Tuesday, November 27, 2007

End of Mission: Part 2

The PX was a good stop. The PX on Camp Liberty is a Super Wal-mart compared to the PX we have on Adder. There is a small bizarre and several little shops. I searched for just the right souvenirs for my children and found some things I think they’ll like.

I had learned on the trip up that it is hard to see in the dark and a good, rugged tactical flashlight is invaluable. I however did place a value on it and bought a suitable flashlight for $75. It is supposed to be water-proof and crush-proof. Though it should survive being driven over by an up-armored HUMVEE, at this price I won’t test it.

We got to the staging area shortly after dark. We received a quick intelligence brief and then were released to go search the TCN trucks for contraband. I used my brand new flashlight and was very pleased with its performance.

Back at the gun truck, we ‘suited up’. It is somewhat ironic that we put on a hundred pounds of additional vests, bullet-proof plates, helmets, goggles and gloves and the TCN drivers we were escorting were wearing robes and sandals.

We headed off and slalomed through the barriers as we headed out the gate. The convoy net squawked to life and we were again ‘all business’. The many trucks in front of ours had stirred the dust and their taillights disappeared and reappeared in the darkness until we reached the blacktop.

As the last of the convoy hit the main road, we were halted. One of the TCN trucks was missing, so a couple of us had to return back to base to find it. A half hour later, we were all together again and heading back to Adder.

We had a good, safe run. Many times you can see taillights of the convoys ahead of you and the headlights of the convoys behind you. The convoy behind us reported Small Arms Fire (SAF) and it looks like we missed the action by just minutes. Most people would be thankful, but the guys and I are a different caliber; we were disappointed we missed it.

The hours ticked by slowly and we decided on a ‘splash and go’ at the refuel post. As we got closer to home, our truck flexed up to provide over-watch through a vulnerable area as the main part of the convoy passed through. As we sped into position, bouncing and bumping all over the road, we heard a commotion and as we were figuring out what it was, the truck behind us informed us that our ice chest had fallen off.

Shortly thereafter, we heard a truck from the rear announce that the TCN drivers were stopping in the middle of the road and, “picking up the free shit.” Our guys got everyone moving again and we got home none too soon.

I was dirty and tired. I got back to my room and took a quick ‘baby wipe bath’ to rinse off the grime. It was nice to curl up with my pillow in a familiar bed and drift off to sleep.

End of mission… Frontline Out!