I am an active duty officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. All views expressed in this blog are my personal views as an individual and not those of the Marine Corps or the Department of Defense.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

it's 5:09 AM...

and thanks to an f-ed up night I'm wide awake, stone sober and sitting on the balcony of our hotel room overlooking VA beach, typing this. But if my night turned out to be a complete waste (not in the sense I'd hoped), maybe my pre-dawn will atone. It has, after all, been a long time since most of you heard from me, though a loyal few keep calling and for that I'm grateful. So until I can call you back, I hope this little update will do.
Let's see. We're definitely past the half-way point in the POI (program of instruction) at the basic school, and it feels even further than that because we really only have a few major events left: some field exercises/urban combat stuff, the 15 mile hump (this Thursday), a few exams. Today (actually yesterday) we went out to the range and got "familiar" with some crew-served weapons we'd been studying for the past week or two. We fired the 240B med machine gun (dinkadinkadinkadinka), the 50-cal heavy MG (thwack thwack thwack thwack thwack) and the MK-19 automatic grenade launcher (thunk thunk thunk...whomp whomp whomp). It was, in a word, awesome. Of course, for 2 minutes or less of trigger time each we waited around about 8 hours or more (of course wearing flaks and fliks and all that jazz), so all in all a pretty average day here at TBS (The Big Suck). But we're finally getting to the good stuff - big guns (I fired a 155mm howitzer the other day), platoon-sized evolutions, fire and maneuver (instead of what amounts to a bonzai charge every time we spot - or think we spot - the enemy), setting up a defense (read: digging holes and filling sandbags), and in just a few short weeks - MOS's.
MOS stands for Military Occupational Specialty - your job in the Marine Corps. There are 22 MOS's open to active duty Marine Officers such as myself - everything from infantry to PAO (public affairs officer). There are a set number of slots for each. I'm going for intel, with my main back-up being combat engineer. There are more slots for each than I expected, but it's still going to be extremely competitive. I got my 1st command eval today and my SPC (staff platoon commander, a captain) thinks I'm doing a good job. He thinks I'd be a good fit for intel, but also for comm or logistics. I think not...but I told him I'd think about it, so who knows.
Anyway, we find out our MOS's in about a month, or a little less. If I get intel, I'll be training at the Navy/Marine Corps Intel Training Center in Dam, Neck, VA, which is probably a five minute low-crawl from where I'm sitting right now (incidentally, starting to watch the sun rise over the shore - life could be worse). I have no idea when I'd start there, so I might be doing some temporary duty in DC or theoretically even with my 1st unit, while I wait for the next class to start up. Regardless, I graduate TBS on July 2 (note the change from July 3 if you already had it on your calendar), all dressed up my blues and sword and the whole schtick. So that's my way of saying - come! In just a few short months I could be on my way to Afghanistan (or Hawaii, you never know), and it's been far too long since I've seen most of you anyway. So while you'll definitely be getting a bit more personal of an invitation, I just wanted to let everyone know when it is in the hopes that you'll set aside the date and join me for it. It's in Quantico, VA of course, about 40 minutes south of DC.
Two teens just skate-boarded by me down on the board-walk. It's 5:47 AM. One was wearing a kippah. We're entering the realm of the bizarre, and I think it's time to sleep. Hope to hear from you!