The date is rapidly approaching when I will depart for three months of Chaplain Basic Officer Leadership Course. I am, for the most part, looking forward to the training. In my opinion, this is the best summer job a seminary student could ask for. I will be getting paid better than about anything I could find locally, I get to be with soldiers (which is something I love), and I get to go to a place I have never been before.
The only real downside for me is the three long months I have to be away from my wife. There are some people who go their entire married life without being away from each other for a sustained period of three months. We are going to try and use this as practice for when I get deployed in the future. For example, I typically manage the finances in our house. While I am gone, we are going to try and do it jointly so that my wife can learn how to do it. This will be very helpful because when I do deploy, she will know how to manage all of our finances. It will also be good because we will have to learn how to communicate indirectly. We plan on getting webcams so that we can do video chat and will be using email a lot. Those will probably be the options that are most available to use in the event of a deployment.
I have also started thinking through packing. I have been in the military for some time, so I tend to err on the side of caution and pack everything I can think of to be prepared. When I was in OCS, it taught me the importance of preparedness and that filtered down into packing lists. I know that all my field gear will be provided to me, but there are a number of things that experience says I will need. For example: duct tape, electrical tape, 550 cord, velcro boot blousers, a good flashlight, a Leatherman, very good insect repellent, something to treat bug bites, plastic bags in various sizes, garbage bags, pens and pencils, etc. Fortunately, I have a lot of this stuff already and what I don’t have I can get on site.
As CHBOLC gets closer, I hope to have another post or two about my preparations. Also, I will be blogging regularly while I am there. The goal of the blogging will be to provide friends, family, and those considering the Chaplaincy a look at what goes on in the training process. I recently bought a new digital camera that is small enough to take with me out in the field, so I plan on taking a lot of pictures and posting them along with the blog posts. So check back regularly if you are interested in the Chaplaincy as there will soon be a lot more posts related to that then there have been in the past.