So last we spoke we were at NAIACT getting trained up on Army principles. During that course we had two ice storms and an earthquake (4.4 on Richter Scale). So the weather wasn’t great but so what?
We had one glorious night at the bar on our camp. Concrete block walls and no frills, but no matter. Seven hours. Snow outside, nothing else to do, no where else to be. It was all quite necessary really for troop cohesion and morale: After all, we WERE heading overseas in the immediate future, right?
We finished up on our weapons training, said our goodbyes to the Drill Instructors, and climbed on a series of planes headed for Afghanistan. Along the way, one of the stops was in Qatar, an Air Base we use for moving loads of troops though the Middle East, or, as we call it in the military, CENTCOM (“Central Command”). That was nice because we got to hang out for a night, shower, eat, chat, have a beer, get some rest, and collect our wits before our final leg.
That last leg was aboard a troop transport airplane called a C-17, and whereas I had girded myself for a hideous flight (last time I came in it was), this time it was a total snap. Only 50 or so of us, and wide open seating, clear skies, we were in the lap of luxury.
We landed at Kandahar Air Field, collected our bags, and loaded them onto a truck. It was real at this point, and I thought with a component of dismay, “here we go again.”
The building on the airfield into which we were ushered was the self-same building in which the Taliban had their last stand in Kandahar before they’d been driven out by our Marines. I cannot imagine the dramatic events that occurred within these chambers, but I could sense them when inside. You can feel the fact that you are walking upon hallowed ground.
The first few days here have been exhausting, primarily because of the 10.5 hrs time difference from home. But to our delight we have a gorgeous hospital in which to work, and gorgeous accommodations.
Whereas last deployment was spent almost entirely in tents for berthing and for hospital, this time we are living large in brick buildings, make-shop stores and restaurants, amidst a huge base (~30,000 people). I hope I don’t have to leave this base at all.
My first day on call is tomorrow. Wish us luck.