Archives For military

After a two-year absence from my blog and only keeping this domain alive just to use the email address, I decided to redo my blog. Some posts will vanish while some will remain on the web.

A month ago, I returned to the world of college education. I’m enrolled in the political science course of the FernUni Hagen, a college specifically designed for distance learning. I wish I’d started a year or two earlier. I have seven years left in the military, six until I can pursue full-time studies. The distance-learning program will take me six years to finish if all goes well. The military will pay for college, which is nice but not really crucial. It will cost around €1,800 (about $2,000). Not per semester, the whole thing costs that much.

The only reason why they let me start now is that I want to study history after my service. Or maybe military history. I’m not allowed to reach my goal during the service, only after. All education will be after the service, but it seems there’s more money involved.

There are multiple reasons why I study political science (and organization and sociology; it’s all one course). One is the availability. There are schools designed for distance-learning, but not many offer history or political science. History would have been my first choice, but there’s a severe lack of history courses. As a reference for military history, I used the University of Potsdam. Meanwhile, they offer a master’s degree in War and Conflict Studies. They require a bachelor’s degree in history, political or social sciences.

Another reason is my dream to write or possibly educate about military history or politics. A former teammate in my softball team was a freelance writer and told me not to study journalism if I want to write, instead, study something I want to write about. Well, here I am.

Studying political science has a nice side effect. It helps to understand current events. It prepares for future decisions. The United States will elect their new president in less than a week. Many European countries will vote in 2017. While Europeans laugh at the United States for their election, they will be in the same circus a year later. I’ll throw one name in the ring: Alexis de Tocqueville. I could go on about why history and politics are so important in the present time and the near future, but I’ll save that for another day.

One week has gone fighting the flooding in eastern Germany. Unfortunately, we didn’t have to help a lot.
The superior unit assigned our unit as reserves and, at least my platoon, only moved out twice.

The whole operation started Wednesday afternoon when we got alarmed and had to be ready to move out at some point in the evening. We were. We didn’t get orders to move. We waited. Thursday everyone was highly motivated to go and help the people, but again we waited. In the early afternoon, we finally boarded the bus, trucks, and other vehicles and started rolling. Because we left relatively late and the convoy moved slow, we stayed the night at a training ground. The next morning we continued to another training ground from where we finally got to work.

Saturday. After two days on the road and three days of basically doing nothing, we got the order to support a dike. It was a great feeling to help others, and it was even more amazing that civilians and military worked together. For 7-8 hours we worked until we got relieved.

Sunday. The toughest day. In the morning we had to ready up, and we left to help loading sandbags on trucks. We did that for quite a while. Our platoon got split up and while one half loaded the trucks the other half supported a dike. Later on, I switched to the dike-building half and helped there. At 8 pm we were supposed to be relieved, but we moved to another dike and helped there for another three hours. Finally, at midnight we were back.

Monday. We had to evacuate the training ground because a dike close to the town broke and we moved to a town’s gym hall where we stayed until today. While it was ok to rest, the next two days were horrible.

Tuesday-Thursday. Rested and ready to kick the tide’s ass we waited for orders that never came. Bored to death, we tried to make the day go by fast, but that didn’t work that well. I finished the book I bought on Thursday while the bus had to get gas in no time (although I wanted to finish it on the way back) and Dan Brown’s “Inferno” is at 50%. That’s how bored we were. But the hall was next to a school, and the guys on the trucks let the kids go in the trucks and that maybe was the only good thing about the two days of nothing.

Today we finally got the order to return…

Although we weren’t able to help as much as we all wanted to it was a success. Even though it only were two days we did something we helped and showed the people that we are there.

My opinion about the whole high-tide thing is that everyone waited too long. The water didn’t just come Wednesday it was a problem before, and everyone waited and did nothing. The past decade since the last high tide should have been used to prevent destruction. Ah well, for me it’s over now. I hope the people who had to move out and who lost their home and everything will get back on their feet soon.

-Martin