It was, at least, a beautiful sunny day when I woke. It was not warm, unfortunately, but at least sunny. You gotta take what you can get. My first day at work, after a night of ‘some’ sleep, started at 6am. I showered in the Cadillac (bathroom/shower), shaved, donned my uniform, ate breakfast, and showed up at the comm. shack. The guy I was replacing, Capt. Tom Pries, was there, and ready to leave. He had been preparing for 2 months. I did not blame him. He was already short – and getting shorter. He gave me the tour, filling my head with things I would no doubt forget before I needed them, but he continued to do so for the day I had him. He let me know he would be with me as long as I needed that day, and he would be leaving the next day. I guess that week long turnover we had been promised would not be happening. So I attempted to glean as much from him as I could. One of the most important things he did was leave me a list of phone numbers and email addresses for whom to contact for various issues, problems and concerns. This list would be very valuable over the next few weeks. He also wanted to introduce me to Major General Kennedy.
I had never met a general before, let alone a two star general. The Adjugent General of Illinois is only a Brigidere (one star) General. So to say I was a bit intimated would be stretching the truth a bit – I was completely freaked. However, within seconds of meeting the man, I was at ease. He exuded confidence – in the way a commander should, I suppose – but even in the midst of a war, which is exactly where we were, the man appeared calm, even tempered and sure of himself, and his mission. He attempted – and succeeded – to let me know what we were doing here, how important it is, and how important my job, and those that work for me, are, in completing the mission of the entire camp. We are essential. I believed every word he said, and gained not only a greater understanding of the man – but my role in this war – and my importance. I think you can meet people and get an idea of their character, or lack of. I believe MG Kennedy to be a man of character. This deployment was getting more interesting – and less dreaded, as the day went on.