Saturday, April 29, 2006

Still No Word...Sort of...

Well, I still have no *official* word on whether or not I am hired. However, comma, I have orders to attend the Recruitment and Retention Non-Commissioned Officer (RRNCO) school in Arkansas starting May 29th, 2006. In addition to having orders for school I have been invited to attend the Annual Georgia Army National Guard (GaARNG) Recruitment Seminar. This seminar is in preparation of the new recruitment year commencing August first.

The seminar is in Northeast Georgia (GORGEOUS) and I will have to attend at my own expense, without pay, since I am not "official" yet. I plan on attending for the most two important days (most speakers, programs, etc.) and not the entire week. So although I am not officially a recruiter... I will be soon. So with much fan fare, I am announcing to the world (except my present unit) that I am now an unofficial Georgia Army National Guard Recruitment and Retention Non-Commissioned Officer (GaARNG RRNCO). By the way, don't you just love all the acronyms??

Confusing? Yes. The wheels of the GaARNG turn very slowly. VERY slowly. However the RRNCO unit is VERY efficient and on the ball. So I have a slot for school, they have my uniforms ordered and are grooming me for my slotted recruitment area. In a way this is very comforting. I know that once the HRC (Human Resources Command) calls me, I go and sign the next three years of my life away, I get orders in hand for RRNCO and things will progress nicely. From working with my recruiter on several issues over the last 8 months and seeing how his career has progressed; I realized that his unit is exceptionally squared away. Very comforting indeed.

I will be assigned out of an Armory in Rome, Georgia. That is about 25 minutes from here. I will be working closely with the Recruiters from Cedartown, Cartersville and Calhoun (maybe Canton), covering a large area and many schools. I promise that most towns in Georgia don't start with a "C". My current recruiter will be first in my chain of command. Which is nice because he is a GREAT guy. He is an extremely hard worker and one of the top 10% in recruitment for the entire State! I couldn't ask for a better leader.

My NCOIC (NCO In Charge) is a former Army Ranger. I'll call him SFC Ranger and talk about Gung-Ho…. He is very tall, ruggedly slim with a deep voice and likes to cuss. He already told me "SGT Fields, you are gonna cuss my name the first three months of your tour. By the way, you don't cry do you? Nah, you’re a Sergeant... Sergeants don't cry. I hate it when my Recruiters cry on me." Then between puffs on a cigarette he proceeded to describe how HE would recruit people... "Ima RANGER. I'd like to say 'ENLIST NOW, YOU WORTHLESS PEICE OF SHIT!' but I have to play nice-nice with the civilians." I died laughing.

He let me know it would be a tough job but with a lot of benefits. It is difficult to become a recruiter, then more difficult to actually be one. SFC Ranger began to let me know that he would push me PAST my limits but he would also make sure I was well rewarded if I "make mission". Within 2 years I will be a Sergeant First Class or an E-7. My goal is E-9 before I retire in 12 years so this will make a huge difference.

The area I am assigned to will not be an easy area. Rome is populated by "old money" and medical staff. Rome is a college town with four major colleges there.

Berry College is a private school started by Martha Berry. It was designed as a religious school to train poor women to be teachers. It has grown to be much more than that and is now a very expensive school to attend.

The second college is Shorter College. It also is a private school and is a Baptist religious school. They have all sorts of degree programs but primarily it is a religious school.

Coosa Valley Technical College is self explanatory. Then finally there is Georgia Highlands College or formerly known as Floyd College. Georgia Highlands was a community college but is now a part of the University of Georgia system of schools.

Why all this information?? Well, all these schools can be good and bad. Bad because most of the kids that are in college are not really interested in pursuing a career in the Military, however since the National Guard has the BEST educational benefits.... as in: money for school... it could work out to be a big bonus.

What is the down side of Rome? Since there are NO factories and the majority of the businesses are attorneys and doctors, there is a very small middle class and a small amount of kids needing money for school.

I am really looking forward to this. I think I will do a good job. I really like helping people and think the Military is a great way to go so this will be right up my alley.

Friday, April 28, 2006

No Need for Words

No need for a caption on this photo.

Captain Dan writes about procedures following a death of a comrade in arms here.

Captain Dan Sukman writes the "Dear Captain Dan" at a "Soldier's Diary". Here is one letter he recieved:

Dear Captain Dan:

To those who use this forum to whine and cry about politics, to attack you personally for being a soldier and other naysayers, I say that if you enjoy your freedoms, the right to vote, speak freely, assemble and other American rights, you should fall down on your knees and thank the U.S. military. No one else on this planet can guarantee those rights. Show some gratitude for a change.
— Sen. John Douglas, R-Covington
Chairman, Georgia Senate Committee on Veterans and Military Affairs

HOOAH, Senator Douglas!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Vague Ramblings ...

I was sent this picture in an email today. Don't know if it is verifiable or not. Was probably taken in the 1980's or early 90's. It struck a chord with me. I live in a town that is decidely not Military. I love my community. They are very giving and caring, they willingly lend a hand if you are in trouble....but they are also insulated and not very supportive of helping other countries in trouble....

Yesterday on Oprah, she, George Clooney and Lisa Ling called for America to back our President in his efforts to stop genocide in Sudan, the Congo, and Uganda. Mr. Clooney said "Our President has stated emphatically that he abhors what is going on and that he wouldn't stand for it 'not on his watch'. But he needs the support of the American People!" Oprah Winfrey repeated it back to him saying (paraphrase) "We need to call our congressmen and women, we need to get behind the present administration to help stop these horrors". Um. Yeah!?

I'll tell ya, I am just really saddened by the state of affairs in our country. Gas prices are killing people's budgets. I mean $80 to fill up my CAR??? Since I am fortunate (or sacrificing) enough to stay at home for the last 3 years I only use about 3/4 of a tank a week. So I use about $60 a week in gas. That's $3,120 a year in gasoline for MY car. My husband uses $20 a week or $1040 for a grand total of over $4000 a year in gasoline. We make $34K a year so that means roughly 12% of our annual salary is spent on gasoline. Add in insurance and car payment (my husband's truck is paid for) and it 35% of our salary. Yikes. A third. A third of our salary spent on a way to go. hmmm. That's not even factoring in when we can scrimp enough to afford a vacation. Guess we will stay close to home this year (again).

I will be working fulltime soon. I will use about a tank every five days. However our income will increase drastically. I think about people who are ona fixed income, or those less fortunate than myself. I think about those who, through birth or circumstance, cannot make more than a poverty level income.. Geez. What do they do?? We are almost at a poverty level income. For a family of four in Georgia, the poverty level is at around $24K a year.

While I don't believe in "Luck" I do believe some people are born more fortunate than others. Who can argue that a child born without legs is not as fortunate as one who is? What about Bill Gate's children? Certainly they are more fortunate than children born to a poor black family in rural Mississippi. They each have opportunities and each must work hard, however who can argue that the poor black child has a longer row to hoe?

Each week I budget out what money we have. My grocery list gets smaller out of necessity. Yet, I still have a Gym membership, my child goes to the best public school in the county, I still have DSL. I wonder about those that scrape by as it is.

I know that Capitalism is a dirty word, but I believe in Capitalism. I don't believe in consumerism. Big difference. I think consumerism is out of control in this country and most of the world. I don't blame the U.S.A. for all of the world's problems. However I don't think we can afford to ignore what is happening in other countries either. Those days are long gone. However we can't ignore our own people either.

Sigh. If only I was in charge! LOL!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

It's Lookin Good

I was told that I completely blew away the Board. I am not supposed to know ANYTHING, but I was told things are looking really good.

I was stunned, but then aagin...not really. See, I don't believe in luck. What other people consider "luck" I call opportunity. Opportunities come to us all. IF you are prepared and ready when opportunity comes knocking, to coin an old cliche, then it appears to be "luck".

I was ready. I was more than ready. I have been submitting packets for 8 months. Some months saw me deliver several packets to Human Resources. So when this postion opened up...was that luck? No. It was inevitable, it was opportunity.

My father came here from South America when he was a mere lad of 14. He graduated high school and worked hard. He held down three jobs at one point. He was a stock clerk at the A&P on weekends, a janitor by night and mail clerk by day with National Cash Register Company (NCR). NCR at that time was neck and neck with IBM in the computer industry. Computers were so new they were not even taught in college.

Back to my dad. He knew that if he was ever to get anywhere, people would have to get used to his name. Trujillo is a common name in Latin countries but not in the USA in that day and time. So while being a mail clerk during the day, he would call the receptionist and say "Could please page Al Trujillo to accounting?" The next day it would be "Al Trujillo to human resources, please, Al Trujillo to human resources." He kept this up a few times a week. When an opening came up for programming school, he submitted his application. He said he could imagine the head honchos sitting there reviewing his application saying "Al Trujillo...Al Trujillo...I've heard of him..." LOL!

My father got the school. He did well, he worked for NCR for years. Eventually he landed a job as Vice President of Colonial Life Insurance. All without a college degree. Now he is retired doing freelance programming on the side.

He taught all his girls that nothing in life is free. Success requires hard work. He taught us that America is the Land of Opportunity and "If you can't make it here, you can't make it anywhere". Indeed.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Can we say INTENSE??

Well. I had my board this morning at 0930 sharp.

I woke up this morning at 0450. I rolled over and waited for the alarm. I opened my eyes to check the time and it was 0458. My brain was still fuzzy and I felt like something was out of was then I noticed that the alarm didn't set the night before. I have a digital clock and it has been acting weird in sometimes the alarm won't engage. I distinctly remembered setting the alarm the night before so the alarm clock is now officially declared broken! I silently thanked God for waking me up in time.

I trotted to the bathroom and ran a shower. I shaved my legs, soaped, shampooed and quickly got out to dry myself. I had set out my uniform the night before so I wouldn't disturb my husband. I dried my hair and applied my make-up. It went on GREAT and I had a great, minimal flawless look. Guys, you won't appreciate that tidbit, but make-up doesn't always go on nicely. Sometimes you end up looking like a clown in a circus! Usually this occurs when you REALLY need to look great. :-) But this morning I was relieved to see it looked good ...and natural (very important). My face was not puffy and no bags under my eyes, God was being VERY good to me!

I fixed my hair in a neat bun on the nape of my neck. I pinned it all in place and sprayed it so hurricane winds wouldn't move it. It needed to look put together and professional. It did. I have finished reading a book recently called "The Alchemist" (a must read) and in it a shepherd makes a journey of a lifetime to fulfill his purpose in life. A wise prophet tells him that all the universe and God conspires to help the person seeking to fulfill their destiny. I felt some of that this morning.

I left very early because Atlanta traffic can be pretty bad. It was somewhat heavy this morning but I made it there by 0810. I reported to the office arranging the board and they directed me to the conference room where the board would be held. Since I had a lot of time to kill I went outside and practiced my presentation. I kept getting hung up on the next to the last section. I kept going over it in my mind, speaking it out loud and rehearsing it over and over, but I still had a hesitation. See, I was supposed to be able to rehearse my presentation without looking at the projection screen. It was now 0855. Well, I might as well give it a rest; I am as ready as I'll ever be.

I went in and located the conference room. Two other soldiers were waiting outside in the hall. We all introduced ourselves. We traded nervous jokes, compared notes and gave encouragement to each other. You know, you never meet a stranger in the Service. You just don't.

SGT Harris had his appointment set for 0900. At 0900 sharp they called him in. It took him about 15 minutes and he was done. He came out breathed a heavy sigh of relief and shook his head with a short laugh. "Glad that's over!" We chuckled nervously in response. He said "I can't tell you anything. But.... be prepared to sell a pencil." He smiled waved and left the building.

My appointment was next. I paced the hall kept thinking of my presentation, kept stumbling over it in my mind. I finally shook my head, told myself to relax. I sent up a silent prayer that the Good Lord would see his way clear to help me see it through. My palms were getting a little sweaty. I rechecked my uniform, stood at attention and knocked on the door...


I walked in, made a right face, saluted and said "SGT Fields reporting as ordered, sir!" HUH?? WHAT THE ...WAS THAT??? I was SUPPOSED to say "SGT Fields reporting to the President of the board as directed"!!! Oh well, he seemed to not mind the mistake as he asked me to take a seat. He introduced me to each member of the board. Four members in all. He mentioned the other eight or so E-8's and E-9's in the room as "Observers and not voting board members". He went through what was expected and asked me a few questions then said I could begin my presentation.

Heavy pressure as I realized the room is filled with senior NCO's that have many many years of experience. I was getting sweaty but I ignored it.

I sailed through my presentation; I was under the gun and was able to maintain my composure. I looked each board member in the eye, spoke clearly and loudly and didn't say "um" and "uh" too much. Then I got to the next to the last section and I was almost ALL the way through it..the LAST bullet to cover and .... I froze.

I stood there frozen. It felt like a zillion minutes. My mind was completely blank. So I stood there, kept smiling, closed my eyes and relaxed. BAM, there it was in my mind. I recovered and ended the presentation. Nice save.

The President of the Board (a Sergeant Major) said "Very impressive presentation SGT Fields". Whew. I was asked to be seated and was run through a gamut of questions. Some really tough questions. One of the senior "observing" NCO's kept nodding his head vigorously with each of my answers. Most of the board members would nod their ascent as well. This was encouraging. Then, finally, I was asked to sell them a pencil. It was so lame. I tried but I sounded like a commercial..... a really bad late night commercial. They weren't too impressed.

I was dismissed and I went outside in the hall. The female soldier coordinating the event followed me out to hand me my CD with the presentation on it. She gave me a sideways hug and told me not to worry and that I did well. I guess she could see how nervous I was and how painful the "brain freeze" was for me! I felt good though! I felt very confident.

I got a call telling me that, indeed, I *had* made an impression and although there is no official news looks VERY good! YIPPEE!

Now to dye those new white hairs I've suddenly sprouted...

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Back Burner

I have some things cooking around here and I have neglected my website. Sorry.

I have a Board soon for a position in the National Guard. It would mean fulltime. Yippee

I am scheduled to attend school June 2006 in Bowling Green, Kentucky. I have stayed breifly in Bowling Green. Beautiful country up there. I am looking forward to the trip.

I got my radios installed in the house and in the car. I have a really cheap antenna on the car so the reception isn't so great. I have ordered a nicer one and it should arrive next week.

We had a tornado scare last Friday night. We had hail, lots of high winds but the tornado passed us by, thankfully. This spurred me to getting my ham radios up and running. I could have tuned into local hams reporting to the NOAH station in Peachtree City about the conditions here. I could have also reported any observations since I also belong to a local emergency net. I am also looking into setting up a "weather station" here in the yard. Nothing fancy but some items to help measure wind velocity and direction, rain guage, etc., etc.

My son is officially 11. He turned eleven in March but we had his birthday party April 8th. We had a hoola hoop contest (he came in second), frisbee throwing contest, and kite flying. Everyone loved the kites. I bought about 12 cheapie kites, put them together and handed them out to the kids. Of course the parents wanted to "help". LOL. It was a lot of fun even when the sky opened up a deluge on us all. My sister gave him a nice set of golf clubs and lessons in June. He was pretty excited. I hate golf but... my husband is a pretty good golfer so I am sure they will have fun.

We almost bought a ferret. Almost. Josh wants one in the worst way and I love them myself however, "Dad" has weighed in against any furry indoor animals. Ferrets do stink, even with their musk glands removed so I can understand his prejudice. We stayed for a long time at the pet store and the kids got to play with a puppy. Of course they wanted to take him home but at a $700 price tag (I kid you not) I said "HA!, no way." I bought a $12 collar (Georgia Bulldog pattern and design) for our Heeler "Dutchess" and left with two very unhappy children in tow.

We put a "for sale" sign on our land. We have got quite a few calls, but no offers. Hopefully we can sell it SOON and buy a farm. We shall see.

I ordered some new name tapes for my uniform. I have washed my ACU's WITH the tapes on and now they are crinkled and wrinkled looking. I can't go before the board looking crinkled and wrinkled. Well, at least not my uniform! ;-) I should get those by Saturday I am told.

That's about it. I hope to have some REALLY exciting news by the end of next week. We shall see.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Man Dead at Desk for FIVE Days.

Go read this at Law Girl Live. wow. It made me so sad to think that this guy was a slave to his job and NO ONE noticed he had died until five DAYS after the fact.

Licensed to Kill

Not yet anyway... I did get my HMMWV (Hummer) license. See I even have proof! Of course my fellow soldiers thought I was a nut when I wanted to snap a few shots.