Saturday, August 21, 2004

first leg out, see I was busy while flying about

Woke this morning to the sounds of rounds incoming, sounded like rockets not mortars (rockets are louder), but don't quote me on that. First time in for us in 3 months or so, I'm beginning to think someone has it in for me personally out here. An hour after I had arrived at this base and right after I went through the welcome aboard brief where the speaker said and I quote "we never get hit here." The base was mortared for the first time. I was out back behind one of the tents smoking with one of the MAL's guys that had been here for a while and asked him. "What was that?" He didn't reply, just took off running with a panicked look on his face, great, I had just arrived at a war zone, it's the middle of the night, somebody had just turned out all the lights and my home was a tent. I'm gonna die. Alas I didn't.

This morning by the time the last one fell, I had mustered with the duty, glanced at the window (notice I didn't say look out, refer to my duck when you hear a boom should also include don't look out windows) and went straight back to bed, I think I missed the last one or two. Told the duty to wake me if I was dead or needed to patch someone up. Yawn!

Word was passed that we needed to have our bags staged in front of the barracks by 10 so I woke up at 9:30 grabbed a quick shower and donned a clean uniform. It's 9:50 and my bags are ready to go so I take them outside.

"What the hell?"

The 7 ton that we're loading our bags on is driving away, I yell and the driver stops, he's yelling something back but I couldn't understand what he was saying so I just run over in a mad rush and toss all of my bags in the back. Whew! Everyone is laughing at me, yeah it was funny but not that funny, they tell me that the truck is coming right back, it's just running over to the barracks to pick up some bags over there. Guess what the driver said was don't worry. Oh.

1030 comes around and we board a bus that takes us to the ingoing/outgoing processing terminal, I use terminal in the loosest terms, just a collection of temporary buildings, that does customs and gives us a place to hang out until we leave. Everything is ply board and cement floors. The first thing on the agenda is off loading out baggage and going through customs. This involves finding a spot on the cement in this warehouse like building, opening our bags that we have packed so well with clean clothes and turning it upside down then spreading it out. The floor looks like it hasn't been swept since the last sandstorm. They're looking for explosives like grenades, unexploded ordnance and Iraqi small arms and porn which wouldn't be a problem if we were flying straight to the states but we're leaving out of Kuwait, which has big anti porn laws being an Islamic country. Iraq's I've met all offer money for it which I find a bit odd. They also look for the other obvious things like fruit, drugs, animals, insects, etc. Once we were done getting inspected we were told to shove everything back in our bags and load it on a pallet.

10 O'clock and our scheduled departure is 4:30, so I crash out.

Woken up at 4 to load onto the C-130, it's around 115 degrees out, we stop 200 yards away from the plane until the prior passengers are unloaded. We get waved towards the back of the plane and the exhaust trail goes back a 100 yards, inside of it ,it's like a furnace, you can almost feel it blistering your face. We run up to the plane to stop the pain and one of the crew chiefs stops the lead guy at the bottom of the ramp.

"What the *#@# "

There are 50 of us out there standing in the exhaust, it feels like the skin if being burned off our bodies and we have no clue what's happening all we know is that we're standing in hell. We were out there for 5 minutes, everybody is covering their faces. What in the hell were these numbskulls thinking? Finally we're waved back to the edge of he taxi way and after 2 minutes we're waved back into the plane. 4:26 we're in the air. Next stop Kuwait!

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