Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Yes, I'm enjoying my time at home!
I've been periodically updating the Blogroll with links to other sandbox sailor blogs... be sure to keep reading them!
The March issue of the Navy League's Sea Power magazine features JCCS-1 as its Cover Story. Read it!
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
It's been a long few days of traveling, but I have finally arrived home. The excitement, smiles, and hugs have been wonderful as I've enjoyed the day with my family. But crossing eleven time zones in two days without more than a few hours of sleep has left me exhausted. I'll be crashing early tonight, and spend the next few days getting reacquainted with a normal life.
I have enjoyed keeping this journal as a record of my experiences over the past year. Marking time with a daily post was an excellent stress-reducing routine, and looking for interesting things to share helped pass time in an otherwise dull and monotonous place. I have had many more interesting stories than I could share publicly, I have made good friends and look back on this last year as one of the most rewarding times in my life.
As I am no longer in the "desert", I feel this is an appropriate time to bring this blog to a close. It will remain available, of course, as long as the information in it is relevant to future Individual Augmentees, but this will be my final post as I slip beneath the waves. I encourage you to continue reading the other fine sandbox sailor blogs listed in the blogroll to the right, especially The One Wire, My Desert Adventure, Sandboxrich, the Segredo Family Blog, The Adventures of Professor Lieutenant Soule, The Landlocked Sailor, Mission Iraq - Round 2, and Air Force EWO in Iraq members of the group replacing mine. I'm sure they'll appreciate having an audience and hearing any comments you have about their experiences.
Fair winds and following seas! Dive! Dive!
Friday, February 09, 2007
I've always liked the word "penultimate". For the uninitiated, it means second-to-last, and this will be my second-to-last post to the Desert Periscope blog; the last one from overseas. Expect silence for about three days and a final post once I'm safely home.
This morning we had a few meetings and we're all done except for a very long process of getting up early, taking a long bus ride, checking through customs, waiting a very long time (overnight in an air terminal), riding a very long flight, and finally arriving at Baltimore sometime Sunday evening. Due to my bad luck with my e-ticket, I'll end up in "Amazing Race" mode visiting the ticket counter and trying to find the first flight home (or anywhere nearby) and if I have enough time, getting a hotel room for a quick catnap before an early Monday flight. No doubt I'll be exhausted, but happy to be home when it's all over.
Most of the idle speculation among us is how long it will take before we're sent back here. Most of the younger officers see their return as inevitable. I am fortunate enough to be close to my retirement, and I'm sure the timing will work in my favor to prevent a return. It's not bad duty, really, except for the long separation from the family. That is something I really don't want to do again.
Off to finish packing and fly home!
Thursday, February 08, 2007
Today was the first official day of our four-day checkout process. My boredom from the past two days (a result of early arrival to guarantee being here on time) was rewarded with a few hours of actual activity! Only a few hours, but boy were they productive.
In the morning, we turned in two full duffle bags worth of equipment that the Army had issued us (and turned in the duffle bags, too!) It was nice saying good bye to heavy armor, unnecessary mosquito netting, a trenching tool, and a lot of other things I never used. I did somehow manage not to lose anything in all that time.
In the afternoon, we were able to finally turn in our weapons. My arrangements with my Army officemates to help me clean paid off, as I didn't have to do any cleaning and was complimented for having a weapon so clean "It should be an example for everyone on how to have a clean weapon." I did fess up that I'd had some help, mainly because everyone else who was having to re-clean theirs was asking me how I did it. The best part about that turn-in is that I don't have to carry those heavy items around all the time or worry about having someone watch them. It's truly a liberating feeling.
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
I wish I could have something more interesting to report, but today has been another day of doing nothing but sitting around and waiting. With a scheduled flight home, there's nothing I can do to move up the process, and only a limited amount of things to do until then to pass the time.
I have unpacked and repacked a few times, experimenting with ways of doing it more efficiently, and deciding it really doesn't matter. I have more stuff than will fit in one bag, and not enough to fill two. At least I have some flexibility in how to arrange things.
Tomorrow we'll get to turn in most of the Army-issued equipment, including our weapons. That will be a relief -- at present we have to either carry our weapons around everywhere or make sure we have someone guarding them. So even our time off isn't totally "off" since we're trying to take our turns playing lookout.
I'm still working on shifting my flight up 10 hours, but haven't heard any results yet. My wife had the great suggestion of an alternate airport with more flight options, and I may do that! After waiting this long to get home, there's no way I'm going to wait around all day at an airport stateside!
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Well, it's been a lovely, and boring, day in Kuwait. I've accomplished exactly two things, each of which took five minutes, and spent most of the rest of the time sitting around. First was a post-deployment health screening, where I got to officially complain about breathing the fumes from the burning trash pit at Balad. Duly noted. And second was locating my e-ticket itinerary for my flight home.
And that's where I got really annoyed. My flight into BWI from Kuwait arrives late enough that I can't get another flight home until the next day. Not a big problem; I was expecting that. But worse than that, they booked me on a flight that doesn't leave BWI until that evening! I'd spend almost 20 hours sitting around in Baltimore wishing I was home, and not arrive until late in the evening. And the most frustrating part is that another member of the same unit, returning to the same airport as I am, is booked on a nice early morning flight that gets in at noon! Waah!
I have, of course, put in a request to change my ticket but I'm not holding my breath. They may have had only one seat on the earlier flight, and by the luck of the draw (or perhaps alphabetical order) it went to the other person and costs me 10 hours with my family. Kind of goes with the theme of this deployment. One last little kick on my way home.