Friends and Family,
As many of you may have heard or knew already, and for those who haven't, Monday I will be beginning my third deployment in less than six years. This time I will be going to Afghanistan on a NATO mission as part of an OMLT team, called OMLT III with 14 other soldiers from Minnesota. We will be combining with a similar sized group of soldiers from Croatia, together with we will work to train the Afghan National Army (ANA). Basically we will be working to teach the ANA soldiers how to Shoot, Move, and Communicate. We will be based out of and living at Camp Mike Spann near Mazar-I-Sharif.
My team will start out spending an month and half or so training at Fort Polk, which is in western Louisiana. While I haven't seen our training schedule while we are at Ft Polk I have heard that we can expect to receive convoy live fire training, a few days of intensive language and cultural classes, as well as well as several "death by power point" classes. Afterwards we will move on to Camp Hohenfels, which is southeast of Nuremburg and northwest of Regensburg Germany. At Camp Hohenfels we will join up with our Croatian counterparts and work to become one combined team before heading into theatre.
I was the last person to join OMLT III, all happening within the past month. In January I was working on earning on my civilian fixed wing certified flight instructor (CFI) rating, when I got a call from the commander of my National Guard unit stating that there was a unit in Minnesota deploying to Afghanistan soon in need of an officer and was wondering if I would be interested in helping out. One of the soldiers on the team had a medical issue which he could not get a waiver approved, and they were looking to fill his role immediately. I would be going as the unit S1 officer, which is essentially the human resources officer in regular office. For those who are fan's of the television show The Office, I will be the Toby Flenderson of our team; hopefully I will not be hated by my boss! While I unfortunately would not be able to fly for a year I felt joining the team would be a good career move, I would also be helping out in a very vital role helping to train Afghani soldiers which will only help to make America safer in the long run and more importantly hopefully help to bring other American and NATO soldiers sooner.
Five weeks was the total amount of time from the time I was asked to join the team till our deployment began. In between though I lost two weeks though, in mid February I was sent to Little Rock AR to attend a National Guard course to learn some of the basics about becoming a S1 officer. Before leaving for Little Rock I was able to finish up my CFI course, and pass my CFI check ride. I also still had several check rides in the Blackhawk as part of my yearly requirements for the Army. Fortunately for all those flights I was able to find a couple days of clear weather to squeeze everything in. Similar to my last deployment to Iraq; in the past week, with the help of my parents, I moved out of my house in Minneapolis and placed all of my belonging in storage. Now I am hoping that the property management firm that I have hired can find a paying renter for my house before some squatters or vandals discover my place. If you know of anyone looking to rent a house in Minneapolis
Over the next year while I am gone, one of my goals is become a better writer and observer of many of the events that will be occurring around me during my training and while I am in Afghanistan. I know that people do not want to receive mass emails, so I have set up a blog which I plan to use to help document some of my thoughts, observations and adventures while I am away. If you care to follow my blog while I am away you can find me at http://mrassler.blogspot.com/ . It is my intent to be able to find something new or interesting to write about every couple weeks. I also can be found at http://www.facebook.com/mrassler. All of this of course is dependant on what kind of internet access I have or possible website restrictions I have while over there. Assuming I have regular internet access my civilian email address email@example.com is my preferred email address, however I will also begin regularly checking my army email address of firstname.lastname@example.org. So if you send an email to either address, eventually I will get back to you .
My mailing address when I get to Afghanistan, which I expect will sometime after the beginning of May will be as follows.
CPT Marc Rassler
4th KDK MNCS OMLT
Camp Mike Spann
APO AE 09354
I hope that over the next year while I am away that you will keep me updated on major events in your life. Please, make sure an email me if you move and change your address.
Feel free to forward this email to any friends or family which I might have missed, as I do not have everyone's email address.
I will have my cell phone about another month or so. I will turn it off before I head overseas, however do not through away my phone number as I will have the number when I return next year.
In conclusion I can not think of things that I will need over the next year while I am gone. I will however say that I am big believer of having prayer on your side. I am not scared or nervous about the area(s) that I will soon be going to, but having positive prayer on your side never hurts.
Thanks for your support.
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