Archive: September 2005

Last Day in the Office..

Today's my last day in the office. I'd intended to have everything packed up by close of business, but will have to come back tonight or this weekend to get my personal effects. Work has been hectic lately, and writing this blog has also taken time. My plan is to spend some quality time with my family and work from my parent's house on the long list of tasks to accomplish before my report date or "18 OCT 05" as it's listed on the official correspondence....

By Bert Stover | September 30, 2005; 2:04 PM ET | Comments (3)

A View of the Protests

I took the opportunity with some friends of mine Saturday to get a first hand look at the sights and sounds of the anti- and pro-war protests on the National Mall. I wanted to see and hear what people had to say about a war I'll experience first hand over the next 18 months. What I heard were shouting matches between people who hated each other, what I saw were a confusing mix of protests -- many of which were piggy backed on the anti-war theme but had no relation at all to war issues....

By Bert Stover | September 27, 2005; 8:00 AM ET | Comments (132)

An Eventful Flight

My flight time has been limited recently because of some pay and budget issues at our unit. But, thankfully, I was able to return to flying the weekend of 9/16.CW3 Phillip Brashear and WO1 Bert Stover finish startup tasks for their Black Hawk helicopter just before taking off vertically from Meadow Farm in Glen Allen, Va. (Gordon Stover)View Enlarged Photo I was a little nervous -- both because I'm still a rookie pilot and because I figured my skills might have become rusty in the month since I'd last flown. It turned out that my skills were okay, but I was right to be nervous....

By Bert Stover | September 26, 2005; 10:08 AM ET | Comments (3)

Visiting for One Last Time?

I've been visiting friends and family. I don't know if these visits will be the last ones before I leave, but that's the sense I have. I'm also thinking about visiting people I haven't seen for years. My college girlfriend, for one. But do I really want to stir up that pot of emotions? How big of a deal would it be? She is married, and for all I know has children. It could just be a casual meeting to check up on each other or it could be an uncomfortable, sad experience. I visited some of my fraternity brothers in NYC three weeks ago, which turned out to be a great weekend. Mostly they have become responsible professionals, doctors, lawyers and the like. How things change just six years out of college! I plan to visit my hometown, three hours southeast of Washington DC, for two weeks vacation just...

By Bert Stover | September 20, 2005; 10:00 PM ET | Comments (1)

Taking the Oath

SFC Tomon, the VAARNG recruiter, visited one last time to take me to the MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station). We went to the Richmond, Va. MEPS, where I had to go through several stations of medical and clerical tasks. I had never seen so many paper forms to fill out. By the end of processing, seven hours had passed and I was just about to sign the paperwork....

By Bert Stover | September 15, 2005; 5:22 AM ET | Comments (3)

A Recruiter Who Makes Sense

Weeks passed after I decided the Navy wasn't for me and I continued to try to figure out college financing. I kept looking at scholarships, but none worked out. Then, one day while in the library mooching college internet services, I saw a flier on a bulletin board. It said something like "Money for College - Part Time Job - Call SFC Edward Tomon" I took the flier and set up an appointment to meet with the recruiter for the Virginia Army National Guard (VAARNG)....

By Bert Stover | September 14, 2005; 12:10 AM ET | Comments (7)

College Money and the Military

"Why the military?" This question is always asked of me, so I figure you should know the answer. Back in 1996, I was a sophomore at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia when one day at the end of class the professor asked me to stay after and see him. I walked down to the front of the lecture hall and he asked me if there was something wrong. Of course I did not have any clue what he was talking about so I told him "No, Sir". He proceeded with "The college has informed me your tuition bill is outstanding. I am supposed to ask you to leave my class." I decided to take the semester off to figure out my financial situation....

By Bert Stover | September 13, 2005; 12:01 AM ET | Comments (44)

Operational Security

Getting permission from the Va. National Guard to write this blog has taken a long time, with weeks turning into months. I want to give some insight on what I will and or will not discuss, and why. I won't be able to say until at least October, where I'll eventually be stationed. Not even what country. Otherwise, I'd be violating operational security (OPSEC). What I can say about my whereabouts is we will report to our home station in Richmond, Va. in October. The unit is activated and will move to Ft. Dix, N.J. I can also say that we are activating in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)....

By Bert Stover | September 7, 2005; 5:17 AM ET | Comments (7)

They Actually Want Me to Blog

As soon as I returned home with my deployment orders, I emailed Jim Brady asking him if he would still be interested in my writing about 'Reporting for Duty'. I expected him to say he'd thought it over and decided to pass. I actually ended up getting a reply inviting me to a meeting in his office with a few of the other editors....

By Bert Stover | September 6, 2005; 5:15 AM ET | Comments (13)

New Careers

About 8 months ago on a Saturday afternoon at a Chipotle in NW D.C., I ran into Jim Brady, who had just been named executive editor of We were trading backgrounds, with his questions mostly around my recent return to the company from military leave. He assumed I had been deployed overseas in support of either Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) or Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). I corrected him, explaining that I was returning from Army flight school, after years of wanting to be a pilot....

By Bert Stover | September 3, 2005; 5:37 AM ET | Comments (1)

Career on Hold

When I received news of the deployment, I was in the middle of applying for an open management position, responsible for all networking, hardware, and security for

By Bert Stover | September 2, 2005; 5:05 AM ET | Comments (7)

Informing My Employer

I drove up to Arlington, VA from my unit in Richmond, VA to tell my employer, Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive....

By Bert Stover | September 1, 2005; 2:03 PM ET | Comments (2)

Thoughts as I received the order

How am I going to tell Mom? All she hears about are the reports of bombs and downed helicopters. The last thing I want to deal with is telling her I have to leave....

By Bert Stover | September 1, 2005; 12:06 PM ET | Comments (1)


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