Monday, February 4, 2008

Kicking it in Kuwait

We got the the terminal and I had checked all my bags (including my jackets). It was a quick 2 or 3 hours until I would be in Kuwait and the weather wasn't that bad. Well, as I have learned many times in the military, expect the unexpected!

My 3 hour wait ended up being an all-nighter! The weather got worse and we were all corraled in the holding tent. It was dusty, loud and cold. The hours ticked by and we were manifested for a different plane. Since we had already been checked and our bags were already palletized, I was unable to get to my jacket.

At some point, the power went out and what warmth we did have from the not so efficient heaters quickly chilled. The wind blew wildly outside and all the flaps, ropes and doors beat against the tent in an annoying, irregular orchestra.

A dozen or so soldiers lay sprawled out on the concrete floor. Some used duffle bags or their kevlar vests as pillows. I tried to sleep a time or two, but I don't think I actually slept until I hit my cot in Kuwait. It was now well past 10pm and we had arrived shortly after 7am. The weather wasn't cooperating, but we received good news that it was supposed to clear and we should be airborne around 3am.

We had also heard that the booms from the night before were just controlled detonations and not Hadji. Why they decided to do controlled dets in the middle of the night in a war zone is beyond me, but hey. The weather had cleared and we were getting close to time to board the plane. A loud boom thundered through the tent and we all laughed and hollered. The sirens again sounded and this time it was not a drill.

A couple other rockets landed and the TV cut to the emergency screen and we were told the base was on lockdown til 6am. I was welcomed into Iraq with a rocket attack and I was sent out of Iraq with an attack as well. We had been done with missions and the mess of this war for over a week and I had almost forgotten that we are still fighting a war here.

We arrived in Kuwait 28 hours after our journey began and I was finally able to get my jacket and a place to sleep. The kicker is that it is only a 45 minute flight.

I have been in Kuwait for a few days and our leadership has suprisingly left us alone to enjoy the last few days we have in theater. It has been a relaxing, refreshing time and a very well deserved break from all we have been through this past year.

For me and my brothers, tomorrow we will begin our journey back to the US and A; back into the arms of family and friends.