Life in the Guard isn't all one weekend a month, and two weeks per year

I post previously that I rejoined the Guard. Guard photoI rejoined as Military Intelligence Analyst (96b) not Infantry or Mortarman, but that also meant I needed to be retrained. According to the recruiter, the retraining course was supposed to be a 2 week course. That was not too bad, but of course recruiters lie or make stuff up when they don’t know the right answer immediately. I asked when I got in what the course would be, and was told it was 4 phase course. Each phase would last 2 weeks. Ok, I can do that. Work will accept my outage for 2 week periods. It will be like going to multiple technical conferences in a year. Ok with that settled, I was feeling good about my decision again. Yes it would be a sacrifice being gone for 8 total weeks next year, but life is about sacrifices for things that are important.

Unfortunately, the ultimate truth was not discovered until signing up for the course. The Army in its wisdom to save money has decided for Training Year ’05 and ’06 to consolidate all 4 phases into one phase that lasts 7 weeks long. 7 weeks in the wintery playground of Wisconsin sounds like fun. The only course offered in the area will be from Jan 7 to February 26 in Wisconsin. Once again I am back to the employer to inform them of my impending absence. In addition to normal pressures, this time will coincide with a project conclusion of Active Directory and Nsure Identity Management project. These are two projects, which I am or was critical to getting signed off and implemented. At this point, I think I might be doing the testing and design phase, but would leave the final implementation to somebody else.

However, Guard news is not all bad. October drill was the annual APFT (Army Physical Fitness Test) and weigh-in. It is amazing that even after 7 years, losing 200 pounds, that those two events still drug up such dread and trepidation in me. The good news is that those feelings were unneeded. I passed the test with scores good enough for 18 year old to pass. I bettered my best 2-mile run time by over 45 seconds. I also passed the weigh-in without even needing to be taped. (I am down to 222 BTW currently.) Passing those two tests validated the last 18 months of weightloss and exercise in one morning.


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  • [...] I am leaving at the end of this week for a six week long absence from home for the Iowa National Guard.  Why six weeks?  Well it’s a long story, but in the end, I the course still is not the three two-weeks courses originally promised by the recruiters.  It is also going to be in the balmy state of Wisconsin.  I compare it to the military version of the Gilligan Island’s 3-hour cruise except they land in Siberia.  The course itself should be an interesting one, but six weeks is still six weeks!Laura for her part is certainly not looking forward to the time alone with the kids and work.   I am already trying to plan for mythical weekend excursions if there happens to be any off-time on the weekend.   The one idea I have right now is to take the kids to local ski resort and going tubing, but those plans on more dependent on the military than I.   [...]