Actually Dean is in the Army now. He was officially comissioned today. The recruiters came all the way from Portland, and brought a flag with them and did the ceremony. At the moment he is a Lieutenant in the Reserves, until he goes "active duty" as a Captain in the veterinary corps. We don't know exactly when he'll start, but hopefully within the next couple of weeks. He quit his job already; his last day was Friday. We didn't imagine it would take so long for the process to transpire - it's been months! We have decided to go to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, a marine base. It was the best of our choices, the others being Ft Hood/Texas, Camp Leonard Wood/Missouri, and Ft Rucker/Alabama.
So, some might be wondering what on earth we are thinking. It's interesting to see people's reactions when we tell them. Some are shocked and appalled, others are pleasantly surprised. We feel good about it, and are excited for it all to happen. We decided to do it for a lot of reasons. Dean's job here in Astoria has been the pits. He knew it would be before he took it, but felt like he was supposed to take it and move us here. We have had a wonderful experience in Astoria otherwise, and have now officially been here for a year. The only problem has been his job (other than the monstrosity we lived in the first couple of months). So, maybe he was supposed to move here and take an awful job that he would hate so that he would be motivated to join the army. If he has had his fill after three years, then he can be done with it. Or he could stay in 10 or 20 years.
They will pay off all his student loans within three years, which was a great incentive. Down the road he could do more training if he wants, to get another graduate degree, or do a residency and become a specialist (in lab animal medicine for instance, or epidemiology, etc.) Dean has always been interested in the military, and now the time seems right. Army veterinarians do a lot of things, if you're wondering. Most large military bases have vet clinics, to service pets. They are responsible for food safety (keeping tabs on meat and such that service members eat) and are involved with epidemiology (public health). The military has lots of dogs that sniff out bombs, ieds, drugs, etc. And, they do humanitarian missions (vaccinating herds of sheep in Afghanistan since the local vets have fled the scene). He could possibly be sent somewhere "sandy" in the future (the middle east), but as far as we can tell they seem to give you the choice. With such assignments come quicker promotions, but we hope to avoid him being sent there.
So there you have it. I am terribly excited that the army will be moving us. I would have been devastated if I had to pack us up again. I am weary of packing and moving, especially since this last move was so horrendous. But I can handle it if someone else is doing the work. Of course I'll get to unpack it, but that's less miserable. Meanwhile, we are trying to sell our house. His army pay will be less than half what he's been making, so we hope it sells sooner rather than later...