Hail and Farewell

MacGyver's unit is making a change. The Army is converting the unit into a GSAB unit. I'm not clear on what the exact details of a GSAB unit are but basically (this is my un-technical understanding) they are taking all of the pilots and crew and moving them to their own unit. Maitenance and all of the other support elements of the current unit are going elsewhere.

I'm not really a fan of this idea. I understand the logic behind it and I see the proported benefits of a setup such as this BUT...I worry that Chinook units are going to lose that which is the one thing that sets them apart from the rest of the Army (the "Real Army" and MacGyver and I call it): the blurred lines between officer and enlisted, the symbiotic relationship and familiarity that exists between both sides of the house.

When we were in Alaska, we were invited to a BBQ at one of the pilots' houses. He was a senior warrant (still is) and his wife was the head of the FRG and a really sweet person. Others in attendance were another senior warrant pilot and 2 senior NCOs - both flight platoon leaders. MacGyver, at the time, was an E4. So, here we are, and E4 family, hanging out and drinking beers with a couple of senior warrants (and 2 of the most respected pilots in the unit) and 2 senior NCOs (again, 2 of the most respected enlisted personnel in the unit). And it was NORMAL. I doubt seriously that you would EVER see that happen in any other type of unit.

But the Chinook community is different than most other units. The pilots (warrants and RLOs) depend on the crew (enlisted personnel) just as much as the crew depend on the pilots when it comes to staying alive. It's a symbiotic relationship and it lends a certain "flavor" to the community. It blurs the traditional Army/military lines between officer and enlisted. And I can't imagine life any other way.

But that may be changing with the coming of the GSAB. We shall see.

On to last night...

The unit just returned from Pakistan about a month ago. And, in a few days, the unit will be breaking up due to the GSAB conversion. There are some new people in the unit and some people who will be heading off to new duty stations. So it was time to have a Hail and Farewell. Usually these events are held at restaurants or other public gathering spots but this one was at the commander's house instead. I'll reserve my judgement of the event's location...

The evening was mostly good - there are a lot of people in the unit that I enjoy spending time with. And my kids had a good time playing with all of the other kids that were there. All in all, it was a good time. If you ignore the fact that the commander has yet to shake the "frat boy" mindset (think keg stands...). And they are already starting to do the "hooah" talk about ramping up for the deployment and "making sure all of your loved ones come back alive, safe and sound!" Well, duh. I sure as hell hope you plan on doing everything you can to ensure that one. Sheesh.

I'm not a fan of the "big buildup". And MY "big buildup" has been going on now since June of 2004. When we left Fort Rucker for Fort Campbell, I began to mentally prepare myself for a deployment. We had yet to endure one. But then we got orders to move here and dodged the 101st deployment. But my brain is still in "prep mode" and has been since we headed to Campbell. It's a bit draining. I'm almost to the point of "Just GO and get it over with!" Not really but occasionally I get to feeling like that. And I don't talk about it much because I am one of only a few who has yet to GO through a deployment - I don't want to put my foot in my mouth around those who have "been there, done that, got the T shirt". But the buildup sucks and sometimes, I'd almost rather just have a good 48 hours' notice.

Many of my friend are going to be leaving the island during (prior to) this deployment and I'm quite sad about that. The deployment is going to be hard enough without the added stress of not having anyone to play with. But I understand. Don't like it but I understand.

Ok, enough of that. Today is "Beach and BBQ Day". We are heading to the beach and then coming back here to BBQ with friends. Should be a good day. But I need to tidy up the house before we go anywhere.


- hfs

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