Got my toes in my boots, Ass in the sand…

17 Sept 11

I shaved my head clean and my deployment mustache is coming in nicely. My living space is rearranged to my liking, and I swiftered the floor and wiped down all flat surfaces with disinfectant. My gear is unpacked and stowed in my two cabinets and a couple of pictures are hanging on the walls. I think I’m officially settled in for the next 120 days.

We got in late last Monday night/Tuesday morning, just a few hours behind our compatriots who weren’t fortunate enough to have an extra day off in Canada on their way over. They were fortunate enough however, not to have to fly for about 12 ½ hours in one day just to make it here on time and be well rested for the next few days.

We’d all heard tales of the misery to be expected once we arrived. That misery would come in the form of an endless barrage of briefings and clearing customs; while the rumors were true, it wasn’t as bad as any of us suspected.

Customs was a piece of cake for the most part, a function of the time of day (super late, or super early depending on which side of the clock you’re living on), except that we had to drag every single piece of luggage, personal and professional equipment through the processing line. The Air Force rep who briefed us was quick to point out that we would immediately be deported if we had any contraband in the form of pork or pork products, magazines that displayed any kind of weapon, or the bare skin of a woman (from the ankles up presumably), knives with blades greater than 6 inches, alcohol or empty alcohol containers, the list went on.

We were introduced to this fine country by a videotaped briefing from the commander who told us 26 people are deported, and blacklisted every month. I’m still trying to figure out where the negative part is in being told not to return to a country that doesn’t allow any of that fun stuff.

The next stop was more briefings to be briefed on what we were going to be briefed about over the next couple of days’ worth of briefings. We were to go to our rooms and report the next morning for more briefings. The thing I’ve learned about briefings in the Air Force, they’re never brief.

We were briefed to expect briefings on the General Order 1B which is basically the “No More Fun of Any Kind” order. Among the highlights: We are not allowed to cross the threshold of the doorway into the room of members of the opposite sex, no more than 3 drinks a day on base and if I remember correctly you’re not even allowed to drink downtown. I don’t remember the specifics of that one only because I have no intention of going down town. I may change my tune in a couple of months but right now I’m content to hang out on base. There is talk of some guys putting together a charter fishing trip in the Persian gulf. The only image I conjure up when I think of fishing in this Gulf is Navy Snipers dropping pirates in a red life boat. I’d hate to be that guy in the middle with the beard.

After we suffered through hours of PowerPoint presentations it was time to start working on the hand off. Our predecessors were about as excited to help us out as we were to be getting here. There has been a lot of OJT this past week which would explain, in part anyway, why I haven’t posted anything here yet. Between my sleep deprivation and work schedule, I’ve barely had time to explore the base. From what I can see, the changes its undergone are below the surface, it’s still flat and brown and I remembered where everything is from 6 years ago.

That’s not entirely true; they’ve added a brand new section for those who are stationed here for 6 months or longer. It’s called the Beautiful People’s Compound, or Complex, or Center or something else that starts with C. The B and the P don’t stand for Beautiful People either but I don’t know the official title, just what we call it. I went over there the second night and quickly found out that it’s a misnomer anyway. Those people look just as rough as we do on this side of the base.

That’s it for now. I’ve got some days off coming to me this week so hopefully I’ll do some exploring and some picture taking for my next update.

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