June 01, 2008

The Day Before Mobilization

Tomorrow will be day 1 of 303 days of active duty service in the United State Air Force in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In mid July we will report for a 6 month tour of duty in an airbase located in northern Iraq.

I was thinking of keeping my friends and family updated through this blog of my happenings and the occasional mussing during my period of mobilization (pre-deployment, deployment and post-deployment).

Two days ago, we returned from a week long vacation in Orlando Florida. The idea was to give Monica a full set of memories that will hopefully help her cope with Papi's 6 month separation. Her fears show up in nightmares, drawings, and conversations with her playmates that we sometimes overhear.

On the eve of her last day of school (first grade), she received some merit certificates and a medal for her academic achievements. Just as Maria and I were about to reach the teacher to thank and wish her a good summer break, a group of parents of Monica's classmates presented me with a basket of goodies (sodoku books, deck of cards, toiletries, candy, pens, pencils and stationary) to help out with my deployment. As if that was not moving enough, the teacher asked us to follow her to her classroom were she then gave me 22 letters that the kids had handwritten themselves to thank me for my service and to wish me well. The letters had all of these great drawings done on crayons and many personal thoughts.

I have known that I was deploying this summer since the beginning of January 2008. I never kept it a secret from prospective employers or the customers of my consultancy. I will share with you that it had an adverse effect on my earing potential. To the point that it once or twice made Maria and I question if we could make it through to the beginning of mobilization. Thanks to some creative accounting and some belt tightening, Maria found a way for our family to make this happen.

I bring this up because my story can not be that much different than that of all other junior enlisted reservist or national guardsmen households that struggle to provide service to our country. In the end we learn that the support our troops slogan is indeed alive within our community but rarely palpable through corporate and commercial entities.

If you are tunning in to my humble accounts expecting a blow by blow description of the daily grind at the airbase you will be sorely disappointed. To avoid getting myself or my brothering into trouble or worst yet, compromise safety and security, I intend to be somewhat vague and to intentionally exclude operational details from my blog entries. However, I think that I will still be able to provide a pretty unique perspective since there are not many 44 year old Air Force Staff Sergeants in the Security Forces career field with an extensive IT background focused on Free and Open Source culture who are admittedly democrats and are native Newyoricans that have been successfully transplanted to North Texas for 10 years.

Posted by martinf at 07:49 AM | Comments (6)