Wednesday, May 23, 2012


I awoke on the Wednesday morning bright and early--too nervous to sleep. To occupy myself I watched "Game of Thrones" (awesome, by the way) and double checked that I had everything.

I arrived at the terminal at 1130 via shuttle. The first thing I noticed was that the atmosphere was significantly less charged than the last time. In 2005, when I arrived at the hangar to head out they had rock music blaring, families around, and a super-charged atmosphere that motivated everyone to go. This time it was different--more like everyone was waiting to get on a prison barge. Why? Beats me--it could be one of many reasons. All but three of the 150 of us were going to Kuwait or Qatar, technically not war zones. War fatigue is another possibility--most of the people there were on the second, third, or fourth deployments.

With a planned 1300 departure, we didn't have much time to hang out. I called and said goodbye one last time, and waited for the boarding call.

At 1245, we were advised that the boarding call wouldn't come--until 2100 that night. 150 people in a hot terminal, with no transportation.


By 1600 I decided I was hungry enough to spend the $20 to go eat at a restaurant. I took a taxi to Chili's, by myself, and directed the waitress to bring glasses of Blue Moon as fast as she could. An hour and half later I was back at the terminal, feeling much more relaxed than when I left.

2100 came and went. And 2200. By 2300 we were finally boarding and I got the first perk of the trip--first class. I always thought those seats looked comfortable (and yes, they were better than coach) but they're not as good as I imagined.

After a 30 minute taxi we were finally airborne into the midnight sky. I looked across the aisle, thinking of the kids and how this was the furthest away I had ever been from Ben and Lilly. The thought lingered on my mind until I saw the lights from the eastern seaboard drift into darkness.

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