For those of you that have been following my blog, you know I’m getting ready to head back to Fort Gordon for the captain’s career course. I’m not thrilled with the plan because it means uprooting my family but at least we’ll only be in Georgia instead of well, Iraq. And it’s only for a few months before we reunite the family under one roof again.
Course Iraq looms against shortly after we get home but we’ll deal with that. We’ve done it before; we’ll do it again.
Anyway, I’ve already begun my transition with my replacement. First, let me tell you, I feel like the Devil Wears Prada because in my heart of hearts, I feel like I’ve made a true difference in the way this unit works and operates and I worry about my replacement stepping in simply because he wasn’t with the brigade the whole time so I’ve got a basis of experience he missed out on.
He’s going to do just fine.
But I worry, you know?
I like feeling like I’ve made a difference. I like being needed and I like being trusted and with my commander and my first sergeant, there’s trust between the three of us. I haven’t had that – not like this- since becoming an officer and its meant the world for me in the last few months. The three of us have been a great team and I am really, honestly and truly, going to miss working with those two guys. I never had to bite my tongue and they didn’t either. And it worked.
But more than those two, I’m going to miss my old soldiers. The guys I was downrange with will be burned in my memory forever. My daughters run around saying “I am a robot” and I’m wondering why my kids sound like SSG Sanchez. These guys are a really great group of soldiers and the Blackknight family is just that: A family. We’ve got good soldiers all working toward the good of the brigade.
The team I’m leaving behind will succeed because they understand how critical they are to the success of the brigade. And they truly care about getting better every day.
My life in the Greywolf brigade has not been easy. I’ve had many days where I’ve screamed in frustration and anger. But the single best compliment I’ve received is being told that I was one of the few officers who were truly passionate about what I was doing. That to me is the one of the few things someone could have said about me that means a lot. Especially considering the speaker, someone I admire and respect tremendously.
I’ve had an incredible support from the senior leaders in my brigade. The 2 XOs I served, the DCO and the Brigade Commander all took a smart ass, know it all lieutenant and proceeded to step on my neck while I learned what it meant to be an officer in a brigade combat team.
I am a better officer for having had these men as mentors. I’ve learned to argue for whats important and how compromise when I knew I couldn’t win. I learned hard lessons about firing people and what happens when you don’t cut sling load. I also relearned that its about having the right people in the job, regardless of rank.
As I move on to my next assignment, I will try to go in with a dose of humility. As a great lady recently told me, I am still a young officer, regardless of my time in service. I still have a ton to learn about being an officer.
I am willing to learn but as always, I have to learn from people I respect and admire. That may be a critical weakness on my part, but it is one I’m at least aware of.
I am honestly saddened at the thought of leaving this unit. Unlike other units where, when it was time to go, it was really time to go and I didn’t look back with nostalgia until much later. I’m already looking back on this fondly. I’m glad I’ve got the blog to remind me of some of the challenges.
I’m not gone yet. I’ve still got to make my transition as seamless as possible so that one day, they look around and realize I’m gone and they don’t even miss me. For while it would be nice to be missed, if I am to have any true, lasting impact, I need to make sure when I leave, the transition is smooth and easy.
Because the BlackKnight family has worked their asses off to get where they are and they deserve to have a seamless transition. It’s my last task before heading off for parts unknown.