Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I might be able to fly on Thursday the 30th of September. They decided to chop my flight to Kuwait since that would have been in FY11. There have been no FY11 funds released yet so that was the sticking point in my original itinerary. The plan is to amend my orders as soon as those funds are released while, simultaneausly, booking that Kuwait flight. All this needs to be done before the 3rd of October. I really don't care at this point. As long as I get to the Deployment Center in Virginia, I'll worry about onward movement after that.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fort Riley Closeout - Suplemental

Why was I surprised? I arrived at MHK only to be turned away from my flight. It seems SATO Travel / Carlson-Wagonlit would not pay for my flight due to my orders not being in order. I called Carlson-Wagonlit last week to check on the status of my travel reservations and to see if they needed me to send them copies of my DA Form 1610. I was told not to worry, that the Deployment Center would send my orders over to them. I had sent copies to my liaison so it sounded like a plausible course of action. Never-the-less I was a bit suspicious. My fears played out today...............

I don't know what to do next. I will contact the Deployment Center (I've already left a voicemail with my liaison.) first thing tomorrow. There is still the problem of making my orders acceptable. The rage within me has tied me into knots. I am looking at a delay of at least a week. I feel let down by the very people that are supposed to help and I feel I let down the Munitions Office in Afghanistan that is waiting on me. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Close Out At Fort Riley

I am leaving. Not all paperwork is done. It seems the last few days folks have been coming out of the woodwork trying to get involved in my deployment. Three months ago they wouldn't give me the time of day nor were interested in what I was up to. Additionally, I called the DOD Passport/Visa liaison office at the State Department in D.C. They have my passport - it was slated to get a visa sometime next month. FAIL. I will travel on my tourist passport.

I leave Fort Riley with a deep feeling of frustration. I want so badly to name names and agencies and wear out the ICE application. However, I am sure that I am partly to blame. When turned away, as this process evolved, I worked through all the issues myself. I should have pushed back at the apathy I encountered. It wasn't until the end that I couldn't reconcile where some of the most important documents should go. I will address the deployment process at the Deployment Center in Virginia and try to come up with a way to improve the flow of information.

My next entry should come from the United States CORPS of Engineer Deployment Center in Winchester, VA.

CLARIFICATION: I work in what is called the MSE. In the MSE there are several G staff sections. Mine is G3. I have recieved nothing but the best support from the G3.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Continueing Issues

The feed tray to the Army's paperwork machine keeps jamming. I still am getting friction on who gets what piece of paper. CPOC is resisting taking some documents (SF Form 1190 and Pay Cap Memo) that the Deployment Center AMC rep thinks they should take. It mainly involves my pay. My level of confidence with the agencies that are supposed to support me is very low. I still don't have my Official passport yet either. I fly on Sunday.

I've created an extensive POC list from all agencies involved in my deployment. I am keeping a hard copy with me. If need be I can work through these distractions as I move into Theater.

Friday, September 17, 2010


I've been trying to figure out how to move my personal belongings to Afghanistan. The items issued to me at the Deployment Center are all carried in a duffel bag. No sweat, I know how to do the duffel bag drag. When it comes to my stuff and how to move it efficiently, however, I want to make it as easy as possible. I had originaly purchased a DCU MOLLE ruck so I could move my things on my back while doing the duffel bag drag with the other items. Sometimes you have to walk quite a distance with all your gear when you deploy. The idea of humping a fully loaded ruck started to seem a bit too old school for me so I started looking into alternantives. I asked my Deployment Center liason if rolling duffles were OK to use (I read on-line somewhere that their use is discouraged). She said I could use one but the Air Force gets "Pissy"  because the wheels sometimes scratch up the floor in their planes. She said people carry 100 mph tape to tape up the wheels to make the boys in blue happy. Decision made. I'm taking my cavernous Cabela's rolling duffel. I am also taking some straps to secure a duffle bag on top. No duffel bag drag either.

Carryon baggage? I'll be strapping on my Maxpedition Mongo.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Some Updates

I was able to get the M9 qualification done today. I shot expert - missing only one target. I am a, somewhat, regular shooter of all types of weapons so I expected to sail through on this. I may or may not get an M9 issued to me in Theater but at least now I'm prepared.

The financial issues I've experienced are mostly solved. I think they decided I needed a hard copy DA Form 1610 and not DTS orders. The Army Sustainment Command has yet to officially hack off on this but I think it will go. We'll see...........

The last item in my to do list is to get my Official Passport, with visa, back from the Afghanistan embassy. This one is a show stopper. If I don't get this soon I may have to delay my deployment.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

$ Money $

Funds, Lines of Accounting, End of the FY, DTS, Time Cards, MIPRs, Fund Cites. Horrible words and acronyms. Of all the training, documentation, and medical requirements nothing comes close to the maze and sticky wickets of solving the "money" issue. Less than 3 weeks til wheels up and I am lost in the sauce.

"money, it's a crime
share it fairly, but don't take a slice of my pie
money so they say,
is the root of all evil today
but if you ask for a raise it's no surprise that they're giving none away" - Roger Waters

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Passport and Visa

An Official Passport is required to travel to Afghanistan. However, it is possible to get into Afghanistan without a visa. This is because you might fly in on a military aircraft. If you fly commercial, obviously, a visa is a must. I recommend that you get a visa even if you are slated for MILAIR.

If you have to leave the country quickly you may have no choice but to fly out on a commercial flight. When the local authorities check your official passport and see no visa it may create problems that will certainly delay you. The fact that you may not have an arrival stamp is another matter entirely.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Getting Ready

The process to qualify for this deployment has been quite complicated. When soldiers deploy they are force fed all the things they need to do to get done. Once selected, I had to wade through various web sites to get lists of training I needed, medical exams, and immunizations required. Napoleon said an army runs on it's stomach - I disagree. It's paperwork, plain and simple. "In god we trust but everyone else needs to fill out this stack of forms. Make sure they're complete, legible and that you have sufficient copies."

For those of you out there that might deploy as a civilian I suggest you scan all your paperwork and post them in your files on AKO.

In some cases deploying civilians are allowed to carry a sidearm if the local commander allows it. Nothing, so far, indicates that I will get one. If I travel off the camp I will certainly petition the commander to let me carry an M9.

I went to Custer Hill today and did some PMI (Preliminary Marksmanship Instruction) on the EST 2000. The EST 2000 is a great tool to use before you go out and use live rounds. I qualified expert in short order. This will prep me for the live fire I hope to achieve later this month with a CAV unit here on post. It will be nice to arrive in country with a current qualification.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

New Journey, New Adventure

This idea has been bouncing around my head for some time now. My work at Fort Riley has always kept the war foremost in my thoughts as I helped supply and manage ammunition for Army units prepping for deployment. Although I am a Desert Storm guy I always thought that just one more deployment might be fun after I retired. So I am going to Kabul, Afghanistan to help the US and maybe NATO manage their Class V supplies. Essentially, I'll be a bullet banker.

While on active duty, especially in the later years, I had no interest in going anywhere without my new family. Now I face this 179 day walk-about with a bit of trepidation. I do not fear for myself. I fear the loss of time with my wife and son. Living with them is the most incredible experience I could ever hope to have. It seems foolish to let precious time be spent away from them.

So why am I doing this? The answer is not so simple. Duty to country and solidarity with our soldiers, lust for adventure, money (yeah the ducats), career reasons, ad nauseum.....