Let me tell you a story of the visit that almost didn’t happen.
I headed out on a HET mission into Iraq last week. While at one of the camps on our way up, the CC told us that we were going to be getting our back haul out of BIAP. Well, ya know that got me excited. I talked to the Sgt and gave him all of Kenny’s information on where he was in the camp and he said that we would be dealing with that Unit for our reload. That was cool. We made it up north and unloaded and staged. The weather got bad and due to a dust storm we did not push out that night. I was disappointed. Kenny was going to be flying to Kuwait in a day or two and I was scared that I was going to miss seeing him. I had been told that I would not have to do a mission if it got close to time for him to be here in Kuwait, but on HET’s things just do not work that way. There are a limited number of us and if they need you, you have to go.
The next day was looking great for us to push out. The sand storm had blown over and I went to the MWR to shoot Kenny an email to let him know that I would be in there that night. Man was it perfect timing. I caught him online and we IM’ed for a bit. I told him I was headed his way and about what time I thought I would be there. We set up a time and place to meet. I was really excited now. Before I had been afraid that he might be out on a patrol and I would miss him. But with his knowing I was coming he said that he would talk to the Lt and he should have the day off.
Well, as my luck would have it, a few things happened that afternoon that had the camp on lockdown and nothing was rolling out. The Sgt told me to just wait till time to roll and he would check again and see if we could roll out. About 2 hours before time to push the Sgt told me he was headed over to check things out and would let me know as soon as he got back to the staging area. There was a bit of teasing about what would happen if we could not go. Everyone in the Greens and our escorts knew by now that my son was in BIAP and that I had not seen him since last December. They were all rooting for us to get there and for me to see him. When the Sgt came back from the meeting I was sitting with a couple of friends in the bobtail. Since the Sgt didn’t come straight to my truck I had this big sinking feeling. I told them that I was not sure that I wanted to go hear the news. I just knew that if we were going to get to push, he would have made a b-line for my truck.
Really, the whole unit made a deal out of me and my son seeing each other. It almost felt like it was as important to them as it was to me. I know that I probably bothered the guys in our crew talking about it. But what can I say, I am a mom and I wanted to see my son. Well, the guys kicked me out of the truck and told me to go see what he had to say. As soon as the Sgt saw me walking towards him, he hung his head and shook it. I just stopped, my heart sank and it was all that I could do to not just turn around and go to my truck and cry. I walked up and he told me that we were still on lock down. But that if at any time during the night they lifted it, we were going to be rolling out. The Sgt and the guys that were in his Humvee all said that they had a debate on the way back over because none of them wanted to be the one to tell me that we were not rolling. See, I was at the point that if I didn’t get into BIAP that night so I could see Kenny the next day, I was not going to get to see him, he was flying out for Kuwait the next night and I would miss him. There was a bit of joking as they tried to make me feel better, but nothing helped. I went and told Mike E. and Mike K. that we were not rolling and because I didn’t want the guys to see me cry, I went to my truck.
I don’t know how long I sat there with tears in my eyes and saying a little prayer that things would straighten out and we would roll. Everyone left me alone and let me sulk in peace. After a while I decided that I would check with the Sgt again and see what he had heard. When I walked up to his Humvee he told me that he had sent a message to MCT about us pushing out. See, the Military MCT gave us the SP time and KBR MCT told us we could not move. So the Sgt was trying to get the Military to over ride KBR. After about half an hour and no answer, the Sgt said that they were just going to go over there and see what they could do. I wished him luck, said another prayer and went to talk to some of the KBR tanker guys that were there that I knew.
While standing there, the KBR MCT guy drove up and told them that the lockdown had been lifted and everyone would be pushing out. I gave Chris a hug, he used to be in reefers with me, and wished him a safe trip and ran back to our convoy. I told the guys what KBR MCT had just said and we waited for the Sgt to show back up. We heard him on the Military radio tell us that we would be rolling in a few minuets and to get everyone ready for the briefing. When the Sgt rolled up he had the biggest smile on his face that I think I have ever seen on a soldier in Iraq. I asked him if he had something to do with this and he grabbed me, gave me a hug and told me about talking to a Sgt Major and telling him that we had been there for a while and what was up and that we needed to roll. The Sgt Major checked things out and lifted the lock down. We had our briefing and everyone got ready to roll. While standing there talking to some of the soldiers from the greens, one asked me why I was so excited, “Did I have a hot date or something?” I told him yes I did, with my son. He smiled and said that he couldn’t argue with that so lets get moving.
Kenny and I worked out that if I was not there by a certain time that he would be in that same place a few hours later. We were cutting it close when we pulled into BIAP. Mike K., our CS, told me to drop my trailer and get a move on. Both Mike’s went in a bobtail and I went in mine to find the place I was to meet my son. Because we went to the wrong place, I was late in getting to the right one and Kenny was not there. My heart was beating so hard that I thought it would just jump out of my chest. It was the early hours of the morning and I had no idea where the pad was that he said his room was. I was about to go nuts! We ran into some soldiers that were on patrol in the camp and talked to them. A Sgt said that Spc Elliott was one of his guys and he would go get him for me. I was to stay there with another soldier and he would bring him back.
A few minuets later, the Sgt came across the radio and asked what state the subject was supposed to be from. I told them and he said that they had the wrong Elliott. My heart sank again. I told them the information that Kenny had given me on how to find his living quarters. The Sgt said he would see if he could fine it. Another LONG few minuets passed and the radio crackled and said that they had found him and was in route to my location. I could hardly contain my self. As both Mikes and I walked back out to our bobtails, a Humvee drove up.
I knew Kenny was in it.
I can not tell you how good it was to see my son when he stepped out. He gave me a big hug and we chatted for a few minuets. I introduced him to both Mike’s and we talked for a while. The guys left and Kenny and I just sat there talking in the quiet of the night under the stars. I have to tell ya, it was one of the most beautiful nights in my life. I got to spend all day with him. I met his Platoon and a few other guys that live around him and are in his unit. I took him over to meet the crew I was running with and to meet the Sgt that had made it happen. It was such a great day. I sat with him and his room mate and listened to their war stories and told a few of my own.
When it came time to me to go back to the convoy so I could get some sleep, (I had been up over 24hours by this time), Kenny took me to meet another guy in his unit. When we walked up, Kenny looked at him and told him that he wanted him to meet his mom. You should have seen the guys face!! I wish I had gotten a picture of it. His jaw dropped to the ground. He looked at me, then at Kenny and then asked the guy standing beside him, “We are in Iraq, right?” It was so funny! Kenny and I both laughed. Kenny’s friend said that this was such a shock. Kenny had walked up and said he wanted him to meet him mom like it was nothing and we were all back in the states. He was so amazed. After talking for a while with him and several others that Kenny knew, it was time for me to go. Kenny walked me to my truck and we said our goodbyes. I told him that I should be back in Kuwait while he is down here going out on leave. Neither of us were sure if he would have the time to see me or not with him having to out process and all. I got back yesterday and am waiting to hear from him now.
I know that everyone has asked me over and over if I have gotten to see my son yet. I was starting to get frustrated at not having seen him yet. Several times I have been by the turn off for BIAP and not been able to stop and see him. Running convoys in a combat zone limits your being able to just stop and do what ya want and see who ya want. But this time, it worked out. I got to see my son. I got to hug my son. I knew that for today, he is alive, well, and all in one piece. I am a happy, and proud mom!!!