I haven't written much in the last couple days for a few reasons.
1. The abortion that was the Mission Readiness Exercise (MRX). I won't get into it too much because it honestly depresses the hell out of me, but I will say this: there have been few other events in my life that have so broken my spirit. The PAOC was great (more on this in a future post) but the MPAD... they were a group of bitter, arrogant, hateful people who didn't even TRY to participate in the exercise. You can't just decided not to qualify with your weapon at premob, so why would you think you can decide not to validate at your mission specific exercise? You don't have a choice.
It seems the leadership of the MPAD evidently didn't pass on the whole purpose of the exercise, leaving the lower enlisteds questioning (a) who we, as the trainers, even were and (b) why they had to listen to us. They missed the entire point. Some of that was simply the leaders not passing down the info from the OPORD, the rest was an overall negative attitude toward everything. The most maddening:
Why did we have to work out of the PAO shop instead of our barracks/warehouse? Because there was an EXERCISE going on. How can we conduct it unless we're all in the same spot?
Why were there so many "hey you" missions? Poor prior planning? Nope, those are called FRAGOs, and if you've been in the Army more than 10 minutes, you know they can happen all the time. And those "hey you" missions were built into the exercise matrix, as FRAGOs, way in advance. I can show you.
Some of the members of the MPAD blogged about their experience with us and how terrible it was: while I am all about freedom of expression and the need to vent, I hope the blogs will be addressed by people much higher than their commander. The bloggers ignorantly blamed the whole mess on us. I wouldn't be so upset if it were valid complaints, but they simply aren't.
I was even referenced in one of the blogs:
... We called DVIDS and their satellite provider and they weren't getting enough power. So one of the "instructors" comes out to help and said, "I was able to send some stuff when I set up across the street last night." When we did that, we got a sweet lock and sent about 30 min of footage ...
I was that "instructor." Even though I was clearly helping them out, which he admits, I was still an "instructor." I've linked both of the blogs above for you, but I'm going to force myself not to look at them again as they make me want to beat my face against a wall. I'm so angry I can hardly speak.
I know I said I didn't want to say much about it and I did anyways. So now I'm moving on.
2. The holiday blahs. I'm just not feeling very merry this year, you know? If it wasn't for Tree, we wouldn't have had any decorations out, or even a tree up. He jollied up the house, and I'm reluctantly admitting publicly that I'm glad for it. Christmas and all the crap that goes along with it just sucked the life out of me. I wish I could blame it all on one thing (the HHB party, the bleak economy, the MRX, post-deployment depression, etc.) but it's all and none of those things. The more I try to nail it down, the less like the truth it seems.
3. I have the bubonic plague (or something). I have been fighting this mutant cold for two weeks and still can't breathe, can't taste anything, can't sleep. My throat is still sore, my eyes still water constantly, my head still feels like it's going to explode. I wish it would.
4. Trying to be a better wife. This one is the toughest, and the most personal (I debated whether or not to include it here, but fuck it, it's my blog, right?). Tree and I have gone through some extraordinarily difficult times, and I know an impending deployment won't make it any easier on us. But while I'm here, while I can, I'm going to make a real, serious effort to do all of the things I should have been doing all along. He will give me this deployment, and I will learn to give him what he needs as well.
I just finished watching the last part of Band of Brothers and now it's almost midnight. I should get some sleep - it's a long drive back to New Jersey tomorrow.
I'll try to get back into the blogging spirit. I've missed it.
12/30: please read UPDATE: give me back my point of view to see my conversation with one of the bloggers from the MPAD
"oh well, it seems like such fun
until you lose what you had won"
- Jet "Look What You've Done" -