|These were the temp buildings we started in, not where we are now.|
Friday, July 10, 2020
So, yesterday I talked about how I had some experience of being deployed with the military. Well, the main reason I was thinking about that yesterday is something happened here recently where a person on a backup crew complained pretty hardcore. I'm not talking about just whining and complaining just to complain. I'm talking about writing an email to all the leadership and even threatening to go to a higher authority with these complaints. I think what's bothering me is how that backup crew group has this trip even easier than the primary crews have it. Due to the nature of our mission, there's a small group of people here that aren't flying regularly, well, at all really. Their mission is not in high demand, so they're not being tasked to fly. So, they've been doing building-watch. Basically, they come in for about eight hours one or two days a week. Now, I don't want to put down this crew. For the most part, they're doing just fine. They come in, work their shift and that's that. They make it so that the regular ground support team doesn't have to work extra-long shifts and more days out of the week. My knee-jerk reaction was, how could we make it easier for that backup crew? Give them more days off? How do you give someone more time off if they're already not going into work? I suppose they could go home, but that defeats the purpose of having them out here. They're here for a special rare mission and mission support. If we sent them home then we couldn't do the missions that they're here to support. I get it, we're all away from home and that sucks, but really?!
Another thought that hit me as I was out for a run this morning was this. Everyone ought to get the worst possible stuff that their job can give them early in their career. For example, in my own military career. I had only been in for less than two years when my son was due to be born and the military forced me to miss his birth, for training?! What!? That was some crap and an absolutely stupid situation that my leadership had no reason to put me through. At the time I didn't know this, but I did have recourse and I could have appealed to a higher-level authority. If I had done so, I probably would have been able to see my son's birth. Then, not long after finishing all my training, I got sent overseas on a deployment to Afghanistan. It wasn't as bad as other's experiences with that country, but as far as my cushy, flying, intel job, that was about as bad as it gets. I was away from home for training for three months, then in-country for six months. Nine total months away from home. Then, after I got home I was put on another trip. This time one month for training and six months in-country. I left for training after only being home for five months. Technically breaking the rules about 1-to-1 time off deployment because the training trips technically didn't count as deployment time.
I have these tough experiences in my history and they've given me an interesting and I think, good perspective on other things. Like when I heard about what our schedule was to be like here I thought, "Well, I've had much worse!" Or, "It could be much worse!" If you start off with the worst your job can throw at you, the rest is easy.
Thursday, July 9, 2020
I recently copyedited a friend of mine's book (fourth one I've edited for him). Reading his writing has made me want to get into writing more (again). I used to write much more often and it makes me sad that I haven't really written anything other than classwork-related essays for over two years! Also, I'm deployed (fourth time for that) and I have plenty of extra time and I've wasted much of that time and I've decided that it's time to spend some of that time doing something productive.
I've been deployed to the Middle East for almost two months of a three-month trip. It's been an interesting and different experience from the previous three trips. Back in 2010, 11, and 12, I deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq, and a second trip to Afghanistan. Those trips were two six-month trips then one three-month trip. In all three of those trips, we were required to wear uniform 100% of the time. On those trips, I flew missions almost every day. And, on days when I didn't fly, I still worked building watch and cleanup. We did get days off but they came few and far between. In fact, generally, I got one day off of work each month. They weren't the worst times of my life and the time flew by even sometimes being fun. Those trips were deployments. This one is, well, not. For example, on this trip, we have a regular schedule that goes something like this: mission planning day (about two hours of work), fly a mission (about a ten-hour day), mission planning day again, fly day, down-day, repeat. Accounting just hours worked that's about twenty-four hours in a five-day cycle. The only downside is that there's no accounting for holidays, weekends or anything like that. So, if a fly day occurs on July Fourth, so be it. There are no weekends or holidays here, just that five-day cycle. On top of that, there's next to no uniform requirement here. Unless actually flying a mission there's no requirement to wear a uniform (more or less). Basically, this is a vacation in a crappy location that I'd never vacation in with a smattering of work thrown in. Not only is the schedule here a piece of cake, my crew is pretty cool. We have tons of fun pretty much every flight. They're chill missions, not much to do. We chat, laugh, and sing pretty throughout pretty much the whole mission. It's been a good trip.
It's been a good trip but I'm glad that it's almost over (hopefully).