Since Facebook won't let me add notes, I have decided to join the masses. So here goes....
My wife and I flew back to duty station last night. While on the last flight, I kicked up a conversation with a quiet kid, sitting across from us. He was 19, shy as all get up, and flying to his first duty assignment, made obvious by the lack of a unit patch on his crisp uniform. He was a little intimidated by my rank (I guess being fresh out of training, officers are still intimidating), but I got him talking. He's from a town about 75mi from where I grew up. He told us that basic training was the first time he'd left Kansas, and it was hard being away from his family. He'd never even seen the ocean, and here he was going to an island in the pacific.
And, most important of all, lol, this kid was a medic.
I used to be a medic....now I'm a medical officer. Medics are some of my favorite people. Mi even spent a cycle at the medic school in FSH, helping train medics, after I became an officer.
This kid also happened to be going to a unit that mine works with, a lot. I gave him some insight to his unit, and told him about the NCOs he'd be serving under.
When our flight touched down, my wife and I made sure he found the army desk at the airport, to sign in. When we learned that the shuttle to post had just left, we offered, and were allowed to drive him up to post.
We may have detoured a bit. We took the kid to breakfast at the best pancake house ive ever been too. This island isn't always kind to soldiers, so we wanted him to have a positive, appreciative experience.
When we did get to post, I stopped by the barracks and introduced him to some of my soldiers who won't be deploying with us in a few weeks. You see, one of the worst things that can happen to a new, single, soldier is going to a duty station and not knowing anyone at all. Especially here, because you need a car to get anywhere, and even then, it's not worth much if you don't have others to hang out with.
He hit it off with the soldiers, and they exchanged numbers, and made plans to go to the beach today.
We dropped him off at the replacement barracks, and made sure he was set, before retiring to our place for some FaceTime with the kiddos, and some sleep. (since I was gonna sleep on that flight)
I didn't have as positive an experience at my first duty station. I was dropped at the barracks, given a breif, and left to my own devices for 4 days, until I started inprocessing. I didn't know anyone, and I didn't go anywhere....and it sucked.
As an officer, my personal goal is to make sure all my soldiers are taken care of. Part of it stems from having been an NCO, and part of it from how I was raised.
So...there goes....my first post....
And wanna wish PV2 W. lots of luck with his unit, he will learn a lot from his leadership, and hopefully take all his experiences in a positive light.