On June 5, 2006 we were activated. Seven months later, January 5, 2007, we’re halfway through out 14 month deployment. Halfway that is, if we are home on or before August 5, 2007. We arrived in country on August 20th and if the Army suddenly insisted that we remain in-country for exactly 12 months we’ve got a few more weeks to go to reach the halfway point, but since that shouldn’t happen, after today we’re on the downhill slope to going home!!! It's about freakin' time!!!
I thought I’d be a little more excited by the news, by it greeted me with little fanfare. In fact, someone else had to tell me as I would have never registered that fact.
In looking back over the last 7 months it’s all a blur. Shelby is only a bad memory, almost like a nightmare that you vaguely remember in the morning but can’t quite shake. I shudder at the thought that we have to go back before we get to go home but again, in the Army’s infinite wisdom we need to report back to Shelby to make sure our teeth are clean, our paperwork is in order, that we’re not going to go postal, etc, only to do it all again once we get home to Utah.
Now looking forward to our last 7 months here I can see where we need to go and what we need to do. The ANA have made tremendous progress in their military justice but so much more needs to be done. Yesterday we met with one of the legal officers of one of the brigades. I hadn’t made the time to actually go to his office before but am so glad that we finally did. He was so excited to have us there.
He told us of all the things he’s been doing to implement the new code. He showed me the binders he’s created that track all the disciplinary actions that the brigade takes. He told me that his brigade is conducting NJP. I figured it was the old style NJP where the commanders simply administered punishment without having a hearing. When I asked how they were doing it, he said they were following the new regulations and that he had provided them all with paperwork that was already filled out so they had samples. I was completely blown away. As we talked about all the things he’s been doing, I realized that this was a model legal officer that I needed to parade to the other brigades so they could see how a good legal department should be run. We’re going back tomorrow and I’m hoping to enlist him to help train the two other brigade legal officers on how to do what he’s been doing. This visit came at the perfect time as it’s reenergized me and helped me to focus on what we need to accomplish for our remaining time here.
So as we begin our “descent” my one hope is that I can accomplish everything that I want and need to get done.