"I've got a set of primary IA orders for you."
Well, the gig is up. I have been dodging a hailstorm of IA request since I checked in to my NROTC job. I knew this is how it would be when I took the "good deal" orders. Those are breaks, you wanna dance, you gotta pay the band.
They came right when I thought I was pretty safe. They lulled me to sleep; after all, I am currently first alternate on a different set of orders. Oh well.
I think it should be pretty exciting anyway, I think I secretly wanted to go. Even so, I could never look my wife in the eye and tell her that I volunteered to go on another deployment. This one for a year, and not on a nice safe aircraft carrier, and not doing a job that I have any training or experience in. So I remained a non-volunteer, and as I suspected, it didn't matter anyway.
So, as mentally prepared as I was, I was still caught off guard. I had no heads up about these orders. The written orders just showed up in the message traffic. The CO and XO had no idea. The depart date is 34 days away. 304 days total, hence today is D-338. I thought the days of 1 month notification were long gone, but upon conferring with some of my buddies, this shit is still pretty common. So, nice job Navy. Way to plan ahead. I look forward to jumping through my asshole to complete my pre-deployment checklist in one month.
The thing that I can't seem to wrap my brain around, is the fact that my orders specifically state that I will be getting issued two guns; an M-9 Beretta 9mm and an M-4 carbine. Further, the orders state that normally, IAs are issued only one, an M-9 for E-7 and above, and an M-16 for E-6 and below. Here is some text from my orders.
"DUAL WEAPONS ISSUE IS AUTHORIZED FOR RFF 611. AUTHORIZED M4 VICE M16 FOR RFF 611."
So, as you have likely guessed, I am very anxious to figure out what RFF 611 means, and why it not only requires two weapons, but it requires the lighter more high speed M-4. Exactly how many people I should I expect to have to shoot that I need to carry two guns? Is this some John Rambo shit?
So with that question bouncing around in my head like a rubber ball, I was graciously awarded the afternoon off. I sat at home, imagining breaking the news to my wife when she got home from work. I called some friends, told a buddy I can no longer be a groomsman in his wedding, and called my Mom, who cries when I leave her house, let alone when I leave for Iraq for a year.
Still anxious about telling my wife, I opened a Hoegaarden to settle things down. I subsequently open 8 more, and then opened a bottle of rum. So, ultimately this is how I chose to deal with it; don't judge me. My wife called at some point between beer 5 to 8 and sensed that something is wrong, as wives often do. When she got home, I was three sheets - I said "I have bad news." She said "your going away again."