I am not sure, but I've always like the German spelling of Afrika with a k instead of the english version with a c. I guess maybe it's my German heritage, or love of WWII history. My batalion finally got around into re-organizing into new batteries for this mission. Typically we are Multiple Launch Rocket System Unit, and we average around 80-90 people per battery; however, this mission requires us to preform more of an infantry style configuration which requires around 180 people per battery. So we have completely lost one battery, our Headquarters element has been changed to everyone who will be ending their service soon, and the two remaining line batteries has been bolstered. My battery will be leaving first, good and bad right. Good because we'll be done quicker, bad because we leave quicker (no offical date, just next spring).
Amanda and I have talked and prayed about this day again, and how we would handle it this time. We have no regrets on how we handled the last deployment, but we have realized that we need to tweak some things to make it work better since this will be the full 15 months. The first is that I cannot afford to take leave (vacation for all you civilians) at Christmas time (Plus I will be at Ft Sam from 9 - 21 Dec). I just don't have enough days in the bank to take it then, block leave prior to deployment, mid-tour leave during deployment, and the 30 days I'll be allowed to take after the deployment.
The second, is that we will not be traveling back to Michigan prior to my deployment. We realized that it was just too much last time. When we got back, and I had only one day to square away things at home, spend time with them, and tie up loose ends work always seems to come up with (we ended up getting new weapons, and we had to qualify with them the day after Thanksgiving). Plus the 16 hours each way just takes its toll on all of us.
We want you all to know that you're always welcome for the holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Years).