Saturday, November 8, 2008

Where does the time go???

Good grief! It's November!! I can't believe it's been almost 9 months since I left SLO, and trudged through the idiocy that is Boot Camp. Well, I already talked about Boot Camp and EOD Dive Prep Course, and...sorry, I had to re-read my last entry...where was I?? Ok, so I left off at the beginning of Dive School.
Gosh, it's been long enough ago that I can hardly recall what all happened - plus it was only for 2 months. In a nutshell, we learned how to dive SCUBA (even though I already knew how to) and the Mk16, a low/non-magnetic, mixed-gas, rebreather diving rig which allows us to dive on magnetically influenced underwater ordnance to a depth of 300'.

Each rig is worth about a Chevy Corvette...a pretty cool system, but not very user-friendly. Between these two main points, we mostly just got beat-down (PT-wise), and hung out in Panama City at the beach on weekends. Um, other than that, I guess there really isn't much else worth mentioning. Certainly, I'd like to thank you (my friends and family) so much for all the love and support I've received, especially during that phase of my training. I was pretty weak and in a low place, and I couldn't have done it without you! much as I enjoy diving, Dive School was a real kick in the teeth. I don't know why it robbed me of the joys of diving...weird. Whatever, I'm past that point; I'm stronger and tougher now. On to the Prize.

Mid-July '08 - So, here I am now: NAVSCOLEOD; a.k.a. The University of Bombs and Bullets. The first 5 weeks I was here, I was pulled out of training due to a security clearance issue - I swear I'm not a spy, hahahaha! But, after I got cleared, things have been pretty sweet! I can't say anything terribly specific, but let's just say that I'm learning how to save the free world, one bomb at a time. Ironically, it pretty much involves blowing up the things we try and keep from blowing up...of course, we make the things we don't want to blow up near that school or hospital or whatever, safe to move to someplace where it can be blown up first. Blowing stuff up is AWESOME!! Who'dathunkit?? So far, as challenging as this school is reputed to be (the 3rd toughest school, period. #1 is some law school somewhere, #2 is something else...and then us, presumably because of how stressful it is), things are going smoothly. I'm just soaking up the training and taking care of business the way they are training me. Outside of school, I've been trying to make my life as close to the way things were as possible. There is surf out here, so I bought a board and I try and catch waves whenever they come through, which isn't very often. And the waves just aren't anything like they are in Cali. During the summer, I was playing a lot of v-ball on the beach. Went deep-sea fishing for red snapper a few weekends ago. Other than that, just kinda whatever. There are a few weekend nights where I'll drive the boys out for drinks. There is a country line dance bar out here. It's sorta fun. Slim pickin's on beautiful (available) women that can dance or that don't smoke...I work out a bunch, watch movies, and drink coffee. Yep, that's pretty much the latest and the greatest.
I'm definitely getting more and more used to the military lifestyle, enough that I don't miss Home as much as I used to, at least not so much that I get often...I'm definitely anxious and excited to come home for Christmas!!! So, that's what's driving me from now until December : ) We'll have to coordinate our schedules so I can come see whoever's around!!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Time for an update!

IAW (In Accordance With) the ever-gentle prompting by dearest Shannon, I am well overdue for an entry...
Oh let's see...since my last entry:
Boot Camp - Boot Camp was pretty lame...From 14 FEB - 16 APR 2008, I was at Naval Recruit Training Command (RTC) - Great Lakes, IL where I underwent Basic "Sailorization". Three months after the fact, it's a little hard to explain all that we did, but as I jog my memory we learned about naval history, ships and aircraft, basic damage control, fire fighting, and line-handling, and of course we PT'ed some; surprisingly we PT'ed less than I thought we would - I actually got out of shape...Anyway here is a copy of the 2nd and 5th letters I wrote home:

02 MAR 08

Hi Mom, Dad, Janet, and Brian!

I’m about halfway through my first week of Boot Camp now and I’ve determined that Boot Camp is about as close to prison as I’d ever like to be – well, there’s still some cool stuff that I’m learning and doing, but next to taking care of our basic needs, they treat us like we are a bunch of idiots…Maybe it’s just a part of the “sailor-ization” process, or it’s a strategy to keep us all in line, but I’m know I’m bigger and better than that; my RDC’s know it – I’ve proven I have the potential to them (they promoted me to Division Yeoman, so now I’m in charge of everybody’s paperwork – I’ll be tracking and documenting everybody’s progress through Boot Camp…It’s an important job – it won’t mean anything beyond Boot Camp, but I haven’t had to “scrub any toilets with my toothbrush”, which is nice!)’s really not that bad, I’m just frustrated with the treatment – mostly about how much trouble one gets for making a simple mistake, even an honest mistake that would easily be corrected with simple words…Instead I got a ridiculous “tongue-lashing”. I hear the Fleet is better; this is just the way Boot Camp is, so I’m just going to work on getting our of Boot Camp ASAP!!

In other news, the division is getting a nasty “bug” that took out about 30 of us – I’m still decently healthy and trying to stay that way, so please pray about that! It’s nice having three square meals a day, but we are starting to workout six days a week so hopefully they’ll feed us more! I’m getting better at ironing (in the dark!). I still get double creases but I have some of the sharpest creases in the division – there are a lot of guys worse off than me! I guess there’s not much else to say at this point, but I dream of home often enough. Keep praying for me to play along in this crazy game of “Simon Says”, for me to get “thicker skin”, and stay healthy, and be a good example to these guys!

Miss you and love you all!


23 MAR 08

Dear Mom, Dad, Janet & Brian,

In case you haven’t noticed the pattern, “Holiday Routine” breaks up each week of Boot Camp; so this is the middle of the 4th week. This week has been pretty good, although, I’m finding myself pretty tired – to the point where I fall asleep during marching drills, which is pretty ridiculous! Let’s see, the beginning of the time since I last wrote, we learned about “line” (or “rope”, to the layperson) and we had a lab where we untied a “ship” from a “pier” and pretended to set sail, and then came back and tied the “ship” up again. It was actually pretty fun, and the division came together for a little bit, teamwork-wise. After that, Chief nominated me, and 3 others from my division, to go before an Awards Board and basically interview/be judged as 1 out of about 7 award winners for the “top recruit” of all the divisions with the same “graduation” date (~800 recruits), BUT, only 2 recruits from each division are allowed to go before the board and the randomly picked two out of us four and, unfortunately, I wasn’t picked – I was pretty disappointed – I really wanted to win one of those awards, apparently I prepared for nothing and missed out on a pool PT session; but in the end, it doesn’t really matter beyond Boot Camp, no one in the Fleet will care, it just would have made for an extra special “graduation”, even then, after graduating from Cal Poly, this is small stuff, I guess. Anyway, after that, I got qualified as a marksman for the 9mm pistol (not bad, but I’m not a “Sharpshooter”, or “Expert”, yet) and I get to wear a 2nd ribbon at graduation (the 1st is for joining during wartime – everybody gets that), hooray! The whole ribbon business is where this place, and I guess the military, as a whole, is like boy scouts on steroids. I suppose it’s a great motivational tool; I’d definitely like to try and get as many as I can!
Today, we got our dress uniforms back from tailoring. Monday we take pictures and re-tailor them if they need it.
That’s the latest! Hope you guys are well! Thank you for the prayers – the cough is basically gone and my knee is better. I have a drill/marching inspection to stay awake and in-step through, a test, and firefighting lessons to get through, probably before you get this letter, but that’s OK.

Happy Easter, by the way!



Hopefully that gives you a little taste of my time in Boot Camp...It wasn't a terribly pleasant experience, but I'm still glad with my decision and things have gotten vastly better, but I'll get more into that later...

Needless to say, I "graduated" from Boot Camp (technically, I "pass-in-review"-ed ) and here are a few pics:

After Boot Camp, from 16 APR - 19 MAY 2008, I went (literally) across the street to the Naval Service Training Center (NSTC) where I spent a month attending EOD/Dive Preparatory School where I PT'ed some more, learned my IWP's (in-water procedures), and became familiar with dive physics and dive medicine. Then we got our orders to fly down to Panama City, FL for Dive School!!

And so, here I am now at the Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center in Panama City, FL. We classed up last Thursday and got beat-down (a relatively brutal PT session) and am recuperating this Memorial Day Weekend! That's a pretty cut-and-dry recount of the past 3 1/2 months...Training from this point on is supposed to be pretty hot-and-heavy and I'm not sure how often I'll be able to make entries, but I'll do what I can!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

George Strait/Super Bowl Weekend & Beyond

These past few days have been pretty crazy...Thursday (1/31) was my last day at work - Yay!! Friday (2/1) the company took me out for a "going-away" lunch. We went to Novo in downtown SLO. Very tasty!! And then my brother, his g/f, and a good friend o' mine went to see Josh Turner and George Strait at the Savemart Center in Fresno - such an amazing concert! Glad I got to see a country legend before I ship out! That lead to a long drive back to SLO, sleeping in on Saturday morning, waking up, executing "Phase 1" of packing my crap up and moving it back to Mom & Dad's place, and then getting to Mom & Dad's place just in time for dinner; We also were celebrating Chinese New Year early (I think my sis was gonna be busy the following weekend, so we opted for this past one). Then I went to my old church and was blessed by a few close friends as they prayed over my upcoming adventure. Then I boogied off to Tracy, CA to catch a majority of the back half of the Superbowl as a few of my Sacramento friends came down to watch at a mutual friends place, which saved me the chore of driving up to Sac to see them. I spent the night in Tracy and busted down to Fresno, yet again, in the AM to see some other friends (Nick & Jeannie, and Brit, and Josh & Crystal) there as I passed thru on my way back to SLO - so much fun! I got back to SLO at about 7:30 PM to have dinner with my old roomie and his wife (Charles & Lauren) which was "payment" for watching their cat. At the same time, one of my Navy Special Warfare (NSW) mentors called me and requested that I go down to UCLA on Wednesday, 5:00 AM, to do a "dry-run" for an event they are putting on this weekend [check it out:]. It was a pretty cool deal, the media was there and I may have gotten a few seconds on LA's morning and midday news - I haven't seen any of it, but I suppose I can say that I was on TV, woohoo! But, I got my @$$ kicked pretty good and I'm currently a little concerned with my current level of fitness now...The guys have been real encouraging, and technically I'm in good physical standing, I guess I just wish I did better and that I wasn't so friggin' cold and cramped up. I did however impress a few of the SEAL and EOD officers and chiefs with my swim...the rest of the gig...well, let's not talk about that...Now, I'm trying to gain back the time I spent away towards packing up all my stuff - it's not going so well - I need a shower and I've been up for the past 20 hours...

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Look what I found!!!

Actually, George Borden sent me about a huge shot of nostalgia?? In fact, I had forgotten who all was on that trip - oh yeah, that's right: I was suffering from the worst dehydration headache ever!!! And it started during the 1st 1/4 of the 20 mile hike - no bueno! Hey, now who is that hot lil' biddy in the middle??? Oh hey Shan!!! ; )

Monday, January 28, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day to Me.......

So, about that last post and having 30+ days before I said bye-bye t0 my civilian life...30+ days has now become 17 days...Yeah yeah yeah, I'm a whiny baby, boo hoo...I think, if I had been properly prepared for this shocking blow to the way I wanted to do things, I'd have been ok, but clearly, that is not the case...

Good news, I got my new contract for Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD, which basically means "bomb squad"), a facet of Navy Special Warfare/Operations, $40,000 signing bonus, and the pride, honor, and glory of knowing you are a member of an elite task force (of course, provided I survive the training; I've set off to mentally prepare myself during the rest of my short time left in SLO, to will myself to just not quit, no matter how hard it gets, to achieve success).
Bad news, apparently they are in such a high demand for EOD and SEALS that they want me ASAP. I guess in order to have me in the next EOD class, I gotta leave for Boot Camp on the 14th of February - what a wonderful v-day for me...sure I didn't have anything planned, but still: hooray : P

So, I was planning to visit friends all over the state, and await the arrival of the Pulliams, but it seems I'm getting extra lessons in sacrifice [I may have to miss 3 or 4 weddings, one of which might be my sister's...], my friends' kids' birthdays, and I just don't know if I'll get to say my "Good-bye's/See you later's" in person or at all...that's just the way I roll, I always try to say "G'bye" before leaving...then again, that's partly why I set up this blog, to document my military journey, share my experiences and stories, to stay connected to y'all and gather your support when I'm on the front lines, quite possibly "saving the world" (one bomb at a time)...

Friday, January 25, 2008

2 Week Notice

With 33 days, and counting down, left to my civilian live, I put in my 2-week-notice at work. Feels pretty good : ) I'm excited, as well as nervous and scared, about moving on with my life. I realize that, while being there for my friends is a huge priority to me, I can't put my own life on hold for every event of everyone else's life, as we all inevitably move on with life and some may have to break away to do whatever God puts before them...perhaps a lesson in sacrifice?

Anyway, I'm headed to LA Sunday/Monday, staying at the Westin, and then on to the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) to prove my vision is solid, and draw up a contract that I wasn't eligible for with my pre-LASIK vision. There's a small possibility that that could postpone my shipout date of Feb. 28, but I doubt it - if anything, they'd want me sooner than later. So it's probably safe to say that I'll definitely be gone by the 28th, but there's a very small chance that it could also be a little bit later...we'll see!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Road Trip!!!

[How do you publicize your blog? I know a few of my friends will probably be interested in this particular blog, but I don't think many of them even know I have a blog...]

Oh hey gang!
So, for those of you that know Ish and Dave/Rachel/Pearl Berry; well, Ish and I were having a manly dinner "date", consisting of white rice, Trader Joe's Orange Chicken (talk about easy, good, healthier dinner fare), and beer, and we came up with an excellent idea...Well, first, I had just had an awesome weekend down in SoCal, visiting a few friends that I hadn't seen in a while, or since they moved from the SLO area many many moons ago, and I'm scheduled to ship out for Basic Training with the Navy in a little over a month from now, and I said to Ish:

"Ish, what does your February look like?" and Ish replied: "Feb-tober?" "Yeah, Feb-terday..." And I can't really convey the rest of the dialogue...But, I really need to make the rounds to the north, and we've decided to plan a trip up north to see Dave & Rachel & their new baby Pearl, Berry, up in Portland, OR, before I ship out...and so, I present you the same question I asked Ish:

What do your February's look like?? Anyone wanna join us on a road trip to see the Berry's?????