Saturday, August 24, 2013

Annual Training

For the past week, Derek has been gone for what the kids call "army work" and what adults call annual training. If you've ever seen a National Guard commerical, this is the "two weeks in the summer" obligation, only it consists of less rapelling and jumping out of helicopters.

This is a different than when he was away for two weeks at the beginning of August, which was a training course for his new job that accompanied his promotion to sergeant. Annual training is a group exercise, while his training was for an individual role within his unit.

Derek has been spending his time at annual training between St. Joseph (his "home" station) and Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. It's not common for the National Guard to work inbetween states. The National Guard is federally and state funded and so typically operations run at a state-level. Derek's unit, however, provides all of the signal support for the entire 35th Infantry Division, which is spread over multiple states. While he often gets to work here in Missouri, his duties always support the division. With his promotion to E-5, Derek switched from working in NetOps to COMSEC, which has to do with security and encryption... and other techincal stuff that is far beyond my understanding.

The Family Readiness Group (FRG) hosted a family picnic today so the kids, Derek's parents, and I ventured up to visit! It was a nice treat to be able to spend some time with Derek in the middle of annual training.

Derek gave a tour of the armory and all of the equipment.

Everyone loved Belle's dress!! (and of course, I do too!)

Local emergency services came by and the kids got all sorts of goodies and they each got to sit on the police motorcycle.

Jackson enjoyed the bounce houses, but he was really hoping to get to do this game (whatever it's called) with Daddy.

We had a great afternoon and it was followed with more great news: Derek was released for the evening after the picnic! After spending a few hours up at the armory, Forrest and Linda brought the kids home and Derek and I got to have an impromtu date! Derek has been so busy with 15+ hour days that we hardly even talk. It was wonderful to enjoy a nice, uninterrupted dinner catching up on the last 9 days.... only six more days to go!


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