What's Happening

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August 29th

Hi, my name is Tom and I like to take my sweet time updating my website.

 

I'm into the 5th week of Mounted OBC and I've gotta say I'm really loving it.  We started off kind of slow, but things are really picking up and I've got no complaints.  We're learning the different machine guns and now that we've started learning tank gunnery it's becoming almost fun.  The simulators we train on are near-perfect copies of the tank turret and it's pretty sweet to finally do something legit.  "Gunner SABOT Tank!"  Hehe...  We haven't fired any main gun rounds yet, but soon enough...  BOOM!!!

 

We spend a lot of time in the motor pool learning all about the tank itself and while it's a rather complex piece of machinery it's not too hard to figure out.  My Small Group Instructor (SGI) is a really great NCO who knows his stuff and makes sure we learn what we're supposed to, but isn't afraid to have a little fun.  SSG Law is the type of guy I would love to have as a Platoon Sergeant once I get to my first unit.

 

Speaking of that, I've decided I'm definitely going to the 4th Brigade (Airborne) of the 25th Infantry Division at Ft. Richardson, Alaska.  The more I learn about it the more excited I get.  The unit itself is a light infantry brigade so that means that when I get there I won't be on tanks or even M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles.  I'll have a platoon of light cav scouts and we'll be cruising around in Humvees with TOW missiles, MK19 grenade launchers, and .50 caliber machine guns mounted on top.  Oh, and we'll be jumping out of airplanes a helluva lot.  I'll probably get to go to Pathfinder, Jumpmaster, and a ton of other Army schools that very few Armor/Cav officers have been to.  Not only that, Ft. Richardson is only 5 minutes from Anchorage and 10 minutes the opposite direction from that is wilderness or what natives call "The Bush".   You're all invited to come visit.  We'll go hunt grizzly bears and stuff.

 

I'm still in the Ranger PT program and if I keep this up I swear I'll be running a 7 minute 2-mile on the PT test.  CPT Hauessler, the guy who leads it every morning, is a runnin' fool.  Imagine going for a 5.5 mile run (not too fast, but at like an 8 minute mile pace) on Monday, going for a 9 mile run (much faster, like a 7:30 mile pace) on Tuesday, having Wednesday off because you're in the motor pool, doing a 4.5 mile urban orienteering course at your own pace on Thursday, and taking a PT test on Friday.  That's an average week.  During the hour and a half each morning we do PT we're either running, doing flutter-kicks, pushups, pull-ups, or a combination of them all.  No problem, right?  All I have to do is not quit before the end of OBC and I've got a slot to Ranger School.  Hella sweet.

 

Les and I have been hanging out a whole lot since I got here and we took a bit of a road trip to see an old friend just over a week ago.  Our good buddy Tre Morgan went to the USMA prep school with us and is now a senior at Morehead State University in eastern Kentucky.  We found his cabin in the Daniel Boone National Forest and had a grand ole time catching up on the last 4 years of our lives.  We drank a few, shot some guns, climbed a mountain, ate some good food, and all in all it was a great weekend.

 

Erika is still doing well in MSOBC at Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio and very soon she'll be headed to Ft. Rucker, Alabama for flight school.  I'm headed down to see her and my family this Labor Day weekend and Les is coming with.  We'll probably hit up Sea World, Six Flags, the Riverwalk, check out my parents new house (you can see pictures at The Martin Family Website), and whatever else we find to do.  Erika and I are doing extremely well and I can't wait to see her in just a few days.

 

My mother is in Kuwait now.  She has her own blog at The Desert Chief and she would love to hear from any of you if you get the chance.  From what I hear she's doing extremely well and is looking forward to doing her job in a real-world environment.  She's an advisor of sorts on the logistics system for the entire theatre of operations and I'm sure she'll have a positive impact.  Send her an email.  She asked to go.

 

That's really all for now.  I mentioned this a few weeks ago to Erika, but I'm living my dream here and only hope things continue the way they are.  When I was a kid I dreamed of going to West Point, graduating into the Army as an Armor/Cav officer, and here I am doing it.  Must be those guardian angels again.

 

-Tom

 


 

August 7th

Sorry it's taken so ridiculously long to update, but my computer has been rather uncooperative with me and has decided to not let me log in.  I guess it had something to do with my inability to remember the password I changed it to at the end of May.  Whatever, stupid computer...

 

Anyway, I'm here at Fort Knox and I've already finished my first week of Mounted Officer Basic Course (MOBC).  It's not so bad, really.  So far we've had a bunch of generic classes about incredibly basic Army stuff that all newly-minted officers go through, but soon enough we'll be learning tank gunnery and how to effectively employ our tank platoons.  It's a good thing that I honestly will probably never see a tank again after I graduate from here because I'll be a light Cavalry Scout, but it's good to know what's up when it comes to those sorts of things.

 

Oh, by the way... 

"If you ain't Cav, you ain't shit."

Sorry for the profanity, but that's how it is.

 

I started the Ranger PT program here at MOBC which will allow me, if I keep it up, to attend Ranger school at Ft. Benning after MOBC graduation.  It's not all that fun, but whatever.  I can handle it. 

Here at MOBC I've been going to class, trying to get back in the shape I was in at graduation from West Point, playing golf, learning how to live on my own again, and hanging out with my boys so I can't really complain.

Our MOBC class is about 1/3 West Point graduates and the rest are all ROTC and OCS grads.  For the most part they're mostly good dudes, but you know the deal with that.  It's all good.  Not everyone can be as perfect as me.

I'm living in an oversized hotel room in Newgarden apartments here on Ft. Knox and while I'd rather be living in something a bit better it's all good, I can manage for now.  Les is staying in the "super hooch" called Craig Apartments here on post and he has quite the setup, but soon enough I'll be much higher in rank than I am now and I'll be enjoying much "more gooder" living arrangements.

My mother is in Florida pending her upcoming deployment to Iraq for a year so please keep her in your prayers and when I put her address up here I'd appreciate it if you'd drop her a line.  She volunteered to go so wish her the best.

Erika is doing well at MSOBC at Ft. Sam Houston, Texas.  They've been spending a lot of time in the field, but she can handle it and soon enough she'll be at Ft. Rucker, Alabama learning how to be the best Medevac Pilot in the Army.  It's not so great being away from her, but we'll make it.  Believe me, she's worth it.

That's about it for now.  Sorry for the lack of pictures or anything like that, but I'm updating from my brother Les' computer so this is all you get for now. 

Life is pretty good.  Hope everyone is doing just as well.

-Tom

 


 

July 20th

Not a whole lot is going on and I'm here at my parent's apartment for the moment so I thought I'd put some stuff on here right quick.

I've got just under a week before I make the drive to Ft. Knox, Kentucky for Mounted OBC and I absolutely can't wait to get there and finally start.  Before I left West Point my MS498 instructor, Major Harvey, told me I need to memorize the tune Fiddler's Green if I'm to be a Cav officer.  I'm quite sure there's a bit more to it than just that, but it's a start.

I finally got Texas plates for the 4-Runner yesterday and this morning I passed my written and driving test for my driver's license.  Now I can legally claim Texas residency which wouldn't mean a whole lot except that Arkansas collects state tax and it's rather pointless for me to pay that every year if I don't even live there anymore.  So I've got that going for me, which is nice.

My sister Becky is engaged.  My just recently turned 19 years old youngest sister Becky is engaged to her boyfriend Aaron (picture below).  How 'bout that.

Saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Tim "I'm the craziest dude on the planet" Burton sure made one helluva trippy movie.  Weird.

That's it for now.

-Tom

 

Calvin & Hobbes

 


 

July 14th

I got a few pictures back from the 4th of July weekend in Galveston.  For your viewing enjoyment I bring you....

 

Mom and Chip the wonder dog.

 

The most excellent Martins.

 

That's me in last place, Erika in front of me, Laura in front of her, and Jenny Morrison in the lead.  Well, maybe that's because we had lapped her, or something.  Maybe.

 

We don't normally try to match like this, but it was a special occasion.

 

Jeff and Sarah practicing their poker faces.  Go Spurs Go.

 

Candy "I'm faster than all of you" Martin

 

What?  I'm so confused!

 

Becky and Aaron.  Yee-haw!!!

 

Dad and Mr. Morrison.  Nice shirts, fellas.

 

Dating 101:  At least make your girlfriend's father THINK he has a chance at beating you.

 

 

All in all, a great weekend.  Hope everyone is doing well.

-Tom

Calvin & Hobbes

 

 


 

July 12th

San Antonio in July?  No problem.

 

The family shindig in Galveston over the 4th was pretty sweet. 

I got to see the Morrisons, play golf with Sarah's boyfriend Jeff, ride/fly a Jet-ski in some pretty choppy surf, hang out with my old friend Alex, watch a ton of tourists get their 2-wheel drive rice burner cars stuck in the sand at the beach, sample some of "Grandma's Gumbo", and all in all it was a great weekend.  I'll add pictures when everyone (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) gets them to me. 

 

Erika and I made it from NC to TX (again), but this time we didn't have any blown transmissions and now she's here in San Antonio for Med Service OBC at Ft. Sam Houston.  She'll be a cool and tough medic in a few months and then head to Ft. Rucker, Alabama for flight school which she'll graduate from about a year from now. 

 

I leave for Mounted OBC at Ft. Knox on July 23rd and after that I'll be in Kentucky until December 8th.  Les is already there having fun and it'll be cool to get there so we can play golf and shoot guns and stuff together on the weekends.  Rock.

 

My mom is at Ft. Benning right now in preparation for her deployment to "The Sandbox" for the next year.  She has a new blog called The Desert Chief that she'll update when she gets the chance over there.

 

That's all for now.  Life is still good.

-Tom

Calvin & Hobbes

 


 

July 1st

Ok, time to put some pictures up from the road trip across America and what I've been up to since graduation.  Yeah, it's been an entire month, but I've been busy falling out of airplanes, playing golf, tubing down rivers, and taking road trips.  As soon as I get a picture of my new 4 Runner I'll most definitely put it up here, but for now picture a midnight blue (some say purple, but they're wrong) Toyota. 

 

First, the important pics from grad week and graduation day.

The graduation banquet.

 

The four amigos.  Me and my brothers Les, Jason, and Ed.

 

We were having a beautiful drive through the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee when a giant cloud of white smoke appeared behind us...

 

Wait a minute... I've seen this before!  Ah, yes.  A blown transmission courtesy of Mike the terrible horrible no good very bad mechanic at Mr. Transmission in Vails Gate, New York.  STAY AWAY FROM THIS GUY AND THIS FRANCHISE. 

"This could be catastrophic."

 

The last ride of Tom and his Trooper.

 

My sister and her boyfriend, Jeff, a most excellent dude, at the bar/restaurant she waitresses at in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

 

Jana and Kenny, some old friends from high school and the church youth group. 

 

Tomorrow my family and I are headed to Galveston Bay to meet up with the Morrisons, a family we've known for a LONG time, to have some fun on the beach for the 4th of July.  After that Erika and I are flying to her house in North Carolina only to jump in her Jeep and drive across the country back to San Antonio for the start of her Med Service OBC here at Ft. Sam Houston.  Did I mention I kinda like taking road trips?  Tis true, my friends.

That's about it for now.  Life is good.

-Tom

 


 

June 27th

"I, Thomas Martin, having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of Second Lieutenant do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God."

 

Well, we graduated.  After a year at the prep school and 4 at West Point, I'm finally an officer in the United States Army.  After my 60 days of summer leave are up, it's go time.  I'll go to Ft. Knox, Kentucky for Mounted (formerly Armor) Officer Basic Course, Ft. Benning, Georgia for Ranger school, and then Ft. Richardson, Alaska to the newly created 4th Brigade of the 25th Infantry Division to be an Airborne Cav Scout.

Here are some videos of our hat toss and my bar pinning ceremony.

CLASS DISMISSED!!!

Bar pinning ceremony

 

My summer thus far?  I'll give the amended version because if I tried to write down the details of everything that's happened you would be reading for a loooong time.

We had a family dinner Thursday night of grad week and then a grad party at the hotel Saturday night and it was great seeing all kinds of relatives and hanging out having a good time.  Ed and Erika stopped by later in the night and the next day everyone went their separate ways. 

On the road trip from New York to Texas Erika and I were making our way on down the road when all of a sudden the Trooper blew the main seal on the transmission AGAIN in Harriman, Tennessee.  After I found out it would take another 4 days to fix (under warranty, this time) at the Mr. Transmission shop in Knoxville I went to the Toyota dealer and traded it in as a down-payment on an '02 midnight blue Toyota 4-Runner SR5.  The Trooper is no more, but I absolutely LOVE this new truck and I'll get pictures of it and the road trip up here as soon as I can.

Erika rode back with me to San Antonio and was here for a few days until she flew back to North Carolina.  We tubed down the San Marcos river along with my sister Laura, hung out with the family, and had a good time for a few days, but she had to get back home.  She'll be back down here in less than a week to spend some time at the beach in Galveston Bay with me and my family and then we'll fly back to North Carolina only to turn around and drive back to San Antonio for her Officer Basic Course.

I took a road trip to go see Jason and Les this past week in Mississippi and Alabama.  As always, their families were quite the hosts and we had a lot of fun playing golf, shooting guns, taking a boat ride on Lake Tuscaloosa, and other country "stuff".  I gained 7 pounds in the last week on all the ridiculously good food so I'll be spending a lot of time at the track near the apartment here in San Antonio, but it was worth it.  Great great trip.

Photo courtesy of Les and his grandfather whose golf course we were playing on.

That's really all for now.  Sorry it took so long to get back to messing with this site, but I'm back now.

 

Oh, by the way, GO SPURS GO!!!

-Tom

 

 


 

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