Friday, October 10, 2008

Welcome to Kuwait!

We are safely in Kuwait with all of our gear ready to start the last phase of our preparations for Iraq.

We left New Jersey in the early morning of October 9th. Our take off was delayed for several hours. Fortunately for me, because of the delay, I was able to call home shortly after midnight and wish Lisa a happy anniversary.

We flew on a contracted United 747 with a great, and very attractive, crew who met us at JFK for our refueling. Although many of us slept for the first few hours of the flight eventually we all woke up and moved freely about the plane. The flight attendants let us get our own coffee and tour the cockpit, and we in turn let them get pictures holding our weapons. On a funny note, yes, we were allowed to bring our rifles on board the plane, but not our knives.

We landed in Germany for ninety minutes, changed out crews, and flew on to Kuwait. I slept as much as I could on this leg knowing that I'd land in the morning hours. We came in over the desert as the sun was rising and I was reminded how desolate parts of the world are.

After we landed we were hustled on to busses for a ride into the middle of the Kuwaiti desert. In fact, the exit sign on the major highway read, "DESERT" with an arrow. Two hours later I was reminded in very clear terms what "desolate" actually is.

We are in the middle of no-where on a huge staging base. Here we will get used to the heat and the time change, refire our weapons, get some more training, and then move on to Iraq. We could be here a week. We could be here longer.

Despite being in the middle of no-where, this base is firmly established. Once inside the perimeter our bus passed a Taco Bell, Burger King, and Subway. This morning I stopped over to a Starbucks and ordered a coffee. The gym is enormous. The new dining facility has an ornate water fountain in it. Austere this is not.

The mood in the unit is very positive and everyone is doing great. Personally, I feel like I am in a time warp, instantly sucked back to 2004-2005. The sights, smells, and sounds of this place made it feel like I had never been away - very strange.

Finally, there are representatives from the unit we are replacing here. We are able to pick their minds and get ready for the mission ahead of us. We all have dozens of questions apeice and they are doing their best to answer them all.

That's all for now. I will keep in touch.

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