News from the Base

Josh Skyped last night from his base in Honduras.  After three weeks he is settling in to the job and to life on the base.  He was having a quiet night to get up early for what he called an “MW&R” trip.  “MW&R?” we asked. “Morale, Welfare, and Relaxation” Josh replied.  Everything’s an acronym or abbreviation in the Army.   They planned to visit a waterfall–the temperature is in the 80s or 90s every day–and end the day at a brewery.  Josh said there are MW&R trips every weekend.  It’s the new Army recruiting motto:  Be as Relaxed as You Can Be.

Deployed

After 15 months of training–Basic Combat Training, Officer Candidate School, Basic Officer Leadership Course, and Signal Corps–our son Josh, a/k/a Second Lieutenant Randall, left Fort Gordon, GA this morning for a 13-month deployment in Honduras.  He’s stationed at Soto Cano Air Base.  The U.S. military mission includes drug interdiction, humanitarian efforts, and god-knows what else.  After all of that training he is upbeat about actually doing something.

Sobering Words

After graduating from Army Officer Candidate School Josh spent two weeks at home, assigned to a local recruitment office.  “Recruiting” did not require that he break a sweat, a nice break after six months of Basic Combat Training and OCS.  He left for Fort Gordon, GA yesterday.  He has six more months of training and then the Army will deploy him somewhere.

I’ve heard Josh recite the Soldier’s Creed with fellow graduates a few times.  With each hearing it hits me differently.   These words have stayed with me from the OCS ceremony:

I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the United States of America in close combat.

Hearing your child utter these words is profoundly different emotionally than reading them on the page.

Military graduation

We attended Joshua’s graduation from Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, GA last week.  OCS graduation does not provide the same spectacle as graduation from Basic Combat Training–no smoke bombs–which is more in keeping with the graduates’ entry into professional soldiering.  As our newly-minted 2nd Lieutenant says, “I’m now lower middle management.”p1030658

Hiding in Plain Sight

I’m searching for the Army’s Fort Benning website to find information about graduation dates for my son’s  Officer Candidate School.  I click the link to the URL https://www.benning.army.mil/ocs/.  The page fails to resolve and I receive this message:

www.benning.army.mil uses an invalid security certificate.  The certificate is not trusted because the issuer certificate is unknown.  (Error code: sec_error_unknown_issuer)

I receive the same message when I click the link to the U.S. Army Infantry Homepage and other Army links.  Firefox refuses to resolve to the URL.  I try the URLs in Internet Explorer and receive a message about an invalid certificate, but IE resolves to the page when I click through the warning.  I don’t find the graduation info I seek.

What’s up with these warnings?