Friday, November 20, 2009

Looking In The Mirrors...

Sigh. Yes. I know. I haven't posted a blog in a long time...aside from the story that I did recently. So yeah...if I had blogged during my little hiatus it wouldn't have been very positive.
Anyway. I'm blogging now. I'm more content now...we're leaving Baghdad very soon. Things are starting to wind down for us as far as public affairs is concerned. I, on the other hand, still have to layout the newspaper and distribute it until our replacements arrive.
Things have changed since my last blog. The weather has been the most drastic change. No longer are the days where we swelter in the 115+ degree heat. Since about a couple weeks ago, the temps have been nice. Partly cloudy skies and temps in the 70s-80s during the day and between 50-60 degrees at night. The rains have turned everything to a sticky, mucky mess. A precursor to the December weather at Fort Dix.
I'm still reading books and teaching the GT improvement class. It's my last class. I'm glad I've had the opportunity to do that. Not only has it kept the 'rust' off but it's helped Soldiers put themselves in a position to change their course while they're here. Many of them want to become officers while others want to re-enlist and change their MOS.
Speaking of which, that's my major change.
The Army has done it's share in changing my life. When I first enlisted, it was so I could get some money to help finish college. I was 23 years old. I started out in aviation, working on Apache helicopters. At the University of Houston, I entered the Green to Gold program but had to drop it at the end of my junior year when I had to choose between that and teaching. I met COL Beesley, he and I taught LOTC in Galena Park ISD (some of my best years teaching) and I even worked for him as his PAO. He's the one who encouraged me to re-enlist when my contract was up and showed me the light...that light being public affairs. Since then, I've deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq, I've served in Germany, and I've been with the 211th MPAD for almost 8 years now. 2LT Delgado and I are the only remaining Soldiers from the original crew when the unit came into being. I've been to so many schools and training events and have been very fortunate.
What I'm getting at is...after almost 15 years of service, I'm leaving the Army after my return home from Iraq. Many have tried to talk me out of this. "You only have five years left!" they'd say. Others have encouraged me and wished me well. I've thought about this for a long time. I've talked (and argued) about this with my wife before also. When she married me, she married the military too. She's been through a lot...but the one who finalized my decision for me is Loren, my daughter.
I remember blogging about an unhappy and unnerving experience I had during my leave in May. I don't want to her to miss out on anything...including her father. I've missed a lot already. My not being home has affected her and my wife. Call it selfish...I don't care. I've seen so many kids at school missing out when it's a single parent household. I don't want that for my family.
So, I'll be saying goodbye to the Army and the 211th MPAD. I've had the privilege of working with some great guys and girls during this last deployment. It's been quite a journey. I'll miss it at times...