Reservists contribute an incredible amount to the readiness of our Navy. They have to put their normal lives on hold and go into an active duty setting and contribute right from the get-go. Now imagine stopping your day job, leaving your family, flying halfway across the world and entering a foreign country and experiencing the worst case of jet lag ever. That is what our reservists do each time they come out for 2-3 weeks when they come to Bahrain. I asked one of our enlisted Mass Communication Specialists to describe their experience on the first day. Enjoy!
The laundry list of required training, Government Travel Credit Card activation, computer access requests, and orders submissions with fingers crossed until time-sensitive security clearances are approved.
Oh yes. It’s time for Reserve Annual Training (AT).
As a Commander once told me, on AT you could do one of two things: “You could catch up on your TV shows or you could catch up on your career.”
Motivated yet? I sure am.
So, for those unfamiliar with the annual training requirements for a weekend warrior gained to Naval Support Activity Bahrain, the first day looks a little something like this:
0500: Await patiently at the local airport as my Leading Petty Officer arrives bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to greet me — his new two-week addition, who conveniently arrived on his duty day.
0700: With a new set of rental car keys in hand and no idea how to navigate this foreign land, it’s time to head to the hotel just long enough to check-in to my new home (eh.. hotel) for two weeks.
0800: Now it’s time to check in with the Operational Support Office. Surely, I will not be easily identified as a Reservist, wearing my flawless Type II uniform, affectionately nicknamed “blueberries” and mirror-shiny black boots. There’s no way…Right?
Check in usually consists of handing over a copy of my orders to get stamped by the OSO, along with a copy of the travel itinerary and a Certificate of Non Availability (very important when it comes to travel claim time).
(Tip: The sooner you come to the realization that you will NOT be paid until after the END of your orders, the better. Excess spending will be contained.)
If a Reservist arrives on a Sunday, an indoctrination class, courtesy of the OSO, will be held to make assimilation no so tough.
The rest of the day is learning the ins-and-outs of the base and office workflow. If you’re lucky, you get a good grasp of your shop’s mission early on and take the initiative to become a major player in supporting it.
As Reservists, we are fortunate enough to have not one but two careers worth of knowledge to pull from. Believe it or not, a lot can be accomplished in what seems to be a short time. You’re able to brush up on your rate and learn new things, from instruction to execution about the job that you might not have learned without being on orders.
Checking out after orders is pretty much as simple as checking in: orders are stamped again, receipts with a zero balance are handed to the OSO and all borrowed property is returned.
So here I am on my last day of AT; clutching, for dear life, to a copy of my stamped orders, hotel and transportation receipts, as I prepare for a long journey back home.
The only thing I look forward to more than my own bed is a successful Defense Travel System claims submission and a good night’s rest following a zero balance on my GTCC.