Wednesday, September 26, 2012

MilJo workshop - Part 1

Sorry I did not update earlier. The first couple days were jam packed and I did not have time. Then when I tried yesterday I could not access the hotel Internet. Anyway, here is a recap of the first few days. I will try to get another one up later tonight, but it depends how I'm feeling. My day started at 3:30 a.m. today.

After doing the Rockman Challenge in Watertown, Wis. on Saturday and then finalizing my packing for the trip, I grabbed three hours shut eye before waking up at 5:30 a.m. on Sunday morning. Rick Klemp graciously said he could drive me to the Dane County Regional Airport in the morning, and since my flight from Madison to Detroit was scheduled to leave at 9 a.m., I thought it best to get there a couple hours early. After arriving at the airport around 7:10 a.m., I checked in and made it through security by 7:45 a.m.

My first flight from Madison to Detroit, Mich. took off at 9 a.m. and we arrived around 45 minutes later, around 10:45 a.m. with the one hour leap forward. From there, I boarded a second plane around noon, and while we were supposed to lift off around 12:20 p.m., there was a delay because they apparently didn’t have the necessary signatures stating everything was checked off and ready to go, so instead our plane took off at 1 p.m. Two hours later (and going back a time zone) we arrived in Kansas City, Mo. 

After checking into our hotel, the IHG Army Hotels, we headed out on the town for a walking tour. 

While there we were able to visit some historical buildings, such as the general’s mansion, where various generals, including General Custer, have stayed over the years; the buildings where the international students stay; the clock tower; the Buffalo Soldiers Memorial; and numerous other places. We also heard some ghost stories. For instance, the international house the Koreans currently occupy is said to have a ghost that reads bedtime stories to the children and does the dishes. Quite terrifying, I know. 

The walking tour took us until about 10 o’clock at night. From there, we headed back to the hotel, and I tucked right into bed.
Monday we listened to a variety of speakers on everything from an overview of the Army to the United States Disciplinary Barracks. We were also introduced to five Army majors, who participated in an hour long panel and answered any questions we had. Then at 4:30 p.m., we were able to attend a ceremony recognizing the departure of 50 soldiers from the 705th military police internment that are deploying to Kuwait. 
Afterwards we were able to interview four of the military personnel that are deploying.

Our day finished early, and after dinner at 6 p.m. we were given the rest of the night to do what we wanted. For some, that meant heading back to their room to file stories. For me, I headed out on the tour to get some more photos of the historic buildings. 

On Tuesday, Sept. 25 I was able to interview Major Jeffery Jensen, who graduated from high school in Benton, Wis. He is currently studying at Fort Leavenworth with the goal of becoming a Lt. Corporal. More information on him will be posted at a later date.

Afterwards we had two more informational presentations, one on Fort Leavenworth, the other on the Army Leadership Program. Those wrapped up around 10:30 a.m. and from there we loaded into a shuttle bus and began the five hour drive to Fort Leonard Wood. We arrived a little after 4 p.m. Although we were supposed to arrive at our hotel around 6 p.m., we actually arrived closer to 4:30, so we had a little extra time before heading out to interview some new recruits - literally guys that have been in the Army no more than a day or two - at 8 p.m. We were there for an hour and then departed for our hotel at 9 p.m.

To check out photos from Tuesday's activities, go to

Our day will begin VERY early tomorrow - we are meeting between 4:10 and 4:30 a.m., and will be participating or observing 5 a.m. physical training. Yours truly will of course be participating. I will also be participating in a military style obstacle course, and will be donning the head camera to film the whole ordeal. Our day includes a whole slew of other activities, too many to mention at present, but our day will not end until 10:30 p.m. 

To see more photos from Monday, Sept. 24 events, click here.
To see more photos from Tuesday, Sept. 25, click here.

Keep an eye on my blog for more updates as they become available. A full article describing my week’s exploits will also be published in the Thursday, Oct. 4 issue of The Star.

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