Today we crossed that intangible line in space and time that marks eighty days to go until we are released from our mission. Intangible is a good word to use because I won’t be leaving Iraq in eighty days, I certainly won’t be done with work eighty days, and I most definitely won’t be home in eighty days. However, eighty days is less than three months, a little over eleven weeks, and that suits me fine.
Everyone is talking about going home in part because we have to and because we finally can. We have to talk about going home because the process to plan and coordinate the movement of people, equipment, and other logistical moves takes months to arrange. Units enter into a complex system that plugs into a long calendar with various important trigger points along the way. Packing gear in huge containers. Clearing customs. Transferring equipment. Flying to Kuwait. Flying home. All of these things and more need to synchronized, and for any one piece not happen at the right time the entire system breaks down. My crew is paying very close attention to those trigger points! In addition to this there are administrative, personnel, operational, and other logistical requirements for us to redeploy. It will be a long summer in the office sitting behind a desk.
And we are talking about home because we can. I think it’s unofficially okay to talk about going home once you fall within the ninety day window; anytime before ninety days and you’re just pining away and homesick. And – the more days that get crossed off of the calendar, the more enthusiasm you can say, “I’ve got X number of days left.”
With all of this going on we have also hit an upswing in work. The operational part of Civil Affairs has gotten busier in the last few weeks. What had been a long dry period of work and creativity has turned a corner in the last few days and I have found a project or two that can really occupy my non-administrative time over the next few weeks. I am excited and looking forward to these projects turning my remaining weeks in Iraq as busy as the first few weeks when I arrived here in October.
My countdown clock reads 80 days, 2 hrs, 18 min, 49 sec until I can really look forward to going to the other side of the world.