Monday, July 30, 2007

A bright spot

The worst part of being back in uniform is the physical training (PT). Of course, for a while, we didn't really do PT in the AF, but starting a few years ago, they started getting more serious about it. Now, the PT test consists of push ups, sit ups, a mile and a half run, and a waist measurement. I'm good with the push ups and sit ups, but the other two are where I have problems. Of course, if I were either of my brothers, I'm sure the run wouldn't be a problem, but I'm not. I'm much lazier than they are. So, I started running on Sat. My legs were so sore the rest of the weekend. The run went better today. At this rate, I should do okay by the time I test at the end of Sept. It still isn't any fun, though!

On the positive site, the military is sending me to Vegas for a conference for a week and a half. I leave on Wed at 0600. The conference will be some hard work, but there will still be time left for some fun at the casinos. I think my squadron feels bad I'm going to Iraq, so they've made sure I got at least one nice trip. Wish me luck at the roulette wheel!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Another Rant

Well, I did finish my packing and got down here to my duty station on time. (I fit all the stuff I need in my duffel and a medium suitcase...pretty good, huh?)
Of course, my pay is still messed up and I only got back on duty yesterday. (I should be getting about $1000 for housing and food per check, but I'm only getting $3.20 in my next paycheck...sort of a big difference.) Luckily, the guy that handles my pay knows and is fixing all the problems. Plus, I was supposed to shoot the M-16 today, but the class was too full, so I've got to go back. sigh!
I was talking to one of my superiors about some of the jobs I might end up doing over there. One of them was outside the wire (outside the base limits), which is always more dangerous. As this guy was telling me about it, a nearby guy piped up and said he'd volunteered for that job. He said it sounded like a lot of fun, but he's not eligible for any of the spots doing that. Which makes me wonder....this is not the first time that I've heard a guy talk about a dangerous job being cool. Is there some kool aid they're feeding the guys or is that just testosterone??? I mean, of course, I'll do whatever I'm assigned to because that's what I signed up for (sort of), but I'm not looking for a job where I can see how much the M-16 really jams when you shoot it multiple times in a row. Granted, none of the guys that have made comments about the cool jobs were eligible to do them, so maybe it's just the idea that sounds attractive. I just can't imagine what these guys are thinking, though. I really don't feel like I'm missing out on anything if I haven't gotten to shoot in combat, but it seems like some of the male military population thinks they've missed out on combat. Anyway, just my observation for the day.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


I'm such a procrastinator, but the day has finally come that I need to pack up. One of the guys I work with said it should be a cinch, just throw my uniforms, boots, shirts and toiletries into my bag and go. Then, I reminded him that I've got to pack for a few months in SC and also for my tour in Iraq. (Unless I want to be a geek and walk around SC in my PT gear, which consists of a t-shirt and shorts with the AF logo on them.)
I think I'm almost packed, though. It's sort of tough to figure out what I'll need for the next 10-11 months, but, admittedly, I'll be wearing uniforms most of the time, so it's not as bad as it sounds. Worst case scenario, I can probably buy whatever I forget.
Once I all this packed and drive down to SC, I'll at least be done with one hurdle.
Today, I just feel really lazy, but luckily I only have a few more things to get done. It seems like a good day to be lzay, though, and since this is my last weekend where my life is my own, then I don't feel guilty at all.
What a life!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


I got back yesterday from RI, where some of my family lives. The trip was great. I got to eat seafood almost every day! (The best thing my base in SC has to offer is the local Red Lobster...yuck!)
One of the things I've noticed, though, is the difference in reaction among different people when you say you're going to Iraq. Most of the military people, especially those that have been there, call it the place of no beer, so offer to buy me drinks since I won't get anything better than near beer there. I'm not looking forward to not having a single beer for six months. (It's like being on TB medication, which I only lasted a week on for other reasons.) Civilians, though, tell me good luck and stay safe. I was talking to a friend of mine about a similar topic. I've been to the Middle East enough that I wonder if my perception of what's safe is different from those that haven't been there. I admit that when I used to wear my abaya and walk around the marketplace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, I never had any fear that something would happen to me. In fact, I guess I've spent more time walking streets in the Middle East by myself than I have in the US in the last 15-20 years. Maybe it's a false sense of security I feel over there, but it never seems like there's a lot of crime there. (Of course, the deterrents there are different. You know a guy has probably been convicted of stealing if he's missing a hand. Signs in the US aren't anywhere near as obvious.) I know that Iraq is probably the least safe place I'll travel to, at least up to this point, since I get a gun and live ammo there. I guess it's to be expected that military and civilians will respond differently, but I've never really considered the non-military point of view until now.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Finally, I found out last night that I don't have to report tomorrow to my duty station. I've got a ten day delay, so I'll be reporting on the 23rd. This has been one of the more frustrating aspects. (My report date actually changed three times in less than 24 hours.) I wish things were a little more organized. I'm going to see my parents tomorrow on a trip that had been planned for a couple of months, which is why I asked for the delay in the first place. So, today I unpacked some of my gear since I have to pack for this short trip to RI. I'm only planning on working a few hours next week since I have more than enough leave to take the time off. I'd like to think that things will go smoother from here on out, but that would be foolish considering how things seem to be going so far.
Today at work, I was talking to some of the guys about which is the best armor to get and what other gear I probably want to buy or get issued before I go. It's odd to have conversations like that, but it helps me to continue to keep things in perspective also. When I first heard that I was deploying, I thought I was just going to Qatar, which I've been to many times, so it wasn't a big deal. It was really a shift in mindset, though, when I found out they'd changed me to Iraq. It's no longer just a place I watch in the news or even hear about my friends that are over there. Now, it's a reality for me. It sounds grim and maybe unrealistic, but in some ways, I had to think about my own mortality and the possibilities of what could happen to me over there. Now, I don't think that anything terrible will based on my job, but that doesn't mean it can't or won't. I'd like to think that I'll come back alive and in one piece, but not everyone can or does. It's not something that bears dwelling on, but it's certainly something that I felt like I needed to at least think about and it's a tiny thought that sort of sits in the back of my head now.
Anyway, it seems like most is right with the world for today at least. I'll get to see my family. I'll be eating lobster again in the next 48 hours. Yum! And I had a really great dinner last night. Above all, I got a ten day reprieve from reporting for duty. If only things could stay this good...

Sunday, July 8, 2007


One of the things I've realized as a result of this deployment is how large a support system I have here. My family is taking on extra responsibilities to make sure my bills are paid. Not only my family and friend have offered to help, though. My co-workers and the people at my church have all said that they'd do whatever needed to be done, including checking on my house and watering my plants. One of my neighbors will be keeping an eye on the house much of the time I'll be gone. It shouldn't have taken this deployment for me to appreciate all the people around me, but in some ways it has. It has opened my eyes to how many helpful people I have in my life. I heard this week that people at my dad's church are praying for me. Since I've never met any of them, I was surprised to hear that, but it's also so nice to hear.
My last deployment was in late 2001 when I went to help out in Operation Enduring Freedom. For people that have never been isolated in a deployment, it's always odd to hear the news going on in the US since you're a world away. One of the worst things was to hear about all the people protesting the war. Now, I know that as a military member, one of the things we're supposed to be protecting is freedom. It's a really crappy feeling to be doing a job, though, and then see that people are protesting your job. People in the US can continue their mantra about "we're protesting the war, but we support the troops" all they want, but, at least in my eyes, I didn't see the distinction. Basically, the message of the protests is that I'm wasting my time and what I'm doing is worth nothing. It was really disappointing to hear during OEF and I started avoiding reading most news. I'm guessing I'll have to do that for this deployment, too.
In any case, back to my original topic, I've come to really appreciate all the people around me and how much support they give me. I'm sorry that it's taken me so long to realize it, but I guess it's better late than never. If you're one of those people, thank you so much!

Friday, July 6, 2007


It seems like the hits just keep on coming. I'm a Reservist being recalled back to active duty, which is fine since it's my duty and it's the right thing to do. I just wish the transition would go a little more smoothly. I found out today that even though I'm going back on active duty next week, I don't report to Iraq until late Oct. So, I'll be spending about three months sitting around my main duty station in SC. Going back on duty and getting deployed isn't too bad, but what it's taking to get there is such a pain. I'm still working on packing since I've got to pack for being away a year. At least, I'll be in the desert for the winter, so no snow or ice for me. (Winter in the States is the rainy season over there, though. I've been through it before. Nothing worse than tracking around wet sand when you're living in a tent!) I guess I'll just have to keep on praying that things go okay.