First and foremost, I'm home. Long trip, much drama, but the bottom line is, I'm home.
Second, I am (finally) leaving the unit I've been in since 2004. Kinda conflicted... wait, no, not really. It's time to go. Not that the unit hasn't been good to me- I've learned a lot and had some pretty neat opportunities. But it's time to go. (I'm only going up the road right now. It's a conscious choice so I don't have to immediately try to sell my house).
Speaking of leaving... the Army has a tradition called the "Hail and Farewell." It's a
Imagine, if you will, a unit that has been together for 24 months. Fifteen of those deployed. Throw in a bit of resentment from one half of the unit towards the other, as the battalion was split in two and one half was in a decidedly better place than the other. Add in some disgruntlement over evaluations/awards, etc. Sprinkle on there the fact that, when we came home, we only got ONE DAY OFF before having to come back to work. Throw in a bunch of spouses who are forced to spend one of their first, awkward days with their Soldier partying with people they neither know nor like very well.
Shaping up really well, huh?
Now add copious amounts of alcohol, shake it up, and then give people a microphone and an open forum.
In case you're wondering, what you get is basically lots of people hiding how they really feel in efforts to be politic, with one or two throwing truth bombs in there because they have nothing to lose. Also, elements of the command group trying to publicly humiliate people and making mean-spirited jokes. And then you get a bunch of awkward silences, punctuated by frantic guzzling of drinks.
No lie. Kind of horrifying, really.
What's really horrifying is that the powers that be are going to call that party a success, and an example of team-building and esprit-de-corps (that's French for "corpse spit").
Now, as horrible as mandatory social functions can be, they can also be done really well. I have personally been to several really good Hails and Farewells (ones that the wife didn't hate), where the event was well planned, the MCs had personality and charm, everyone was a good sport, and the alcohol just made everyone silly. Also, it's awesome to watch my friends humilitate themselves and then not remember it the next day. I love bringing back those memories, particularly in front of large groups of people.
Oh well. As I see it, that's one more hurdle behind me on my way to my next assignment. Hopefully I will update at least one more time between now and then. Here's what's on the agenda:
Block Leave. Disneyland. Family. Birthday. Road Trip(s).
Good times, good times.