The Good News:
It's been a pretty hectic couple of weeks. The Army has managed to stuff 10lbs of knowledge into this 5lb brain of mine. They've trained me up so well, I could probably cross over to be an Army officer...Whoa, whoa, whoa! Let's not go too far- I still like my three hots and a cot on a ship!
We've done plenty of training, some highlights include: Plenty of classroom work- Land navigation, Convoy operations, some other good-to-knows. We've had lots of weapons and range time and plenty of war fighting tactics. The USA and USN do some things alike, but most things are worlds apart. I like it. It's interesting how our positions (on land vice at sea) change concepts so much. The easiest one to explain is time zones. For the Navy, we operate in Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) because ship's movement crosses time zones so often. To reduce confusion, we task the message sender to translate their local time into GMT. In the Army, they just use local time - because their boss is most likely at the same post as they are! That probably seems pretty minor to most, but it's the best I could do.
Since I'm using an iPad to publish this report, I can't figure out how to get my pics from Picasa to Blogger. I rate my tech skills at about 65%. There are a bunch of pics in the top left hand column you can paroose. Warning: The videos are mostly at the Heavy Weapons range and deserve to be played at low volume...buyer beware.
The Neutral News:
I am about three days from leaving Camp McCrady, SC. That means I'm about three days from leaving the good ol US of A for a couple months. Although the shock of leaving has all but worn off, it will be replaced with the shock of cultural difference, time zone shifts, new food, having to haggle for any item I buy, and many, many more. I'm happy to do it though. Katie and I have been planning this for nearly two quarters. She and AC is adapting nicely to their new lives. That's what's most important to me.
I've also been able to get all my 'good-byes' in. I got to spend last Saturday night and Sunday with my whole Aiken family, which was really, really important to me. This Sunday, I was able to hang out with my Dad and Step-mom. I would have posted these last two in the Good News department, but good-byes aren't necessarily good news.
The Bad News:
Today I got a call from Katie and she told me that my dog Belle got out last night and ran off. After about an hour, she got in the car and started searching for her. Now, Belle is a pretty decent mix...Lab and Dachshund is the best I can do to describe her. She's short and long (tubular really). Her face looks just like a dachshund but larger. Big, soft, floppy ears that never get infected and are always in need of a good scratching. (see the pics in the upper left column). She has a great nose for hunting (squirrels, cats, oppossums, raccoon, but not armadillos-that's Lilly's job!). In fact, three times during our walks she just started smelling the ground and just started digging furiously- only to pull up a mole! These days, inside the house she's pretty easy going, and at 7 yrs old (her birthday was last week) she mostly looks forward to a daily back scratch and head pat, laying in the sunshine with Lilly and her two meals (give or take some scraps that might fall directly from my hand into her mouth). She's a great dog and many of you know I call her 'My Saving Grace', because she was the reason I would make my way home most weekend nights...pre-Katie, of course.
She's been a passenger on many a road trip and has logged some serious highway miles. She was my shotgun to Tampa, Aiken (on several occasions), Gainesville, Ozark AL, Rhode Island, Washington DC, Virginia Beach, and most recently the P'cola-San Diego-P'cola voyages. One time she even took a 10-day golfing vacation with me on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.
Well, she must have gotten the scent of something pretty good last night because she darted into the darkness. And after calling and calling her, Katie got into the car and started searching for her.
Belle got hit by a car and died. Katie promises me that when she found her, it just looked like she was asleep and there was no real 'signs' of the contact. It breaks my heart that she's not sleeping on the dog bed my Mom made for her right now. One of the many things I looked forward to when returning home from this deployment was the way she was going to react when she saw me again. She flipped her gourd every time I was at sea for over a week- it would have been ridiculous, I can promise you.
Katie says AC asked "Go Belle Belle go?" (that translates to: Where's Belle?) two times today. She didn't know how to answer. She's out playing with her doggie friends is what the answer was. But well all know the real answer: All good dogs go to Heaven. Right?
Good night old girl, I love you and will surely miss you.
I promise to try to post a funny one next time. I'm not trying to depress anyone!