I’m currently in Ali Al Salem in Kuwait awaiting the “Freedom Flight” back to the Ft. Benning to turn in my weapon and head home. It’s difficult to get the Air Force to do anything in a hurry. They are also famous for “crew rest” that stops aircraft from flying right when you need them most. Strangely enough, just about every flight I’ve been on during my tour seems to get to Ali Al Salem at 0230!
This trip was no exception. We had to form up at 1900 for a 0245 flight. Yes, that’s not a typo. We had to be there 7 hours early! By the time we pulled our bags off the pallets and I was assigned a space in the “VIP tent” (yes, you read that right a VIP tent), it was almost 0500. Fun.
Anyway, I’m safely in Ali, and will get two days to read and decompress before heading home. Looking forward to a real pizza. The food was great in Iraq, but real pizza was rare.
I have been in Iraq for a little over six months. Later this evening, I’ll head to Sather Airbase here on Camp Victory for the flight to Ali Al Salem in Kuwait. There I’ll wait for a couple days and then fly to Ft. Benning to out-process the CONUS Replacement Center (CRC) and fly home.
My tour here has been a tremendous experience. I was able to really make a difference and get a lot done. Despite popular belief and the dearth of coverage in the media, there’s still a war going on here. US soldiers are still getting killed. As the Science and Technology Acquisition Corps Advisor (STACA) I was able to help ensure the right technologies were brought into Iraq to ensure the safety of US soldiers.
Rear Admiral (Lower Half) (RDML) Morneau said a very nice thing to me as he was pinning on my award. He said, “Many receive this award, but you earned it.” That made me feel that my tour was worthwhile.
I’ll be changing jobs when I return home. I’ll become the Military Deputy Director of the Communications Electronics Research Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) on Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG), MD.