Back in black…er…desert tan?
A few days ago (honestly I don’t remember if it was Friday through Sunday), we waited until nightfall, bussed over to the airfield at Anaconda, and boarded several Chinook helicopters bound for Camp Taji, our final destination.
Hurrying on to the darkened tandem-rotored chopper, we rushed down the sides of the interior and slapped ourselves next to each other, buckled in and waited for takeoff. The churning whoosh-whoosh-whoosh of the two rotors rocked the chassis back and forth like one of those cheap vibrating beds.
The crew gunners were at their stations with night-vision goggles. We could see a slight outline of green on their faces as they watched us board.
I sat and clutched the carry-on bag on my lap. Sitting across from one of the circular window ports, I had a fair view of the tilting and moving horizon once we were airborne.
The ride was smoother than I expected, hearing stories from the young captains about some hell-bent ride of death they’d been on during some summer session of their ROTC. The trip was uneventful, save for the few flares chalk two dropped as we traversed the countryside to discourage any missiles looking for targets. Each flare would light up our chopper for a second and then drift groundward, moving our illumination up the walls and to the ceiling.
Upon arrival to Taji, we were taken to a basketball court for our initial welcome briefings and room assignments. The first bout of good news was that we didn’t have to wear our body armor everywhere. That will keep the ol’ body temperature down. The second lucky draw for ol’ Salmons was that I got a two-man trailer instead of an open bay. While I feel a little bad for the poor jokers that are living in the old crumbling, bombed out buildings, I can’t let that let me not enjoy what would have been their bragging right had the tables been turned.
So I’m back, and with Internet access! More later friends. I’m off to bed.