Got to sleep in till 630 when Brad the Chaplains assistant came by to pick up my computer. I move over to the troop side of the base so I could be closer to the Mn National Guard guys so I am in an open bay troop building that has 7bunk beds so I have a lot of room to stretch out. We had an all day workshop today that was set up to help the soldiers do some goal setting writing plus a part that deals with them developing their own personal philosophy. It began at 0800 and lasted till 1600 (4:00PM). We had about 40 soldiers, airmen and a couple of sailors from the Navy. They actually had a lot of writing to do as they had to go through an entire goal setting exercise by planning out their life for the next 10 years. In addition to the goal setting they had to create their own personal philosophy (like a company mission statement) that well guides them through life.
They all got workbooks for the exercises and a couple of them commented that doing the goal setting part was harder than they thought it was going to be because it made them really think about what they wanted to do with their life. The Brigade Commander and his Sgt Major attended the workshop the entire day which was a nice touch of support for the program. Having the Commanding Officer devote an entire day to the workshop was a big statement of what he thought about potential of the workshop and what it could do for his soldiers.
LTC Rogers who is the garrison Commander here at Camp Airframe found me at dinner with the intent of giving me his unit coin... LTC Rogers is the Ranger I wrote about on the first day that we swapped Ranger stories. His unit coin just came in and he wanted to make sure I got it. He said this way he would not have to mail it to me.
The Army has a tradition that each unit has a coin that represents their unit. It is a sign of respect when the unit Commander or Sgt Major greets people they give a hand shake with the coin in their hand and passes it on to the person begin greeted/honor/etc. LTC Rogers asked if I knew where the tradition began and I didn't (story to follow) so he shared the story with me.
They have had me on the go since I got here. Chaplin Winn has been doing a great job in getting me in front of a lot of different groups and the Commanders of those groups seem very appreciative for the support. Chaplin Winn is not only in charge of me in which he spends most of his waking hours but he has regular responsibilities duties to perform as well.
Speaking of Chaplin Winn when I speak to a lot of the group they ask how I get motivated some days when I don't want to go to work and you just find yourself going though the motives. My response is you fake it until you make it. When I am in camp during the summer when there are days like that I tell them this story. When I get up I drive my jeep in to work because the wind and the openness seems to be refreshing. I then put in a Lady Ga Ga CD with Poker face on it and start singing or in my wife's view mumbling or bellowing along. By the time I get to work I am generally in a better mood. Great music but I cannot endorse the singer...weird anyone, ding dong? Is she all here?)
They always play the rouser when they introduce you but this time they played Poker Face and the group went nuts when we told them the story.
Most of the soldiers do not have coins I would assume because of the cost but they have shared other things with me. I was talking with one wrestler/soldiers in the mess hall and he was wearing a 1st Calvary patch on his right shoulder (if you see a patch on a soldiers right sleeve it means he is allow to wear the patch of the unit he served in combat with, thus it is known as there combat sleeve) and I mention that served with one of the Cav units in Vietnam. He wanted to take off his patch in the mess hall and give it to me.
Another wrestler/soldier that attended one of the Combative seminars and one of the open huddles (just a time we sit around and shoot the bull) before he left it was important to him that he give me something. He took off his sniper tab (means he is sniper qualifier) from his uniform and gave it to me. You could tell it was something that he was quite proud of. It was such a simple act that was touching and pretty cool.
I wish the American people could see some coverage on the attitude that these soldiers bring to what they are doing here. These soldiers are positive and ready to do whatever their command asks them to do.
These soldiers are really upbeat and excited to see and just talk to you. They are always thanking you for coming to see them. Actually it is they that should be getting the thank you's from us for the mission they are accomplishing.
Heading back down to Camp Virginia tomorrow. LTC BoBo has 2 commands there and we got to one yesterday and we will get the other tomorrow plus there is another group at the ALS that we missed and will hit.