08 December 2006

Back to work, part 3

Almost there.

I'm at Anaconda which is just one short step away from being back to work in Ashraf. If all goes well I will be back very soon.

The journey started with a 0400 wakeup on Wednesday to make my 0600 flight out of State College for Philadelphia. My favorite airport in the world. Only in Philadelphia can you fly into Terminal F (commuter terminal) and internally move to Terminals A, B, C, and D via bus, but not E. Meaning I had to leave security at Terminal F and re-enter the security position at Terminal E. Completely unneccessary and a PITA.

The good news was the ladies at the Delta counter, who quickly moved me to an emergency exit row aisle seat upon my request, and then upgraded me to First Class when a seat became available. Nevermind I was in uniform, couldn't drink, and slept the entire way to Atlanta, it was First Class.

Do you remember the commercial (Coca Cola?) a few years back where a group of Army soldiers in uniform walked through the airport and the crowd spontaneously applauded them? A real feel good commercial. And it really happpened when a group of us walked through the airport in Atlanta. A smalkl group of people started applauding, and then it seemed as if everyone within hearing distance momentarily stopped what they were doing and clapped. If that doesn't swell your heart with pride, I don't know what will. I was also stopped several times by people who just wanted to say "thank you" and shake my hand. Some had a story about a friend or relative who was serving in Iraq, but most just wanted to say thanks. It makes me smile to know that people are fundamentally good and despite the many and frequent protestations over the war, the overwhelming majority of the American public genuinely support the troops.

The TSA folks don't normally seem very friendly to me, but traveling in uniform seems to help to get a smile. One security guy even correctly called me "Lieutenant" realizing I was in an Army uniform but recognized the "U.S. Navy" nametape. I mention this only because most people including the Army folks call me "Captain" (I'm sure the other Navy LTs have similar stories).

The military charter flight left Atlanta Wednesday night. About 8 hours to Germany (Leipzig this time) and then another 5 hours to Kuwait. This flight was much better than the trip home last month. "Omni Air" packs the seats in and there is absolutely no room to even move your legs. "Ocean Air" (I think that's the name, I'm operating on almost no sleep at the moment) has considerable more legroom and it made the flight bareable.

Tracy is still waiting to "pop". She "asked" Chloe to wait til Friday night so we'll see what goes down later on today!

Time to grab a few hours sleep and then hopefully make my way back to Ashraf. More to come...
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