desertvixen: (Initial D)
Day 11 – A book you hated
2010 Answer: Oliver Twist

So, this year's answer is brought to you by the Fourth Infantry Division's deployment reading list.

1. The Punishment of Virtue by Sarah Chayes.  This one came HIGHLY recommended by a ton of higher-ups in our unit, and I hated it.  Hated it with a burning passion.  So, it's written by this former NPR journalist who goes to cover the initial AFG effort, and then ended up going back and getting involved in things.  Too much navel-gazing, and too much complaining about how corrupt people in Afghanistan are while she worked for members of the Karzai family.  (Pot and kettle much?)  Also, too much talking about how different she was.  There was only one other officer who agreed with me on how bad it was, and he used to be an enlisted man.  And yes, when I'm saying you're too liberal for my tastes, that says something.

2. In My Father's Country: An Afghan Woman Defies Her Fate by Saima Wahab.  Another "highly recommended" title, in this case recommended by the Commanding General of the Third Infantry Division (that should have been a sign).  More navel gazing, more "I am the only person in my situation" (I am noticing this a lot in books written by women about dealing with AFG), more getting on my nerves.  Especially the part where she was a translator who got involved with the officer she worked for, and made everything a big drama, and then didn't understand why people didn't like her.  Spare me, please.

The Rest of the Meme )
desertvixen: (Initial D)
The signups for [ profile] intoabar end Sunday night.  It's a pretty low-stress ficathon, with the only real issue being what character you get paired up with from one of your fandoms.  Minimum is 500 words, so very doable.

Started watching Visionaries last night on YouTube, since this seems to be the last of the 80s stuff I enjoy that has not been released.  We have Youtube access on the nightshift, which is nice.

The people I've been helping study for the board did well on the mock board, so they'll be going to the big promotion board on Tuesday.  We have one person out of this month's crop who did badly, so maybe now he will listen.  While he's a smart (very smart, probably too smart for the Army) guy, he has a tendency to come across as slightly supercilious/condescending and that's bad when you're only an E-4.  He's also older than the average E-4 and I don't think that helps.  However, what sunk him on the board was the fact that once he makes a mistake, he crumbles because he can't just roll past it.  That is fatal on the board.

And, can't remember if I mentioned it, but my board for consideration for promotion to E-8 (which would be a very big step and likely my last promotion) has been pushed back to December 3 due to the shutdown after-effects, rather than meeting in November.  This means that I likely will not know the results before February, when I am either coming home on leave or coming home to stay.  Also, this means I will be waiting on the results of my application to the National Intelligence University (they come out on April 1) and my board results during the same time.  March could be a snappy month.


Day 7

Oct. 8th, 2013 09:07 am
desertvixen: (schroedingers cat)
 It's my 15th Army Birthday... five more years to go.

 I made it to the gym today, and did Day 1 of the 30-Day Shred.  Pretty decent workout.  I'm going to add a filter to talk about it, so comment on this post if you would like to be added.

 The Yuletide tag-set is almost ready for nominations time, although this year the issue seems to be whether or not to let Gwen Stacy in and mis-modding of some comics fandom.  I don't have a dog in the fight, but I think it would probably be best if apologies were made, mistakes were admitted, and she was let in.

desertvixen: (thimble pricks)
 This will be a repeat for anyone on FB, but this has me irritated:

 I'm pretty sure that anyone whose reading skills qualify them for college can figure out that American Military University is NOT affiliated with the military.  Military people may be the primary audience, but that seems to be changing.

 I'm also really tired of this inference that military personnel, especially enlisted people, aren't smart enough to figure out what school they should be attending.  If Senator Durbin is so worried about that, they should look at some of the other schools that come on post to recruit, such as University of Phoenix.

 Lastly, AMU is not "much more expensive" - not when TA covers an entire class (and will cover up to 6 classes a year) least until the new fiscal year starts and we see what they do with TA then, which will be another issue you can expect to see on my FB and here.

 If we are not friends on FB, and you would like to be, I have a link to my FB in the profile!

desertvixen: (thimble pricks)
... it makes me happy in my liberal little heart.

However, what does not make me happy is repeatedly hearing/reading about how people don't care because they "don't let their (heterosexual) sex lives overlap with their work lives".

I have news for them - if they display a picture of their partner on their desk, talk about their partner at work, or just don't hide said partner, they are letting their sex life overlap with their work life.

It's not like all of a sudden, our gay brothers/sisters-in-arms are going to come in talking all about the orgy they went to this weekend.  They can't get married and have their partner recieve benefits, like other married people in the service.

But they won't have to hide it anymore.  They can change their profile pic on Facebook to include their partner, or put a picture of the partner on their desk, or be honest about the fact that their "roommate" isn't just helping them save money on rent.

And for all the people who complain that it's a volunteer force and they volunteered knowing they would have to hide it, please go off somewhere and STFU - especially if you don't wear a uniform.  They signed up, which is more than we can say for a lot of people these days.  They deserve the same respect for their relationship as anyone else.

desertvixen: (schroedingers cat)
 I'm still alive.  I'm just trapped in AIT land, with my 70-80 hour work week.  I am planning a "Day in the Life" post, but I'd have to make time to sit down and write it.

 The MV continues her campaign for world domination through cuteness.

 My Siamese overlords cope with my work schedule by taking frequent naps and practicing their starved kitty act.

 I promise an actual substantive update this weekend, complete with pictures.

desertvixen: (Default)

 So, I finally managed to read this week's edition of the Times, and lo and behold, another letter related to the SPC Hutchinson issue.

 The original letter (and my initial response) is here.

 The letter I sent in (with the actual published bits in bold) is here.

 The letter that made me want to strangle someone yesterday:


I am writing in response to the Charge or Discharge article in which I saw an opinion from the field.

A SFC made a comment that it wasn't easy to deploy and leave your child in someone else's care.  I will agree that it is tougher for a single parent facing a deployment, but the fact of the matter is this: You know what you're doing when you sign the paperwork, and no one is immune from deployment.

If you refuse to honor the commitment that you swore to honor, there is no "charge or discharge" about it, you are to be held accountable for your actions. 

I am fairly sure her unit was given more than enough notice about the upcoming deployment.

 I'm not sure if they somehow got this from my letter or not, but what really annoys me is that I addressed this issue in my reply, and it was cut out for my letter to essentially teach Pregnancy in the Army 101.  I mean, I actually agreed with this writer that we're all deployable, and we all need to have a plan, but we know what happened to the letter.

 Hutchinson joined the Army.  She got pregnant at some point after that, and had a child.  She did not opt to get out while pregnant, and she HAD a family care plan that failed.  I can't speak to whether she actually planned to not deploy or not - the news stories tend to slant one direction or the other, and I'm sure none of them tell the whole story.  She is being charged with appropriate charges (missed movement for one).  Honestly, I think she should be chaptered out.  

 The Family Care Plan is a necessity.  Single parents (and dual-military couples) have to have one, because the job has requirements that are beyond what a civilian job has.  I drop my daughter off before five in the morning, and I pick her up after seven at night.  (She's in a in-home daycare.)  Sometimes, I'm going to have to work weekend days, or night shift, or be in the field for a week or more.  I have to have a backup plan.  Honestly, having a good back up plan means less stress for me.

desertvixen: (SFC)

 They did print my response to Single Female Soldiers Getting Pregnant Destroys Government Property.

 Part of it, anyway.  (I know, I know, they reserve the right to edit, but ... they sort of pulled my letter's teeth.)

 My letter is under the cut, with the parts printed in the Times in bold.

 They cut all the good parts! )
desertvixen: (SFC)

 We're everywhere you look.  But sometimes you don't see us, because we don't look like what you're expecting.  We come in all shapes and sizes, from young to old, male and female, from every different race, ethnicity, walk of life.  Some of us have children, and even grandchildren - some of us do not.  We are single, married, divorced. 

 In short, we're very much like the people around us.  Remember us every day, not just today.

  To my brothers and sisters in arms, thanks for joining the party.  Let's keep it going.

desertvixen: (your offering pleases kitty)

 Congratulations to [profile] sappersgt, who along with my coworker, is one of the newest Staff Sergeants in the United States Army.

desertvixen: (feminine intuition)

In a historic but little-noticed change in policy, the Army is allowing scores of husband-and-wife soldiers to live and sleep together in the war zone — a move aimed at preserving marriages, boosting morale and perhaps bolstering re-enlistment rates at a time when the military is struggling to fill its ranks five years into the fighting.

*** *** ***


Personally, for myself, I'd rather we deployed separately so that someone is here, providing stability for MV. Also, I think I would spend a lot of time worrying about whether or not we were presenting an image that would make people jealous. I also think the no-PDA rule would be very hard.

desertvixen: (pondering)

Army secretary resigns in scandal's wake
By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer 37 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey abruptly stepped down Friday as the Bush administration struggled to cope with the fallout from a scandal over substandard conditions for war-wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Harvey's departure, announced on short notice by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, was the most dramatic move in an escalating removal of officials with responsibilities over one of the military's highest-profile and busiest medical facilities.

Read more... )

Glad to see someone accepting responsibility.

I would be happier to see someone fix the problem. Part of the problem, of course, is that Walter Reed is on the BRAC list, and no one wants to spend money to fix problems that will eventually go away. We have the same problem in our headquarters, although not on as great a scale. Why spend money when we'll be moving to a new building in two-three years?

desertvixen: (DF)

Officer's court-martial ends in mistrial
By MELANTHIA MITCHELL, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 7 minutes ago

FORT LEWIS, Wash. - A judge declared a mistrial Wednesday in the court-martial of an Army lieutenant who refused to deploy to Iraq, saying the soldier did not fully understand a document he signed admitting to elements of the charges.

Prosecutors said 1st Lt. Ehren Watada admitted in the document that he had a duty to go to Iraq with his fellow soldiers. Watada, however, said he admitted only that he did not go to Iraq with his unit, not that he had a duty to go.

Military judge Lt. Col. John Head granted prosecutors' request for a mistrial, which Watada's lawyer opposed. He set a March 12 date for a new trial and dismissed the jurors.

Watada, 28, of Honolulu, had been expected to testify in his own defense Wednesday until Head and attorneys met in a closed meeting for much of the morning.

Watada is the first commissioned officer to be court-martialed for refusing to go to Iraq, said Eugene Fidell, president of the National Institute of Military Justice in Washington, D.C.

In the 12-page stipulation of fact he signed last month, Watada acknowledged that he refused to deploy last June with his unit, the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, and that he made public statements criticizing the Iraq war. Watada has said he refused to go to Iraq because he believes the war is illegal.

In exchange, prosecutors dropped two charges of conduct unbecoming an officer against him. He remains charged with missing movement — for his refusal to deploy — and two other allegations of conduct unbecoming an officer for comments made about the case. He could receive four years in prison and a dishonorable discharge if convicted.

In their opening statements Tuesday, prosecutors said Watada abandoned his soldiers and brought disgrace upon himself and the service by accusing the Army of war crimes and denouncing the Bush administration.

Watada's attorney, Eric Seitz, countered that Watada acted in good conscience, based on his own convictions.

*** *** ***

I'm torn. On the one hand, I'd like to see a decision made. On the other, I want it to be a decision made after the correct process has been followed, so that no one has grounds to say it was made wrongly.

As I have stated before in this journal, I do feel that the prosecutors are right in stating that Watada abandoned his soldiers and failed to perform his first duty - taking care of his troops.

desertvixen: (joeland)
Why did I volunteer for a board? It doesn't really matter, although I should start practicing for the E-6 board, because as soon as I have my time in grade - which will be about five-seven months after I get a class date, depending on how long it takes the promotions folks to get me in the system as a 96B. I want to go fairly quick - I have lots of leadership experience at all levels, except PSG. I'm sure they'll give me a chance to add to my tactical experience as well.

So, going to study at work tomorrow, and a little tomorrow night, before I start hanging out with my good friend Comrade Smirnoff and his buddies the Mixers.

And I have to go get a V for my USAF award. At least my PSG just checked out my uniform, and it's all pretty and in line.

rantrantrantrantrantrantrant.... It's been one of those days and I didn't kill anyone. Thank God tomorrow's Friday.

desertvixen: (Default)
First, this one :

I am glad to see someone realizes that it's an issue. Separation is hard on marriages. The Army is hard on marriages, period. Especially when, according to one woman in the article, "you don't really know each other that well". And yeah, 3 kids under 3 doesn't help either.

Then, I went looking for news about the Ukraine and discovered that Jerry Orbach has died. He will be missed.

desertvixen: (Adri)
Ah, the sweet bliss of an authorized day off. Nothing like sleeping in and realizing that none of the problems that will happen at work are actually my responsibility.

I finished up my giftwrapping, now just need to get the tree. Since I dislike fake trees, this involves more work than last year, as the nursery we used closed.

The Holiday Ball was more and less fun than expected. We got seated at a back corner table (you'd think with an O-3 we'd have better luck, but no dice) and the dining room sound system was... inadequate, to say the least. The only thing worse than a boring speech is a speech you can't even hear. We were also seated all the way across the room from our battalion's other tables, for some reason. However, at least we didn't get shushed during the evening. The drinks were also quite reasonably priced. It was worth the price of admission. I also did get comped on Friday, so I managed to get stuff accomplished.

I did have my annual on Friday as well, and got a woman this time. Much nicer. I don't really have an objection to men, but they seem to forget that cold metal + warm moist flesh is *very* unpleasant. Everything is well, however.

Thanks to surreal_phantast, I ordered the box set of Keen Eddie on DVD from Columbia House. I'm blaming her, because she's the one who was all on to watch Boston Legal because the (very yummy) Mark Valley is in both.

I haven't been writing much, partly because work has been driving me crazy, and I haven't been able to get out of psychotic-homicidal mode easily enough. I got yelled at about my section's behavior, as we have two people who always manage to be not working at the wrong moment. The wrong moment is usually pretty easy to find, as the moments when they are working are few and far between. At the same time, I can't ride them for all 8 hours, because there are just too many other things that need to be done. I have a few solutions in mind, but they all involve hundred-mile-an-hour tape, and I am sure the AF would frown upon me solving my problems that way.

Brian will be here from the 23-28, which is a) too far away and b) not nearly long enough. This is another reason why I am so desperate for a class date. Strange as it may sound, I married my husband because I wanted to live with him. I knew they wouldn't station us together because of the language differences (Russian and Arabic linguists are not often stationed together) but I didn't realize they would make it so difficult to get out of my MOS into another one that is understrength. A class date of March means promotion in July/August, depending on how long it takes them to get me in the system as my new job. Time is *my* money, people. Could we hurry the logistics along just a bit, thanks?

Enough whining and bitching. I'm sure tomorrow will go relatively smoothly, if nothing else because TSgt G will be there and if W causes issues, G can deal with him b/c he's got the rank... and I am losing my patience.

desertvixen: (joeland)
So to expand on my issue with getting a class date:

Surprise, surprise. The reason no one told us about me being in the system (ATARS) for a class that started on Thursday was because I showed up on Tuesday. Obviously, not going to work out. I still think they should have *told* us. We (as in my platoon sergeant and myself) have been wondering what the hell is going on. Now we know why all the blank looks.

Maybe they can get me a March class date. Probably a TDY and return, which suits me fine, as that would give me the chance to get promoted out of my unit. There are a lot of people here that I would want to have see me get pinned on as E-5. There's a lot of people that have helped me get to this point - and I'll admit that there are a few people I'd like to have see me get it for less mature reasons.

So the infamous W (if you read this regularly) had a little discussion with me. About how they really need a date so they can write my award, but they can't release the writeup until I have a date and it needs time to go up the chain and get screwed with and they can't write it early because 1 time in 3 damned years that I have been here, 1 person has had their orders cancelled after the award was given. HE needs me to have a class date and HE needs notification... FUCK!! Trust me, he'll be one of the first to know. I won't hesitate to let everyone know. I may pin a sign to my BDUs with a tear-off countdown, okay. I won't be shy. There may be daily announcements.

It's not that this place is the seventh level of hell, but after 3 years, it is wearing really thin. I have outlasted so many people it's not funny, and I'm getting burned out on my mission. That is not a good thing.

Now I get to head in on my day off, hopefully to get comped on Friday before the ball.

desertvixen: (bride)
It was a preview.

I started out for PT this morning and halfway to post, realized I had left my wallet. As no wallet = no ID card = no entry to base, turned around and went back. This made me late, and so I missed discovering that (surprise!) we were having a 100 percent drug test for the company. It's a good time to be a woman then, because there's 1 of us for 10 of the men. Shorter lines are good.

Work was ... bad. Chief was gone again, so W was on the rampage. This aspect of days bites, because he has nothing to do and too much time to do it in.

Not to mention, I had to go try and find one of my soldiers.

Came back, and entered into a tiny pit of hell. (Raeyn, you'll *love* this one, while being thankful it was your day off.) There was apparently a briefing of Very Important People in our section which they neglected to tell us about. They came to watch a powerpoint presentation on our nifty plasmas screen, actually. Instant Cleaning and Tidying Frenzy ensues - thankfully my team "mommy" was there and made everything look good. Of course, they then had not shown up before we left.

Then I find out that one of my squad members is causing issues on his flight by being their charming self. The guy's going through a divorce, but there's only so much b.s. I can tolerate/ignore.

I discovered, as well, that the reason that no one told me about the class was that the system only found out on Monday. So obviously.... no. They're trying to get me a new class date. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

On the good side, I am home relaxing, and preparing to have dinner and read the *complete* copy of my romance from last night.

I also need to try and write some, but having seasonal writer block, ie, all my good ideas come at inconvenient times. Especially since the cat is out of the bag to some of my coworkers. I'm pointing them all towards the site where it's archived.

desertvixen: (joeland)
Two days in a row like this will make me homicidal.

First part wasn't so bad, except for the getting up at the crack of dawn bit. I know it's a part of Army life, but I still don't have to like it. I just have to do it.

But then, four hours into my shift, my nemesis showed up. (raeyn, etc, you know of Whom I Speak). He apparently feels the need to babysit, and bitch at me about paperwork that's not done, even though there are 2 other team chiefs. I don't think he likes having a competent E-4 doing an E-5/E-6 job. Well, does he think I like being an E-4 still? I'm sorry I didn't join the AF so I could engage in competetive backstabbing and being a Super Volunteer for brownie points just to get fives on my EPR. I joined the Army because I like it and I didn't realize I'd end up in Joint Service Purgatory.

Then he asks questions that prove he pays no attention to our work.

Went to PT and vented my fury on the elliptical machine.

Enjoying an evening of giftwrapping and watching the Lions (hopefully??) not screw this one up.

desertvixen: (bride)
Feeling much better, up to about 90 percent and no longer miserable.

I have been giftwrapping for charity this week, for a grand total of twenty-plus hours, and many satisfied customers. My most entertaining thing to wrap: golf clubs.

I'm also doing my giftwrapping, as I would like to ship stuff on Tuesday or Wednesday. Much must go out, although I am saving some "local" stuff to wrap later. I like it, what can I say?

This week is going to be busy. Helping with the battalion holiday party for kids on Wednesday, and going to the ball on Friday. Brian will be here with me in just 11 days, so I am a happy little elf.

However, my Army charlie-foxtrot for the week is the fact that according to the schools system in the computers, I am supposed to be in the 96B class that started on Thursday. Pity they didn't tell anyone else. We're trying to find out WTF the problem is, and get it *fixed*. Maybe this is why no one has said anything about a class date for me, they already gave it to someone.
I also still have not been paid the 243.00 they owe me for back FLPP (foreign language proficiency pay) for terminating it when my test was valid due to paperwork issues. Corporals need their money, what can I say?

In unexpected news, my grandfather sent me a late wedding gift. A large late wedding gift. A check for far more dollars than expected. I was quite surprised, as my grandfather is not so good, anymore, at keeping his promises. Brain damage inflicted by fifty years of hard drinking will do that to a person. I had to sit down when I opened the card. It reminded me of being a little girl, when he was good at keeping his promises, and spoiling his granddaughter.

Completed a train-the-trainer course, so now I have a nifty new chain to wear at work. And a whole promotion point.



desertvixen: (Default)

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