On Saturday I was sworn into the Texas State Guard. I'm in the 4th Civil Affairs Regiment, exact assignment still to be determined. Our normal mission is disaster relief, such as helping out folks hit by wildfires. We specifically train for operating shelters. Helping house refugees in the wake of Katrina boosted the reputation of the TXSG. Currently they're trying to double their size to pick up more missions the National Guard is too busy to handle with it's deployments.
I'd read about the State Guard but hadn't thought they'd take me until I met a couple of members recruiting at Lockheed's "Preparedness Fair." I spend way too much time in front of a computer cranking out paperwork just to feed the bureaucracy. Now I have a chance to get out in the fresh air (or smokey air if we're dealing with wildfires again) and help people in need. It's also a form of military service, something I've been wanting to do since 9/11. Finding out that the Air Force's take on my reserve obligation is roughly "we'll call you if we get invaded by aliens" has been damn frustrating when there's a war on. Now I can serve, if not anywhere near a combat zone, at least picking up the tasks of the people who are getting deployed.
The "back" part of being back in uniform is a bit ironic, as nothing is usable from my old uniforms. After 14 years the pants don't fit any more. The AF promoted me while I was in the reserves, so the rank can't be recycled. I'm getting ACUs instead of BDUs. My specialty badge has been replaced by Buzz Lightyear's belt buckle. And I changed my name a decade back so the nametag can't be reused either. So my uniform is starting out from scratch.
I'm also going to need some new icons . . . the beard is gone.