Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Understand that a lot of what I deal with on a daily basis is classified, so I have to be intentionally vague quite a bit. In some cases it's understandable, but in most it's really not. Like "come on I KNOW that's not classified" info that would make great writing but just can't be put on here.

So the other day there was a military plane coming to pick up some stuff (vague) from here. We are in a VERY austere location, on a base owned by a country who often doesn't seem to understand that they have an Air Force. We don't get these planes very often, so it seemed kinda weird to me that no one had called us to ask some simple questions like "is there a runway" and things of that nature. We're in the desert, and the airfield doesn't have the normal capabilities you would expect at say, DFW. They don't have some of the capabilities that they have at even small airfields at home. But yes, they do have a runway. And its dirty.

Very dirty.

It doesn't seem to bother the Iraqis much, or the contractors that work with them either. It may ding a plane up now and then but its no big deal. So, since I'm such a nice guy, I called the guys flying here and let them know that. I said "the runway's a bit dirty, so use caution."

What they heard was "upon landing a giant Kraken will rise from the depths and swallow your aircraft whole. It will then slowly digest you for 1000 years and sell your wives and children into slavery."

You would think that I had just told them that the wings would spontaneously combust when they touched the eeeeeeevil dust on the runway. They, of course, cancelled the mission and forwarded my clearly ingenious and well-educated comments up the chain. Waaaay up the chain. Like lots of stars up the chain. And my name has been all over it.

If anybody got the license plate of the bus that they threw me under, please contact the appropriate authorities.

So, for the last 72 hours, I have been having extensive conversations that have a lot of "sir's" in them trying to convince them that it really isn't THAT dirty, and that we DO actually fly here. Every day. In small planes. With students. Who can't land.

Unbelievable bureaucracy like I've never seen it. Equally unbelievable ass-covering. But I'll save that for another post.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

On the Beach

On the other side of the planet right now, my family is at the beach.

Monkey just caught a great wave on her boogie board.  Cowboy and Odie are knee-deep in muddy sand as they build a sand castle.  Princess is probably asleep, since right about now is her normal nap time.

I'm here.

I watched a guy leave today, after a 365 tour.  He's a civilian, and could've left at any time, but because he "signed up" for a 365 he stuck around.  Despite the frustrations and loneliness of being stationed here, he stuck to what he originally said he would do--and stuck around.

I put my head in my hands today after the 75th frustrating email I got, from a system so broken that neither the giver nor the receiver is capable of seeing its current state.  I looked at my senior NCO and said that I had made a mistake, and that this was going to be the longest year of my life.

I'm probably right.  But SW is also right in that 20 years from now I would regret not being here.  If, God help us, this "experiment" works, 20 years from now I'll be able to look upon what we've done here, and know in my heart that I was there at the beginning.  I'll know that despite the frustrations of a culture and mindset that I offered a small part to the creation of a vibrant and rising nation.  I'll know that the General that I mingle with on a practically first-name basis is the rising chief-of-staff of their fledgling air force.

That doesn't change the fact that my 3-year-old is asleep right now, on a blanket on the Texas coast.

And I'm not there.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Still Alive

Don't worry, I'm still here.

To bring my meager seven observers up to date, I have a very good reason why I haven't posted on here since I showed up.

Because nothing happens here.

Ok, that might be a slight exaggeration.  Stuff DOES happen here.  But the experience I've had since I went BOG (Boots on Ground) is significantly different than it was the last time I deployed.

The last time I was I theater it was a completely different journey.  I was one of several thousand troops.  I watched daily as our CAOC wreaked havoc on the bad guys.  There was something--every day--that was worth writing about.

The simple fact of the matter is that that hasnt happened here.

Ok,ok--I've got stuff to write about.  We got mortared a while back, which was determined to be that we weren't.  I had dinner with the Iraqi generals here during Ramadan.  I had an impromptu Katie-Couric-style interview with the chief-of-staff of the Iraqi Air Force.  Yes there has been stuff to write about.

But I haven't been inspired.

Sorry, I know thats a weak excuse.  But it's the truth.

The fact of the matter is that I have a grand total of 5 people reading this blog, 3 of which I talk to on a regular basis, and it hasn't been a burning desire of mine to chronicle it.  I plan on that changing.

If only for my sanity, I promise I'll update this on a regular basis.

So, I'm still here.  Hope to see you soon.