Expanded Notes: Okay, welcome to your first military acronym: B.L.U.F. Believe me, there are thousands of acronyms and I will attempt to stay away from them as much as possible in my explanation of my new set of orders and what the orders mean to me and my family.
- What is the 1st Medical Battalion? Think of the TV series MASH. The 1st MDBTLN is kind of like that--A clinic--only now days, much more sophisticated.
- How long will you be at the 1st MDBTLN? 3 years, starting June 2008 and will complete my commitment in June 2011.
- Is the 1st MDBTLN with the Marines? Absolutely. I will be considered "Green side" (Marines) as opposed to "Blue side" (Navy) or "Grey side" (Navy Ships). I will be working alongside and for the Marines.
- What will you do at 1st MDBTLN? I will serve as either a Company Commander of 80 people, an admin officer or a staff officer.
- Will you have to deploy? Yes. Unfortunately, we are a Nation at War and our Marines, Sailors, Soldiers and Airman who are fighting this War deserve the best medical care during battle. The 1st MDBTLN will provide that care. I will be inside the Wire as opposed to outside the Wire (US Military territory).
- How Long will you have to go? Well, that is undetermined. Currently, they are 6-7 month deployments.
- How many times will you have to go? I don't know. I know people who have gone once and others that have gone twice.
- Can you deploy to other places? Yes. In fact, I could be assigned to a MEU (Marine Expeditionary Unit). With the MEU, I will be attached to a ship and I will oversee patient movement from the ground to the ships and vice-versa.
- Why are you going with the Marines and not another hospital? Ah, yes. This is the million dollar question, isn't it? Okay, in order for you to understand why I have chosen this operational billet (job), you need to have some background information:
First, Not all Officers will have the luxury of reaching the 20 years needed to retire. Congress mandates the number of Officers the Military can have; Therefore, Officers during promotion periods will have to go through a selection board. This selection board will select the Officers that deserve to be promoted and stay in the Navy. As for the rest that did not get selected, Goodbye...here is your severance check, no healthcare coverage and thank you for serving. In order for me to be competitive, I need to do an operational tour. Although it doesn't guarantee that I will be selected, it definitely will help.
Secondly, a chance for unlimited Healthcare coverage for the future. For those who know us, you know we can not go without this very important benefit. If I can reach the 20yr mark, we will have healthcare coverage and a retirement check for the rest of our lives(how huge is that!) If I have to deploy to have an opportunity for this benefit, I am going to do it.
Thirdly, I truly believe I would regret not serving. So many fellow Officers have served and I need to also.
- What about your family? Are you going to miss them? To say that I would miss them would be an understatement. I am consistently somber and think about it all the time, it keeps me up at night sometimes. I am about to make the biggest sacrifice of my life: leaving my family (not forever!). There is nothing better in life than having my family by me. In fact, my son Dylan is sleeping at my feet as I am typing. I will be able to stay in touch, often daily and will be able to do video conferences. On the topic of my family, I could write forever. Bottom line: My family needs come before mine; I will do whatever it takes for them to be taken care of, for now and for the future.