Yesterday I posted about my updates, but a lot of people have asked what the deal is with Hubster’s career. The end goal is to attend seminary to be a Lutheran pastor and maybe someday a chaplain. To do this he has to leave active duty. Apparently, doing that is harder than leaving the Hotel California. It might be easiest to give you a timeline…
|Just after our move to Georgia after we got married|
December 2013: Hubster begins the process of applying to the Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Seeks to start in the summer of 2015, requiring him to leave active duty service about a year early. In order to switch from tanker to chaplain branch, the army wants what is known as “ecclesiastical endorsement” from a potential chaplain’s church body, basically saying, “Yeah, he’d be a good chaplain.”
CATCH-22: In order to attend seminary to become a chaplain, the army wants ecclesiastical endorsement from our church. In order to get ecclesiastical endorsement from our church, he has to finish his first quarter of seminary…
January 2014: We interview with the district’s seminary committee to get approved for admission. We hear from a friend who works in the admissions office that Hubster is one of the strongest candidates the admissions officer has ever seen.
March 2014: Gets accepted into seminary.
April 2014: Hubster finds out that he, along with several other well-liked, extremely competent, West Pointer armor lieutenants in his battalion, were passed over for promotion from First Lieutenant to Captain. This was due primarily to bureaucratic issues much higher up the chain of command, but it was a big surprise to us. Generally the promotion rate to captain is about 80%, with only people with black marks on their record not making it. If an officer is passed over a second time, he is involuntarily separated seven months to the day of that notification – even if it’s before the end of his contract.
June 2014: After uttering the phrase, “Yes, I understand this isn’t how it works, but…” about a dozen times, Hubster obtains ecclesiastical endorsement from our church, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. He submits this to the army to get approval to join the Chaplain Candidate branch.
July 2014: Baby Spartacus is born.
September 2014: Submits paperwork to:
1. Resign his active duty commission
2. Serve the remainder of his contract as an officer in the Army Reserves
3. Switch branches to become a chaplain candidate, of which the army needs more, instead of tanker, of which the army needs fewer
4. Waive any remaining money attached to the contract.
December 2014: Gets approval for a reserve commission, to begin the day he leaves active duty service – now set for June 1, 2015. Does not yet have approval to leave active duty on June 1.
January 2015: No word on paperwork.
February 2015: No word on paperwork.
March 2015: No word on paperwork. Starts making weekly phone calls to everyone who could possibly have affiliation with his paperwork. He calls offices I was unaware my tax dollars were supporting: Human Resources Command. Chief of Chaplains’ personnel office. Department of the Army G1. Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs. His chaplain recruiter has been calling for him. The LCMS Armed Forces Ministry has been calling for him. No one can tell him anything about the state of his packet.
April 2015: Continues to call everyone. FINALLY gets an email back saying his packet is at the second to last step and it will “probably be about 30 more days” until we hear anything more. Hubster submits a packet to our congressman to begin a Congressional Inquiry into this process.
May 2015: Hubster’s ETS date (End of Term of Service) is June 1. He is supposed to start taking Greek on June 15. It is May 12 and we still have no answer from the army. We also find out aforementioned congressman just announced his senatorial bid and is therefore a bit busy to look into our small situation at the moment.
Here’s everything that’s bouncing around our heads right now:
– We don’t know if his paperwork is going to get approved or disapproved. So we may be moving 1200 miles away or we may not.
– If he doesn’t get promoted the second time (which is the likely case), he’d be booted in February anyway, but he doesn’t find that out until July.
– If it doesn’t get approved by June 1, he loses his ecclesiastical endorsement (which had a 1-year deadline) and has to start the whole process over.
– Remember how our landlords put their house on the market in March? It’s under contract. Our lease is up May 31 and we need to be out of the house then. My last day of school is May 29.
– Hubster cannot clear post (laypeople: formally leave his job and the state) to move with us without his paperwork being signed.
– Teaching contracts came out this week for the 2015-16 school year. My principal encouraged me to sign it, even though we are still planning on leaving this summer. I’m reaching out to principals in Indiana, but again, without confirmation that we’re moving, if I get an offer and accept it, it may mean leaving my husband behind.
We pray constantly. It is in God’s hands. Whatever needs to happen, will. But goodness gracious, my husband is not nearly important enough to require EIGHT MONTHS to decide if he can change jobs. We speculate at how many times his salary has been spent on military bureaucrats moving his resignation packet around the country. In the private sector, you go to your supervisor, maybe one level higher, and submit two weeks notice.
Wonderful people tell me that it’s on God’s time, but I have a feeling if I asked God what’s taking so long, He’d throw his hands up and say, “Beats me, it’s the army’s fault!”