For the 2nd day in a row, I awoke before the sun had risen for a mission. It was 0400 hrs and it was time to pack my final belongings and begin a new journey. Part of my team is being relocated to another Forward Operating Base (FOB). As part of General McChrystal’s strategic vision in emplacing the right resources at the right locations, the battle space in Afghanistan is being apportioned and coalition units are being reassigned accordingly.
The past few weeks my team has been busy with packing up equipment, supplies, etc. Because of the move, I didn’t have much time for my blog entries. At first, it was a bit of a shock because we had become accustomed to our environment and developed strong relationships with our ANA counterparts. But being military, we also understand that the mission is very fluid here and we have to remain flexible and embrace the changes. As a result, I presented my ANA SGM his gift of books and curtains early. At a later date, we will return and have a ribbon cutting ceremony.
While at the vehicle packing the remaining bags, I watched the sun come up over the mountain peaks leading to the Jalabad Pass. Afterward, I walked to the main gate to say goodbye to Liberty and Justice. They were just waking up and going through their stretching regimen. I’m certain they recognized me, because they came over to see me. Unfortunately I was out of Pupparoni, which would accidentally fall from my hand on so many different occasions. They inadvertently brushed my hand and then I returned to my vehicles for our final preparation. I wonder if the new FOB will have camp puppies or dogs.
After an uneventful drive, we arrived at our new location and unloaded our gear into our new quarters. The new camp is much smaller than the one we just left. The quarters (B-huts) are constructed of double sheets of thick plywood. Each cubicle is approximately 7’ X 8’ which is smaller than what I was accustomed and 8 people are assigned to each B-hut. Perhaps the biggest inconvenience is the location of the bathrooms and showers. They are strategically located outside throughout the camp. Once winter arrives, I will detail what it’s like to trudge through snow to take a shower.
We unpacked our bags and our new hosts invited us to participate in events honoring the Air Force 62nd birthday. The first event was a 5K fun up some steep hills and inclines. My team passed on this event but we signed up for the volleyball tournament in the afternoon. Meanwhile, we retrieved our other bags from the connex and continued
unpacking our belongings and setting up our rooms. I was one of the lucky members to have an old metal wall locker to hang my uniforms in. We plan to scrounge the base looking for any unclaimed furniture to add to our hooch.
In the afternoon my team along with a French member formed a competitive volleyball
team. In fact, we were undefeated until the championship game. Then the French team got their second wind and easily won. Earlier in the day we defeated them but they were determined and won consecutive games in the loser’s bracket to earn a chance at the championship game. Everyone had a good time and we all posed for
Later that night, we had a special celebratory dinner consisting of spiced prime rib, lobster, shrimp, and corn on the cob, along with salad and macaroni and cheese. The DFAC decorated the tables and hung decorations from the ceiling in honor of the Air Force birthday. My team was received with open arms and we each had an opportunity to introduce ourselves. Following tradition, the oldest and youngest Air Force members cut the birthday cake. But before they cut the cake I interjected and we had
an opportunity to croon out our Air Force song. Since Fort Riley we have been singing Army songs. Our host informed us that after we ate to return at 9:30 pm for a dance and a video of today’s events. Despite being dog-tired, we went to the dance and stayed long enough to view the video presentation. I couldn’t wait to return to my room and get some much needed shut-eye.