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24 and a wakeup

So I got a pretty big surprise last week.

Wednesday evening, I was just getting in my car after picking up uniforms at the dry cleaners when my cell phone rang. It was MAJ J, from my unit. “Jeff, this is an official call.”

My heart sunk. ☹

I was being mobilized. MAJ J had very little information — he only had the alert which had literally just arrived, and since it was later enough in the afternoon, every office was closed and no more information was available. He did have a report date — about 2.5 weeks from now. And the unfortunate possibility that I might be called on for my annual 2 weeks prior to that — making the earliest I could be called up just a few days from now. He promised to talk to me in the morning when he got more info. Yikes.

Needless to say, I was so distracted on my drive home that it’s a miracle that I didn’t cause any accidents. I spent the night talking to a few friends and Army colleagues, and pretty much preparing myself mentally for another deployment. To make matters even more interesting, I knew the unit where I was going, so I looked them up in the Army Knowledge Online database, and found their mobilization order. One word jumped out at me: Afghanistan. Double yikes.

In the morning, I called MAJ J and talked with him some more. He didn’t have a whole lot more information, but he did advise me to start putting my civilian affairs in order, telling my boss that I’m going to be away, etc. So I did. I made phone calls, sent e-mails, etc. This pretty much took all morning.

I finally took a break (it was pretty depressing; just about everyone had the same reaction — “Again? Didn’t you just come back?”) and went downstairs for some lunch. I got a call from Mr. M. at my unit saying, “Hey, it looks like they either never had or lost your records from your previous mobilization — you need to bring that paperwork in right now.”

So I promptly jumped in my car with all my records and headed over to the unit. MAJ W. (G-1) did a fantastic job — she took my records and started looking up regulations, etc. She finally dug up the rules stating that a reservist can only be called up for a max of 24 months on a single executive order. I’ve already been called up for 12 months under the current executive order (it’s the same one that’s been in effect since shortly after 9/11). This new mobilization was for 18 months — that would have put me 6 months over the limit. So it turns out that I was not eligible after all.

So I’m not going to Afghanistan. ☺

While I’m more relieved than words can say, I am still sad because someone will have to go.

In celebration, on the way home from my unit, I stopped by Best Buy and bought a caller ID unit for my office upstairs (we just recently got caller ID service when we switched local phone plans to save money). Woo hoo!

So I had to make a bunch more phone calls and send more e-mails to un-do all the stuff that I had done earlier in the day. But that’s ok. I’m not going to Afghanistan. ☺

Saturday started a drill weekend for me. Even though I didn’t announce my intentions to anyone, no one was surprised when I turned in a letter resigning my Army commission (I’m told that there was a pool going of exactly when I would turn it in). Mind you, this mobilization is not the only reason that I’m resigning — it’s really just the straw that broke the camel’s back. My resignation letter explains it fairly well:

Simply put, I am no longer able to divide my time between two wholly separate, intensive, time-consuming, and mentally challenging careers. If I continue both, each will suffer, and therefore I must focus on one. I have learned more than I ever expected when I enrolled as a ROTC cadet, been honored to serve with many exemplary soldiers, been humbled to be a part of this great Army, and successfully served my statuatory and contractual obligations. It is therefore time for me to leave the military.

The paperwork is filtering through my unit (I have the full support of everyone in my command), and will eventually make its way to AR-PERSCOM. Hopefully, this will proceed fairly quickly.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 10, 2004 11:44 PM.

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