Friday, January 26, 2007

Day 2, Active Army

So I flew in to Oakland from Salt Lake City yesterday. Went through a paperwork shuffle called "Soldier Readiness Processing" for the third time in the past 4 months. Somehow some of my documents were replaced with versions 4 years out of date. Good thing I went through those other sessions! These are the types of events that convinced me I wasn't a good culture fit for the Army.

That being said, I'm ready to get this deployment going. I have mixed feelings about the reasons we got involved in Iraq in the first place, but that is not at this point a productive discussion. I have studied the situation extensively as I prepared for this deployment, and after reading as much as I have, including statements by Bush, by the Iraqi Study Group, and so on, I don't claim to have an answer. I do consider it an honor, however, to be able to serve alongside so many of my friends and brothers in arms. Over three thousand of them have made the ultimate sacrifice now, and hundreds of thousands of them have sacrificed much time and effort- time away from families and other interests that most of us take for granted in our lives.

It has been a whirlwind month as I tried to close out a good deal of work in my MBA program, prepare the family in every possible way for the deployment, and so on. I was pleased to have my parents come out for a week before I went, and I had many wonderful experiences in terms of farewell activities. Kyle Larson hosted an evening with my MBA friends- unfortunately, it was a very snowy evening which discouraged some, but we still had a good turnout. It is a bit odd to not be in classes with them now.

I also had a great last Sunday in Provo. Elder Robert Oaks, retired 4-star General, Air Force type, is in our ward, but rarely attends. He was there, and as the Bishop announced my departure, they had been talking, and Elder Oaks gave me a blessing after church. He also sat in on the High Priests group lesson which I was asked to teach as it was my last Sunday in the ward for the foreseeable future. He participated nicely- a bit intimidating to have a General Authority in your class, though- and a retired 4 star general at that! No, really, it was a very pleasant experience. He also made sure the bishop gave me a copy of the Church DVD "Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled: A message of peace for Latter-day Saints in Military Service"- very nicely done- I'd recommend it if you haven't seen it. Also, the Saints at War videos are pretty well done, too.

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