Two months ago to the day I was here, at FOB Justice, and this time I’m taking an extended vacation.
Like my time at Butler Range, I’m here to man a Super RAU, which basically is a perversely-modified shelter truck pressed into duty far from its original specifications. I’m supposed to be here for about a month, but as SFC Fish likes to say, “don’t fall in love with the plan.” Hardy har har!
The trip out here was once again by Black Hawk, and so of course had to be an exercise in assery. The flight was scheduled to leave at 1855; being good troops, we arrived about forty minutes early.
Five hours later, we strapped into the bird and lifted off into the night.
Numerous choppers came and went while SSG Deutsch, SGT Boner and I sat, unbelieving; the aviation liaison at the landing pad had no explanation for us, just apologies. Finally, at 2245, the liaison just left the pad, declaring that the last flight had departed and we were on our own (thanks, buddy). At 2300 we gave up and drove to the TOC, just across the road; of course, as soon as we arrived, we heard the familar rumble of Black Hawks flying low on a landing approach.
SGT Boner tossed me his rifle and took off running full-bore towards the pad, while Deutsch and I jumped in the Humvee with our mountain of gear and hauled ass over there. Inevitably, the crew chief was angry; he said, “are you ready to go? Time is of the essence here!” OK chief, since time is of the essence, why are you five hours late?
The flight was pleasant and uneventful; Baghdad at night looks much like any other city, except for the glowing spires of mosques and the details of the streets, painted in orange sodium-vapor hues, teenagers playing in the garbage-strewn avenues.
Today it’s warm, sunny, and noisy with bird life – the place is greener than any place I’ve been so far. More updates to come…and pictures…!