...everyone in the Army knows what I'm talking about. It begins inocuously enough...just put your bags in the truck, load your equipment and head to the terminal for that flight overseas. Then you have to load the plane. And then unload the plane. Then load the bus then unload the bus. Then load the truck and then unload the truck. Then load the truck then unload the truck onto the pallet. Then load the pallet on the plane. Then unload the pallet off of the plane onto the bus. Then load the truck then unload the truck at your new office. Overall, not a bad deal if you're just dealing with 3 - 4 bags per Soldier. But we moved with all of our mission essential equipment (and some not so mission essential)...about 4,000 pounds of gear.
But here is the end result: we are moving into our building at Camp Liberty in Iraq! It's finally happening. We departed the barracks at Ft. Dix in the snow and waited in the terminal for our midnight departure to the Middle East. We played cards, made last-minute phone calls, and read books. Altogether there were around 300 people on the flight...along with the aforementioned gear. How that plane got off the ground is beyond me. But it did...twice...as we stopped in Germany to refuel both the plane and the Soldiers. We landed in Kuwait at oh-dark-early and rode a bus to the desert oasis of Camp Buehring to...wait. They weren't expecting us there so it was a bit of a struggle to find a place not only for us but all of our gear. We spent a few days rolling around in our tents, attending one class and firing off our weapons into the desert to ensure that they worked properly.
Things I'd forgotten since I was last here:
1. How beautiful the sunrise is over the desert.
2. How funky camels are. Amazing creatures...but funky.
3. Clean is relevant. Why shower or wash your uniform when the dirt will just magically reappear within a few minutes anyways?
4. Military dining facilities overseas serve more food than can possibly be eaten. And it's good.
5. Starbucks and Burger King are EVERYWHERE. Even the middle of the desert in Kuwait.
Finally we rolled onto the C17 that brought us to BIAP (Baghdad International Airport). The temperature was a balmy mid-70s and the day was hazy...a far cry from the snowstorm that we flew out of. The unit we are replacing greeted us warmly and got us settled into our transient tent. The unit is in one large tent...females on one side, males on the other, a barricade of cots in the middle. This is until Saturday when the unit we are replacing moves into transient tents and we take over their trailers. I will have a room to myself! Rank definitely has it's priviledges.
It seems so far away, but the countdown to our departure has begun. It seems weird to be planning our departure before we've even fully settled in, but we are. Our time here will go by quickly and before we know it...we'll be greeting our replacements at BIAP and settling them into their transient tents. It's the circle of life for deployments everwhere...did it in Bosnia, Kosovo, Guantanamo Bay and my first tour of the desert.