Posted by: patrick | January 16, 2008

I know I’m not a regular blog writer…often I don’t get motivated enough time-wise to get a good note in. But I’ll try to get around to posting more about this deployment here, as one of the ways I can let those who know me (and those who don’t) know what goes on in my world with the Marine Corps.

I’m now in Jacksonville, North Carolina, aboard Camp Lejeune, the primary United States Marine Corps base for the East Coast. I’ve been here before in 2003, to attend my MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) school for combat engineers. Back then, I was housed at Courthouse Bay, which was quite distant from the main facilities on the base. Life was pretty boring for me at that time, and I promised myself that I wouldn’t come back to Camp Lejeune if I can help it. Not that I have much choice in the matter, being ordered by the Department of Defense to go to and fro….

I have to say that my negative opinion of the base and the surrounding community has lessened by having more access around and outside of Camp Lejeune. (It helps being a sergeant now and having access to a van…) You see, almost every U.S. military base has surrounding businesses, some of a parasitic nature: strip clubs, pawnshops, tattoo joints, all sorts of bars, and so on. On my free time this week, I’ve been able to eat dinner off base twice (just when the chow hall food’s been wearing me down) and watch I Am Legend. Yes, I’m a bit behind on my pop culture–just give me some time to catch up.

Adjusting to the training schedule and the living situation here was rough this past week, but now I think I’m getting the hang of things: the schedule, my responsibilities, interacting with other Marines in our larger unit, and so on. It also helps that we were just issued our weapons this week. In my case, I was issued an M4 carbine. This should be an interesting change of pace from my experience using M16 rifles.

We’ll start our qualifications with our rifles soon. Hopefully I’ll receive my 3rd Rifle Expert award. Just need to figure out how to stay warm in the cold Carolina mornings.

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