It has been a long but very wonderful week. I had planned to post a blog once a week but there may be too much happening in this time period to report. We arrived Sunday and met the school cadre and each other, settled into our rooms and prepared for what is termed 0 week - a week of in processing. This included a lot of paperwork to cover finance, insurance, personal records; we also did our dental and medical checks.
On Monday, while coming out of the Clothing and Sales store I received my first salute. A Sergent First Class provided me this opportunity and I handed him my silver dollar - a tradition in the military, stemming from the pay that officers would give to enlisted aids they would hire. I was happy that it went to an NCO who recognized what it was about.
That afternoon I was interviewed for a leadership position in the class, I was subsequently assigned as the 1st Platoon Platoon Leader - the All American Platoon. This is a great honor, not only to be in this position but to also represent the 82nd Airborne. Our Platoon song is "All American Soldier". I have a great group of Chaplains and Candidates and I have the utmost confidence in them and our ability to perform.
Tuesday was filled with dental and medical processing, I ended up needing a filling but they were able to do that that very morning. Wednesday was very cold and we completed our medical processing.
On Thursday I received and incredibly honor and an even better surprise. We were addressed by the school leaders. CH (Col) Boone, the school commandant, was the first to speak and at the end he called me to the front. I had no idea what was about to happen, but as I stood at attention facing the class he commended me on my initiative and leadership ability in setting up our class Facebook page, he then presented me with his personal coin. These are known as challenge coins and are a matter of unit pride, CH (Col) Boone's coin is very unique as it is wooden.
He then surprised me even further by announcing that Denise and Cody were here in the back of the room to see this - needless to say I was shocked, I had spoken to Denise that very morning and she had said nothing of all this! This was a wonderful surprise and even though they are moving down here at the end of this next week it was great having them here this weekend with me.
Today we attended the post Jewish service. This was for a number of reasons - first, I am required to attend five different post services and report on them; second, Denise has become good friends with Ms. Stephanie Alexander, a Lay Jewish leader here on post and the person responsible for a number of our blessings here, and there is great opportunity to learn. After the service we attended some down time with the basic training and AIT soldiers here on post, very young men and women away from home. It was a blessing to see how I can minister to them, to just talk to them and encourage them.
I am humbled by the Chaplains in class with me, we are what I believe to be the example of Christian leadership - here we are, all from different denominations and backgrounds, we even have three Rabbis with us - yet we have put this all aside to serve God, Country and the men and women who protect us. I am, and my family is, exactly where God wants us.
A Song of Ascents. I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel Will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; The LORD is your shade on your right hand. The sun will not smite you by day, Nor the moon by night. The LORD will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul. The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in From this time forth and forever.