29 March 2011

Today's Training

Today in my training we went over a ton of legal literature. Rules of engagement, rights for personal protection, and one that really struck a heart string for me, the military member's Code of Conduct. I've had a bunch of training on this in the past, but for some reason it really hit home this time.

Here it is:

After Korean war the American armed forces jointly developed a Code of Conduct. The President of the United States approved this written Code in 1955. The six articles of the Code create a comprehensive guide for all American military forces in time of war, and in time of peace. The articles of the Code embrace (1) general statements of dedication to the United States and to the cause of freedom, (2) conduct on the battlefield, and (3) conduct as a prisoner of war.
The new Code of Conduct is not a part of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Instead, the Code of Conduct is a personal conduct mandate for members of the American armed forces throughout the world.

Article I: I am an American, fighting in the armed forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense.

Article II: I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command I will never surrender the members of my command while they still have the means to resist.

Article III: If I am captured, I will continue to resist by all means available. I will make every effort to escape and aid others to escape. I will accept neither parole nor special favors from the enemy.

Article IV: If I become a prisoner of war, I will keep faith with my fellow prisoners. I will give no information nor take part in any action which might be harmful to my comrades. If I am senior, I will take command. If not, I will obey the lawful orders of those appointed over me and will back them up in every way.

Article V: When questioned, should I become a prisoner of war, I am required to give name, rank, service, number, and date of birth. I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability. I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my country and its allies or harmful to their cause.

Article VI: I will never forget that I am an American, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of America.

27 March 2011

Marching on

But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.
- Robert Frost

Last week was a whirlwind and so is this post. So i apologize in advance for the length and lack of humor or pics.

I drove cross-country in Katie's car. Almost 2000 miles. I had company though, Belle & Lilly! I made pretty good time, only stopping to eat, rest, eat and sleep. Lilly is a great car rider. Belle on the other hand was a mess. From the minute I started the car until I slowed below 40 mph, she was panting and shaking uncontrollably. It was bad. But we had to get home...I made it home by Friday and I immediately began to really feel the pressure of deployment weighing me down.

Saturday was great though. MGM and Grady had a nice cookout for me. Everyone came over to enjoy some ribs and wings. It was a really nice send off. Big T& Charlotte, Brian & Robin and the twins and my Mom and Lloyd were there too. KT made one of my favorite salads and MG made banana pudding. Food equals love in my eyes and there was a lot of love in that house Saturday!!

Sunday we met Marie and Lloyd at Ft Pickins for some sunshine and history exploration. I'd never been to that fort. It was very fitting, I felt, to visit a American fort utilized in our very own country's fight for independence just days before I leave for a country trying to do the same thing. It's all perspective.

Tick, tock...Says my internal clock.

Monday was gone in a flash. I can't even remember what we did.

Tuesday, the movers showed up! Moving day is always exciting. I wish I could tell you I loved this day. Good news first. None our stuff is broken, it all fits into the new place, and what we don't need to use fits in the garage. The bad news is that all the hard work we did separating our things into : immediate use, might use, permanent storage didn't quite get followed by the packing agents. Long, long story short we were opening kitchen boxes that had KT's high school memorabilia in it (those huge hair/white eye shadow pics have a home in the garage and only get pulled out when I need a chuckle).

Wednesday and Thurs we just worked all day to get the house settled. It wasn't done on Sat when I left, poor KT has to wrap it up while chasing the baby and two dogs out from under her feet.

Wed we headed out to Dinner but it's Spring Break and we ended up eating at Margaritaville. It's a bar slash restaurant...I hope the drinks are good, b/c the food...notsomuch.
Thurs night we met Tony and Charlotte for supper at a local fish house. It was great, AC was a gem and I really had a nice time visiting with the in-laws.

At this point, I'm panicking on the inside. One of my self-proclaimed good qualities is that I keep my cool on the exterior. I think I did a pretty good job of masking my emotions up to this point. But Katie seems to see right through it. Friday, AC was supposed to go to school, but I asked to keep her home. We played and had fun all morning, then she napped. Then by the time she awoke, it was nearly time to say good-bye. She stayed at Aunt MGs because of the Baynard-Davis social hour (the night before their wedding).

Now, I've been doing this for going on 12 years. You'd think separation would get easier, right? Notsomuch. Wow, it just hovered over me the whole week. The past three years KT and I (and more recently AC) have had our share of separation because of my ship's underway schedule and such. Two weeks away is lousy...but leaving my home while staring a 9 month deployment in the face, well that flat-out hurts.

So I said good-bye to 20mo old Anna Cross Friday night and the next morning did the same to 31 year old Katherine Cross. I'm not sure which was worse, the one who knew where I was going? Or the one who squirmed out of my arms because she wanted to keep playing? I think I choose 'D' all of the above.

In high school, whenever I was running late my Aunt Cindy would call for me to hurry up and I would respond "I'm coming, I'm coming!", then her reply would ALWAYS be "Yeah, so is Christmas". I sure hope she's right this time.

I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.

09 March 2011

The Buckeye Stops Here

About two weeks before Christmas 2010, I was selected for an IA. An IA, individual augment, is one of the ways the Navy supports the other services of our United States military. Naval officers and enlisted alike are essentially plucked from their current duties, trained up, and sent to a forward deployed duty. These jobs are a wide variety and can range from a planning assignment for troops in theatre to human assistance jobs in the wake of some natural disaster. There are Sailors hand picked based upon their skillsets to help work with specific weapons systems. My job will eventually send me to Cairo's US Embassy to be a liaison officer for naval exercise planning. No one really is 100% on their job description until you are actually boots-on-ground (BOG)-there's a zinger of a military term for you.

Last Sunday, 27FEB11 started my first step for training, Wright Patterson Air Force Base - the Birthplace of Flight. I had no idea what it was for. In fact I though it was going to be about my use of classified material. Nope, Foreign Military Sales (FMS). That's right boys and girls, Uncle BoBo is going to be drafting up contracts to aid the Egyptians purchase US goods and services for their military. **For anyone who knew me in high school and/or college, please contain your laughter**
It's been almost two weeks and I feel pretty confident with my new abilities and I really hope that when I get to Egypt (my counterpart is actually working out of Bahrain right now) I will be able to settle in and do a great job - no matter what the assignment.

In the meantime, back in San Diego - the party is still kicking. Apparently, there's a new DJ in town and all she wants to listen to is the smooth hits by our little red friend, Elmo. la la, la la <Elmo, Big Bird, Snuffy's> Song... I know KT is going crazy- I sing that song in my head at work and I've been gone for 10 days!

I do get to fly home Friday for a couple days. The house gets packed out on Monday and shipped on Tuesday. Also, KT/AC fly home Tuesday and I'll be driving the car and dogs to Pcola.  Google says it's 30 hours of driving so I think I should be able to make it by Friday night. So if you want to call me - please do!