Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Freedom Flights

In the months preceding my unit's deployment I had to travel to different cities for conferences and classes.  Most of the time my flights were routed through Dallas, which was nice because it's a large airport and has a lot to offer someone waiting for a flight.  The USO is top-notch although I only went in there to grab a bottle of water a few times.
While wandering around the airport I noticed the "Freedom Flights"...the chartered airplanes that bring troops (and civilians) from Iraq back to the states.  There are two stateside gateways for troops on R & R or emergency leave:  Dallas and Atlanta.  I remember looking at those planes, often parked on the tarmac away from the terminal, and thinking "one day, I will be one of those Soldiers coming back for some rest and relaxation". 
Well, here I am, sitting at my friend's computer in San Diego, updating my blog.  I left Iraq Monday afternoon for a long (and somewhat painful) flight from Kuwait to Dallas with a brief stop in Germany.  I was finally one of those Soldiers on that Freedom Flight, away from Iraq, and ready for some down time. 
It's surreal, being here in San Diego.  It's almost as if my time in Iraq was merely a dream and now I'm awake and moving on through the day.  Perhaps that's because I was only in Iraq for 2 months before I went on R & R.  That sort of sucks, but this was the only time left for my R & R after everyone else picked their dates.  Regardless, I'm here and I'm enjoying myself.
Today I went shopping to get some civilian clothes to wear while I'm here...some shorts and T-shirts and a pair of sandals.  I also went to Target to get some things that I can't get overseas, including my favorite sunscreen and toothpaste and some Gold Bond lotion for my feet.  It has menthol in it so it makes my tired feet feel much better.  
I'm having a great time with my friend, Cindy.  It's nice to sit down to a nice dinner of steak and rice and watch some TV.
I was a bit miffed to find out that President Obama was in Iraq while I was on R & R~!  I've been waiting for that meet our new Commander in Chief while I was deployed.  But alas I'll have to wait for the next "surprise" visit.  

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