On Sunday morning I got up early and left Oklahoma City, bound for Georgia, to start on a new adventure. Unfortunately, the family was not able to come at the same time. Because of the short time frame between when I received my official orders and when I had to report the packers and movers were unable to come get our household goods before I had to be in Georgia.
A quick search on the internet will yield a plethora of horror stories about packers and movers. Thankfully, the experience on Oklahoma City end was very smooth. Even though our living situation was a bit complicated the packers came in and did a great job and between them and the movers were even finished a day earlier than scheduled. Hopefully things will go smoothly on the Georgia end too.
My trip to Georgia was largely uneventful. I made it just past Birmingham on day one. The only real hiccups were some construction slowdowns (largely mitigated by travelling on a Sunday) and a road closure that had me relying on the position of the sun and the moss on the tree to navigate rather than the GPS on my phone. I couldn’t resist a stop in Memphis for lunch. Originally I planned to eat in the downtown area but was quickly dissuaded when I discovered all the parking was going to cost $25. Sorry Memphis but I wasn’t that desperate for BBQ. I was able to find a local BBQ joint off the freeway that didn’t require leaving a toe for a parking fee and can now say I ate BBQ and drank sweet tea in Memphis.
The second day saw me arrive at Fort Stewart around noon and get signed in to the post. I was blessed to have the outgoing Chaplain reach out to me before I arrived so we met up that afternoon and he drove me around the post to show me where things were. He also took me to the building where my office will be and introduced me to a lot of the folks I’ll be working with. He introduced me to the Executive Officer of my new unit who also administered my new oath of office.
I confess to being a bit overwhelmed on the first day. A new place. New people. Trying to learn the best way to drive back and forth to different places on post. Plus, I was super busy meeting with the housing office to take possession of our home, getting sworn in, and then trying to lay in a few supplies so that I wouldn’t have to eat out every meal.
Thankfully, that overwhelmed feeling began to diminish a bit by day two at Fort Stewart. PT in the morning was a run with the Division Command Sergeant Major and he took us on a run around the post to all the memorials and monuments and explained their significance as well as some history of the 3rd ID. The history buff in me really enjoyed it and I appreciated the effort to make newcomers feel connected to the history and sacrifices the Dogfaced soldiers have made down through the years.
Day two also gave me the opportunity to connect with some other Chaplains on post. It was really good for me to get to connect with them because it made the task of getting integrated feel a bit less daunting because I know I can turn to them for help and counsel should the need arise.
Now, I’d be lying if I said there have not been some hiccups in the in-processing. Coming from the Guard to Active Duty has meant some delays in getting in the Active Duty system. That basically means that pay and benefits are on hold until I get in that system. Thankfully everyone I’ve worked with so far has been helpful and patient with all my noob questions. Hopefully next week I’ll be in the system and able to finish in-processing. Hopefully. You never know with the Army and with paperwork.
So that’s about it so far. A few other discoveries have been that I’m not 19 any more but I did manage to keep up with those fresh out of AIT soldiers in PT. Granted, I think I felt it more the next day but it was still nice. Another observation, I miss chairs. I’m looking forward to our stuff getting here just so that I don’t have to either stand or sit on the floor. Finally, I’m looking forward to the family getting here. In some ways I think it might have been good for me to come to the post ahead of them because I’ll be able to help get them acclimated since I’ve been here a few days longer and already know my way around a bit.
So with that, here are some pictures from our adventures this past week.