National Guard

Twice denied

As with last year, they somehow are going to try to cope with the disaster without my help. Last time, it was because our unit was too far down on the list to be of use.

This time, they called up my unit, had us wait around all day long, and then pulled out most of the people already on orders. Because I'm already on full time orders for the state, to put me on State Active Duty (SAD) orders would jeopardize my housing allowance and other regular benefits I get. The organization I work for doesn't want to give us up to help out the state emergency because they're paying our bills. So basically, I don't get to help out because there would be too much paperwork involved.

Today was entirely wasted, my unit is having fun without me, and I have to go back in tomorrow to write reports that no one will read. And I have drill this weekend, during which I'll probably be stuck doing more of the same.

This is what the Guard does; due to bureaucratic nonsense, I don't get to participate. I'm entirely unsatisfied with this outcome. If I weren't looking for a different source of work already, I would be now.

Sig

Damage control is also our business.

I received the call, and I'm taking a break from packing my cold weather gear to check the news. The governor has authorized up to 200 guardsmen to mobilize to help out Spokane, which is probably not coincidental.

Cold? Check. Rainy? Check. Miserable? Check. Better than going to the office and writing a report no one will read? Check.

The only thing that would make this better is if we got diverted to put down peace riots at The Evergreen State College.

Sig

You can get money just about anywhere, after all.

[Full disclosure: I joined for the security clearance and the chance to beat down rioting college students. I stayed for the MREs.]

On vocation

[Originally posted at Vox Veterana on 28 AUG 07.]

This is probably interesting only to me.

I have long considered myself a computer technician temporarily in uniform--a "fat computer nerd trapped in a soldier`s body." Part of this is the whole National Guard Thing that they sell you on--one weekend a month, etc. The idea when I signed up was that I could get some training, pick up a security clearance, get in shape, and Do Good, and then come home and get back to my IT career, hopefully by which time the economy would stop sucking. This was mid-2003, by the way.

But it`s time I do the math and face reality.

Computer tech career:

  • 9/00 to 10/00 -- Small computer shop. Printer tech, phone guy, accounting. Laid off. (6 weeks)
  • 12/00 to 9/01 -- Major corporate desktop support. Contractor. Quit right before being laid off. (10 months)
  • 9/01 to 3/03 -- Small land development company. #2 in IT department (of 2). "The good job." Laid off. Can still visit for free lunch and reminisce. (18 months)
  • 6/03 to 11/03 -- NMCI. Google it. Fear it. Never work for it. Fired for being right all of the time. (6 months).
  • 09/05 to 10/05 -- NMCI. Everyone who knew me before was since fired or laid off. Job still ridiculous and painfully mismanaged. Quit because the war was preferable. (2 months)

Total time: 37.5 months

Regime Change Specialist career: [only full-time counted]

  • 01/04 to 08/05 -- Training. Basic, language school, AIT. Came home with a security clearance and a tan. (19 months)
  • 11/05 to 01/07 -- Operation Enduring Freedom. Came home with additional VA benefits, stories I can`t tell, hearing loss, and occasional nightmares. (15 months)
  • 02/07 to 09/07 -- Document translation and Other Duties As Assigned. (8 months)

Total time: 42 months.

And I`m on track to stay in uniform full time for FY08. And maybe to go language school again after that. By that time, we should have invaded somewhere else.

It`s time to face it. I`m actually a soldier who used to do computer work.

It`s actually kind of cool. If I`d known that I had surpassed the time-in-IT mark this summer, I might have had an extra beer--the E-5-single-income-kids-on-the-way equivalent of a party.

Anyway, it`s deep thoughts like this one that have been going through my head lately. I note as I post this that my resolve to get SOMETHING up today was so strong that it was felt by TF Boggs, too. Wiggy.
I`ll try to do better.

Sig

Centennial Ball

Centennial Ball

This was the portrait taken at the Tacoma Armory Centennial Ball on December 6, 2008.

She's pretty.

Sig

This and that

In which Sig and Sunbeam have a busy, busy weekend doing Army junk. Some of it was shiny.

Unfit to serve

In which Sig complains bitterly about the lies of a soon-to-be-former soldier in his unit.

[With a grammar fix, updates, and more linkage]

"As a side note, when SIGINT people think you are standoffish and weird, you probably should seek professional assistance."

Staff Sergeant Sig

In which Sig expounds upon why his newly exalted rank is a mixed blessing.

Getting NCOified

What homework? It's day two of Basic Noncommissioned Officer Course, better known as BNCOC or "bee-knock." As my beloved pointed out, this would more logically be pronounced as "bean-cock," but for some reason that version has not become popular.

Five

Five years ago today, President Bush stood in front of a banner proclaiming "Mission Accomplished." I remember the cautions about how we were in for a long war, but the Iraq campaign was considered done.

Five years ago yesterday, I enlisted for 8 years in the Washington State Army National Guard.

Sig

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