Wednesday, March 24

16 March

Another unit moved into our building today. It is a Field Artillery Battery mobilizing for Operation Noble Eagle. Noble Eagle is the operation to safeguard bases and other sites in the U.S. that are important for national security. In this case, they'll be guarding a couple of chemical weapons depots here in the U.S. There are a lot of soldiers in the unit and they're really cramping our style :-) We pretty much 'owned' the building before they showed up. The good news is they'll only be here for a week and a half before moving on to the depots.

I really need to get used to the bugle calls here. Loud speakers on post sound Reveille at 6:30 to raise the flag. All units, including ours, are formed up at that time to start physical training after the flag is raised. All the troops are quartered on a part of the post called Custer Hill. The MPs block off the entire hill to car traffic during PT so that units can run without worrying about traffic. I have two men that have to attend a transportation meeting on another part of post at 7:30, but have to leave our billets at 6:25 so they can get off the hill before it's closed down.

At 5 p.m. they sound Retreat and lower the flag. Everyone outdoors stops what they're doing, faces the flag or the sound of the bugle, and salutes. Even people in cars pull over, get out, and pay respect. Then over the course of the evening several more bugle calls go out. I don't know yet what they all mean. However, the final call is at 11:00 pm. That's supposed to signal 'lights out' but we're usually already in our racks by then.

13 March

Today we had a class on Troop Leading Procedures. TLP are sort of a 'project management/leadership methodology' that the Army uses as a framework for planning, communicating, and executing missions. It was mostly review for me, but for a lot of the soldiers it was their first instruction about it. Everyone in the Army needs to be on this framework to cut down on the time it takes to familiarize and orient units to each other. The Army task organizes all the time now, throwing together a mixture of units needed to accomplish a particular mission. The framework makes units "plug and play" compatible-- a term I borrow from the computer industry that means you can plug a device into your PC and have it work right away without a lot of special setup.

This evening the girl friend of one of our NCOs brought us pork loin to grill, and a cheese cake. One of the officers grilled veggies. It was quite a treat and we all pitched in to reimbursed the girl friend. We set up tables in the day room to eat on while we watched the movie 'Open Range' on the TV. She also brought her dogs-- which were a big hit. The soldiers smothered them with affection.

-- Rick

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