade this opportunity for a more glamorous or higher paying position.

Thanks for your support - for me and my family. I'll talk to you from the other side.

Stewart

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Mob (short for mobilization)

These pictures are long overdue. I tried to make this all chronological, but I'm tired and I can't get the freaking pictures to drag up and down...

Here are the pics with captions:

Here we are at the air terminal in Las Vegas - all our gear laying out on the tarmac next to the buses. I clearly remember seeing a Soldier's wife standing on the sidewalk of the Luxor, waving as the buses pulled away to head to the airport, and I watched her try to be brave as she waved good bye. She lasted a whole 3 seconds and then broke down sobbing.

This is a picture of my Soldiers at the team live fire exercise getting some practice at 3 to 5 second buddy rushes.

1LT Manella took this picture of me at COL Warrior while I was "playing" with my M9 pistol.

This picture of me and SFC Anderson typifies the relationship between Platoon Sergeant and Platoon Leader. You can clearly see me trying to get a point across or ask a question. The look on his face needs no description.

Apparently I perform a functions check or clear my M9 about 50 times a day - people know I'm around when they hear the distinctive click of a Beretta deckocking lever being pushed.

This is me smiling as we are about to leave COL Warrior (a fake FOB) on May 9th.

This is a classic Soldier pose - the "flop". When you'd like to rest, but don't want to go to the bother of removing your body armor and assault pack.

Starting a ruck march. I just love walking. Everywhere. Seriously.

The m203 Range - we ran this range during the first week here.

I qualified in the prone, standing, at night, and as you can see - with an NBC pro mask on.

Firing the M203 from cover.

Here is 3rd Chalk getting on the plane for Indianapolis

Loading a round at the range.

View of the M203 range from the firing line.

Here is our barracks - our home away from home until some undetermined day in June.

Need I caption this one?


Overall, I am enjoying my job here and my time with the Soldiers I'll be working with over the next year. I find that I have very little time to miss the comforts of home, but from time to time I have little reminders of friends and family back home and your absence is more than notable. I'm glad I have just enough time to remember those I miss, but not enough time to brood over you. Besides, you're all having a huge party every day without me, so what do I care? ;-)

Take care all

2LT Brough

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Camp Atterbury

I've been with my platoon at Camp Atterbury for a few days now and I am enjoying getting to know them and train with them.

Pictures and more details to follow!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Various Updates and Thoughts

I find myself at a crux in between periods of extreme activity where I don't imagine that I'll very much time to blog. So... here's some updates and random thoughts:

Resident Evil 5
Holy cow, this game is fun and crazy. I only need to say one word and you'll know why I like it - zombies. Becca and I have spent a lot of quality time together killing zombies and bioweapon/monsters.

Interestingly enough, some people claim that this game is racist because the main character of the game is a white male, who spends most of his time shooting dark skinned "bad guys".

This tells me that they didn't really play the game, since the "bad guys" are primarily white male scientists who invent zombie viruses, and the victims of their experiments are the oppressed african populations who have been exploited and turned into zombies by use of genetic experimentation. Also... in co-op mode, the other playable character is an indigenous African woman who is professional, intelligent, etc... Also, the characters are saved by a non playing character named Josh, who is also an African - and likewise is an adept, intelligent, professional soldier who is appaled at the experiments being performed on his countrymen.

None of this was really an issue to me since I just have fun trying to get headshots on zombies.

Concealed Carry
I signed Becca up for the class - she was pretty much kicking and screaming in protest, but she was a good sport in the classes. Will she be actually buy and carry a pistol? Who knows, so criminals beware because she's a decent marksman.

Job Woes
The company I work for has done done layoffs two months in a row, and fired 4 others for various reasons. The economy is hitting them hard apparently. I couldn't have picked a better time to be deploying since I'm guaranteed to have a job for the next year.

My Platoon Sergeant
I lucked out BIG TIME and got the best platoon sergeant I could ask for. I could go into details, but unless you have some time in the Army, I don't know that the details would mean anything to you. Suffice it to say that I feel very confident deploying with the strong NCO leadership in place in my platoon.

President Obama
During the past 8 years, I got soooooo sick of the infantile whining of liberal douche bags referring to President Bush by all sorts of demeaning terms. Especially puzzling were the ramblings of high school drop outs with ghetto grammar and bad credit, who in crude terms referred to former President Bush as lacking in intelligence. One doesn't graduate from Yale, become a rated Air Force fighter pilot, or become the President of the United States by lacking intelligence.

You can argue that a President isn't living up to your expecations, by presenting thoughtful facts and observation about his policies and actions, but as soon as you start of with "That idiot..." or a bigoted statement in regards to said individuals race, religion, etc... you lose credibility.

While I certainly did not vote for President Obama, and I find myself at odds with his political policies, you can be sure that I hold respect for the office of President and my Commander in Chief. In private company I will share jokes and discuss politics as only friends can, but I abhor those who use public and open forms to speak in overly familiar deragotory terms toward the President of the United States. There are many ways to express your dissent without becoming infantile and degrading the highest office in our great country.

Thus, you will never on my blog see me using playground style deragotory terms to describe President Obama, since they'll demean me more than him, since our current President (much like his predecessor) in spite of his faults has so far, has been dignified in the face of boorish criticism.

Afghanistan
I'm sure you've all heard President Obama's plan to increase the number of troops along the south eastern border of Afghanistan. Traditionally, this has been the area that has seen most combat action since the topple of the Taliban. I'm curious to see how this plan is implemented - I'll have a pretty good view of how the situation develops ;-)

Las Vegas
Becca, Eli and I will be heading to Las Vegas on the 12th of April to kick off my unit's mobilization. We'll be there for a week before we say good by to each other for a while and head to our mobilization training site.

Eli
I am biased, but I am blown away by how much Eli understands relative to his young age. I suppose we underestimate most children in this aspect. I have had the unfortunate task of explaining to Eli that I will be leaving him for a year and the reasons why. He has been very understanding of why I have to leave and has promised to take care of his mother for me while I am away "fighting bad guys" and helping the people in Afghanistan, so that they have access to thing we take for granted, such as clean water, hospitals, electricity, sewer, education, etc...

I don't know what public opinion is for the war in Afghanistan, but I hope that my platoon's presence in country helps make Afghanistan a better place. I believe that it is often the actions of individuals that make a difference, rather than the actions of armies or nations.

I hope to serve well, and eventually come back so I can be a daddy again.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Camp Roberts

Cody, I am glad that my blog still has at least one fan. I need to be better about updating this blog, but to be honest I have been pretty short on time.

I am currently at Camp Roberts, having the time of my life! 18 hour days, filled with exciting powerpoint classes and lots of infantry battle drills in the mud. For those of you who are getting high readings on your sarcasm meters, you are actually incorrect. I have been enjoying my work here - I shot expert on the rifle range for the first time in my career, made a female lieutenant from another platoon eat/drink mud in the gun turret while I drove our HMMWV through giant mud puddles at 35 mph, and have eating scrambled eggs, bacon, and french toast nearly every morning for the past 10 days.

My unit is getting ramped up for deployment to the middle east - I'm not going to say where because it wouldn't matter anyways since I'm sure the location will change at least 3 more times before we get in country, and I took a class of operational security and now I'm trying not to post open source information that an enemy might use against me and my boys.

Needless to say, I'm very excited for the opportunity to serve my country and take part in an experience that few other people will get to have. They say that freedom has a savor that only those who fight for it will ever enjoy. I hope to experience that.

For those of you who wonder what we've been up to since this Christmas, here's the rundown (Becca's Blog has more/better info and pictures):
  • I graduated from Scout Leaders Course, unofficially turning me from an Armor Officer into a Cavalry Officer. During the course, I was party to one of the worst ice storms to hit Kentucky in decades (lucky me).
  • I went back to work at ADP for 5 days - yay!!! <--what does your sarcasm meter register for this comment?
  • Becca and I went with my parents to see my cousin Adam's wedding in Prescott, AZ, where I almost killed a fat hippy lady.
  • I went to Camp Roberts for some outstanding training in Army Warrior Tasks!
There's a lot more to it than that, but this will have to do for now!

Scouts Out!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Graduating the Armor course

My apologies to anyone who still reads my blog. I haven't had a whole lot of time to post about life in general or any of the cool/lame/fun/miserable things that we've been up to.

As I type these words, I'm currently back at my civilian job - a somewhat surreal experience, since I've been gone for so long and yet I feel as though I never left.

As far as the Armor BOLC course is concerned, it was an amazing experience that I wouldn't care to repeat anytime in the next few months :-)



Over the last 2 months of the course, we spent 50% of our time freezing our butts off in the mud, rain, and snow. There is nothing like waking up on the back deck of a tank in subfreezing temps at 3:00 in the morning and fumbling to get your boots on as quickly as possible before you fingers get too numb to tie your laces. I actually prayed for subfreezing temps however, as this eliminated our "mud problem" - Kentucky clay defies physics and disproportionately large clumps of it will stick to any surface: the bottom of your boots, the track that just broke on your tank, the floor of the humvee that you are riding in, etc...

That said, we had a LOT of fun - it was very stressful, we didn't get much sleep, but we basically "played Army" with real tanks, humvees, machine guns, paint ball guns, etc...


I won't bore you with the details - IE the names and focuses of each phase of the course. I'm glad to be home for a while before I head back to Fort Knox for another month of training. We've enjoyed spending Christmas and New Years with our family and have enjoyed being able to spend time with each other (me, Becca, and Eli that is).

video

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Light stick fun

The other morning, I came home from PT at around 6:15 AM, and found that my little boy was awake and playing with two chemical glows ticks in bed. He was twirling them around like an emo kid at a rave, so I had to show him how real men twirl a light stick. So... we got some string (parachute riser cord - what's more manly than that?), and tied the lightsticks to it - the rest is history:


Friday, November 14, 2008

Eli's Master Plan

Recently, my sweet wife posted this about Eli:  The Plan

Not to take away from Eli's "Evil Genius" status, but he is emulating his dear old dad.  There were a few nights when I spent hours drawing sketches for my OpOrders - either the concept of the entire operation, or the sketches for the various phases of the operation.

Eli was definitely more interested in my doodles than his mother was.  Most of my sketches were drawn with sharpies on cardboard of the same approximate size as the white board (used for inclement weather in the field, since cardboard has a tendency to disintegrate in the rain) that Eli used with the dry erase markers I gave him last night.  Eli had asked about the white boards previously, and his memory is pretty sharp at 5 years old.

We recorded him briefing his "OpOrder" last night.  I thought Becca caught on to what he was doing, but I wanted you all to know that Eli is on the fast track to become a much better officer than his dad will ever be.

Compare this:

To these that Eli watched me spend time a lot of time on:

Thursday, October 30, 2008

HMMWV rollover

Not sure if I spelled Hum-vee right or not - don't care.

This little gem teaches us how to get out of our top heavy/prone to tipping vehicles:


This took place a while ago...

wow - I'm way behind in blogging - why doesn't the Army schedule time for this?







I loved this - it was so funny watching the guys inside the vehicle get pummeled with the rubber ammo cans and junk left loose in the cab.  Getting out of an upside down humvee while wearing body armor/helmet was harder than I though...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Commanding tanks in the field!

I just got back from a week of Armor STX (Simulated Training eXercises).  It was INCREDIBLE!  I and the other LT's in the class filled various roles in three separate tank platoons.  We did everything from planning and commanding platoon missions, to driving the actual tanks.

Let me tell you, I thought it was fun taking my old 1995 Pathfinder off road, but it's NOTHING compared to driving a 67 ton tank, with a 1500 horse power jet turbine engine, across "undulating terrain" at up to 45 miles per hour.

Also, there are few things as exhilarating as pulling up into a support by fire position and suppressing an enemy defensive battle position, and on command watching your bravo section assault across the objective, spewing dirt trails behind them as they destroy the entire enemy platoon.

As far as spending time in the field is concerned, being on a tank has its advantage.  The exhaust from the port at the rear of the tank reaches a temperature of around 800 degrees Fahrenheit. At a distance of about 12 feet, a group of shivering Armor/Cavalry LT's can get warmed up real quick on a chilly October morning.  Also, the back deck of the tank (where the power pack is housed) retains heat for hours and hours - it's a GREAT place to lay out your sleeping bag on a cold evening.

This experience here is incredible - we are somewhere between exhaustion and elation at any given moment.

Here are a few memorable moments from the STX:
  • Observing an LT throw rocks at a skunk as it wandered among our lines of tanks, because he didn't want it to sleep under his tank.
  • Hearing CPT Stierwalt drop artillery sims in our TAA in the wee hours of the morning
  • Every time an LT drive (myself included) hit the brakes a little too hard, and hearing everyone over the intercom curse as they slammed into the gunner's sight/TC's .50 mount/front of the loader's hatch.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Finding the time to blog...

It's been quite a while since I posted to my beloved outlet to the world, and honestly I had grand intentions of documenting exactly how much fun I was having at Armor BOLC III and how awesome tanks are...

The reality of the matter is this - the Army has kept me so busy that I am spending every "free" moment I have with my family, napping, or just trying to regain my sanity. Honestly, the Army has always found a way to occupy my time, but in the past my time was spent waiting for the next thing to happen. Now, they have me working, studying, rucking, writing, etc... from before 6 AM every morning until at least 5 PM every night - and now when I am "off work" I am writing seven page Op Orders, creating map overlays, phase sketches, etc... until the wee hours of the morning.

I'm sure I'll be a better officer after this experience, but am NOT having "lots of fun" - at least not right now... This is probably in the top 3 for the most difficult experiences of my life.

Just so you all know - here is what's going on with me for the next little bit:

I finish Armor BOLC III on December 17th - the course culminates with a 10 day field exercise in the middle of winter in Kentucky... wow. After that, Becca, Eli and I will fly back to Utah to spend Christmas, and then I'll come BACK to Fort Knox for Scout Leaders Course, which will be comprised 27 days (2 weeks or so in the field), once again in the middle of winter.

After I finish these two schools, I get a short break before I leave with my unit to train up for our deployment to Iraq.

I am really excited to be fulfilling a dream, and very excited to be serving my country. At the same time, I am sad that I am sacrificing precious time away from my family that I love so much, and I am obviously feeling a little worn down from my current training.

Please keep our little family in your hearts and prayers - we love and miss you all and I can't wait until we're all back together again with our friends and family in Utah!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Firing tanks!

I didn't get the greatest shots - but a few of my classmates got some great footage that I will put up pretty soon. Meanwhile, this will have to do...

This is me looking back at my crew partner from the gunner's seat. I've got my right hand on the breach of the 120 mm main gun.

I'm peeking out of the loaders hatch in front while my crew partner chills above the TC hatch before we start our evaluated runs. We are a pretty deadly combination.

This is a video I took of two other 2LT's beginning their first engagement.



Monday, September 8, 2008

First picture of a tank...

It's been a long time coming - I haven't had a ton of time to take pictures... Anyways, here's the tank I've been working on the past week and a half. I am taking a page out of Eli's book and calling it "Tanky" ;-)


The two guys in the pic are members of my tank crew, 2LT Brett from Philidelphia, PA, and 2LT Deleon, from Florida by way of Hawaii.


All of our experience with this tank has been pretty much academic - we have learned how to do preventative maintenance, function checks, crew drills, etc... But we haven't ever driven in out of it's stall. Each member of our crew of 4 has started it up - it takes 11 gallons of fuel just to start up the tank's jet engine. Seriously - the sound of the tank starting up makes you feel like you're in the batmobile.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Fort Knox and Armor School

I started Day 0 of Armor BOLC III on Monday of last week. You probably won't be hearing very much from me during the class - I have this labor day weekend off and then I don't have another day off until the beginning of October; we'll be working 7 days a week.

I plan to take a bunch of pictures of what I'll be doing - hopefully Becca will be able to post them on her blog.

So far, I've learned that if you aren't careful, an Abrams tank will kill, maim, or dismember a careless crew member. I'm really excited to learn everything, although I'll admit that I wish we weren't on such a compressed time scale and we had a few more weekends off thrown in.

BOLC III is a LOT more fast paced than BOLC II. We did all the inprocessing that took a full week at Fort Benning in only a few hours. We've also qualified with the M9 pistol and started the fundamentals of Tank Gunnery. It's going to be an action packed 3.5 months!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

I got tagged

High School Tag

Becca tagged me, so here it goes:

1. Did you date someone from your school?
A few - I even tried dating a DHS alum in college - bad idea :-0

2. What kind of car did you drive?
My mom's minivan when she'd let me borrow it.

3. What was the most embarrassing moment of high school?
I think high school was one great big embarrasing moment now that I look back on it.

4. Were you a party animal?
Not unless you count running cross country and playing computer games past midnight!

5. Were you considered a flirt?
I think so, but that is subject to opinion.

6. Were you in band, orchestra, or choir?
No.

7. Were you a nerd?
That's subject to opinion.

8. Were you on any varsity teams?
Yes - X-Country and Track.

9. Did you get suspended/ expelled?
I once got kicked off the bus for a week for holding up a sign in the rear window that said, "Help! Our bus driver is a drunk Mexican!". That was in Jr. High though, so it may not count.

10. Can you still sing the fight song?
Both my parents were Davis High Darts and they taught me the fight song from an early age - still remember it.

11. Who were your favorite teachers?
Mrs. Barker - my sophomore English teacher; she was SO NICE, and taught me a lot about cultural literacy and great literature. We read "The Princess Bride" in her class.
Mr. Dau - my AP U.S. History teacher; he taught me a LOT about leadership.
Coach Burhley - my running coach/history teacher; I can't explain this guy to you - you just have to know him.

12. Where did you sit during lunch?
With the cross country dudes in the lunchroom with the rest of the nerds.

13. What was your school's full name?
Davis High School.

14. School mascot?
The Dart or Dart Man - not really sure.

15. Did you go to Homecoming and who with?
Yes - I went once with a girl who was wearing a blue sequin dress and the next day my family found blue sequins all over the car... I had a hard time convincing them that nothing "funny" had happened.

16. If you could go back and do it again, would you?
Maybe - I think it would be fun to go laugh and point my finger at everyone that thought they were "too cool" for me, and spend more time being friends with the people that I thought weren't "as cool" as me.

17. What do you remember most about graduation?
I remember being amazed that I actually was leaving the public education system and that I would no longer be around all these people anymore.

18. Where did you go senior skip day?
I think I had to go to class on senior skip day because I'd already skipped a lot of school...

19. Were you in a club?
No.

20. Have you gained some weight since then?
Yeah, finally! I needed to gain some weight. I am 6'1" and I graduated at 155 lbs. Now I'm a 186 lbs steely eyed killer - I wish I could say it was all muscle though.

21. Who was your prom date?
I wasn't going to go to the prom - under protest I let my mom and sister talk me into asking a girl in my ward... We had a lot of fun and I'm glad we went together.

22. Are you planning on going to your 10 year reunion?
Ha ha - I was in the middle of training at Fort Benning when I got a phone call asking if I was going to be able to attend a reunion dinner that evening! I still probably wouldn't have gone if I had the time and had been in the area.

23. Looking back, what advice would you give yourself?
Don't take yourself too seriously! Don't ever think that you are above or beneath anyone else. Do your homework! Probably the most important advice would be, "Here is the phone number of this SUPER hot girl in West Jordan, her name is Becca and she's just your type so give her a call as soon as you can..." ;-)

I don't really believe in passing the tag along, so I'll probably have horrible bad luck

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Graduation

It's the wee hours of the morning on the day I graduate from BOLC II. In a few hours, we'll be waking up at 3:30 AM to clean this place up and get all our stuff out of the barracks. The graduation ceremony begins at 9:30 AM, hopefully ending within an hour of that time - at which point LT Genin and myself will get in our vehicles and forge north and west toward Brentwood, Tennessee!

Here is the video that will be shown at our graduation:


Here is another video that LT Thompson also made showing the "real BOLC II", in which we are always sleeping in our gear, waiting for the next training event:


Hope you enjoyed them!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

More Army vids for you

This mission was incredible. Our platoon's mission was to retrieve a High Value Target from a hostile town. My squad was tasked with providing support by fire - translation; we setup a LOT of machine guns and put so much simulated lead through the windows and alley's of the hostile avenues of approach that they can't move to attack our snatch and grab team. We had several M249's and two 240B's. The 240B is our bigger weapon with lots of range and punch. I was the 240 gunner for the far left side - you can see me lighting up the enemy in the 2nd and 3rd videos.

The first video shows the PL with the assaulting element in the village after they have entered the building where the HVT is believed to be located.


This second video shows the sergeant approaching the position where my machine gun is set up. If you pay attention, you can hear the machine guns "talking". In order to keep a steady rate of fire without burning out a barrel or running out of ammo, the machine gunners will fire a burst and then let another gun "talk", and another, etc... before firing again. Even using this method our barrels were blistering hot.


This third video shows me scanning my sector and putting simulated lead (laser transmissions) in various windows and alleyways. You'll notice that I'm am brushing the dirt under me with one hand. That is because I have fired over 400 rounds of blank 7.62 ammo at that point and that brass is HOT! I tried to get most of it out from under my elbows, but I just had to suck it up and keep firing. :-)

Please excuse the language of the NCO taking the video about the time that the Artillery sims are going off...


We got major props on this mission - the cadre observers stated that this is best run mission that they have seen in the last 6 classes! :-)

As much fun as this was, I'm glad to be done and headed on to the next phase now - Armor OBC at Fort Knox, Kentucky. BOLC II has been an "appetizer" compared to what I can see of BOLC III/Armor OBC from the schedule they have posted online. There's going to be a LOT of gunnery.

It has been an interesting experience hanging out with LT's who are on average 4-7 years younger than me. I have a LOT more patience now that I'm a little bit older and hopefully a little wiser than I used to be. I am VERY impressed with my "peers", I think that many of them are extremely mature for their age - much more mature when I was in my early twenties. That said, I am not surprised to see a good share of "that guy" types that find an excuse to get "buzzed" every night, including the night before we do a battalion run or a PT test.

Most importantly, I'll be picking up Becca and Eli this Friday at the Louisville Airport. I can't tell you how excited I am to be with them again! I graduate this Thursday and then I will drive with my buddy LT Genin up to spend the night with the Farr family in Brentwood, TN. From there, it's a short 3.5 hour drive to Ft. Knox, to check in with housing, and then a 30 minute drive to pick up my babies at the airport!