Welcome! I am going to writing about this army adventure our little family is going to be embarking on together soon. I will be the very first to admit I understand very little about the Army or how it all works. There are billions of logistical details to be sorted out and acronyms and abbreviations to become familiar with. And I'm so glad you can all learn these with me.
Let's start with what we do know. We know that Gunnar is leaving for training on May 27th. He will be in training for 11 weeks. In my not-so-good-at-math brain, I came up with training being completed around mid-August. Gunnar kept saying he would be graduating sometime around Gus's 3rd birthday (Sept. 12th). I know I'm no mathmetician but I really feel like I'm generally better at math than he is. So I just figured he is wrong. And I hate being wrong. As it turns out - he will be in training for 11 non-consecutive weeks. Not the same thing. Not the same thing at all. So in a way (ok - I give in - all the way) Gunnar was right. He will be gone for about 15 total weeks (give or take a few days). I have no idea what he will be doing in the 3+ unaccounted for weeks, but I highly doubt it would involve coming home or being able to recieve visitors.
Gunnar's training will be in Oklahoma for the first 5-ish weeks. Since he is "prior service" he is not required to go to Basic Training again, but he does need to go to a refresher course. That's the Oklahoma part of the training. Then he will be doing who-knows-what for 3 weeks, then going to Georgia for 6 weeks of Infantry training. Gunnar re-enlisted "at the needs of the Army" which means he didn't get to pick what job he wants to do. Infantry was way at the bottom of his wish list. He calls Infantry men "bullet catchers". Certainly not a name I like to hear - it makes my stomach hurt when he says that. But the Infantry is basically combat-soldier-front-lines-kicking-in-doors type stuff. (On a side note, Gunnar likes to play the "O Hail, O Hail, O Infantry" theme song around the house and Gus sings it "O Hail, O Hail, Oh Up A Tree" - which makes it waaaay cuter). One of the other downsides to this Infantry business is that it really doesn't apply to the civilian world. Apparently there isn't a huge market for busting down doors and shooting people as a business. That is one of my biggest concerns. Ideally it would be great if Gunnar does get an Army job that will apply to the "real world" so when he gets out of the Army, finding a nice, good job would be a breeze. Hmmm.
The whole job situation is one of the main reasons Gunnar re-enlisted in the first place. He had joined the Army when he was young, shortly after high school and was in active duty for 4 years. He then joined the Army Reserves for 6 years while he went to college and had a series of other jobs. Nothing really stuck his fancy as much as those good old soldier days. So there you have it.
We started the re-enlistment process in mid-December and after 4 really long months of Gunnar meeting with the recruiter and supplying every document that has ever been created with his name on it, extensive backround checks, paperwork blah blah blah, he finally got in! I had started to think it was never going to happen and it very nearly didn't. Enlistments are very high right now (likely due to the crappy economy) so the number of re-enlistments they are taking is comparatively low. It seems backwards to me. I would have thought they would prefer prior service folks over young newbies but in fact it's just the opposite. I am learning that a lot of things just don't make much sense. And there was actually a cut-off date for prior service re-enlistments. Gunnar got in after that date so I learned to not really put too much weight on dates in general.
I decided that with him gone all summer long, I really was just not that into living in our apartment with just me and the kids, wouldn't it be fun to move back to Mom and Dad's house!? I think it will be really good for the kids because they always prefer Grammy and Papa's house to their own anyway and it might ease the blow of having Daddy gone for 4 months. I plan on putting most of our crap in storage, taking only what we need for the summer to the parents house and then at the end of summer moving it all to our new home. Herein lies all the nitty gritty details. We are running out of weekends to get all this organized and squared away and it feels overwhelming most days. I plan to start packing up the basement and creating mountains of crap to give/throw away this weekend. But damn. It's going to be 80 and sunny all weekend long and all I'm going to want to do is run around the backyard with the kids!
Speaking (writing?) of moving...we have no idea where we will be living when Gunnar has completed his training. We know it will be an Army base in the US with an Infantry unit but that's about it. I think that narrows it down to about 8 or 10 possible locations. When we started talking about this whole plan we were really hoping to be stationed somewhere overseas, Europe being our first choice. An overseas assignment requires a minimum 4 year enlistment. But you can change your MOS (no idea what it stands for but it means "job" to the rest of us) 24 months prior to your End of Service Date. Sooooo.....Gunnar did the shortest enlistment because he will be eligible to get the F out of the Infantry in about 1 year (it would have been 2 years if he had done a 4 year enlistment). Are you following all this? Good. Some of our "stateside" options include Fort Bragg NC, Fort Drum NY, something in Georgia, Fort Campbell KY, something in Washington state, Fort Carson CO, Schofield Barracks HI, ummmm how many was that? That's all I can remember right now. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I never end up in one of the Plains states but it's really not up to me at all.
In a nutshelll (apparently a really very large nutshell) that gives you an idea what's going on right now. I have no earthly idea how to wrap this up and not abruptly end a post. All I can say is thanks for reading and I'll update again soon!
Bye for now.