Monday, April 28, 2008

Back in the saddle again

Well... my two week leave of absence from work has ended and I couldn't be happier. Well, I could ALWAYS be HAPPIER (think independently wealthy, with a cabin in the boulder mountains, ATV's, snowmobiles, guns and ammo to shoot critters, etc...), but within the realm of immediate plausibility I think I'm doing pretty well:
  • In the first place, my employer was kind enough to grant me the leave of absence I needed so badly in order finish my bachelors degree at Utah State University this semester (thanks ADP!).
  • Second, I ACTUALLY DID IT!!! I had to complete a Science of Sound class, which turned out to be more of a physics/math class than the "history of music" class I hoped it was (be warned!) - I haven't taken a math class in years and I had to hire a tutor to help me get started. Still, I was able to finish the entire class in about 1.5 weeks, which is amazing to me.
  • I also finished my Senior thesis, which is another story...
I commission in the Army as a 2nd Lieutenant on the 2nd of May, and then I will officially graduate on May 3rd. I am so happy that I don't know what to do! If you listen very closely, you can hear my parents breathing a sigh of relief that their oldest son has finally graduated. You can also hear my mother wringing her hands at the thought of her son in a combat zone.

I am very happy to be done - life seems to have so much savor now. My dad says that life just gets harder, but I have to echo my sister's sentiments - next year I won't be working 4/10's so I can get up at 5 AM every Thursday to drive to Logan and "play Army" all day, while I write my senior thesis and finish a physics class.

I commission at 10:00 AM, May 2nd, at Utah State University - my long suffering wife and my patient mother will be pinning the gold bars on me, Sgt First Class Lawrell Cook (the man who was perservering enough to make sure I got into LTC at Ft. Knox at the last minute back in 2005!) will give me my first salute, and Lt. Colonel (Retired) S. Rand Curtis (who is everything I want to be as an officer) will adminster the officer's oath to me.

I'm almost sad to be leaving the USU ROTC - even though most of the men and women I've met there have moved on. They are all over the world now - in various bases in across the United States as well as Germany, Korea, Alaska, Iraq, Afghanistan, and probably other places I don't know about. We all went through the same initiation:
  • Looking for that blasted missing land nav stake at Temple Fork
  • Suffering near cardiac arrest as we crossed a freezing river/lake under a zodiac boat
  • Turning around at the 1 mile mark by Aggie Village during the APFT
  • Having Jacob Harris kick you off "his" computer in the cadet lounge
  • Playing Halo and talking trash in the cadet lounge
  • Trying to hoist a ruck sack up the side of a cliff for the Jim Bridger Challenge
  • Having LTC Curtis greet you with "Hello Handsome!" and then seconds later comment that your ears, hands, face, or nose is the "freakiest body appendage in our organization"
  • Listening to Clint Edwards and/or myself muse on the benefits of a Red Dawn or Zombie Uprising scenario
  • Being brainwashed into thinking that no real man would play Ultimate Frisbee or wear ankle socks
The list could go on and on. I can only look forward to what the future holds. Keep your fingers crossed.


Becca Jo said...

YEAH! I am SO SO SO happy to have this milestone out of the way!

Good job Babe

Laurie said...

Congratulations Stew! way to "get 'er done"!

georganne said...

I thought the cement "pipe" up the hill would have ranked before the ruck sack up the cliff. :)

Way to go! Stan will be sad he can't come to your commissioning ceremony. You'll have to send him a picture. And you have to tell him all the most flattering things LTC. Curtis will have to say to you!

DCH said...

From one Aggie to another: Congratulations on your graduation!

Rebecca said...

Congrats Stewart(0n graduating from school and 2nd Leut.), I'm sure Becca is very happy to have that (school) out of the way. I'm still waiting for that with Paul.