Saturday, November 28, 2009

Uniform Part 1

I was told by a friend who just finished COT that I should try to get my uniform prior to arriving in Alabama to free up a little time my first day there. I have been really excited to get my uniform since I was accepted into the JAG Corps over a year ago so I decided to heed my friend's advice and go get my uniform.

In the COT packet I received there was a list of all the things I needed to get: an Airman Battle Uniform (ABU), a Service (Blue) Uniform, a Mess Dress Uniform (the Air Force's version of a tuxedo), some Physical Training (PT) gear, and some miscellaneous supplies. With my list in hand, I contacted the local Air Force Base (AFB) to determine what I had to do to get my stuff. I set up an appointment with the AAFES and headed up to the Base. Fortunately I went during a time that they weren't very busy so I could get one-on-one attention will my things.

I had to be fitted for my ABU, my Blues, and my Mess Dress and had to leave all but the ABU pants for alterations and for my various patches to be sewn on. The whole process took a lot longer that I was expecting (2 hours) but the people were very helpful. Unfortunately, they didn't have everything that I needed but I have been told that I can pick those things up in Alabama.

Besides my uniform, my wife and I have been focused a lot on organizing all our stuff. We had been preparing for a state-side assignment and had started packing accordingly, but now we have to decrease the amount of stuff we're taking and remove most of our electronics and appliances. One specific issue is our bed. We have been told that the bedrooms tend to be rather small and usually can't fit a king-sized bed. Since that's what we've got, we have started looking around for a queen bed to take over.

We have also been trying to figure out what to do about a vehicle while in Germany. The military will ship one car over with our stuff but we don't think that we want to take either of our cars over with us. One is an SUV with terrible gas millage (I've been told that gas in Germany can be between $6.50-8.00/gallon) and our other car is a Honda Accord (better gas millage, but a little small for our growing family).

We have been looking at some Diesel wagons in the states and also and some European cars. We still haven't decided if we want to buy something here and ship it over or wait until we get there and pick something up. There are definitely a lot more "family" cars with good gas millage in Europe, but we aren't sure we want to risk getting over there and not having something right away.

Anyway, life is busy and we are looking forward to the day we are settled in Germany and can start enjoying the European experience.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Our assignment

Well, over one year after I was accepted into the Air Force JAG Corps, we finally found out where we will be stationed. Last night around 7:00 I received a phone call from the Major in charge of assignments and was informed of our two base location choices. Whiteman AFB in Missouri, and Ramstein Air Base in Germany. We were so excited to hear Germany since we have been hoping for a European assignment and my Dad and step-mom are currently living in Germany as well.

The Major gave me 48 hours to decide and call him back. I tried to accept Germany right then but he told me to sleep on it and wait at least until the next morning to call him back. So we slept on it and are still completely sold on going to Germany.The Ramstein Air Base (Ramstein AB) is located in southwestern Germany near the border with France. According to Wikipedia Ramstein AB "serves as headquarters for the United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) and is also a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) installation.
We are incredibly excited to be going to Germany and will post more details about Ramstein AB as we learn them.

Monday, November 9, 2009

No assignment yet

Well, my assignment didn't come last week like I had hoped. Instead, I received a phone call informing me that the folks who make the assignments were either sick or in meetings all last week and weren't able to get around to it. I was also told that I should expect a call sometime this week. However, I've decided not to hold my breath. It will come when it comes.

I am as anxious as ever to find out where we're going and will post it as soon as we know.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Into the wild blue yonder

Since many people have expressed interest in my decision to join the Air Force Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps, I thought it would be beneficial to start a blog to journal my experience. Let's start at the very beginning of law school.

When I started school, I had in the back of my mind that joining the JAG Corps could very interesting. However, following my first year of school I was offered a summer clerkship with a Phoenix firm and quickly dismissed the idea of working for the government when told that I would likely make a six-figure salary in my first year of firm life. As the second summer of law school approached, I found myself splitting my summer between two firms, either of which I thought would make an excellent place to start my career.

Despite the monetary appeal of working for a large law firm, I could not shake the desire I had to serve my country by joining the JAG Corps. Even while I was working at the firms, I would talk with partners who had served in the JAG Corps about their experiences and would try to justify in my mind turning down an offer from the firm and to go work for the military instead. Even after numerous conversations with my incredibly supportive wife, who said she'd support me no matter what I decided to do, I felt like I should brush aside what I wanted to do (join the JAG) and instead do what I felt a good law student should do (join a firm).

At the end of my second summer of law school, as I anxiously awaited offers from both firms, the United States economy begin to nose dive into the worst economic situation this country has seen since the Great Depression. Needless to say, my hopes of receiving job offers began to fade with every downward tick in the stock market. Sure enough, I received phone calls from both firms informing me that due to the economic state of the firm, they could not offer me a permanent position.

With the prospect of working for one of these two firms out of the picture, I began exploring other avenues of employment. Once again, the idea of joining the JAG Corps started dancing around my mind. I began to think that if I ever wanted to serve my country I would never find myself in a better opportunity to do so. Resolved to at least apply, I began to look into each of the Branches' JAG Corps. Ultimately, I applied to only the Air Force and Navy.

In October of 2008, I found out that I had been accepted by the Air Force. I was thrilled! Although I subsequently was rejected by the Navy, the Air Force was my first choice and, therefore, I began taking the next steps toward beginning my employment. The first thing I had to do was undergo a physical. This involved vision and hearing exams, blood and breath tests, and some coordination and flexibility exercises. Once I passed the physical in November, I had nothing left to do but wait until I took and passed the bar the next July.

I initially was told that I would receive my first base assignment the week after I received my bar results the beginning of October. Unfortunately, I would find out that due to a large entering class size, I wouldn't receive my assignment until the first week of November.

Now here I sit on Halloween of 2009, just over one year from when I first was accepted into the Air Force JAG Corps and I am anxiously awaiting my assignment which will come next week. As you can imagine, my family and I are extremely excited to find out where we will spend the next 2-3 years.

Once we find out where we are going, I will then begin preparing for Commissioned Officer Training (COT) and Judge Advocate Staff Officer Course (JASOC) in Montgomery, Alabama starting in January.

It is my hope that during my time in the Air Force, I will be able to use this blog to give you a sense of my work life and what it is like to serve the United States as a JAG officer.