I originally came to Italy on a three-year tour, which is an extended long tour for a single person. I had the option to come here on a two-year tour, but knew I'd enjoy this country (and I do), so why not stay as long as possible? As it turns out, not only do I enjoy Italy, but I've completely fallen in love with it. So, I'm doing my best to stay here as long as possible.
People stationed overseas have what is called a DEROS, or Date Eligible to Return from Over Seas. Since I came here in February 2008 on a three-year tour, my current DEROS is February 2011. There are tons of options out there for trying to stay overseas, and I could go into it all, but it would only bore you, or confuse you, or both.
So, basically, right now, I'm going through a bunch of red tape trying to find out my best option for staying in Italy past 2011. I was hoping to stay here until 2014, but I keep running into walls and obstacles and assholes trying to get in my way. I'm in the middle of putting together a rather detailed package explaining why the Air Force should keep me here. I spent the bigger part of today researching regulations to support my cause, and I'm hoping to take my case to the Chief (who loves me) and the Commander. But even if things get past my Commander, there's no guarantee everything will be approved at HQ level. Honestly, I think it's bullshit that I should even have to justify why I want to stay or why they should let me, but I'm willing to jump through these hoops if that's what it takes.
Particularly worrisome is the fact I'm getting ready to go to the desert, and if this whole ordeal isn't resolved before I leave, I'll be relying on other people to take care of a lot of footwork for me. And I make it a point never to rely on others when it comes to something so crucial. Therefore, I'll be doing twice as much work getting things done from a deployed location. Let's just hope it doesn't come to that.