Ok, prepare yourselves for some good news, it’s a little complicated, but I will try to make sense out of it. Last week, I noticed that my ETS date (last day in the army) had changed on my Leave and Earnings Statement (“LES,” basically my pay stub); it used to be October of 2007, but now it was saying November of 2006. I was certain it was a mistake, so I investigated it. After two or three days chasing information, I came to find out that there is no mistake. My last day in the Army will be November 21, just over two months from now. Now, I am not a believer of ‘coincidences,’ but regardless, the process has been initiated to separate me from the military.
To make a long story as simple as possible, when I was reassigned back in late July (against the regulation for conscientious objection), the unit I was moved to is a unit that is not designated as being subject to the “stop loss” policy. Stop loss is what was keeping me in the Army until October of 2007, but since I was reassigned to the rear detachment unit, the stop loss order is not longer binding for me. Some system got updated after my former unit deployed, so my Effective Termination of Service (“ETS,” or separation) date was updated as well. The new date was made 90 days from the date it was discovered (somewhere in early August); 90 days being the standard time required to adequately transition out of the army. I found out about it late because it originated in an automated system, so I didn’t get the word until it appeared in my pay stub.
So the unfortunate news is that my transition will be rushed. The good news is that I will get out in time to go to Israel if I take a few “terminal leave” days to drop my effective departure date earlier. I have decided to pursue the delegation to Israel.
The way I see my future is pretty cluttered; I pretty much had to lay out all my hopes and dreams and figure out my priorities yesterday in order to submit my ETS packet to start the process. My last day at work will be October 19, at which point I will be given a ticket to California from the Army, which I plan to use on the 1st of November. For a few weeks, I will probably try to reconnect with friends and family at home before I jump on a flight to Tel Aviv (more planning to follow on that…). The official delegation is from the 19th of November to December 1st, but another member is planning on staying past those dates on her own. I am very interested in doing the same, and if I can convince her to travel closer to Lebanon that would definitely be one of my goals. I expect that to be maybe two weeks directly following the CPT delegation, so that puts it right around mid December. After getting done with that, I plan on staying home for the holidays, at least through new years. Once that has come and gone (early to mid January), I am thinking about going back to Hawaii to complete school.
I looked deeply into going to another school (i.e. a Bible college), but with how many CLEP credits I have with Hawaii Pacific University, there is next to NO chance that another school would accept that many as transfer credit. Also, HPU is very veteran-friendly, and I could save a lot of money going to night and evening classes on post. I only have 4 classes to complete before I am a junior, so I’ll do those during the spring, which shouldn’t be too strenuous. Once I have a few more actual in-school credit hours with HPU, I might think about transferring again, but that will be a long time from now, and I don’t know that I will hate HPU that much… During my summers, I hope to go on long term (2-3 month) mission trips overseas, and then focus on school fall to spring. So yeah, that’s about it for the next 6 months or so…