Sunday, November 8, 2009
We checked into the passenger terminal in Qatar. It was exciting because we were leaving but I didn't want to get too excited just yet (I still had over 30 hours until I got home). Since I am only an E-4 I had to help load the baggage into the plane. That was a lot of work and helps me to appreciate my job behind a desk. There was an intel O-1 helping us load bags, I told him it was the most work his uniform would ever see. I don't if he got my joke, but I found it hilarious! There were about 20 of us or so loading bags. When we were done we were allowed to board the plane first. Some of the guys seemed really excited about this, I don't know why... we had assigned seats and it just meant that we spent that much more time on the plane. Whatever... I was sandwiched between 2 fairly large guys in the middle of the aircraft. To my left was a MSgt, he was a comm guy that was stationed in Qatar heading back to Shaw AFB. Turns out that we actually have a few common friends. He wasn't over weight, just tall and needed space. To my right was a TSgt, he was a... logistics maybe? I don't remember, but he was heading back to Davis-Monthan I think. He was a man of average height but slightly overweight (I got elbowed by him more than once).
Our first stop was in Cypress, it was dark when we landed and we weren't allowed to get off the plane, however I did get to see the sunrise on the Mediterranean Sea... that was beautiful! After sitting on the tarmac for 2 or 2.5 hours we headed to Aviano, Italy. It was raining in Italy, but the Alps still looked magnificent. It was rainy and chilly in Italy, but it was great! We had to stay in the terminal, but atleast we were able to deplane. Operation Yellow Ribbon had coffee and snacks on a table for us. The coffee wouldn't have worked for a coffee connoisseur, but for me it was more good. I usually like my coffee really strong: If it is in clear mug, you shouldn't be able to see any light through it, you should have some grinds in the bottom of it, when someone walks into the room that the coffee was brewed in, and their nasal cavity should be overcome with the smell of coffee. Basically I like my coffee strong! Just like my women (Mary is the strongest-willed woman I have ever met). So the coffee wasn't up to my standards, but it got the job done. After that we took off and headed for Germany. In Germany I met with my best friend from Korea, Jarad and his wife Emily. They have been in Germany for about a year or so, and are about 3 or 4 months pregnant! They met me and had a case of German beer to share with me! We stood out in the parking lot of the terminal drinking, it was better than tasty! I can't even put words to the flavor of it. I was only able to drink one before I was called back to the terminal to check in for our flight. I would have liked to drink another one (not sure if I could have handled a 3rd). The flight from Germany to Baltimore was a long one! they showed a few movies, and I slept some during the movies. They served a couple of mediocre meals, there were a few people around me ordering drinks left and right, but I didn't want to pay $5/drink, so I didn't have any.
We were met in Germany with a huge welcome home party from the USO. Lots of old and retired military families. They all shook our hands, thanked and welcomed us home, and had a small bag of snacks for us. Also our squadron sent a few people to pick us up and drive us home. One of my buddies was the driver. We loaded our bags into the 2 vans and as we were climbing in and buckling up, they handed us Yuengling! One each, for our ride to a burger shop. I guess in the DC/ Maryland area you can drink if you are in the backseat... (if that isn't true then it didn't happen and you probably misread the previous statement). We didn't get to Langley until after 1am, at the squadron we were welcomed by the 1st Sgt, squadron Commander, Wing Commander, our superintendent from our deployment (he left about a month before us), and a group of poeple that weren't actively working at the time. My old flight chief and mentor, TK, for the past 3 years was there to meet me, he gave me a ride home. He had directions printed off on how to get to my house. Neither of us had been there before and it was easier for someone else to take me home so that Mary didn't have to wake up Maddox in the middle of the night to pick me up. Mary opened the door and greeted me. I dropped my bags and gave her a huge hug and kiss. I shook TK's hand and said I would see him in a few days. Mary and Macy welcomed me with hugs and kisses and wagging tails. Mary and I talked for a few minutes then she went to bed and I showered and shaved... I had been traveling for over 30 hours and hadn't had a shower for over 48 hours (for those of you who don't know me... I sweat alot, so that is a long time without a shower).
Saturday morning Maddox woke up and Mary and I went in to get her out of bed. Maddox was excited that I was home and wanted to show me all of her toys. It was great!
Im home and we are enjoying our time together, Im still adjusting my internal clock, but I should be good in another day or two.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
We didn't really have any plans here except sit and mess around on our computers. Also there is a daily 3 drink ration. Our Capt was going to be going to the Ops Center to debrief with some big wigs. He asked if any of us wanted to go, my roommate Nick and I went.
The Ops Center was pretty cool. I saw a few people that I knew from Korea and back home. Also we sat down with 2 full birds and talked about the deployment and pros and cons of it all. They were both VERY receptive and looked at us as experts and took to heart everything we were saying and were taking notes on our words and comments. Afterwards one of the birds gave us a coin... yet another one added to my collection!
Also I talked to my Sgt that I had minor differences with at the beginning of the deployment. I thanked him for all that he showed and taught me. I now understand that he acted the way that he did to lead me in the right direction. He also told me that he appreciated my work and that I was going to be getting a higher medal than an airman should get because of the work that I did (that will give me a few extra points towards promotion).
If you remember my post from a few months ago about the moon: Im sitting underneath a full moon. It is bright and there are no clouds out. It is beautiful! The moon always makes me miss home, but it also reminds me that back home they have the moon also. Please when you look at the moon think of those that are away or have passed.
I miss my ladies more than anything else! Im excited about seeing our new house and meeting the neighbors and new people at work... but I want more than anything else to see them and go for a walk around our new neighborhood. I've been fortunate enough to see Mary, Maddox, and even Macy on the webcam. Since I have been gone, Mary has done a 150 mile bike ride, moved into a new house, gone to multiple family and friend gatherings. Maddox has taken swim lessons and started talking and singing more. Mary says that Macy has calmed down some also. I always knew that I would miss Mary and Maddox, I never thought that I would miss my dog this much...
Ill be home in a few days and Ill be able to spend time with my family before I head back to work. As soon as I get back to work, Ill have to re-qualify on the positions I held before I deployed, and then they are going fast-track me to mission supervisor. I will have to test for Staff Sgt after I get back also. Im hoping that I make it, there is alot of pressure on me: pressure from my wife, my sgts, pride, and making it my first time testing.
I will talk to you all later, I miss and love you all!