Deployment, week five

The New Year has come and gone, and the Christmas decorations have been taken down. Hail 2012, you were a good year.  I didn’t manage to increase my skills as an outdoorsman, as I’d resolved, but I do have some neat toys that lend themselves towards that purpose.

Out here we have ‘rotations’ – that is, people come and go on a regularly scheduled basis.  The group manning the workcenter is constantly changing, people are leaving and arriving often.

I have come to call the tent I’m living in my tent, as I’m the ranking individual, and I’ve done a significant amount of work to improve the living conditions since I moved in.  We got a new group of airmen rotated in last week, and they were put next door, in the other tent my squadron uses.  Through politicking, another squadron misappropriated that tent for their own use, and they kicked those airmen out, into mine.  I was sharing the space with just one other person until a few days ago, we’re now at full capacity.

Revenge was sweet – since that other squadron decided to push us around and kick us out, we took the opportunity to supplement the supplies in our tent using the supplies in the other.  My tent didn’t have any wardrobes for the airmen’s’ belongings, so we moved over the ones they were using. There was a rug under a few pieces of furniture that looked as if it wasn’t being utilized to its full potential, so I replaced the doormat in my tent with it.  The back wall of the other tent was playing host to a strip of glow-in-the-dark tape that didn’t seem to serve any purpose, so I cut it into smaller strips and used it to outline the inside doorknob and corners of the front door in my tent. Now you can find the door in the dark, and the doorknob’s location is obvious, even from the other ends of the tent.  In all, it’s an improvement for the airmen, as the other tent was a shambles inside – beds were randomly placed about the interior, there were no walls for privacy, and numerous pieces of furniture in various states of disassembly were scattered all over.  It looked like a storage shed, not a living space.  That other squadron can have it, for all I care.

On the line, I’m trying to work on my leadership skills, which could definitely use improvement.  I’ve been teamed with, among others, a staff sergeant who has considerably more experience than me, but I have more qualifications.  As such, I’m the team lead.  I often turn to him for assistance in making decisions, and we get along well, but he also has a tendency to question decisions I make.  It’s disconcerting, and I’ve been having a hard time figuring myself out.  At home station and on temporary duty missions, I pretty much had things figured out, knew how to handle business, procedure, so forth.  I’ve had a rough time of things lately, trying to figure out what line I draw between boss and compatriot.  This is good experience for me, and I think I’m going to come home with a lot more to offer my squadron.

Moment of comedy from the other day:  I was assisting a rookie with some oil servicing and it seemed as if he’d pumped quite a bit of oil into the component with no overflow out of the drain…that’s the signal to stop.  We’d checked the line connections and proceeded slowly, with no changes.  I told him to stop the task and disconnect the servicing hoses as I didn’t want to damage anything.  As soon as I stopped talking, I heard a trickling sound and felt something hit my right shoulder.  I turned to look, and the plane was leaking out of a drain(not the one we wanted it out of) right onto me, indicating we had a serious problem.  Comedic timing, anyone?  After much documentation, panel opening and other hard labor, the specialists weighed in and said everything was all right.  It had me pretty nervous for a while, however.

I keep alternating back and forth between wondering what I’m going to do for work when I get home, and how I might invest the large amount of cash I’ve earned out here.  I’ve determined that I’ll have double the amount I’d need for a VERY nice mid-1930s coupe when I get home, and the temptation to run off and go get that Bogie special I’ve dreamed of for the last five years is pretty strong. Staring down the barrel of unemployment, again, is a sobering reality check.

I’ll air out the good news a little early: As of January 1st, my earnings statement and my online personnel record shows that I’m a tech sergeant.  What bothers me is that I didn’t get a phone call, a letter, an email, nothing to tell me.  I’ve got an email out to my section supervisor back home to confirm that it’s not a clerical error before I go sewing another stripe onto all of my uniforms and lay claim to the actual title.  Nothing back yet.

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