Saturday, July 4, 2009

Finally an Update on Kelly

Wow, I can't believe it's been two months since I wrote anything about Kelly! I figured the 4th of July was an appropriate time to do so.

Part of the reason that I haven't written anything before this is that things have been difficult and changes have happened that I wasn't ready to put out there until it had all settled.

Ok, Kelly arrived at Ft. Stewart, GA on the 7th of May and things continued to be challenging with his Sergeant Major (SGM). Every time that I talked to him he was so stressed and tired, trying to do everything expected of him and more. It was really a difficult time for Kelly to become a 1st Sergeant (1SG). He didn't get to go to 1SG school, he had never had the 1SG role before, he was coming into a Company that was new to him and that was deploying on top of it all! Not the best time to do on-the-job training! There was also a Master Sergeant (MSG) who had expressed his desire to spend time in-country as a 1SG and the SGM had planned to have he and Kelly switch duties half way through the deployment. (Note: a 1SG and a MSG are the same rank (E-8) they just have different duties) Anyway, in mid-June the SGM had a meeting with Kelly and told him that he was switching them at that time. It was so difficult. I knew that he was feeling like maybe he had failed to live up to expectations but he was also so relieved to be out from the pressure. When he told me I could really sense his stress level had come down a lot. (There are a lot of under lying things that have started coming to light recently that make us believe that this didn't really have anything to do with Kelly or his abilities)

So, now he is a MSG and is working as an Operations NCO. Their mission in Iraq is Convoy and Base Security so as the Ops NCO he will be working to coordinate convoys, etc. Much less stress! One benefit of his new duty position is that when I went to visit 6/22 he had the ability to spend lots of time with me. If he had still been the 1SG I doubt that I would have seen him much! (you can read about our adventures in the previous posts)

The plan at this point is that he is leaving for Iraq in less that two weeks (I can't give the exact day for security reasons). He requested and at this point has been assigned to fly on one of the cargo planes as a "pallet rider" instead of flying with all the troops. I was surprised, thinking that they would be sitting in the cargo hold in the jump seats but he told me that on the these planes there is an area above the cargo hold that has nice cushy, reclining seats. Figures!

Anyway, the next post will probably be when he arrives in Kuwait. Following are some pictures that I took of the area where is lives and trains at Ft. Stewart.

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