Monday, 8 Dec 03
I hope this e-mail finds everyone happy, healthy and getting ready for a wonderful holiday season. I’m going to be heading east, way east on Thursday and will get to spend Christmas in a tent, New Year’s too I’m thinking. So I will be living vicariously through you all and wanting to hear how great the holiday season is going for everyone. Don’t spare the details and don’t think for a minute I don’t want to hear about it because I’m not around to enjoy it, that would be silly.
Our activation started last Monday, and only 51 more weeks to go of the active duty lifestyle. Well that is unless they decide to extend us for the full two years and then it would be 103 weeks to go, but then who’s counting? I got to spend Thanksgiving at home which was very nice indeed.
A great, long weekend with friends and family is the only way to spend a holiday in my book. I raced back to Youngstown on Monday of last week, sped would actually be the term the Indiana State Trooper used, but he was sympathetic to my plight and just let me off with a warning. I reported for duty at 8 am on Tuesday the 2nd and have spent the past week trying to figure out when I would find a few spare minutes in between briefings, shots, and the issuing of a whole new ensemble of uniforms to organize, pack and maybe, just maybe steal away for a few hours on the stream in search of a couple winter run Steelhead.
I decided Tuesday after I got the first round of stuff issued that I should pack, if nothing else it would keep my left arm moving and the anthrax serum sloshing around in there enough so that it wouldn’t get sore or develop a big lump as was supposedly the case with that shot. Well it didn’t get sore or bumpy and I did get packed, just in time for a whole new round of getting more stuff issued. So I unpacked again and repacked for round three of the clothing issue. I hadn’t even found the time to decide what I wanted to take yet, but I would.
So I finally did sneak away on Saturday and do some fishing. It was the first day off I had since I got activated and I couldn’t take it any longer. I went for a few hours, enjoyed the snowy countryside, the crisp winter air and came to the realization that the old adage is true: A bad day of fishing is still better than a good day of work. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a bad day of fishing, it was a perfect day for fishing; the catching, well not so much.
So today (Monday) I was told to show up at the base at 8 am for a couple of hours of briefings and then would be free to enjoy the remainder of the week as I saw fit. I figured I’d spend the day shopping and getting all the last-minute stuff I’d need to make the trip over to Kerblakistan (not the real country, but a code I’ve devised so that I can at least feel like I’m sharing something with you all.) 6 hours later when the briefings concluded I arose from my slumber and proceeded to the clothing issue for Round 4 of the issuance of gear. After that I proceeded to the clinic for a couple more shots and then home to unpack and repack. I decided that I really don’t need all that stuff I was thinking about bringing to occupy my free time, like my fly tying kit. It’s much more important to have 3 pair of boots, 7 pair of long underwear, gloves, mittens, inserts for both gloves and mittens, itchy wool blankets etc, etc.
My folks are coming in to town tonight to visit until Wednesday and then I am leaving Thursday morning bright and early, but not before the folks at the clinic take advantage of the opportunity to jab me with one more needle. This is the fun one I hear, smallpox. Evidently it’s the perfect shot for the Christmas holiday season because it keeps on giving. I’ll spare the details, but suffice it to say that if I’m not careful I’ll spread the stuff all over and that just doesn’t sound to me like a fun way to start a deployment.
I’d be lying to say I didn’t wish I could be home for the holidays. I think what we are doing on the other side of the world is a good thing and I’m proud that I have the opportunity to take part in it. That honor involves a certain amount of sacrifice and hardship to be endured, and it makes it all the more worthwhile to me knowing there are folks at home who mean the world to me and are keeping me in their thoughts and prayers. I can’t thank you all enough for all the words of encouragement and support you’ve given me throughout this activation and throughout my Air Force career.
I wish you all the very best this holiday. I will let you know when I get to where I’m going and keep you all as up to date as I can on what’s going on in my life, and I hope you’ll do the same for me.
Happy Holidays to you all!!!
Tuesday, 16 Dec 03
Good morning everyone from the other side of the world!!! It’s almost 4 am here on Tuesday morning, the day we’ve all been waiting for since we got here Sunday night at Oh-dark-thirty, Today is the day we get to move out of our temporary billet which is a tent not unlike the tents we all knew and loved at summer camp. Today, after the old squadron rotates to another destination, we get to move into their old billets, another tent, but this will be one of our very own for the next few months.
Its chilly here, and I do mean chilly. Colder than Antarctica was most of the time I was there. We got off the plane the other day and literally had to do a bag drag through the snow and ice. I was starting to feel pretty good about all the stuff I packed until I had to make 4-5 trips from the Boardwalk (the big frame of reference here at Kamp Kerblakistan) to my tent. I’m thinking after I get all settled in that I’ll be glad I brought it all.
Last night we got to finally partake in the two beer per day ration. They’re pretty serious about it too. The beers are big and German. They to help to induce sleep on a jet lagged body, especially if you have a friend with you that doesn’t use his ration card for his own consumption. Nothing like a little ill-gotten booty to salve the weary soul. Unfortunately the sleep only seems to last a few hours and then the jet lag and the noises from within the tent remind me that I’m supposed to be sitting down to eat dinner right about now and not sound asleep.
Anyway, I thought I’d just let you all know I made it safe and sound here and we start flying tomorrow. Sounds like it’s all pretty interesting stuff we’ll be doing, which is to say a little scary, a little exciting and perhaps a lot of time in the seat.
I hope this finds you all happy, safe and sound. I look forward to hearing from you all and keeping in touch.
Wednesday, 17 Dec 03
Greetings everyone, from the other side of the world, again!
Well I’m at the end of Day 3 of my time here and we made it into our permanent tents. I have to say I’m feeling a lot better now that I have my own space, even if that space is an 8×8 section of a tent that is almost at once too hot and then too cold. Fortunately the local folk have set up a few shops on the base complete with their own cold weather gear, blankets and carpets, etc, and I think I might like to support the local economy by purchasing some of each. I figure a good blanket on top of my made bed means that I can sleep under the covers but never have to make my bed again. The fleece blanket I brought over here was barely enough, so I’m off to Yuri’s Gifts as soon as I’m done here to see about getting that wool blankey.
As I may have mentioned before, the facilities here are a little primitive and lack most of the conveniences we take for granted back home, like privacy, clean water and well more privacy. I made my way to the shower for the first time today. I found out one more thing I forgot to pack as I hung my towel up and looked inside the stall: Soap. I figured they would’ve had it here. So I took my first ever shaving cream shower. It has a nice mentholated feel on the skin and does wonders for cleaning up. The only problem is the gel kind doesn’t hold a lather for very long, so I had to use a lot of it.
The good thing about the military is that they think of every contingency, and as I discovered as I was towelling off they had taken into consideration my plight as well. Sure enough on the bench outside the showers was a whole box of pink soap. It would be nice if I’d noticed that before, or if they had it in the actual shower area.
We fly tomorrow for the first time since we arrived. I’m a little nervous about it just because it’s all brand new to me, breaking into a whole new realm of flying as it were. It sounds pretty exciting and I’m looking forward to it. This is the stuff I signed up for a few years back, seeing the world and experiencing new things, and now I’m silly with it.
I hope this e-mail finds everyone happy and well. I’ll write more again soon, and try to write in code to tell you all about the day’s events.
Take Care and thanks for all the e mails,
Saturday, 20 Dec 03
Hello Again Everyone,
Well its been an interesting couple of days here in the AOR supporting the ongoing operations here in Kerblakistan. I’m getting the impression that divulging the country to which I’ve relocated isn’t such a big deal so I’m going out on a limb here and telling you all it’s not really Kerblakistan. I would like an honest report from everyone that looked up Kerblakistan in their atlas. I’m actually in Kyrgyzstan, once a part of the old Soviet Union before it went belly up like Braniff.
The airbase here is named after one of the heroes of September 11, Peter Ganci. He was the highest ranking fire chief to be killed on that day and I think this is a fitting tribute to him and his efforts. There is a local hangout here called Pete’s Place where we can indulge in our two beer per day ration. It’s not a bad place all things considered, but I probably wouldn’t hang out there if I was at home. Who would go to a bar that’s in a big tent with port-a-potties outside, unless it was a beer tent at a carnival or fair?
Wednesday we had our first flight down country. That would mean basically that we got our first taste of the war. It wasn’t too bad really and I’m hoping all our flights go like the first two legs of this one went, at least until we landed at our second destination.
We were briefed on the condition of the runway at stop #1, which I’ll call Kandybar. If I had to use one word to describe it, that word would be “Bumpier than hell!” When I went to the South Pole last year they told me the skiway at the pole would be the bumpiest takeoff I ever experienced. They lied. This was by far the worst runway I’ve ever been on, it was more like a dirt road after a summer of heavy rain and a winter of deep freezes, except with pavement.
After we took off, put the gear in the wells and checked all of our fillings we proceeded to destination #2 which I will call Seagram. We touched down normally, 500-1000 feet down the runway just like they tell us to in the book, on airspeed and on centerline. I didn’t think anything was wrong until our ELT (emergency locator transmitter) started chirping on the guard frequency. It was another bumpy runway to say the least, but nothing like at Kandybar. Then we started pulling off to the left and then to the right and then back on centerline. Then I heard an expletive from the pilot followed by “we’ve got a blown tire.” We rolled to a stop, shut down all the engines and egressed the airplane with confidence and enthusiasm, just like they tell us to in the book. The nav even remembered to grab the fire extinguisher and first aid kit, neither of which were needed, fortunately.
The tower was more than helpful to us during all of this. I was trying to transmit to them that we had blown a tire and were shutting down. They told us to taxi clear at Charlie. I told them of our inability to taxi clear as we had just blown the tires on the left side and were trying to egress the airplane, and then asked them politely with limited expletives on my part if they wouldn’t mind too terribly calling the fire trucks. They came back with, “Roger taxi clear at Charlie.” You get my drift I think.
The fire trucks came finally and then eventually, as is supposed to happen with these things the acting base commander drove up and wanted to know when he could have his runway back.
Well the long and short of it is we got to spend the night in Afghanistan. We got to sleep around 0500 and by 0900 I awoke to the TAP TAP TAP sound of gunfire. Needless to say I was a little nervous about that, and more than a little curious. So I got dressed and walked outside to see some of the local Afghani contractors building hooches right outside ours. I guess hammers on nails sounds a lot like gunfire when you’re sound asleep.
I took the opportunity of a solid 4 hours rest and decided to check out the camp. I went to the coffee shop and got a cup, then went shopping at the BX. They have a nicer BX there than we do here. Over top all the tents I could see the tail of our C-130 listing a little to the left, still on the runway. I gathered no one would be too happy about that and I made my way out to the plane. An hour later a helicopter with our maintenance recovery team and all our spare parts landed behind the plane and blew every piece of paper out of our mission folder across the runway.
The tire change went well and I hopped in and taxied clear of the runway, just in time for Robin Williams, some cheerleaders, a Nascar driver and one of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to depart the holding fix and land. We took off a few hours later and called it a day.
So now we’re off for a couple of days and I’m going to see how this camp parties on weekends. There really are no weekends here, its 24/7 operations, all day everyday I think.
I hope you’re all getting into the Holiday Spirit back home. The Christmas trees went up today and there are lights in all the tents. Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas. I’m hoping Santa doesn’t miss us on his stops around the world.
Thanks so much for all the great e mails. They mean the world to me.
Tuesday, 6 Jan 03
It’s hard to believe I’ve already been gone almost a month, it feels more like 3 and I should be writing you all that I’m heading home in a few days. It’s really not so bad now that we’re all getting in to the swing of things and on a fairly normal schedule. I’m not complaining about my schedule as the temporary tactics guy either. I go in around 3 and finish up around midnight. It makes the time pass by quickly and it’s a good opportunity to make some phone calls uninterrupted by the 15 minute time limit.
I heard yesterday that the war effort and Westernization of the Afghani people is going well. Every yurt is hooked up to a grid and has a TV in it. Evidently their favorite show to watch here is the Flintstones, except in Afghanistan they call it the Jetsons.
Speaking of yurts, I rearranged mine today. It’s my second day off in a row that I don’t have to work and I decided its time to get rid of some of the clutter, make some more room and do a little spring cleaning as it were. Never mind that spring is a mere vision of the future, clouded by two more months of living in this tent. I might as well make the most of it though and now it feels all the more livable.
Yesterday stands out as the highlight of this deployment to date. Four of us, Ken, Don, Justin and I rallied up at Shooter’s, the other morale facility on base, at 0800 for our cultural tour of down town Bishkek. At 0900 we met our interpreter, Slava, and our driver who’s name I didn’t get. Our driver introduced himself with a hearty, two-handed handshake, a smile and the two words he spoke of English “Good Mornink,” that made me feel very welcomed. We hopped in the van and drove downtown. I felt like I had just gotten parole as we left the sand bag-walled fortress of Ganci AB behind us. It was one of those beautiful foggy, winter mornings where the frost had crystallized white on all the trees and the sun barely breaking through the clouds above. I feared I had underdressed for the occasion, having left my knit hat behind in favor of my favorite orange ball cap from Antarctica. The warmth of the van was a welcome diversion from the chilly morning air.
I missed out on breakfast and was pretty hungry on the way to Bishkek, but I’d thought ahead and opened up one of my granola bars that I had snuck in here like so much other contraband. It satisfied my hunger and helped me pay more attention to the lessons that Slava was imparting upon the four of us. Kyrgyzstan gained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, and like all good capitalist dogs, the four of us were excited to hear about how happy the Kyrgyz were to experience a free and democratic society.
It turns out that there are mixed reviews on democracy and capitalism here. The way Slava explained communism was that there was no real reason to better oneself. “If Vladimir is vorkink in factory and does job vell, zer is still no chance for making, how you say, better life. Zo, vy do good job ven Ivan is vorkink next to Vladimir on assembly line, drinks wodka all day long and does terrible job and still gets same pay.”
It’s no wonder communism fell, too much wodka. However, I guess some of the older folks are having a problem adapting to the change. It seems communism was their social security check after they stopped vorking. So there are a lot of people who are too old to vork that are out on their asskies. I guess Russia didn’t have much of a 401K plan at the factories in Kyrgyzstan.
It is definitely evident that capitalism has taken a strong hold around town. Everywhere we went there were vendors selling everything from kitsch to cheap knockoffs of the products we know and love back home. You can buy bootleg movies on DVD here that are just getting into the theaters in the States. One of the guys bought the latest Lord of the Rings movie. The quality isn’t the greatest and I think it was just a couple of guys sitting in the theater with a video camera and then burning that onto a DVD. I guess there are no copyright laws to worry about over here.
There wasn’t a whole lot of purchasing going on and we really didn’t spend much time shopping. Surprisingly enough there was a little bit of culture to be seen around the town. It seems a proud culture here and there is a definite cultural divide between the native Kyrgyz and the Russians, all of them seemed friendly enough. They are of two very distinct cultures, the Kyrgyz and the Russians. The Russians don’t look much like the stereotype we probably all have of Russians: evil, pale, cigarette stained teeth, big and burly. Well they’re not evil and big anyway, they pretty much look like your every day run of the mill Caucasian with a cigarette dangling from their mouth. The Kyrgyz on the other hand look more Asian, or Mongolian I guess you would say.
Evidently we chose the wrong day to get our off-base pass, as it seemed everything closes on the Monday after the new year. Not for any particular holiday reasons, it’s just that they had a day off last week and had to make up for it on Saturday or Sunday and then they had to make up for that day off on Monday. We stopped by a few museums that were closed for the day which was unfortunate because I would’ve enjoyed walking through some of the modern history exhibits. On the other hand it did allow more time to enjoy lunch at a really nice Russian restaurant. I was reluctant to try borscht because I always thought it was beet soup. I figured if I wanted to eat beet soup I could just take a spoon to the nearest mud puddle for the same culinary experience. Well everyone else tried it and I couldn’t resist after I looked at it. I didn’t see a single beet in there and it was basically beef soup with potatoes. It did have a mysterious red tint to it that hinted at a beet-like influence, but I pushed through my aversion and as Slava predicted, I enjoyed it thoroughly. We washed down lunch with a shot of wodka which I wish I hadn’t done so much. It did serve as a nice aperitif and made me feel less full after I was done gagging.
After lunch, we visited a mosque which was a sort of odd and awkward experience. There was a rug outside the mosque and we had to remove our shoes before entering. Once inside, I felt like we had walked in to a bar on the wrong side of the tracks. People sort of stopped what they were doing and turned around and looked at us. I think we walked in right before one of their prayers as most of the people in front were knelt down and bowing down to the floor. Others, in the back of the mosque, where we were trying to blend into the shadows kept coming up to Slava and shaking his hand and speaking to him, then would come up and shake my hand and say something. I thought they were all friends of Slava’s but it turns out they were just very friendly and wanted to talk to us, but none of them spoke English. I got the impression from Slava that he maybe didn’t think much of these people as he wasn’t making any effort to translate for us. So, the four of us stood around staring at the four or five Kyrgyz, nodding our heads and smiling a lot. It’s too bad because in retrospect I think it would have been interesting to talk with them and they really seemed genuinely interested in speaking with us. I quit feeling uncomfortable about being surrounded by Muslims as soon as I realized what I’ve fought to understand for a long time, that the Muslim religion is one of peace and good will, not unlike Christianity. And as with Christianity throughout history, there are extremist Muslims who want nothing more than to eradicate non-Muslims. The important thing to keep in mind is not letting a few bad Mullahs spoil the bunch.
After the mosque we visited a Russian Orthodox church and again felt completely out of place. There was a lot of singing going on, that kind here the whole song is sung in one note. I forget what that’s called, but it made me laugh to think about Karl reading from the good book of Hercules, calling out a checklist on the airplane one time in that same timbre.
The day was coming to an end and we stopped at a couple open air markets before having a little snack and exceeding our two beer per day ration at a bar called the Navigator. The ride back went quick as I slept most of the way.
When I got back to my tent I saw that the mail had finally arrived and my bed was covered in packages full of care from home. I spent the next hour opening and enjoying all the great gifts from home, crossword puzzles, pretzels, buckeyes, cookies, pistachios, even a couple bottles of victuals that one might find on the drink cart on Delta. I guess I better make my way over to the gym if I’m going to enjoy all that stuff. What a great way to finish out my day.
I’m getting a pretty good list going on the flag requests, more so than I thought I would. I’ll be flying again next week and can start working on bringing them down country and then sending them home. Let me know if you’d like one and what you’d like written on the certificate.
It’s been great hearing from everyone. Thanks for all the e mails and thoughts and prayers. I hope everyone is doing well and having a great new year.
9 Jun 04
Hello Again from Kyrgyzstan!
Well the time at home seems to go by a lot quicker than the time away from home does. We arrived here about two weeks ago, and it feels like we never left. I’m even in the same tent as before, just no tiger blanket. The same happy faces were here to greet us getting off the plane as last time and really there aren’t many things that have changed since March.
I will say however, the one change I’ve noted and won’t complain about is the weather. It’s been pleasant here, even dipping into the chilly temps some nights. It does get plenty hot down range though. I can’t complain about the flying tempo either, we’ve flown 3 times since we got here and they’ve been pretty low stress missions. Anyone who walks by our tent will see it’s more like a colony of seals than an aircrew. At any given time when the sun is shining there are 3 or 4 of us splayed about on cots working on our tans.
The crew make up is a little different this time than it was last time. I think we’re going to start calling ourselves the Crew of Misfit Toys. Since we’re short of so many crew positions back home, we’ve gathered crew members from throughout the Reserves to fill the six spaces in our tent. Our engineer, Mike is from Pittsburgh, our navigator, PI is from Biloxi, MS where they fly J model C-130s and Bob is our loadmaster from the Niagara, NY unit. Ralph and I are back as the pilots and we have Mark Zickerfuse in the back to complete the Youngstown contingent of this crew’s deployment.
A week after we arrived in country we were granted an off base pass and finally made the trek up into the mountains. There is a restaurant up there called 12 Chimneys and it is absolutely amazing. The food was typically Russian, in that it was abrasive without much personality, but it beat the chow hall food which is abrasive with no personality. Actually the grub was really good, but it was the scenery that made the trip worthwhile.
The drive out of town was as uneventful as drives in Kyrgyzstan go. The roads here sometimes have lanes and center lines painted on them but they seem to be more advisory in nature than compulsory. It seems people just drive in whatever space on the road is open and big enough to fit most of their car into.
As we headed out of town and into the mountains the scenery changed from dirty city to beautiful countryside and the further up the valley we drove, the prettier the scenery. We followed a river up the valley so crystal clear, yet so full of the colors reflecting in it that it must have been as clean and pure as the snow that melted to create it.
We passed an actual yurt on our way up the valley, and it looked to be well lived in. A yurt is not so different from a tepee in that it is a traditional means of shelter for the nomads that once inhabited this area. They look to be made from some sort of wool, and this one looked pretty authentic, except for the big blue tarp on top of it to keep the rain out of the big hole in the roof that acts as a chimney.
The river passed underneath the road and we continued to wind our way up the mountainside. Around a bend and up a hill we saw our destination. Located along the river’s edge in the valley of a beautiful mountain range, 12 Chimneys is sort of a hunting lodge turned restaurant. It’s made up of the main dining hall with a bunch of outside booths, 12 actually, complete with their own fireplaces and chimneys. There was a bridge that crossed the river with a walkway that led up the hill to several weekend cabins I should like to spend some time in. If only we were allowed to have overnight passes.
As is protocol, at least when I’ve been out on the town, we offered to buy lunch for Zeke, our driver. As is probably Kyrgyz custom, he politely refused until we asked a couple more times and he relented. We needed a translator as much as a dining companion that we didn’t share a tent with. Turns out, Zeke is quite a fisherman, which made for great lunchtime conversation, for me anyway. I think he’s going to take us fishing one of these days, but I can’t be sure, maybe he just wanted us to order the fish. Come to think of it maybe he was just telling us they catch all the fish, fresh out of the river when we order it. It’s so hard to tell with all the pointing and smiling and the not understanding.
The weather was a little rainy and chilly but we opted to eat outside in one of the booths anyway. It was a few hundred extra som (Kyrgyz money) to have a fire, but it was worth it for the heat and the sound of a crackling fire in mid-June. The food was great and we loaded up on all the fresh bread and butter they would bring us. It’s amazing the things we forget about and miss from home, like bread and butter.
The drive home was just as beautiful and we stopped a few times for some picture taking. It seems that most of the country, away from the city anyway is sort of like open range. There were horses grazing alongside of goats and cows, and they just seemed to wander wherever they pleased. The river was amazing and all I could think about was standing on the bank with my fly rod and seeing what I could pull out of there. I think I’m going to try to coordinate a fishing trip with Zeke for our next pass.
The flying has been about the same as when I left last time. I have added another country to my list of places I’ve seen and don’t need to see again. Pakistan is about as temperate as the inside of a pizza oven. I got off the plane and felt like Thanksgiving when I wanted to sneak a peak inside the oven to check on the turkey. I walked around the other side of the plane and looked across the base and saw we were outside a walled city that I’ll call Osamabad. Evidently the guys on the other side of the wall don’t seem to care for our kind so much and I got the sneaking suspicion someone might be drawing a bead on me. So I hung out back on the other side of the airplane the rest of the time we were there, well at least as long as it took for the engineer to find something wrong with the airplane. He wanted me to take a look at it, up on top of the wing. Seems we did have a problem, some fuel leaking in the center dry bay. They don’t call them dry bays for nothing and it looked like we were going to spend our first night in Pakistan.
Fortunately there was a Marine C-130 on station there and, based solely on the way their airplane looked and the level of disrepair it seemed to be in, we knew their crew chief and maintenance folks would have a solution to our problem. They did, and we were up and out of there a little while later just as the sun was setting.
Pakistan had the kind of heat that just obscures the sun’s light. It was so hot that there really didn’t appear to be a sky or air for that matter, just opaque nothingness you could see but couldn’t really breathe. It is a flat, colorless, void of a place where folks are unfriendly and its environment is even more unforgiving than its people. I was actually happy to cross the border into Afghanistan.
We’ve flown three times since being in country and I’m reminded of an old adage, coined right here the last time we were in Kamp Kerblakistan. It’s better to be in country than in continent. I guess it’s not that old, and it’s probably not that original either but it was mighty funny at the time. There are lots of things that seem funny here but the humor doesn’t translate so well back home, just check out clubphoto.com for the coffee shop pictures.
Ralph asked me the other day, “When a fly takes off from the ceiling, does he do a Split S or an aileron roll to right himself?” I have to admit, I don’t know, but I’m inclined to think the fly does a Split S, at least the ones around here do because they seem like adventurous sorts of flies, with a bit of derring-do in them. Any fly can do an aileron roll, but it takes a fly with hair on his posterior to pull the g’s required for a Split S. I followed up my response with a question of my own: “Why does the fly have to be a him, girl flies can fly aerobatics as well as boy flies…”
I rest my case on the humor issue. Wanna guess how we cope with boredom?
I hope that everyone back home is doing well and enjoying the summer months. Life in a tent is about the same as it was in the winter, although the 0200 potty breaks require a lot less preparation and are much more tolerable. The air conditioning works well and it’s actually a little chilly here most nights, so I can’t complain.
Please keep in touch and let me in on the details of your summertime activities. I like to at least live vicariously through everyone back home.