Friday, October 31, 2008

Weight has been lifted

Now back, after nearly a year’s hiatus in Kikuk, Iraq. My trepidation for posting anything on this blog is nearly assuaged, as our tour is wrapping up. Please accept my apologies for my extended absence. Though, recapping what I couldn’t post is nearly impossible due to space and time limitations and my inclination to focus only on the positive aspects of my experiences in support of the civil affairs effort in Kirkuk.

One of the fundamental supply related concepts you learn quickly in the army is that you’re held financially liable for equipment for a variety of reasons. You might not even have been the soldier that has actually lost the equipment. But, because of some paperwork snafu, you could be charged with a financial loss. Also, a commander is often subject to personally liability for equipment that he “signed for” but that he didn’t personally lose. Interestingly, corporate America adopted this idea of piercing the executive corporate veil and extending personal liability to CEOs/CFOs after Enron/Worldcom through the 302 certifications under the Sarbanes/Oxley act of 2002. Well, the army has been doing this for years and I soon learned that this financial exposure also extends to supply sergeants. I’ll just say there were various equipment transactions and issues that kept me up at night during the course of this tour. Luckily I had supporting teams sergeants that kept close tabs on their equipment and quickly reported their status to me. Increasing my challenges was the logistical hurdles of sustaining and tracking supplies at 4 remote FOBs throughout the tour. With our change of command inventories nearly complete and the replacement unit slowly assuming more responsibility over supply activities, I’m only now drawing a sense of relief.

Tonight with my work nearly finished, I spent an evening of recreation by playing extended games of ping-pong with “G”, Ron and Mike at the nearby gym. I’m so happy to have caught up with these guys and been able to release some steam. Throughout the tour, it’s been Ron that’s kept the camaraderie of the unit together and essentially kept us all sane amongst all the surrounding craziness of our daily lives. And I’m only now finding the time to reflect on all that’s happened over the past year and put it into some meaningful context.

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