Up in the air
For the record, I have a bad feeling about this…
Our replacement unit had need of a journalist. When their command staff came to Taji a few months back as a part of a “see what to expect” visit, they asked me to join them for a second year.
I wasn’t thrilled about the idea, but if they needed someone, why not? I was single and fairly good at what I did. I might as well put my money where the ol’ kisser is and do my part, as I’m always quick to chide slackers.
The whole enterprise would be easy enough—I would stay put. The new unit had an unfilled personnel slot—meaning they were “authorized” to have someone of my rank and job in their unit. I knew how to get in and out of different camps in theater. I had convoy experience, and I was already here. It seemed like an easy fix to their problem, and easy for me, as I’d be dealing with the same sort of unit in the same place.
But as any veteran will tell you, our governmental bureaucratic systems are hardly ever rational. It came to be decided that I would leave Iraq with my current unit, out-process theater, arrive in Texas, immediately in-process with the new unit, get on a plane and come back to where I started. The whole thing would take as little as a month or as many as four.
Strange? A huge cost to the government? Yes, it was, but I’d be able to get a little of a break from the whole scene, albeit a little expensive one with the car rentals, plane tickets and all; but a needed reprieve.
So I tried to be as “pro-active” as I could, emailing involved parties periodically and being just shy of a nuisance to my personnel office here.
The weeks and weeks went by with little progress. My current division wanted justification. My gaining division wanted a resume to show my qualifications. My corps-level command got involved, mulling over the decision of whether or not to grant permission.
Even my gaining unit—the ones supposedly glad to have the extra troop, has not answered emails or phone calls for the past month. What gives?
Am I staying or am I leaving? There are some things like—oh, I don’t know…packing and shipping of personal goods to consider. We’re sealing up the official containers in the next few days. I guess I’m still on standby. The whole reason for my insistence on getting this decision finalized weeks ago was to avoid this last-minute runaround.
So there it sits. Everyone is too busy for ol’ Salmons. I’ll just wait and see what happens. Regardless, I’m sure it will involve the maximum inconvenience—and, granted, we are at war; but these types of stressors can be easily sated with just the smallest of foresight. I am a sergeant, barely on the radar, prestige-wise, I realize; but I was hoping for a little help.
Anyone? Hello…this thing on? Beuler…Beuler…