Hi there one and all,
I’m back! Man was it a hell of a trip. It started out wild, but settled down and we had a great time. This will be another long email so hang in there with me. Ya’ll all know by now how I get when I get to telling one of my stories.
First, the night before I was to leave out on the mission, we had to evacuate the Towers. According to the bosses, the Military had Intel of a bomb threat on the Towers again. The first time we had a bomb threat they brought in dogs. But this time, we were told to only take enough to last us a 3 or 4 days. Since I was going out on a convoy, I didn’t worry about packing anything other than what I had already with me fro the convoy. They moved us to the Safir and gave us cots to sleep on. I decided to sleep in my truck for the night. So I went in to PWC just like I did when I was working nights there. Really I was going to help them get everything staged and then go to bed. But, then Debbie, our supervisor, called Rick, the night foreman, and told him that those of us that were at the towers had to go back and get everything that night, right then. So Rick took one other guy, Richard and me back to the Towers to pack everything and then took us to the Safir. We had a big meeting and they told us what was going on and that we would be staying at the Safir from now on. They are not using the Towers any more. That makes the second bomb threat we have had since I got here. I shoved everything into a closet in one of the villas and went back to PWC for the night.
We left out on Friday morning and all went well for a while. We had to run Tampa on the second day. Now Tampa, unlike Jackson, has a little over 60 miles of dirt road and no towns to run though. I have pictures of what it looks like running down the road. Imagine 25 trucks running on a dirt road. Then imaging that 25 meeting another 25 going the other way. It was very dusty and we were doing good to see where we were in the road, much less the truck in front of us or what we were meeting. That is how one of our guys in our convoy had a head on collision with a TCN from a convoy going the other way. Brian, our guy was where he was supposed to be and on our side of the road. The TCN was doing his usually thing and trying to get to the front of the line and crossed what would be on a paved road about 4 to 6 lanes and hit Brian. (I have pictures of that as well.) If either had been going just 10 km faster or if it had been just 6 inches farther to the right, Brian would not be here with us today. He had his left leg and foot pined under the clutch petal. It took us half and hour to get him out of the truck. Mark, one of the guys in our convoy hurt his shoulder trying to get Brian out. Brian suffered only minor injuries, or so we thought. I found out today that he went home. They think that he may had a broken hip or pelvis. My thoughts and prayers are with him.
Once we got to Dogwood, we had a great time. They really didn’t need anything that we brought them. We had UGRA’s, produce, salad dressing, etc. and 1 load of ice. Since they are shutting down the camp by December 15th, there are getting to be fewer and fewer troops there to feed and supply. I am going to miss going out there. Yes, it is one of the more dangerous places to get to, but once we are there they treat us like we are the heroes. We spent most of Saturday And all of Sunday there. We played volleyball with them on Sunday and then had a cook out. they cooked us BIG, THICK, t-bone steaks, with all the fixin’s. They cooked for us Saturday night as well. We really had a great time with them. Of course there was a lot of story telling, but I can’t remember all of the stories. They did tell us that they were part of the group that was with Jessica Lynch when she was kidnapped. Their little group had gotten cut off from the rest of the group before she was captured. They say that if they had been able to stay with her, they could have been in it, or may have been able to prevent it. There are lots of mixed feeling about it all, as I am sure ya’ll can imagine. But once that was out and talked about for a bit, we got back to the laughing and joking. I don’t think I have laughed that hard in a very long time. We were all laughing so hard we were hurting and tears were in our eyes. I think it did all of our hearts good. They are a good group of guys. Oh yeah, they played a joke on me that day before the volleyball game. They had this remote controlled robot that is used for getting close to IED’s with. Well the guys that take care of the IED’s were out there chasing me around with the damn thing. It has a camera on it and a claw. They had me up on top of one of the Military trucks before it was all over and done. Course, then they had to help get me down, after they could catch their breath from laughing at me so hard. As much as I hate to admit it, it was pretty funny, but not at the time. I hope I get the chance to get back out there before they close the camp down.
We caught a ride with a convoy going out on Monday morning. This time it was done right, we had a tail gunner. But with things getting hotter in Iraq, we also had air support all the way out. It was really cool to have helicopters circling above as we made our way back to Baghdad. Once we got to BIAP, we started looking for someone to take our loads. We finally gave it to the Air Force. Mike, Kelon and I went to the Air Force side of BIAP. I am not sure where Kelon went after we got there, but he disappeared. Mike and I got in the back of all 3 trailers and helped hand unload. Lots of guys here are here for the money only and try to do as little as possible. Those guys really piss me off. I say lets do what ever it takes to get the job done and get these guys and gals their stuff, but not everyone feels the way I do and several of the people I hang out with feel about it.
the day after that, Tuesday, we headed back south to Kuwait. It was uneventful for the most part. One of our trucks wouldn’t start at the border after the customs check. So we spent one night longer out than we should have. We don’t leave anyone behind by themselves. It was just the fuel filters. When they cleaned them out it looked like mud coming out of them. the dust and sand really takes a toll on the trucks.
Well, I guess, I will let ya’ll go for now. I am going out in the morning. We are headed back to BIAP. I should be back in at the least a week, maybe sooner. I hope everyone is doing well. Ya’ll take care and don’t forget to send those cards and letters. It helps to make me feel closer to home.