Thursday, September 23, 2010

Happy First Day Back.

I've finished command! Yay! And also, Boo!

After a long and tumultuous process, I was able to change command. I am no longer the commander of HHB, 2-43 ADA Battalion. It's bittersweet. On the one hand, I am SO GLAD that I don't have to worry about approximately 180 Soldiers every single weekend.  I don't get phone calls in the middle of the night about them, and I don't have $32 million worth of property to worry about (that's another story...)

On the other hand, though, I don't have any of those Soldiers any more.  And let me be clear- I love being in command.  Not just for the prestige (which consisted mostly of having my own parking spot and being saluted all the time) and responsibility, although those were nice.  The reason I love command is because I love Soldiers, and the most satisfaction I get in my job is when I am helping Soldiers.  Training, dealing with problems, presenting awards, all that stuff.  It's phenomenal. And I am not there any more, not in front of a formation full of people united in common purpose and preparing to execute our mission.  It's kind of a letdown.

In other news, I'm back in command! Yay! And Boo!

Yep, I was selected for a second command.  I am now the commander of my battalion's Rear Detachment.  For those of you who are snickering right now, believe me, I've heard (and made) all the jokes.

Here's what this  means.  My battalion is deploying in the near future.  In any deploying unit, there are several (sometimes many) Soldiers who for one reason or another cannot deploy.  Either they are leaving the Army, or are medically unfit for duty, or are scheduled to move to another installation before or during the deployment.  All of those people need a place to go and someone to tell them what to do, and that is me.  This also means that I am not deploying, but will be responsible to represent the battalion to all post agencies, and I am also responsible to take care of the needs of all of the family members that are left behind.

On the one hand, it's a really really really difficult assignment.  I have to find something meaningful to do for all the Soldiers in my command, and once the battalion leaves, I have to ensure that all the families are being taken care of- financially, logistically, everything.  So if a deployed Soldier isn't paying his rent, his wife will call me and ask me to fix it.  Or if a Soldier goes on leave from the deployment and forgets his ID card and can't get on the plane, I will have to fix it.  It makes me tired just thinking about it.

On the other hand, I have Soldiers again!  And literally the only thing I have to do is help resolve their issues.  It's great.  Except for when it's not.  Which leads me to this:  On my first day back from my 19 days of leave (a glorious 19 days, which is incidentally the most time off I've had in over a year), there was a shooting at Fort Bliss.  And two of my new Soldiers were eyewitnesses.  And one of those two was the very first person to administer first aid, and he saved a life.  I'm really proud of him- but he's taking it really hard.  We're doing all the right things for him, getting him into counseling and whatnot, and he's doing better, but it's tearing him up.  You expect to see stuff like this in a combat area, and can prepare yourself for it.  You don't expect it when you're trying to buy a Gatorade at the Shoppette.

So my question to the universe is, WTF?  Is that it?  19 days is all the time off I get before I have to deal with something major?  Come on, cosmos.