This is my third time through the process - 1997 as an Individual Ready Reservist, 2004 as a Guardsman going with my entire unit, and now as a Guardsman going with part of my unit.
I see some patterns that I would share:
The Federal end of the process works well. The State portion, not so much (there are soldiers at my unit that have to strive mightily to make up for this). Why is this?
I suppose that the State is a split personality - they have State missions, readiness and such to worry about, while Uncle Sam's Green Machine just concentrates on one thing (i.e. the unit that is in charge of the area I will be training at before deploying has that one job, and everyone there full time). Part of it is fiscal (the State has to wait to tap into Federal money until after our orders get published) and part is experience (my State has sent some units to Noble Eagle, OEF and OIF - but situations have varied between them).
When Congress is slow
in sending appropriations through, things get jammed up. Remember when the fiscal year starts
I am going to spend my second time preparing for an extremely hot climate by training in the Upper Midwest...in Winter. I don't really have an answer to this one, except bum luck
I am not really sure how my wife or my employer can put up with me right now (or did back when). Let us just hope they can for the next few days before I leave...
As they say, More to Come.
[note: anything italicized or after was part of an update]