The alarm blared at 0400 on a Saturday, a signal that my taxi would be arriving in 15 minutes to transport me to San Antonio Airport. Having packed the night before, I gave my room of 3 months one last glance as I gathered my belongings to depart Ft. Sam Houston (I would return three more times during SWIP).
The familiar feeling of leaving a place you called home loomed as I drove away. Contemplating on lessons learned, friends made, and memories.
I had a total of 10 hours of flight coming my way. 3 ½ to LA, 6 ½ to Oahu, HI. At the receiving airport I was to meet my sponsor who would support me in my transition.
A long, 10 hour flight later (I would get used to this travel amount), wheels touched down in Hawaii, and the familiar humidity immediately hit me. I’d travel here before, but never for more than a week. I immediately regretted my outfit of gym pants and hoodie.
I made contact with my sponsor, another SWIP, who donned me the traditional Hawaiian lei. This gesture made me feel welcomed to a place that was unfamiliar to me.
I was dropped off at the Schofield Barracks Inn, where I would reside until I found a place to live roughly 2 months later. Soldiers who live outside of the Barracks, are given extra funds to stay in hotels while they wait for their belongings to ship. Being without a vehicle and my household goods, I walked to the commissary and PX to get some necessary items, the promptly fell asleep around 1700 (ROUGH JET LAG).
Waking up at 0200 the next morning (again, jet lag), I walked around post to familiarize myself. I had made plans with a friend I made at BOLC, who arrived a week prior to see the island. Spent the day getting sunburnt (would never learn this lesson), eating shave ice, and exploring the beautiful Hawaiian beaches.
The falling asleep at 1800 (getting better) I unnecessarily set my alarm for 0600 to begin in-processing the next day.
In Hawaii, all New Soldiers attend mandatory in-processing briefs consisting of:
· Powerpoint (a lot)
· 3 mile run (humid)
· Bus tour (awesome)
· Warm handoff to the gaining unit
I was absolutely PUMPED to have received my vehicle that Friday to explore the island and see place to potentially move into.
That weekend, I linked up with my friend and explored more of the island.
The following Monday, I began in-processing with my gaining unit with all the familiar tasks (finance, medical, dental, deers, etc.). They give new Soldiers roughly a week to knock this out.
The next week, I finally got a taste of my job by attending a training.
For a week I received training from Ft. Sam Houston staff in Combat Stress Control (More on that in another post). At the end of the training met my Program Director of Training (PDOT) for the first time, who invited me to her office to begin formulating a SWIP plan.
The following week I received training from the same staff in Traumatic Event Management (again, more on this later).
The following week I started my first SWIP rotation with Family Advocacy Program.