12. April 2006 · Comments Off on PCS(ing) · Categories: Air Force, General Nonsense, Pajama Game, The Funny

We’re literally in the middle of a PCS (Permanent Change of Station) move. We’re a bit more than halfway between where we were and where we’re going. This is my ninth move in 22 years. I hate moving.

Watching all your stuff being packed away and put on a van is distressing. Especially if any of the good stuff you’ve collected over the years have survived previous moves. You wonder if it’s going to make it this time. You wonder if the recliners you finally found that fit your body are going to be crushed out of shape. You wonder if that great cat tree you picked up with your last adopted furball is going to still have all its limbs. You wonder if they understand how much you really like your sound system.

Then there’s the military silliness that goes with a military move. For instance: The quarters we were living in are going to be completely renovated now that we’re out of them. Yet we still had to clean them as if someone was moving in tomorrow. When I say completely renovated I mean they’re going to tear out the guts; they’re going to rip out the plumbing, completely rewire the shorty electricity, trash the cupboards, and put in new floors and/or carpet. Yet still, we had to clean as if Sgt Snuffy was going to move in right after we vacated. It was hard. There’s something about doing pointless labor that kills a part of your soul. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve always left a place better than we found it. We pride ourselves in that. It’s just cleaning that well after sticking our heads into the house next door that’s in the process of being renovated, had us talking to ourselves. I don’t understand why I’m fine cleaning cupboards that are going to wind up in a dumpster as soon as the contractors get to them. A good wipe should have been sufficient.

I’ve been lucky in my career. I’ve always had bosses that gave me a week or two to get all the various and sundry paperwork done. This involves a treasure hunt of appointments around various offices on base that you may or may not have had anything to do with during your stay there. I have no problem outprocessing the library, I use the library. I had a bit of a problem with outprocessing the COMSEC (Communications Security) office. I didn’t have an account. I wasn’t responsible (for once) for any crypto gear. Yet I still had to stop by and have them look in their computer and say, “Yep, you’re right, you have nothing on file.” I asked why that couldn’t have been taken care of with a phone call. Airman Snuffy sort of scratched his head and shrugged his shoulders the way Airmen have been doing for generations. I just nodded. I’ve been through the same ol’ too many times to get my blood pressure up for that one.

Dog tags! Do you know that in the year 2006 you have to have a set of dog tags on your person when you PCS? I don’t think anyone’s asked for my dog tags since 1990 when I went to Saudi. Luckily, to my thinking, not Beautiful Wife’s, I don’t throw anything away. I still have my dog tags from 1990 tucked away in a thick card-stock 6-tabbed mobility folder with ziplock pockets. They’re right next to my last 522 from 1998 when I shot expert again on the M16 using the NATO course of fire (that’s the hard one in case you were wondering, and yes I’m proud of the fact I can shoot straight). Someone tried to tell me where to go to find the office that makes dogtags, somewhere near the flightline, just past and around Wing Safety…what? Why doesn’t personnel make them anymore? “Oh, we contracted that out.” Blink-blink. Because stamping someone‚Äôs name, branch of service, social, blood type and religious affiliation into aluminum requires a level of skill beyond the average personnel specialist’s comprehension?!!! Breath, blood pressure, breath. Hell I used to make them in my Orderly Room when I was a brand new two-striper because our unit was so damn big.

Training records. Yeah, those of you who have been paying attention and are in the Air Force know that Master Sergeants don’t need no stinking training records. That’s no longer true…at least not for my career field. Our functional manager decided we were special. (Let the little school-bus jokes fly, I have.) He decided that we needed to maintain our training records until we achieved our nine skill level. I don’t know why. I think he thinks he’s doing us a favor.

All of that got done though and now we’re on the road. I love and hate being on the road. The fact that we’re running I-80 Westbound makes me very happy. Tomorrow we’ll see mountains and buttes and prarie. The fact that Nebraska seems like the widest state in the union makes me crazy. I feel like I’m in a scene from Twister. “Cow.” “Another cow.” “Wait, I think that’s the same cow.” Every town in Nebraska along I-80 seems to be exactly the same as the other. Three exits surrounded by silos. All the silos look the same to me. Mom and Dad would either be proud or disappointed, hard to say.

But there’s an excitement to being in the middle of a PCS. New challenges. New things to do. New people to meet. New weirdness to overcome. New beginnings. This is the part of moving that makes the rest of it bearable. The anticipation.

Yeah, I know it’s going to be the same as any other place, only different, but leave me my delusions, ‘k?

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