Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Moving and the British Navy

There are only [an expandable number of] certain things in life - death, taxes, cliches, and in the military, moves.

Our time was up. Three years as junior officers, three years is how long you spend at any one position. We were going to have to tear up those deep roots from the fertile soil of Alaska and transplant ourselves somewhere else. These were some pretty reluctant roots I'm afraid, roots that caterwauled when pulled up, like Alaskan mandrakes.

Kirk had been doing some pretty amazing stuff over the last year or so. He had, I understand, been literally writing the book on info-ops. His theories, concepts and methods were innovative and exciting, and getting a fair amount of notice. Naturally this was all opaque to me. I heard things about 'briefings' and gradually recognized that the briefings were often to quite senior officers. I know there were commendations and awards, but details were obscured.

He was happy - challenged, fulfilled, respected, recognized. And so when it came to leave he was given two choice options. He could either go teach his info-ops philosophy in San Antonio, or he could set up a brand new info-ops unit, a big one, cross-branch with the Navy, in Virginia.

We talked about it for weeks. Kirk really wanted to teach; it's something he would have been very good at, and influencing the next generation of intel people is a pretty cool idea. But... Texas. Ooooh. Working with the Navy could be good too, he's never done that yet... but it's not teaching... and it's in Virginia... but... Texas... He went to his commander to ask advice, talked to civilians and officers alike; we did everything but play rock-paper-scissors over it. And I supported like crazy - San Antonio is a nice city (mostly) and we could (probably) find some good schools for the kids (in Texas). Or we could go to the East coast, somewhere new, somewhere different.

Finally, after much thought and deliberation, we decided. We were going to Virginia. And we were going to drive.

Yup, we can't be taught. Well, not entirely. There were two concessions made.

1. We would NOT drive through the Yukon, instead we would take the Alaska Ferry.

2. Our family and our sanity might not survive the drive in a Saturn SL2.

She had served us well, our first and only brand-new car, but it was time to say goodbye.

Kirk took her to the trade-in place and called me up all excitement. He'd found it, the perfect vehicle. This thing screamed Road Trip. I had to see it.



'Well... it's going to be really slow.'

'True, but then I won't stress out over getting caught behind idiots in RVs on the single lane highways when they won't pull off even though legally they HAVE to if there are more than -'

'Kirk, focus.'

'Right, sorry.'

'it's going to get terrible mileage.'

'Well, yes.'

'It's incredibly ugly.'

'True. But if you look carefully, we can actually seat the kids so not one of them can touch anyone else.'

'Let's buy it.'

So we bought an absolutely enormous, hideous grey conversion van.

I christened her 'The HMS Indefatigable'

We were ready to set sail.

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