About 'Reporting for Duty'...

Sometime over the next few months, I expect to be deployed overseas for the first time in 10 years of service in the Virginia Army National Guard. My goal in writing this blog is to relate the events and emotions of transitioning from a civilian life, where freedom is taken for granted, to a full time gig in an Army at war.
I begin the blog as a 29-year-old, single male resident of the District of Columbia and the owner of a one bedroom condo. I work in the civilian sector as a computer programmer for Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive (WPNI), the publisher of washingtonpost.com.  In the military, I am a member of the Virginia Army National Guard performing the duties of a Black Hawk helicopter pilot.  I have no professional writing experience.
Except for 15 months of Army flight school, I've worked for WPNI for the past five years, and was looking forward to focusing on my professional career here until the day my National Guard company commander read the activation orders for our unit, 2/224th AVN (Aviation). After receiving the activation orders, I asked washingtonpost.com editors if they would like to partner with me in reporting the experiences of a Virginia Army National Guard soldier 'Reporting for Duty'.
The Obligatory Disclaimer: 'Reporting for Duty' will always reflect my opinions and those of the people I interact with over the next 24 months. This blog does not reflect the views of The United States Department of Defense or Army.

By Bert Stover |  August 31, 2005; 5:00 AM ET  | Category:  Misc.
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How did your family take the news that you are being activated and will likely be shipped off to Iraq? How do you feel about it?

Posted by: Sandy in Arlington | August 31, 2005 09:00 AM

How is the morale in your unit? Did many attempt to get out of the deployment?

Posted by: RC in Maryland | August 31, 2005 11:50 AM

Best of luck to you in your deployment. I am a former Army reservist myself. In fact, I received deployment orders a couple weeks before my wedding in Jan. 2003. We were able to bump things up--it was hectic and very hard on my new wife. I can imagine your deployment is just as hard on your family. I hope your unit is more organized than mine was--it was a mess. God bless and return safely--

Posted by: Andy | August 31, 2005 12:05 PM

Why not just do your job and keep your comments to yourself? And if you just can't restrain yourself, comment to an outlet that is not blatently anti-America as the Washington Post.


Posted by: Joe Drager | August 31, 2005 06:45 PM


Posted by: JIM | September 5, 2005 01:15 AM

I'm an Army Reservist and spent a year in Iraq from the start of the war in OIF 1 . Downtown Baghdad was tough, but doable. Joe - get a clue. Bert did his service, did you?

Posted by: Jim D | September 6, 2005 04:33 AM

Bert, God Speed young man. My son has been a National Guard Aviator for 20 years. He has served in Bosnia and Afghanistan. He is back Stateside - for now. Tell your Mom she has my prayers, as you do. Look forward to your reports.

Posted by: Betty Robers, Maryland | September 20, 2005 10:31 AM

You sound like an idiot who just wants attention to himself. All because its time for you to go serve your country. Well Boo-Hoo and now quit crying and go do what you signed up for.

Posted by: Gil | September 27, 2005 09:20 PM

Mister Stover, my wife is in your unit as a medic. She enlisted when this country was doing peace-keeping missions. She mostly did it for the college money, not for war experiences. And now that the army wants to send you guys over there, she has nothing but regret that the cause is not why she signed up. But with that said, she loves the people in the unit. She feels safe with you and the other soldiers by her side. She could not see going to such a place with any other unit. And as for myself, I will try my best to raise money back here for the unit. Most people I don't think understand that a unit and their loved-ones become a family of one in times like this. So from one family member to another, you are in my heart, be safe, and we'll see all when this is over.

Posted by: Ken Zesotarski | October 28, 2005 04:23 PM

Bert looking at some of these posts one might belive it's un-American to have opinions on anything in this country, except what Bush wants us to think and believe, or you'll face retaliation.

You say what every you want. Doesn't matter if it's pro-war if you choose to question war, or even just express your thoughts on the food! You inherited the right of free speech from soldiers who died before you and are now charged with perserving it. Free speach isn't "free" either we use it, or lose it. You can comment on any darn thing you want... According to the news we're allowed to see - everything is just peachy. I think it would be great to hear what it's really like over there.

Good Luck to you

Posted by: Larry Loftis (Vietnam Helicopter Pilot) | November 9, 2005 11:53 PM

Sounds like Ken's wife should have joined the Salvation Army, they're swamped with relief work....Duty, Honor, Country

Posted by: Jim | February 23, 2006 04:16 PM

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