I got on the plane and hugged my wife goodbye. My R&R leave had come to an end. Now it was time to return to the combat zone. It wasn’t easy saying goodbye to Liisa, but we both are looking on the bright side that I only have 4 ½ months to go. My plane was delayed over an hour before finally boarding and taking off. I landed in Frankfurt where they also delayed the plane. The snowstorms in the Eastern part of the US along with the ones in Europe were causing massive delays and cancellations. My next stop was in Kuwait.
It was a smooth flight and I went to the luggage carousel to pick up my military duffel bag. I waited and waited and looked closely at every green military duffel bag and couldn’t locate mine. Then I heard the conveyor belt stop running. This wasn’t good. My military uniforms, combat boots, underwear, T-shirts, etc. were inside this bag. I made a smart decision not to pack my winter coat because the temperatures here were in the low 50’s.
I went to the Lufthansa baggage claim area and reported my missing bag. They gave me a claim number and felt certain it would be on the next flight tomorrow night. There is only one daily flight from Frankfurt to Kuwait. One night wasn’t going to kill me, so I boarded the bus and we were driven back to the Logistic Staging Area (LSA). Camp LSA is the main hub for everyone going on R&R from Iraq and Afghanistan, and Kuwait. The place was extremely crowded. Most of the crowd was hoping for an aircraft to the United States with stops at Dallas-Ft Worth or Atlanta for connection flights. They had hopes of arriving home before Christmas.
I checked into billeting and they gave me a tent to stay in for the night. The tents have bunk beds in them. All of the bottom bunks were filled, so I had to climb to the top of the bunk for the night. It was now 0330 hrs and I really didn’t care that my face was a foot from the top of the tent. I just needed to get some sleep. But that wasn’t going to happen. The lights in the tents stay on 24/7 and people are constantly coming and going. In addition, any time an important announcement is made, they broadcast it over the loudspeakers. So getting a quality night of rest is quite futile.