15 August 2005

37 Days of Teminal Leave Began 8 Years Ago

Eight years ago today, I began the last vacation from the Army that I would ever take. Effectively, I have been a former soldier as long as I was an active one (Officially, that isn't until September 21st, but I don't want to wait that long to post this).

Sometimes, it seems like a lifetime ago.

Other times, it seems like just yesterday that I was herding deer off a German gunnery range from an OH-58C under Night Vision Goggles, or rappelling out of a UH-60, or - as I posted about a month ago - blasting a remote controlled aircraft out of the sky. Then there was driving all over Hohenfels in crappy conditions under NVGs at all hours of the day and night in a HMMWV at GypsyCon-9. The lamest flying missions were fun for me, too - including ferrying Colonel Stick-Up-His-Ass to wherever it was. Somethingorotherbergdorfhausenfeld.
Even that damned 12-mile road march to cap off Air Assault School was a somewhat fond memory. Surviving that school on a rather messed up right shoulder tops just about any accomplishment of the past 8 years.

Regrets, there've been a few. I wish I hadn't wasted the first two and a half years in the Army band. Maybe it wasn't a waste - I sure could polish the hell out of my boots after that. I could do a Change-of-Command ceremony in my sleep, too.
If I'd been told about the Aeroscout Observer program by my recruiter, I'd fairly likely still be donning a sage green nomex suit on a regular basis.
Things don't always turn out how you'd like. But then, who knows if I ever would have ended up meeting the great people I worked with...or meeting the lovely woman I've been married to these past nearly 11 years.
I wish I'd taken care of that shoulder earlier on, too. Surgery and rehab (going through that again, different extremity, same side) isn't a picnic. But, without the golf-as-rehab that the doc suggested, my short game might not be what it is (or rather, was - I haven't played in a year or so...).


I never got to put my skills to the ultimate test, either.

But, everything's turned out pretty much just fine. Got a good job, with good pay, and I get to work with a handful of former solders who help me keep the memories a little fresher, the tales a little taller. Portland's a nice place to live, for the most part, and I like where I'm at.
I miss a lot of the guys, though - especially the ones I flew with, but even the ones I didn't.

And I got to see Texas, Alabama, Tennessee, Klan-tucky, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Austria...even New Jersey. I got to ski at Kitzbuehel, Austria, which had been a desire of mine since watching all those world-class downhillers on TV throughout my childhood. I got to ski on a glacier in June, drive over 150mph on the Autobahn, and drink some really good German and Austrian beers (pretty much direct from the source!). Throw in a bus tour of Italy, visits to several nifty German castles, all the other ski trips (even the night skiing at the WasserKuppe), plus the barbecues & Sam Adams Cherry Wheat (and the Stout, too) at the house of Punk-san and family, and I'd say that more than made up for any regrets.

6 comments:

Latigo Flint said...

"I know that I'm speaking for the entire platoon when I say this run should be postponed until this platoon is better rested."

allison said...

I think its cool that you were in the army band and also that you think my friend molly is hot! She has the most comments right now ;-)

Mister Jinxy said...

You were in the band? Snrrrrrkkkk.

Just kidding, buddy. Nice memories there.

I was out walking the dogs this morning and I had some flashbacks. Must have been the fact that it was oh-dark-thirty and that was normally the time we had stand to when out in the field.

Too many memories of hanging out in the motorpool, cleaning equipment, laying out equipment, cleaning weapons, etc.

P.S. Now I know where Allison linked to my site from. (She thinks I'm "Hot!". Tee hee.)

Ghost Dog said...

No, snicker away, Jinxy. My MOS: 02E - Trombone Player. No shit.

Allison, I was merely pointing out the obvious. It's a skill I've mastered.
Shoot, the majority of girls I met in Texas (at least in Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio - can't say much for the Killeen/Copperas Cove area around Ft. Hood) were hot.

allison said...

it's an excellent skill. i've never been to kileen.

Ghost Dog said...

Save yourself the trip.

'Course, I'm speaking in terms of my reign of insignificance (1990-1992)...lots may have changed...