Back in mid-September, I diaried about visiting with my son before he left for Iraq. His daughter turned 8 months old yesterday. Today her Daddy arrived home, safe and sound.
Physically, AFAIK, he is fine. Psychologically, he’s probably okay as well. He is pretty solid and he knows how to let bullshit slide by. For 6 months, he and unit have been under the never-ending blare of FUX Propaganda posing as news from the outside world. Not to mention 12 hour shifts, 6 days and one day off. And you can’t really prevent rubbing shoulders with the gung-ho types. You just try to avoid them as best you can.
My apologies, I am an HTML dumbfuck, so this is a C&P of my diary at dkos.
I just wanted to update y’all.
Here is the Unit’s press release. One of the items of accomplishment was this:
Despite a less than optimal work environment, the squadron maintained peak performance throughout the deployment, boasting an impressive 99.6% sortie completion rate.
What makes this statistic so amazing is the fact that it was achieved while supporting a very challenging flight schedule with minimal equipment and resources. Around-the-clock flight operations yielded more than 760 combat sorties, totaling over 3,700 flight hours.
My son is an E-6 (I think, I never can remember) and runs one of those ground crews. It’s his job to make those sorties happen. Apparently, he and his mates did a damn good job.
Al Asad Air Base is also known as “Camp Cupcake” because of its many amenities and relatively safe location. IIRC, it was originally named that because it was the Iraqi base that was in the best condidion when the U.S. took command of it.
I have not yet heard from him, he called my parents early this morning from Bangor, Maine. They all know I am not a morning person, so good news can wait. It’s also just as well, since I woke up with a cold and I feel like shit.
During one of our conversations during his time there, sometimes Yahoo IM and sometimes by phone, he indicated that he will probably have to do another deployment to Iraq. The question is; will it be 6, 9 or 12 months from now? We all hope it is none of them.
I told you that so I could tell you this. During the run-up to the really fucking stupid invasion of a sovereign nation, he was stationed 2 or 3 times each in Turkey and Saudi Arabia. When the green light was given, Turkey refused to allow the US to use it’s airspace for battle purposes. So they spent their time shutting down those facilities. Soon afterward, he went to Saudi Arabia and did the same thing for a portion of the base there. I joked to him that his unit should name their activities “Operation Enduring Clean-up” rather than “Enduring Freedom”. So, If he does have to go back, I hope it will be for “Operation Final Clean-up”.
For those who might be unaware, this effort is a very worthwhile cause. Ninepatch and other kossaks can provide some great tips to brighten the day of a member of our military in battle.
And I told you that, so I could tell you this. In looking at the info at anysoldier.com I noticed that they proscribed sending any pork products to military personnel in Iraq. Being the smart-ass that I am, I included a bag of pork rinds in a package I sent to my son. When I asked, with a laugh, if he received them he said yes and seemed confused about why I was laughing. Turns out, pork rinds are sold at the Base Exchange.
I am not the first kossak to share a happy story such as this, feel free to say “me too” in the comments. I can’t recall any kossaks diarying about a death in their families, make sure you speak up, too.
The IGTNT series appears frequently here. I wish that wasn’t necessary. I admire the IGTNT team for their efforts. Over 4,000 US military killed, tens of thousands wounded, hundreds of Allied military killed, thousands more wounded, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed, wounded and displaced, hundreds of billion of dollars wasted.
Mine is a small, happy story in the midst of chaos.