Editor’s note: As a special service for our readers, WND is running a series of dispatches from Allan Wall chronicling his transition from civilian life as he prepares to fight with his National Guard unit in Iraq. Allan will write for us as often as he is able in order to let our readers vicariously experience what people in his position are going through. We hope you will check regularly for Allan’s dispatches and encourage your friends and family to do likewise.

Has it really been two months? Yes, it really has. I write this article on Oct. 15, and I reported for this call-up on Aug. 15.

Much has occurred in the past two months. Two months ago, we reported at various National Guard armories. The next day, we reported to a training facility where we stayed about a week, before moving to Fort XYZ, where we still reside.

National Guardsmen from various units were assembled into a unit which is training for duty in Iraq. We are scheduled to remain here at Fort XYZ for a few more months, then to fly out to the Middle East.

Believe me, knowing that you are going to Iraq puts a different spin on watching or reading the latest news from Iraq. You’re watching or reading the news about a place you are going.

Since National Guardsmen from various units were assembled together into what is, in effect, a new unit, we have gotten to know each other quite well, and should know each other even better after a long deployment.

There have been personnel changes. Some were sent home due to medical problems. Others who didn’t report Aug. 15 have joined us later.

We have learned about our mission to Iraq. I can’t reveal it in this article, and some of it might change anyway. But knowing about our mission gives us a reference point for training and for thinking ahead. And the training continues.

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.