7 October 11

The weather over here seems to have taken a turn for the better. Almost literally, the temperatures dropped dramatically over night. The evenings have been cool and downright pleasant, and the days, well the days now seem like it might just take a little longer for the eggs to fry on the pavement.

There were a couple of days this week that the wind kicked up and the air was actually gritty. It was clear in the sense there were no clouds, little moisture and you could see the sun, but according to the guys who are flying, the layer of dust in the air extended up to about 10,000 feet.

On Wednesday, we took advantage of the opportunity to make $500 for the squadron fund by cleaning the Rotator. The Rotator is a generic term for a civilian airliner that rotates folks in and out of the AOR. Generally, it’s a wide-body airliner, a 767 in this case. When it arrives with a couple hundred people, it needs to be cleaned and prepped before it can take another couple hundred people back home. I’d say it was the easiest 500 bucks we ever made as there wasn’t much cleaning involved, just the folding of blankets, arranging of pillows, and the sanitizing of lavatories. I’ll probably bring my own pillow and blanket with me the next time I fly a long distance and I’ll definitely have a good supply of hand sanitizer.

So now we have $500 in the squadron fund which we’ll use to purchase supplies for our swap out party next month. Or maybe we’ll use it to buy more patches, or get better internet in the rooms, there’s just so much we can do with $500. I think we’re all looking forward to the swap out party though, for one reason or another. For a select few, it’s the end of their deployment. For others it’s a sort of hump day, the half way point when we’ve been here longer than we have to stay. Right now, I’m just looking forward to the half way point to the swap out party!

I’ve been struggling with my sleep cycle over here the past few weeks. I’d get back to my room from work at 0830-0900 and be so tired I could barely keep my eyes open. I’d force myself to read a little and as soon as I rolled over to go to sleep I’d be wide awake, or just sleep a couple of hours. We have Ambien to take over here, but I don’t want to develop a tolerance to that stuff as I did on my last deployment. I was popping 2 at a time after my three beer ration just to try to get 4-5 hours of sleep, and that’s just not healthy; although the dreams were entertaining. Today, I think I nipped it in the bud. I got back to my room and was in bed by about 1030 this morning, I woke up 12 hours later.

I’ve had a lot of inquiries about the desert fox and if I’ve seen or fed him anymore. No, I haven’t seen him or tried to feed him, although apparently he does come around the compound looking for handouts and gets them from folks living in the trailers. The other question I get asked is why he has a Mexican accent when I do my impression of him bumming food from us. I guess the answer is because I haven’t perfected my Middle Eastern accents yet.

Last week, Sac (the guy whining about rabies) and I were driving back from work and, as we normally do, we stopped at the bus stop outside of the passenger terminal to see if anyone needed a ride. There was a young Army scout who looked pretty well used and abused, and more than just a little thankful to be hitching a ride rather than waiting in the hot sun for the nasty bus. He was loaded down with equipment and worn out. As our conversation progressed, we learned he had just gotten back from a patrol in Afghanistan when he was told to catch a C-17 back here, where he would catch another C-17 to take him up to the hospital in Landstuhl, Germany to get his back looked at. He made it this far and was told he didn’t have a seat on the next plane out of here, come back at 2200 hrs and try again.

Last year, while on patrol in Iraq, he was chasing a bad guy across the roofs in a village. The bad guy jumped off one roof to the street below and this kid followed, tackled the guy and compressed some discs in his back in the process. I don’t remember what the fall did to the bad guy, but the scout told us he was responsible for a quite a few deaths in Iraq. He wouldn’t be hurting anyone else ever again thanks to the selfless efforts of this nameless young Army scout sitting in the back of our pickup.

This kid epitomizes the spirit of the young men and women we are over here supporting. When I asked if this was his ticket back home, he replied, “I hope not.” He wanted to be medically cleared and back out in the field ASAP. All I can do is thank the Good Lord above that our country has been blessed with such fine soldiers as this.

We have a morale center here called Jack’s Place where folks who are deployed here or just passing through can go to relax on a comfy chair, surf the internet, read or just hang out. Jack’s is also the place to go to pick up some of the essentials (for free) that might have been forgotten at
home or aren’t for sale at the BX, like toiletries, snacks, books, magazines and other morale boosters. This really helps out the young airmen who are barely scraping by to save a few bucks here and there.

Today our first sergeant asked if we knew of anyone or any organization back home who might be willing to donate items to Jack’s Place and ultimately to the young men and women who are serving over here. About 400 people visit there each week, and the stocks are dwindling. Some of the items of interest are:

Snacks – cookies, nuts, granola bars, trail mix, chips, etc (but no pork products)

Drink Supplies – Coffee, creamers, sugar and sugar substitute packets, powdered drink mixes like Gatorade, etc

Toiletries – Toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, powder, shampoo, soap, hand sanitizer, etc

Books, magazines, blank greeting cards, etc (no scantily clad women, or unclad women for that matter)

If you would like more information on what you can donate and how to do it, please send me an e-mail and I’ll personally ensure you and/or your organization get a flag flown throughout the AOR with a certificate signed by the crew.

I’ve got a couple of days off now and expect I’ll be doing some more updates here with pictures and maybe even another video. That’s all for now.

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