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Archive for the ‘FOB Life’ Category

Aug 13 2008

Waiting in Kuwait

Posted by Dale @ 7:00 pm in Deployment,FOB Life

Last week, while Rick was in Kuwait waiting for his flight out of country, he called me in Mosul. He told me that SGM Franz, the NCOIC of the USACE reception station, was expecting my arrival in Kuwait and would take care of me. In fact, he said I would be a VIP. Having been through tent city here at Ali Al Salem Airbase three previous times, I didn’t know what could possibly constitute VIP status. I figured it might mean that my tent would be closer to the latrine than the non-VIP. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that USACE has a separate office building in Kuwait where they allow senior individuals to sleep instead of the tent city accommodations. The building even has male and female latrines, but I still have to walk to the shower. SGM F acquired the building for his use when USACE closed the Resident Office on the airbase.

On my flight down from Mosul, we stopped in Baghdad, dropped of some passengers and picked up a few. COL Pease, COL West, and LTC Roemhildt, all from USACE GRD in Baghdad, joined the flight. I didn’t see them on the bus from the airfield to the reception area. I found out later that SGM F picked them up in a van, and they didn’t have to ride the bus. COL W is going on his R&R, while COL P and LTC R and redeploying home. I figured COL P and LTC R would be waiting with me for the Freedom Flight back to Ft Benning later this week. I was wrong. They flew out last night on a commercial flight and don’t have to outprocess through Ft Benning. They get to outprocess through USACE in Winchester, VA. I think I’d prefer that VIP status!

Aug 11 2008

Farewell in Mosul

Posted by Dale @ 10:00 pm in Deployment,FOB Life

The deployment countdown shows that I’m at 100% done with my time in Mosul. Sometime tomorrow I’ll be on a C130 headed to Kuwait. COL Burcham is in Mosul for a command visit, so this evening, we had a mandatory dinner in the VIP room at the DFAC. She agreed to present Sarah’s end of tour award. If you haven’t heard the big news, Sarah is going home to Texas in September. She’s been here in Mosul for the past two years. Before that, she was in Kuwait starting at the end of 2003!

Sarah's Award

Sarah's Award

After that, COL Burcham presented my end of tour award. It’s always humbling to stand up in front of a group of people while someone else says nice things about you. For my gift from the office, they had a printout of me in my Kurdish uniform framed. This evening everyone signed the picture. Sarah has promised to mail it home for me; it wouldn’t have fit into the footlocker anyway.

COL Burcham Presents GRN Coin

After the official business concluded, COL Burcham was treated to another Iraqi custom. Each person wanted to have his picture taken with her. Here she is with Nazar, one of one hundred separate pictures she had to pose for!

COL Burcham and Nazar

Aug 03 2008

MAO Replacements

Posted by Dale @ 9:01 pm in Deployment,FOB Life

My replacement, LTC Rob Hynes, arrived today along with Rick’s replacement, MAJ John Nufable. They hit the ground in Kuwait in the wee hours of the morning, rested for a few hours, then jumped on a C17 and flew to Mosul. Rick and I picked them up at the airfield about midday. We brought them back to the USACE compound, dropped off their bags, then walked over to the DFAC for lunch.

After lunch, we took care of the most important business first, computer paperwork. I had them go through the various IT policies and briefings so that they can get their computer accounts as soon as possible! I’m looking forward to sending an email that says “Please add LTC Rob Hynes to all emails for the MAO OIC”. After that, I launched into the Mosul Area Office briefing. It made me feel like I was back at West Point teaching cadets again. Imagine this. You’ve flown halfway around the world to a timezone with a 7 hour difference. You haven’t slept in a couple of days. It’s 115 F outside. You just ate lunch. You’re sitting in an air-conditioned office. Now some guy is droning on and on giving a PowerPoint presentation. I think they look pretty good considering my 3 hours of briefing torture!

LTC Rob Hynes, MAJ Rick Biddle & MAJ John Nufable

Aug 02 2008

Pocket Change

Posted by Dale @ 9:38 pm in Deployment,FOB Life

I cleaned out my room today and moved into one of the visitor rooms. My replacement, LTC Rob Hynes should be in Kuwait soon. This will give the crew a chance to get the room cleaned and ready for LTC Hynes’ arrival. When he arrives, he’ll be able to move right in. In the process of cleaning, I picked up loose change in various locations and stuck it in my pocket. I also collected pogs I had received from the PX. At the PX, they give cardboard pogs as change instead of coins. The pogs have face values the same as coins, so you can spend them in any AAFES store. By the end of the day, I had $7.04 in change and pogs in my pocket along with other items.

Pocket Change

Pocket Change

I promise I’ll spend it all in Kuwait on coffee!

Aug 01 2008

Packing Up

Posted by Dale @ 10:19 pm in Deployment,FOB Life

Mugs has been reminding me lately to start getting organized for my upcoming redeployment. I, of course, have been procrastinating. While I enjoy moving every couple of years, I detest preparing to move. When I left Virginia for the start of this deployment, I had one duffel bag a little more than half filled. At Fort Benning, Georgia, I was issued almost 3 duffel bags of gear, such as body armor, additional uniforms, sleeping bag, etc. I haven’t been too excited about returning with 4 duffel bags again. This afternoon, I went to the PX and bought a footlocker to mail some things home.

Empty Footlocker

Empty Footlocker

The first items into the locker were 3 pairs of boots I was issued at Fort Benning. I’ve worn my original pair of boots for the past year and haven’t needed to use the new pairs. I don’t have to turn them in at Fort Benning when I redeploy, so I definitely don’t want to lug them around in a duffel bag.

Boots in Footlocker

Boots in Footlocker

After that, I added combat uniforms, PT uniforms, PT sweat suit, socks, T-Shirts, and other miscellaneous items. The footlocker filled up very quickly. I might even mail another box of additional items.

Full Footlocker

Full Footlocker

This is the last time I want to move!