Saturday, November 8, 2008

Wheels up

Pack your bags. Decide they are good enough. Stare at them for five minutes. Dump them all over the floor and start over. Make a mental checklist. When this fails you, make a written one.Keys, wallet (don’t need the Sam’s Club or Blockbuster cards anymore), stabil in the fuel tank (like your car is going to start right up in 12 months anyway), check your watch, check it again. Go drop off your car. You’re officially locked down.

Get accountability. The army loves accountability. You will continue getting accountability every three seconds for the rest of the year. This is the civilian equivalent for keeping an adventurous child within eye sight at WalMart.

Once you have your accountability, you need to get ready for the movement. Better check your carry on to make sure it will fit. The army was kind enough to build a bread box that is supposed to approximate the size of the carry on compartment. If your bag fits in the bread box, you can go to Afghanistan. If it doesn’t, you need to rip your carefully packed crap apart and start over. Unfortunately, this carry on gauge doesn’t appear to be life size so you feel like an ass when you’re easily sliding your bag into the planes carry on compartment. Guess you had plenty of room for those Danielle Steel novels after all.

Before you get on the plane, you have to MANIFEST. Manifesting is a process of getting accountability. The two go hand in hand. Manifesting is the Superbowl of accountability. We had some saints from what I believe was the VFW’s lady trooper society with us. The baked a couple of pecan pies, enough cookies for a small army (which is what they had), and gallons and gallons of coffee. As we were munching down on these goodies waiting for our transportation, we were called to order. Apparently, there was one last inspiring speech we were to hear before leaving.This final inspiring speech was actually to be the first inspiring speech, but this was no time to be technical. I knew it was going to be good. You see, we (The Combat Advisors) are the military’s main effort. We are simultaneously the exit strategy and the victory strategy. How could this speech miss? Just when our anticipation was piqued, a junior major came to the microphone to address the 200 some TTs on their way. Really? A major? Imagine a trombone squeezing out a WAA-WAAAA. Not that we needed the pep talk, but he was outranked by 1/3 or the audience. Oh that’s right, it was a 4-day weekend. Veterans day.

20 hour plane rides are a good time. You get to find ouy who has overactive sweat glands and who hates other people, and who thinks What Happens in Vegas starring Ashton Kutcher is a really really funny movie. Shocking. Other than the deep lingering disappointment that was everyone’s when a 30 something steward with a lisp took the place of the imagined comforting wife/mother figure stewardess we were hoping for, the flight was wonderful. They tell me that the seven movies that were played were all dubbed and lame. Apparently the lines aren’t as effective when the hero is called a “Son of a biscuit” by the villain. Of course, I slept the whole way, so I can’t really comment.

Next stop: somewhere...


Old Blue said...


Soon you will enjoy the pleasures of Bagram and from there the bliss of Phoenix. In a few short weeks you will know so much more about Afghanistan, so you will have that much more that you cannot adequately share.

It's relatively free of discomfort, other than the huge pain in the ass of inprocessing three or four times. Enjoy Phoenix before you learn to hate it with an unmitigated rage. Set your team scrounge to work early and often. It's the best support you will get from Phoenix. Grab as much med stuff as you can while you're there.

You can never have too much Ringer's Lactate or tourniquets.

Grab some shemaghs at your earliest opportunity. They will save you from certain... concretions. They are also quite stylish and show the Afghans that you have style and flair.

Wait till you get a load of the Rhino; it's a true urban assault vehicle. Don't drive like the Phoenix SECFOR, they just drive like they're scared all the time. It pisses off the locals. Better to know what normal looks like; that'll take a few days, though.

Good terps are like gold.

Jean said...

Followed Old Blue's recommendation to come here and read. As usual, he very much worth listening to.

Safe travels, soldier. I'll be back.

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of gallong and gallons of coffee. I wouldn't make it a day without it.


David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 11/17/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

Ky Woman said...

When you get to 'somewhere', be sure y'all stay safe!

Head and a$$es down and all that...

Greyhawk said...

Just want to take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

And Thank you for the precious gift of freedom you continue to give.

Thoughts and Prayers are with you, Godspeed

Mrs G