Monthly Archives: September 2016

Closing the Chapter on Djibouti

Well that’s that. All done. Wrapped it all up.

It’s easy to by cynical about this whole deployment. It’s harder to view it in a positive light, especially as I sit in Norfolk for five days longer than I should have to waiting for an appointment with PSD so that I can get a signature on a piece of paper so I can go see my family. Icing on the cake. One last reminder that I need to get out of this business…and start something new.

An unclassified Appalachian Trail Marking. Particularly humorous given where I came from.

An unclassified Appalachian Trail Marking. Particularly humorous given where I came from.

Let this deployment serve as the greatest piece of inspiration for me to stretch my neck out there and start something of my own. I have ideas, lots of ideas and I’ve found a pretty good way to relate them all into a bigger aspiration. That is where this blog and website will be directed. Come along with me, starting from scratch to build a sustainable business venture on the heels of the permaculture movement. Together we’ll start a community knife sharpening business to fund infrastructure projects on the land that will enhance the health of my family and community. Read the whole plan on a soon to be published ebook on Amazon and join the fun as we video log the whole project for real time community involvement on YouTube. It’s time for me to start giving back by sharing what I know and inspiring people to take control of their lives. If there’s something to inspire me from Djibouti, it’s that life doesn’t have to suck.

I took advantage of my paid vacation in Norfolk to scoot out of the city and into the woods of Shenandoah National Park. What a site for sore eyes, and smells for a sore nose. Oh, speaking of that, smells have been one of the most delightful things about returning to the US. I played a pickup game of Frisbee in Norfolk on real grass, and the smell that came off of the grass from people making cuts for the disc almost made me forget what I was doing out there. And all the earthy smells on the trails in Shenandoah. Just enchanting. Paraphrasing the Prophet, you need to have it bad to know when you have it good.

Doyle River Cabin. My Dad and I hiked this trail on our way to dropping me off at OCS 15 years ago. Far out. A lot has happened in those 15 years.

Doyle River Cabin.
My Dad and I hiked this trail on our way to dropping me off at OCS 15 years ago. Far out. A lot has happened in those 15 years.

In closing the chapter on DJ I’m including some gouge that I picked up from passing through ECRC on the way out. Polar opposite to coming through. It seems their system for getting us downrange is much more refined than their system to get us home. Anyway, here are some things I wish I knew then that I do know now. Cheers:

  • Follow all the other gouge you hear about doing medical and dental in DJ. In my case I needed a referral for a persistent ear infection which meant I got on the PSD list late, which means I got pushed through the weekend.
  • Lodging: Call and get a CNA for dates as if you were doing TAPS just in case you end up held long like me. If you can’t get a CNA call the Lodge and get a reservation, you don’t need a CNA for the Navy Lodge and if you’re off base the per diem is doublish.
  • Rental Car: I paid out of pocket. They were making some deals where one dude from each hotel would get it reimbursed. I didn’t pursue it because I didn’t want to be on the hook for driving chaps around. I got the rental from the airport and after getting to the hotel and washing the bod I split a cab up there. I stuck Ryan Alexander with the bill like any good senior officer would do so it actually only cost me the tip. When I finally get my ticket it will be nice to just cruise up there rather than work something with the rental place on base. Apparently booking Avis through USAA is a good deal. I did Kayak or Expedia or something and it seemed comparable.
  • Paperwork: They tricked most of us by saying we needed our OCR, so do that and any DD214’s you have, proof of all awards (ASOSH), do your PDHA and I think that’s it, your orders obviously.
  • Courtesy Demob: If you care, I worked mine through the NOSC I drill at, just tell the MOB rep there that you want to courtesy demob somewhere else because you don’t want to waste government money. They make you fill out something, then forward it to the NOSC you want to demob with, all easy, but they do say they need 30 days to do it. I was within that window when I asked and it still worked.
  • Fly somewhere other than your NOSC: They’ll fly you where you want to go but your NOSC needs to complete a HOR (Home of Record). Sounded easy if your NOSC is willing to support.
  • Time: Monday was busy, Tuesday was nothing, Wednesday was busy, and then nothing until you can get checked out with PSD.
  • Recreation: The beach at the Little Creek base is real nice, just follow signs for the golf course. There’s a fishing pier past the carriers on NOB that is a good way to burn some time. There’s a running trail at Jeff Robertson’s Park in Ghent which is nice too, and close.
  • Dining: I think I had the best burger of my life at 80/20 Burger Bar. The Killa B (for Kevin Burel) is a bleu cheese bacon goodness. The meat is from real cows in VA. That and the salted caramel ice cream. Dang. Also check out Taste for lunch if you are itching for real vegetables. And the Lynnhaven Fish House for your fish fix. I hit up the French Bakery in Ghent when looking for Charlie’s. The dude made up a mean omelet with some bread thing with a fig layer on the bottom, real good, but not on the menu so if you find Eli just tell him what you need.
  • Ultimate: Every Sunday at 3:30 and Wednesday at 5:30 at Jeff Robertson’s Park. Good peops. Crossed a few I played with 10 years ago.