Well, I made it through CHBOLC. I must say that it was a good summer. For the most part the training was good, but the highlight of the summer was the people that I met. The men of 1st Platoon were a lot of fun to be around and helped make the endless hours of PowerPoint bearable.
I picked up my wife from the Raleigh Durham airport on August 30th and we spent the long Labor Day weekend at Myrtle Beach. We stayed at a bed and breakfast about 20 miles from the beach in Conway, SC. The BnB was called The Moore Farmhouse and I highly reccommend it to anyone looking to spend some time at Myrtle Beach. It was nice to spend the weekend in a quiet BnB and away from the hordes of college students on Myrtle Beach.
During the day we went to the beach and we both managed to avoid any serious sunburns. The water was great and we got there early enough in the day that crowds weren’t too bad. We also enjoyed some good seafood on a pier that extended out into the ocean.
The final week of CHBOLC was spent going through training on how to conduct a Strong Bonds seminar. I must confess that I was zoned out for most of it. My mind was on home and how in the world I was going to catch up on missing two weeks of school.
My wife went through the spouses seminar and said some good information was put out. She was very impressed with the Chief of Chaplains wife. She also had a good time getting to know some of the wives of the guys in 1st Platoon. She informed me that the 1st Platoon wives were by far the best of the bunch. She also had a good visit with out SGL’s wife. My wife plans on homeschooling our kids and was able to get some good advice from her since she also homeschools.
Our graduation got moved up a day because of the threat of a hurricane. We ended up graudating on Sept. 4 instead of Sept. 5. This was fine with my wife and I because it meant getting home a day earlier. However, there were many people who found themselves in a pickle with flights and family members who were flying in on the 4th to attend graduation on the 5th. It ended up being quite a mess with the Commandant calling airlines and trying to get them to work with the families. This was not just an issue with CHBOLC as several BCT graduations were moved as well.
The trip home was somewhat of an adventure. My little Honda Fit was packed to the gills (still managed to get 37-43mpg on the trip though) when we left Ft. Jackson at around 4pm on Sept 4th. We made it all the way to Forest, MS without any problems. At about 2am we had a blowout on a deserted stretch of I-20. The only people on the road were big rigs and us in our little Fit. Well, I got the car to side of the road and fortunately there was no damage other than the shredded tire. We had to unload half the car on the side of the road because the Fit is a hatchback and the spare is kept underneath the floor in the trunk. I got the spare out, dug my maglite out of a bag, and my wife held the light while I changed the tire. We then drove 20 miles into Forest and found a hotel. By that time it was nearly 4am. We got the room, paid for a full night, and slept for about 3 hours. We got up around 7am got ready and found a local shop that had right size tire and they had the new tire installed and we were on the road before 9am.
We made it back to Ft. Worth without further incident except my crazy sleep deprived ramblings as I attempted to avoid careening into a ditch after only getting 6 hours of sleep in 2 1/2 days. We stopped a couple of times so that I could take a short nap. I am definitely teaching my wife how to drive the 5 speed so that next time we can switch off driving duty.
I go back to class tomorrow. A big part of me wishes that I was starting at my first duty station. My wife told me, after spending the week at Ft. Jackson, “I understand why you are so ready to be done with school and on active duty.” I am happiest when I am with soldiers and I look forward to the day when I get up for PT in the morning instead of getting up for a Greek class.