Saturday, October 6, 2012

This is Not a Deployment Blog

I don't want to change the tone of my blog to a chronicle of my time deployed, however I did write a bit of a journal entry on the flight over here and I have some stuff to share from my first week here.

After my training near Sacramento, CA, I traveled to Baltimore to catch a flight to the middle east (it's called the "rotator").  My short time in Baltimore was fairly pleasant.  I went to the same irish pub I alway go to when I pass through Baltimore.  My previous experiences at that pub were quite interesting, this time however, I was alone and I just sat quietly drinking my one beer then went back to my hotel to sleep.  The next morning I went to the free hotel breakfast (which was pretty disappointing) then, since I didn't have to be at the airport till the afternoon I took a nap.  Around noon I went to the Baltimore Washington International airport and got in line.  The line for passengers on the rotator was at least 200 yards long!  It's a familiar sight for anyone who has deployed before because the flight is almost always packed full.  Fortunately, after checking in for the flight I ran into some friends (one of whom I have deployed with before), and we shared some beers and dinner before boarding.

Fortunately I got a decent seat on this flight, an aisle where there was only one seat beside me.  This plane is amazingly old and crappy.  The inflight entertainment is a VHS tape player!  I didn't think they even made those anymore.  There's no such thing as 'first class' on this plane; we're all packed in like sardines.  The inflight movie was "We Bought a Zoo" which was a good movie, though the sound system on the plane sucked and it was a tiny screen far from my seat.  They also played "John Carter of Mars."  I've heard that it's supposedly a movie version of the first installment of C.S. Lewis' space trilogy, Out of the Silent Planet.  Now, it has been a while since I read the book so I've forgotten some of the details but I definitely remember that it's quite different from this movie!  Oh well, poetic license I guess.  One of the passengers had some medical issues so we had to divert to Ireland.  I didn't see much of the place, we didn't even get off the plane, but what I did see definitely makes me want to go back some day.

Finally, we arrived at the deployment processing center.  Not really a bad place compared to sitting in a plane.  It's not much (a hundred or so bunk beds in a tent), but at least it's a place to lay down and sleep and NON-airplane food.  Also, regular access to wifi is nice, first real chance to call home.  Oh, and one can drink two beers a day there which is nice.  I didn't really care to drink and after only one day in this limbo I moved on to my deployment location.

I've been here a week and so far it's been quite a bit like my previous deployments.  It's nice to have indoor plumbing though.  Last year the place I stayed didn't.  The morale is pretty high in the unit here and one of my best friends from my previous deployments, Jon, is here; which has made for a decent time so far.  The best part about this trip though is the hope that it's only supposed to be three months as opposed to my previous trips which were all six months.  I'll take some pictures and attach them to my next few blogs, which I don't plan on chronicling my deployment, but I might mention it; depending on how it's going.

I have gained way too much weight!  Starting excersize/diet program now!