Archive | May 2006

I’ll fly away

Scores of roaring cams, pistons and props raged against the night, spinning in infinity through the dark, and through the miracle of flight, held our steel sarcophagus aloft.

In the hold, sixty-some odd troops sat in the windowless black, sweating in the – Kuwait air? Iraq yet? Hot, regardless. Even altitude was no respite. Summer had arrived in spirit, at least, and so had we, back from our two-week ticket in the states – a tease of life sans war.

It was good and bad, the two weeks – long enough to feel like you had returned from another type of life, and long enough to get used to not being at war. Now, glum faces all, back in the bosom of hell, bound for our respective posts, we gasped and shifted in the stifling heat, paying penance for our time away.

Butts numb, packs at our feet, sitting side-to-side in tight rows, legs interlocked with the Joe across the aisle. Legs start to cramp, helmet slips down from the sweat. I reach up and pull on the cargo netting along the walls, trying to take the pressure off my lower quarter.

I would ask what the time was, but the C-130’s screaming turboprops limited any bout of communication in the dark to taps on the shoulder for air-sick bags.

Someone hit their Indiglow watch and flooded the cabin with a blue-hued daylight, our eyes hypersensitive to the light.

Four-ten, visible to all, still an hour out. God help us! I had an iPod in my pack, but that’d mean I’d have to lose my ear plugs, and I didn’t think shoving music into my head at a volume above the ambient engine noise was that great of an idea. Still, anything to take my mind off of the leg ache and heat!

My uniform had become a wet, lubricating layer between my skin and armor. I’m sure I was less than kissable. But you know what? I was in Iraq, dammit. To hell with all that showy, play-it-up-for-the-ladies crapola.

In four or five centuries, we’d arrive in Balad, the nearest major airfield to my group’s various posts in theater. Once in Balad, we’d schlep through a few dozen more lines and manifests to score a chopper flight home. Once home, we’d put out of our mind any recollection of the time away in efforts to keep time speeding along in the same numb haze.

At least that was the plan. No use in dreaming ahead, though, there was still life in the bird, second after second, each throbbing engine cycle leeching more heat into the sweltering cabin.

If this thing had sprinklers, I’d torch the damn thing for a hint of showered freshness.


A little……lag

Waiting in Kuwait. It’s hot. Figures. Tent is air conditioned, so “bonus.”

We’ll get the word if we fly out tonight. No rush. There’s an outlet by the bunk, so the laptop sings. Besides, it’ll take a few days to get back into the sleep cycle. Sleeping for 15-18 hours on the plane made me a bit restless when we rolled into our tents around midnight.

That’s all, friends, just a note saying I’m back in the game. Thanks for stopping by. I’ll talk to you cats more when I’m not nodding off at the keys!


Adios America

Well kids, it’s time to head back to the bummer. It’s been fun these last few days, but it’s high time I get more mud, grime, and explosions in my life. Things just aren’t the same without frequent reminders that the world is a savage place.

I’ll be flying out tomorrow, taking the day-long series of flights to reemerge in a world far from here. Don’t miss me, I’ll be posting before long, once U.S. Customs designates me as a non-threat to our nation’s security and I’m safely traveled.

The lines and briefings will probably be just as fun going in as they were going out, save for the fact that we have an Iraqi light at the end of this tunnel. I would guess faces will be a bit glum going back, but that’s how it is.

I had some good talks while I was here and the break was good. I’m not “fully refreshed” in that magic way everyone expects you to be after a vacation, but I’ll manage. Summer’s fire is stoking as we speak, so I’m sure the loving Iraqi climate will dry out my otherwise enthusiastic return. Still, there are only a few scant months left, far fewer than a few months ago.

Incidentally today is the big Latino boycott, so hopefully the country won’t fall apart between Oregon and Iraq. It’d be nice to have a country to come back to, so you guys iron out all this hoo-ha here and I’ll keep on over yonder. Deal?

Well that’s it, footfalls on the hallway carpet tell me it’s time to go. I’m out, big peeps. Keep it real.


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