Tuesday, August 16, 2011


What a long day. I really hope that my unit isn't expecting me to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed after this trip.

The day began at 0300. After the normal daily rituals combined with a quick cleaning of the barracks (we, and by that I mean the enlisted Soldiers, thus is Army life) we turned in the barracks, linens and were cleared to go.
Everyone contributed to loading the bus, and we quickly took off with the promise of McDonald's for breakfast. And then we barely get past the gates when we realized we had left the boxes with the weapons locked in them sitting in the admin office (we had loaded from supply and the early morning beat us), so we quickly turned around to load them up. The bus driver ended up treating us to breakfast (even though I was trying to find a graceful way to pay for myself, I really feel odd taking charity/gifts like that since it's a noticeable dent for people lower in the economic food chain).

Eventually we arrived at the Atlanta (around 1200 eastern time) airport for more of the Army speciality, waiting around and sitting in lines. After taking advantage of the USO's hospitality (best organizations ever for military people, they are among the few "must donate to" organizations). Finally my awe inspiring 3 completely full duffle bags and one stuffed rucksack, which combined weighed around 250 pounds (my own body weight of gear!!). Only on military flights does your luggage get weighed and then they ask your own weight.

We got put on one of the R&R (Rest and Recreation flights, which enables Soldiers (and other services, but we are 90% of the flight) to take their 2 weeks home leave) and off we went at around 2100. After 7 hours we laid over in Leipzig for 3 hours then back on the plane. That was the first time I have been in Germany in 10 years, I even made a point to have a good sausage with sauerkraut (no beer since we are under orders). Then back on the plane for a 5 hour flight to Kuwait.

There our small Warrior Platoon finally parted ways, as we spread to the winds to our respective war zones and units. After they bussed us from the airport to a local army base I was pooped. By the time I had my name on the list for the next flight out, my bags stored and a billet was obtained I jumped in the shower and passed out.

The Kuwait Army base, al-assad, is not too bad. A very nice DFAC(chow hall), MWR facilities and even a couple of fast food places(McDonald's, Subway, KFC, and a Pizza Hut). I ended up staying there until Sunday night. The main inconvenience was that since I was flying Space-A I had to have every bag packed and with me at every show time for a flight, which can be annoying since as noted I have a lot of stuff.

The flight to Kandahar was annoying and inconvenient. We rode on a C-17 (a first for me, I have been been on C-5's and C-141's) with people along the sides (not me sadly, I was in the more uncomfortable center) and the center. The seats are really tight and we had to wear our body armor during the trip, it made me miss being stuck in the middle during a packed commercial flight. Just for extra fun they tossed in a mid-air refueling (cheaper to fuel from another plane from a gulf state vs importing it to Afghanistan). Final at 0600 local time I arrived at Khandahar.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Rolling Out

Am I scared? Not really. Anxious? Hell yeah. I have probably lost more than a few hours sleep in the past couple of months(and even more in the past 4 weeks) either in the beginning, the end or even the middle.

And now the bags a packed and I am heading off. The amount of gear that we travel with is kind of insane.. When I got it all packed up it comprised 3 duffles and a Rucksack, each of which had some 50+ pounds in them. Add in my carry on of a very full assault pack (same size as a standard backpack) as well as my computer bag and I am heading off with my own bodyweight in gear(and I am no lightweight).

6+ years of training and now Uncle Sam will finally get some of the value back that it spent on me.

We started off with a bus ride from Camp Shelby at a very Army start time of 0400. We are heading to Atlanta to fill in some spots on an R&R flight that will take us to Kuwait. At that time we will finally part ways, heading to our final destinations.