Ok. My news.
I am off to Afghanistan.
It’s ages away at the moment, in April next year, but I will be off to Afghan for a six month tour of duty ‘Out Of Area’ (OOA).
I have known for a week or so now, but I didn’t want to publically annouce it until I had that Ohhh so difficult chat with my big kids. Lily is another matter and won’t really have much of a clue about what is going on, but before I told the Blogosphere it was only fair I told them.
Yeah. I will be going out to Afghan to location as yet unknown to do what looks like a pretty cool job as part of the Military Stabilisation Support Teams. This invloves going out in to the communities to try and rebuild the instrastructure that has been decimated there, by almost 30 years of conflict in one way or another.
This will be my first trip out to Afghan, and is my first trip away since my days as a Junior Technician back in 1998 or so! So to say I am out of the loop regarding deployment is an understatement. And it’ll certainly be my first trip away where the ‘enemy’ won’t be a couple of hundren miles away, and I’ll be safely behind our lines.
I have to be honest and say I am looking forward to it. I am genuinely excited by it, but also I have that feeling of what I’ll be leaving behind my girlfriend, Lily, the big kids…and leaving a nice easy life here. I mean, it’s easy here, lets be honest. Goodness knows exactly what I’ll be doing out there, but it’ll certainly be a lot harder than sitting behind a desk here at Benson muttering at PowerPoint not behaving itself…or worrying about if there are enough shower curtains in the Block for the juniors. And then there’s the fear. It seems like I will be actually out there ‘on the ground’. Out where the Afghan public are.
Out there, where…well…where at times it’s not nice. Where not nice people do not nice things. And how will I react to that? If I am involved in any sort of incident…How will I cope with that? This is a big test…not just of my military skills, but also my my skills as a human being. Will I run? How will I recact to it all? Will I be big and strong enough to cope with it all? Will I rise to the challenge of it, or will I fail? And that is the scary thing…
But in a perverse way I am looking forward to it. We all need to test and push ourselves…and this is probably the biggest test I will ever be faced with. I want to test myself. And I want to do it in an environment where I feel I can make a difference and this being part of the Stabilisation Teams is one where I know I CAN and WILL make a difference and hopefully make peoples lives better.
And I am looking forward to the build up to it…both the military side AND the personal side. Cos, certain things have to happen (on both fronts) before I can go out there fully ready in every way. I am sure it’ll be a bit of a roller-coaster ride, with some highs and some lows in there along the way.
But one thing is certain, I aim to keep blogging as much as I can regarding the whole process, from my personal preparations and how it’s effecting me, through to the training I have to do before I go…and I’ll also be trying to put across what effect this whole thing is going to have to my family. And if the powers that be will allow it I intend to blog and Tweet as much as I can whilst out there next year. But that of course we shall have to see…
Anyway, stick along, and enjoy the ride learning about how an Airman deploys OOA…but that won’t mean the usual stuff on this blog will be going by-the-by…the one thing that is true is that the Afghan thing doesn’t become bigger than it deserves and normality remains.