We will remain confident in the Lord's direction for our lives....

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Orders in, hello California

B.L.U.F.(Bottom line up front): I (Garth) received my orders to 1st Medical Battalion, Camp Pendleton, California. I will detach from Naval Hospital Corpus Christi in May 2008 and I will report to 1st Medical Battalion, Camp Pendleton, CA in June 2008.

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, 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.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Winter Tea

Christmas break has officially begun for the Aldrich's. Today Dylan's school put on a little Christmas program for their friends and family and then we went to their classrooms to be served some treats prepared by the kids. It was so cute!! This is really the first time Dylan has ever been in a program and it was so much fun to watch. The kids wore their "Sunday best" and sang Christmas carols. They did such a good job. Dylan even sang!!
The room was decorated with a peice of artwork by each child. Dylan attends a charter school so as a way to earn money the artwork was auctioned off in a Silent Auction. My $10 went to a beautiful Christmas tree made by Dylan. (I personally think grandparents would have definately been in their element today.) There was a live auction to sell some paper-mache animals. Dylan's class made a sea turtle. It was the cutest thing. It went for about $300, so someone else will get the luxury of enjoying it. Two of the pieces went for $1000 a piece. There were some parents and grandparents with some deep pockets!! It all went to a good cause though. The school has been great for Dylan.
Well, after getting my prized artwork, it was off the the classroom for treats. Mrs. Fernandez had a beautiful spread of snacks. Dylan served me, and then gave me a present he had made in his class. We wished everyone a Merry Christmas and headed home. Dylan and Jaydon both crashed fast asleep and are napping as I type.

Thank you God for giving me my boys so I can experience special times like these.

Many Blessings and Merry Christmas!!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Baby Jesus Update

We found Baby Jesus!!! He was hiding under the couch. I'm sure I will have to search for Him again, but I will just use that as a simple reminder to search for Christ Jesus more this season.