Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Two posts for the price of one

Hello again!

I know that it's been some time and many of you are anxiously awaiting news of how I'm doing, so I appologize. We've been quite busy out here and sleeping and working are practically the only things I've been doing for the past however long it's been.

Today, I got to be an escort along with some guys from 32nd Trans for 5 Iraqi contractors. They each spoke about 5 words in English so getting the work done became a challenge. All we really had to do was ride in their dump trucks from the gate to get some gravel, have it dumped in our motor pool and escort them back out. One trip ended up taking 6 hours, it was gruesome. No one along our way spoke a lick of English and no one that did had any idea what we needed or where we needed to be. The worst part is in order to cover our motorpool it's going to take some 300+ loads of gravel and it took all day to get 5, I thought the Army did things slow, WOW. So that was my day today.

The other reason for this post is I've been giving some serious thought to my future, long term planning 2 years and 20 years out. It's not the kind of thing I'm used to doing, usually I just wing it and see what happens but being a father, getting older, and gaining experience from my military career thus far has taught me planning helps. That all said, and Diana has been in on all of this by the way, the short term looks like this. Before I leave here I should make E5 Sergeant which means I'll be an NCO (Non-Commissioned Officer). That's as far as I planned on getting in my four years in the Army, I didn't know it was so easy to pickup rank as an 88M (we say 88 Mike). Starting in the next days to a week I'm going to be going to school, yes even out here there are schooling options. Some will be online, the Army offers correspondence courses that I'll be looking to max out, it'll make it easier to pickup rank, but additionally I'm going to be getting a civilian education, aka a degree. I haven't set my mind on what I'm going to get it in but I'm thinking a BS in CS (Computer Science) sounds like a good place to start. I need a certain amount of credit hours to make my long term goal feasible, I don't know how many so I'm just going to get as many as I'm allowed while I'm out here. My long term goal is to go through the Army's Green to Gold program and make a career out of military life. The Green to Gold program works like this. If I'm accepted, and it shouldn't be hard for me, my ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) test scores are among the higest in the Army, plus I'll be and NCO with a combat tour already; but if I'm accepted I get E5 pay two years to do NOTHING but school. I don't report for any duty, I don't deploy, I don't even need to put on the uniform for anything, for two years I'm a paid student. Once I complete my degree I go through some officer schooling and would begin my officer career as an O2 instead of an O1. By that time I'll be in for 3 or 4 years, likely 4 which would mean my base pay would be a little over $3700/mo. plus the housing, food and medical benifits. After 20 years in I can retire and will likely never have to worry about working again. At 46 years old, that doesn't sound too bad. The hardest, and I stress that it is the hardest part of this, is there are no posts in MI so it will mean being away from friends and family most of the year until I retire. I'll still get 30 vacation days per year and I'm looking into whether or not I can move home during the years I'm going to be in school, but for now, it looks like learning to live apart may become normal.

Love from Iraq,
PFC., Pahman, Jesse C.
United States Army
Camp Liberty, Iraq


MOM JONES! said...

Thanks for the very informative post, Jesse! It's nice to hear what you have been doing and thinking about ... kind of helps to close up that huge 6,500+ mile gap that we have between us! :)

That's very cool about what the Army offers for schooling, and the fact that you can accomplish some credit-hours while you are deployed is really nice too. Perhaps, eventually, there will be a base closer than El Paso where you guys can live so that it won't be a 2-3 day journey to get to you! But whatever is best for your family is what is important to us too.

Much love to you. Praying always for you and your situation.

mom hand said...

Good to hear from you, Jess. We're glad you are thinking about your
future and the idea to start taking classes while you are in Iraq sounds
excellent. If you decide to make the
military your career, we will back
the decision you and Diana make. I
would keep in mind that you are probably going to work hard to up your rank and to increase your education. But, if most will definitely be worth it. Working to
achieve goals we set for ourselves
is one of the most satisfying and
exciting aspects of life. Our love
and prayers are with you always.

Shell said...

I know it doesn't mean much coming from someone you've never met...but I am so happy for you!!! It is a *huge* decision to make, but very rewarding if you are willing to put in the work to reach the goals you set.

It has been an honor to call Diana a friend for the past 5 years...and I've loved being able to keep up with you guys' transition from civilian to army in the past year. Maybe I'll *selfishly* get lucky and you guys can PCS to Redstone.....then I can show you some real southern hospitality.

Well I'll finish this novel take care of yourself over there!!

Dad Hand said...

Jesse,sounds like you've been doing some good thinking. The green to gold program sounds great. Keep talking to Him and you will know what to do. Stay safe, Dad Hand