This morning we did not have PT, instead we formed up at 0815 for Days of Excellence. The event actually started at 0900, but like everything in the army we had to hurry up and wait. The colonel told someone to start at 0900, the next person down told everyone to be there at 0845, and it kept going down the line until our NCOIC told everyone to be there at 0815…and of course we had to be there 10 minutes early, so make it 0805. So we headed into the theatre and waited…and waited. I brought my coffee, so I at least had that to drink to try and give me a little jolt.
Days of Excellence, a monthly event I've written about before always includes some sort of training, some speech by our battalion commander, and then awards. Our training was two hours of anti-terrorism training, I needed every ounce of my coffee to try and stay awake for that. PowerPoint…slide after slide of the same stuff we've seen over and over. We then heard from the battalion commander who is about to leave, so he had a very long winded speech about his time here and everything he's accomplished.
After that was the awards, of which there were a lot. Since the battalion commander is leaving he had a number of people (soldiers and civilians) that he wanted to thank and give a coin to. We then went through a number of other various awards, PCS awards for folks who are leaving and good conduct medals for people that haven't been in any trouble for three years. I was then called up and given an AAM (Army Achievement Medal) for my work at the FTX I did back in May. I was actually surprised because I've been told many times by both NCOs and officers that I'm getting an award only to find that something happened and it never went through. So this was my first actual award, which was pretty cool.
After Days of Excellence about 1230 we were released to our NCOs. Our company was then split into two groups…NCOs and junior enlisted. One group went with the commander and the other with the first sergeant. The commander wanted to know if everything was going alright and if there were any issues he needed to fix. He also went over the safety brief…basically don't be stupid over the weekend. We switched and talked with the first sergeant for a bit…he wanted to know how our supervisors were treating us and if there was anything he needed to do to fix it.
Finally we were released for the day at about 1300…nice. I headed home and hung out with the kiddos until my wife got off work. We picked her up, had dinner and then headed out to Mannheim to watch a movie. My wife bought the tickets online, but we headed to the wrong theatre…D'oh! We found out the theatre we needed was only a couple minutes away and we were able to make it in time before the movie started. We watched "The Amazing Spiderman". A pretty good movie, but I"m not sure why they felt the need to remake another Spiderman movie so soon.
When we left I could not find the parking coin. You see…in Germany at a "Parkhaus" (Parking Garage) when you enter, you are either given a coin or a ticket. You take that ticket or coin with you and when you arrive back, it has to be put into a machine to make your payment. Once you pay, you get the ticket or coin back and head to your car. You use the coin or ticket when leaving to have the gate open. We looked all over for the damn coin, even went back to the theatre to see if it fell out near our seats. No luck! So we had to call an attendant at the Parkhaus and wait for him to arrive so we could get out. Unfortunately when you lose a ticket or coin, you have to pay a full day's price in order to get out. We ended up paying 24 euro, which is probably about $34 or so for a couple hours of parking. That sucked!