The process of settling in has begun and it's been a relatively painless process. My 1SG and I share an office and we have spent the past few days rearranging it to the way we do business and it's a good thing that he and I think a lot alike. We have cleared out drawers, re-arranged bookshelves, put out our binders, wrote up our own calendars. The building is becoming "ours". We have explored both Camp Liberty and Victory and found all the staff sections and departments that we need to be a functioning part of this operation. We've taken the necessary classes to become FOOs (something about money) and contracting officers. We've made countless phone calls to find out how and when and where things are done. We are learning the ins and outs and the rules and regulations (like the fact that I cannot bring my Starbucks coffee mug into the dining facility).
We took video and photos of a promotion ceremony yesterday...a Louisiana National Guard Colonel was promoted to Brigadier General. The ceremony was in the VTC (video teleconference) room with a live connection back to his headquarters so his stateside chain of command and his family could see the ceremony. Ahhhh, technology! The photos are SPC Ashley Anderson and SGT Lisa Heise working hard over at Division Headquarters. Right now our journalists are working around Camp Liberty but next week we will start sending them out into the trenches with the Soldiers out in the streets. They'll be gone for days at the time...sort of a scary thought because I want them to stay here where I can keep them safe from all the bad things outside the wire. But then I remember that there are many, many good things outside the wire and it's our job to get those good things back to our stateside audience. We didn't spend 4 brutal months in various levels of training for a theater of operations only to sit on the FOB and watch others go out.
It's been an interesting adaptation to life on Liberty. The simple things I miss! Like flush toilets... :) Most of our latrines are port-a-johns that thankfully are cleaned several times a day. There are some real bathrooms dispersed throughout the camp and I'm learning to plan my visits to these treasured rooms at specific times so I can use them. And rocks. Lots of rocks to walk on. They are everywhere to keep the dust down but they are brutal on shower shoes and combat boots. I can already feel the soles of my brand-new combat boots breaking down from walking on these rocks. I hear the average life span of even a good pair of boots is about two months so I know I'll be heading to the PX soon to buy another pair. Shower shoes will probably last about a week!
The best part of life at Liberty is my CHU or containerized housing unit. Since I'm a major I get my own 12' X 12' CHU with a comfy twin bed, a locker, and a table. And I have quiet neighbors! My 1SG is next door and he's quieter than a church mouse. My other neighbor goes into work in the late afternoon. He also works here in the Media Operations Center so we worked out a "noise" schedule when I moved in. The peace and quiet I have at night in my CHU is one of the small treasures I have here at Liberty.