Saturday, June 16, 2012

All Good Things...

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ODS is done! As many can tell from my facebook posts! It's nice to have this step done in my military career. That means there are only two more obstacles to getting a PCS somewhere. Those two steps are CARE board selection and Chaplain School.

Week 5 (The Conclusion)

The last week of ODS was nice and easy. There wasn't too much to do. Monday we had our last organized PT. It was a 3 mile carrier run. Normally these runs aren't too bad, but this day was extremely tiring. We had Lt. Lufkin run with us, and he must have been a cheetah in a previous life, because I the pace was much faster than it had been. I had a hard time keeping up, and nearly thought about giving up. But I pressed through the pain and kept running. After the long run and our cool down. We had a "nice" breakfast at Ney Hall Galley.

After breakfast there was "Personal Enrichment" time. This meant we could personally enrich ourselves. I think most of us decided to take a nap. This time was actually used for those who had not finished the Buttercup and/or the firefighting simulation.

Tuesday:

More personal enrichment time.

Wednesday:

TRAC day. This is where we had chaplain's come in and talk to us about our future careers. Chaplain Moore was fascinating and enjoyable to listen too. He answered lots of questions and really made me excited about the future ministry. I can't wait to be in the fleet! After Chaplain Moore spoke, we had Chaplain Bernard tell us all about being a CCPO. (Chaplain Candidate) Since I'm near the end of my time as a CCPO, I knew most of what he was saying. But I found his information on CARE board selection quite informative.

During this time, I found out that the June CARE board meets on June 27. I also found out that my packet was near completion. I would have to work extremely hard to get the final things ready for my packet if I wanted to get all the information needed in to my recruiter so it would be submitted!

Thursday:

I saw my wife and we had our "Hi Mom's" celebration. The dinner was quite nice and it was wonderful being able to meet the families of many of my company mates. Everyone looked great. Except the one who won our uniform inspection award. He forgot his white t-shirt. It was hilarious. Although Chief didn't find it too humorous. The three chief's gave a rousing speech. Our chief gave the most motivating speech! Hoo-Rah!

Friday:

The day we waited for finally came. It began early with a mile cadence run. It was not too bad, except my knee was hurting quite a bit. Thankfully after the first hill. I got my stride and ran it out. We picked up our final orders and then left base until Graduation time!!

Monday, June 11, 2012

The End is in Sight

ODS Week 4

Well the end is drawing closer and I never thought I'd get this far! Week 4 actually went by very fast and it was great to know that I would be seeing my family very soon.

Most of Week 4 consisted of the DOLC Class. (Division Officer Leadership Class) This was a much pleasant break from the powerpoints and a whole lot more interactive. To sum up the first few days. We were in class, ALL DAY. It was fun though and the roll playing and information was very helpful. As chaplain, some of the things won't necessarily apply. But there are some great leadership principles that can be drawn from the information given.

Friday we had our final PFA. I was hoping I would do well, since this was the one that really mattered. Meaning if we failed, a letter would be sent to our next command informing them that we failed. So I really wanted to pass. For those of you who know, this is the big part of my worries at ODS, the physical portion. Well now that it's behind me, it's nice to know that I can pass my PFA without too much stress. Now the goal for the remainder of my career is to keep passing! I did 68 pushups, 53 curlups and a 1.5 mile run in 13:32 seconds. Not stellar results, but I passed and received the good score! I'm tired of PFAs! Thankfully you only do your PFA two times a year. I did 3 in five weeks here.

Friday night many in the company were preparing for their liberty. They planned on taking a train to Boston and watching the Boston Red Sox play. I was unable to go, since I had watch that night. But my roomate and I planned on travelling to the historical city of Boston as soon as we had been released from watch.

Saturday, we drove to Boston and I have to say, Boston traffic is not too terrible. We started our trip by seeing Harvard University. There is so much history there, particularlly religious history. It is a shame that a school that was founded on religion does not embrace it's history. We saw the Divinity School and some of the other historical sites in the immediate area. After our trip there we headed for lunch at a great Italian place. We had some of the best calamari I had ever eaten and then headed for our next stop.

My roomate, Mark Bristol, had the brilliant idea of parking at the Coast Guard base. Since he's former enlisted, he's the one that comes up with all the brilliant ideas. We parked there for free and stopped at the club to charge our phones. After charging the phones, and fixing an iPhone that was not working correctly, we headed for the Old North Church, Paul Revere's House and the USS Constitution.

Seeing the Constitution was amazing. The ship was so powerful in its day that it earned the nickname "Old Ironsides" As I went to the lower decks I realized one thing. I did not have to duck! :) I was the perfect height for serving on the ship. I don't think I would have bonked my head too often!

After seeing the ship, we headed for some canoli's. They were great and filling and I didn't have to pay, since I fixed his phone :) Thanks again, Mark!

After leaving Boston we headed to Newport for dinner and then drove back to the base. It was nearly midnight. I had not stayed out that late in a LONG time. My idea of a great evening is not to be out all over town. Normally I like being at home by 9:00 (I'm getting old.)

Sunday was a great day. I was able to sleep in a bit, and then we all got in our dress whites to march in the 300th anniversary of Abington, MA. While the bus was broken, hot and slow. We were able to make it after a few wrong turns.

Marching in the parade, allowed me to be very grateful of the people that are in our country. They were so appreciative of the troops. They all stood and cheered and one guy even offered his single daughters to us. Moments like that made me proud to be able to serve our country.

Here it is on Monday. Our chief returned from his paternity leave! We welcomed him back to PT with a cadence about his baby girl. He is on cloud nine since having his first child.

Hope everyone has a great week! This week is graduation week!!!



Saturday, June 2, 2012

Hand--Salute!

ODS Week 3

It wasn't until my wife told me that it had been a week and a half since I updated my blog that I realized how quickly time has begun to move here. After the first week feeling like it was about three, this shortened week flew by. The weekend Liberty from last week was refreshing, but after the flury of activities, I was actually becoming bored without my family by my side.

Monday (Memorial Day)

What a privlege it is to serve one's country. I have always been facinated by the military and have enjoyed watching the reverent ceremonies that take place on and off base. This day, I was going to be part of the color guard for morning colors. The flagpole at NAS Newport is the second highest of any military base so naturally the flag would be gigantic. It certainly was it was 38 by 24 (Roughly). As we began to march out, it was just amazing to see the pride and dignity that our flag was treated with. Those that truly love and honor their country, revere the symbol of it. For a short side sermon, I wonder how many people that claim to love Christ truly honor, revere and honor his name and the symbols of the faith (ie. God's Word). After color's ceremony, I enjoyed a relatively boring day at the liberty center.

Tuesday: Most of the day was spent in our "Death by Powerpoint" session. But primarily this day was immunization day number 1. Unlike ages past, when you were lined up and were shot with everything, our blood had been previously screened and we were selected for our shots. I ended up getting three this day. I honestly don't remember what they were but, my arm was hurting a bit after the shots.

Wednesday: PT early in the morning. My average day involves waking up at 4:15 every morning, going to the head and then getting changed into my PT gear. At 4:45 we're "on the line" and ready to go out and begin PT. After our warm up lap around the track, and our "morning dynamic exercises" we were about to run 3 miles. AHHHH! I have never run 3 miles before in my life. The most my wife ever made me run was 2 miles. So I was unsure of what would happen. Thankfully, it wasn't too bad. I managed to finish with little pain. I don't really remember what happened the rest of the day, but more than likely it was more powerpoint and a review for our Navy exam.

Thursday: Today was the beginning of a flurry of activity. We had our Navy knowledge exam as well as our Mid Navy PRT. For the Navy PRT test, I managed to shave 15 seconds off my run, add the 11 curlups I needed and added 5 more pushups. (Chaplain Alendar, I forgot to do my tricep pushups) I scored an overall "GOOD."

For our exam, we had to remember everything we learned in our power point sessions. Many people spent hours studying for the exam. And if any of you know me, you can figure out how long I studied. I think I studied for ten minutes. I could tell by the way the instructors were wording things, that this would be a "no brainer" I awoke this morning. Did PT and headed for our exam. The exam was pretty easy and I scored an 88. Passing was a seventy, and no one in our entire class failed! After the exam it was time for more lectures and prepping for our lovely third week inspection.

Friday: The inspection was the stress of the week. The instructors made us feel as if it was the most important thing in the Navy. And to be honest, it was our mission to accomplish. The inspection involved  spitting out our Navy knowledge, having our room inspected, and our summer white uniform inspected. I was a bit nervous during it all, but kept in mind what our chief said, "It's all about confidence" I think you could have been confident in your knowledge and been completely wrong and they would have passed you. But that's just a guess. I took several hits on my cover (Lots of IP's (aka Irish pennance, aka string). My bed fold was a 1/4 inch off and I missed my Navy Mission statement. Yet in spite of it all, my inspector said I was above average.

After a few more short briefs this day, we were briefed on the only thing that everyone wanted. LIBERTY! People were allowed alcohol if they chose, and were allowed sweets and to go off base! I chose to go off base with several other chaplains. We went to a nice restaurant in downtown Newport. On a side note, I really wish I had more time here to be able to explore all that Newport has to offer. It really is a beautiful city. However, if the Lord permits, I will have to do that another time.

Today is Saturday! Continuing Liberty. Sort of. We woke up this morning and were instructed to do another 3 mile run. When we arrived on the field this morning. Our chief made us do more "ON YOUR FACE" because two people had been talking during chow earlier in the week. After 3 or 4 mins of that, we began to run our race. The bad part was, we were running through the remnants of Tropical Storm Beryl. But as our chief said, "If it's not raining...We're not training." This is one of many of the "Chiefisms" that he utters. I think I could spend an entire post on some of the strange things he says.



Until next week!