Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cars don't go on trees

We had some uncommonly severe weather in North Carolina a few weeks ago.  Gunnar was safe and sound sleeping in the arms room.  Probably the safest place I could dream up during a tornado.  It's 12 inches of solid steel and concrete, what could be safer?  The other guys in his unit however were still out sleeping in the woods.  I have mixed feelings about this.  I have read that outside in a ditch is much safer than being in a house or a car.  But then again, it would take a good amount of time to dig a ditch to jump into.  Just saying. 

So we had some tornadoes blow through Fayetteville.  Somehow Fort Bragg was missed by the tornadoes and we suffered only high winds, broken trees and 24 hours of no electricity.  Just outside the gates to Fort Bragg however, was an entirely different story.  Roads were closed for nearly a week while crews cleaned up the debris.  Dozens of businesses and homes were completely destroyed.  Roofs were gone, trees had fallen and were laying in all kinds of crazy places.

Growing up in the Midwest, I'm not unfamiliar with tornadoes.  Plenty of times we've headed down to the basement with a radio and flashlight and nothing significant ever happened.  Of course here my whole house is windows and I have no basement.  I have no idea where I'm even supposed to go for a tornado.  Next time I'll be in the arms room if I can! 

Here's a photo Gunnar took about 2 miles from our house:
Notice the minivan in the tree.  And the tree on the cars.  There used to be buildings right there too.  Such an incredible amount of damage was done around here.  Driving down some of the roads smells like Christmas because of the ridiculous amount of pine trees snapped in half. 

Tornado recovery is going to take a long time around here. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


ITC is the Intensive Training Cycle Gunnar and his unit are in the midst of currently.  It's an 8 week program that should help them to prepare for the next deployment.  Basically they go spend a lot of time out "in the field" doing training exercises etc.  This is what it mostly looks like:

The guys have been spending several nights at a stretch out in the field and have only been able to come in for a couple of nights here and there and then off they go back to the field.

Gunnar is in a slightly different situation as the armorer.  He is responsible for all the weapons in his company and that's a pretty big deal.  He ends up going out to the field, spending a few hours then someone realizes they'd prefer to have him back in the arms room.  Here's the funny part.  Even though he's not sleeping out in the field with the others, they make him sleep in the arms room. 

Cozy concrete floor, don'tcha think??  It's not a matter of security for the weapons that he's been sleeping on the arms room floor.  More of a nobody-gets-to-sleep-in-a-bed-so-you-don't-either sort of thing. 

This morning Gunnar left and said he actually might be sleeping in the field, not the arms room this week.  Who knows if it will actually happen, but I think I'd prefer the outdoors to the concrete floor!

Thursday, April 14, 2011


I've been wanting to say something about this for a while now but because we've been without internet for several days, I haven't had the chance.  (Oh yeah, no cable or internet because we MOVED!!  Down the street.  Another post for another day.)

Did you all hear the grumblings about the military supposedly not getting paid because of a government shutdown?  Oh my if you live on an Army base, or have a lot of Army friends on Facebook, you'd know the level of ridiculousness that we hit last week. 

To sum it up briefly, Congress needed to reach a budget agreement in which spending was cut somehow, somewhere by last Friday at midnight.  If they did not, the non-essential government offices were to be shut down until an agreement was reached. 

Somehow this translated to people who likely can't read that the US military would not receive paychecks. 

Somehow this meant Obama hates our troops and doesn't want to pay them.

Somehow it turned into being pro-life or pro-choice or somehow about abortion.

Somehow the Dept of Defense completely jumped the gun, and posted the military's earnings statements online showing a reduced paycheck before the shutdown was even scheduled to happen.  Oh yeah, which it didn't, by the way.

Somehow I was actually glad I had no connection to the media for a few days.  I do support our president and I didn't think for a minute we would actually not get paid.  I wanted to tell everyone "I told you so" but couldn't find a more eloquent way to put it. 

The lessons to be learned here are big.  So big that I really hope everyone paid attention to what's really important like don't let 1 week's pay make or break you.  Try to have at least enough in the bank to buy groceries and not get the rims on your car repossessed if you can.  Don't believe all of the crap out there.  Try to learn what's really going on.  And for the love, if some gov't office writes a memo suggesting a military pay freeze, don't think that the world is against the troops.  Don't re-post bullshit Facebook statuses that perpetuate the misinformation just because you're a Republican and don't like our current government. 

So just to set everyone's mind at ease, we received half our paycheck today and the second half is pending deposit tomorrow.  Really.  Looks like a whole lot of worrying for nothing. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

"Even when they're here, they're gone"

My friend Bekah recently told me about a show on Lifetime called "Coming Home".  Basically it's about soldiers coming home and surprising their families.  It's a tear-jerker to top all other tear-jerkers.  One soldier was saying that even when he's not deployed he still spends very little time with his family.  His wife said "even when they're here, they're gone".

I get it now.

Gunnar is currently in ITC (Intensive Training Cycle).  It means that his unit is simulating a lot of combat exercises during the week, including sleeping out in the woods.  For about 8 weeks they are only able to come home Friday through Monday each week.  Gunnar's position is slightly different as the armorer so he has only had to spend a couple of nights actually outside.  So far.  He did have to spend a few nights last week on the concrete floor of the arms room, but hopefully he'll be able to come home this week.  Eventually.  He's been at work 14 hours and counting right about now.  I'd tell you what he's doing there so late but it's so dumb you might not even believe me.