Thursday, July 31, 2008

Cape Cod

Kristi and I had this idea that we would drive to the “Cape” and spend the day. We did minimal research (actually I did very little other than look at a map once or twice and Kristi spent some good time on the net researching places to stop). The Good Morning America weather report mentioned it was a great day to spend on the Cape…so off we go.

The first stop was Plymouth. We found a public beach and let the kids swim and play. It was a stark contrast for me (being used to Gulf Shore beaches) with the rocks. The water was cold, but the kids still had a great time. We then drove into Plymouth for some sights. We had a picnic lunch just a few feet from “The Rock.” The actual Plymouth Rock is kind of a letdown. I agree with a guy I overheard as I scrambled on some rocks to get a better view of it, “It was much bigger in the cartoon when I was growing up.” They are doing some work on the structure around it so it is kind of tough to see, but it’s just a big rock about the size of a small bench.

We were able to see multiple lighthouses during the day as we made our way farther down the cape. We also made it to three separate beaches. We only swam once, but the kids put their feet in all three times. Baby Lucy was a trooper and was in good spirits all day. She eventually wore out and was cranky for the drive home, but overall she had a good time all day. We turned back after seeing the Highland Light (some call it the Cape Cod Lighthouse) – the tallest Light on the Cape. We had a wonderful time and noted some places we’d like to come back and explore some more.

We were successful in a couple of geo-caches, both were types that did not have treasure. That kind of disappointed the kids, but it made the adults happy – no fighting over silly happy-meal toys (one pictured here is the largest boulder left by glacial activity in Massachusetts—Doane Rock).

One of the more funny moments for me happened when we were walking back to the car from beach #3 (Coast Guard Beach near Eastham). We had quite a hike in front of us and Kristi knew the kids would be difficult. She offered cash money to any kid who completed the march without complaining. About 1/3 of the way back, Cory asks, “Mom (he screamed Mom 10-15 times before he spit out his question, but I won’t type them all), is whining the same as complaining?” I was very impressed at his logic, but still laughed that he was quizzing us about the difference between whining and complaining. It turns out all 4 kids were winners in the Cash Prize. Even Lucy somehow made it back without complaint (although she was carried most of the way).

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Lucy - not the red ones!

We made it home safe. The last day in Maine was FOGGY. That limited our sightseeing to just a few feet in front of our faces. We had this one spot planned out as a Geocache and a scenic view of the coast, but the FOG kept us from seeing anything farther than 20 feet away.

Another letdown was the geocache was not there. Lucy had the best time of all the family because she found some wild blueberries while we were searching for the treasure (cache).
The drive home reminded us of the traffic and pain of Boston - 20 minutes killed waiting in line for a single toll booth on I-95S. UGH!
We enjoyed our trip to Maine. It was a great new experience to see the small coastal towns. The weather stunk - but that just means we'll have to go back.

Friday, July 25, 2008

And the last of our viewing area to see clearing and sunshine today will be Penobscot Bay…

...these were the words of News 8 Now WMTW’s Meteorologist Matt Zidle this morning as we prepared to go to breakfast. That was followed with “the Rockport area is currently seeing rain, some areas are heavy.” Great—we’re at the Penobscot Bay area, staying between Rockport and Camden, Maine. The next sound we heard was the sound of rain outside our door. Hey, Cory! Do you want to go get breakfast? (we’re in cottages away from the main hotel building)—IN THE RAIN???

Well, in spite of the dreary forecast, we headed out the door to nearby Lincolnville, which we read had a nice public beach—nice in that it had sand, a rare find in Maine’s beaches. We did a little beach combing and came away with several treasures. Ted found a live mussel and proceeded to make it un-live by cracking it open for the kids. We pulled off shells from rocks to see the little critters inside close up into the shell. We found little crabs, and even found a sea star—couldn’t decide if it was dead or alive, so we went with dead and added him to our collection of shells. Cory named him George to be our starfish pet. I think this boy will be in need of therapy someday.

The remainder of the day we poked around Camden, Rockland and Rockport, while Cory continually asked to go back to the hotel. We ate lunch while watching the falls go below us into the bay in Camden (the blue umbrellas in the picture are from the deli where we ate), geocached in Rockport, and after dinner returned to a pastry shop we visited yesterday so that I could get something yummy to go. YUM! YUM! And then the requisite swimming after dinner.

Oh, and if you haven’t noticed, this is now Kristi typing. I was not sure I wanted to author any of these entries for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the title of the blog is clearly TED'S Excellent Adventures. However, I’ve been watching over Ted’s shoulders for the past few entries adding comments and doing my share of changing happys to glads as Ted likes to call it, so it’s probably just as well that I type out my own thoughts.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Rain in Maine - Part Dew

The day started with a dense fog - that never burned off. Our quaint little country inn with a nice delicate breakfast was invaded by our loud and unruly quartet of children. We sampled all the various bread they had to offer, not because we were trying to but because our kids took one bite and screamed I don’t like it.

Our plan was to go to a glass-blowing studio first thing (kids always behave better in the morning). We arrive promptly at 1000 (posted opening) and they have a sign that says first demo at 1230. Grrrr. So we sign up for that and wander off – our plan blown to bits. Next up was a cheese factory, also timed that poorly…no cheese making going on, just cleaning. We bought some cheese curds (a childhood favorite of Kristi’s) and then moved on to downtown Camden.

We spent some time in the toy store, pizza shop, and looking at the falls that run just under the main street into a small harbor. Cory spotted some pirate ships (really just some schooners) and Mary wanted to climb on the rocks. We would have stayed longer and taken pictures but we had to run back to the 1230 glass appointment.

The small studio was perfect for us. We were right up front and got to feel the heat from the furnace. The proprietor created a table center piece that was quite nice. It was interesting to watch her add the layers and colors. We all thought it was some sort of vase until the end and she made it into this flat plate looking thing.

The remainder of the day was the standard: mini-golf, unruly kids at dinner, and swimming. A couple of note worthy items. The weather continues to stink. The red parallelogram below is the Tornado watch for the entire freakin state (that occurred while dad and three “old” kids “golfed.” I use quotes because none of them acted old nor was the game we played anywhere near the game of golf). And Cory had his daily scream-filled-fit from a raindrop falling on him. If only he knew the larger danger looming – he would have gone into shock.

We asked the person in the lobby for a recommendation on a good place for dinner. Actually I had two picked out and asked her for her preference. We followed her advice, but apparently she thought I asked “where do all the old people go for dinner?” We brought the average age down by at least 50 years. I think a nearby party asked to be moved away from us as we were seated at about the same time. Our crew never travels anywhere stealthily and they were quick to ask the hostess to move as we followed them into the back dining area. Just to say I’ve had Maine Lobster in Maine – that’s what I ordered. The kids enjoyed looking at it, but to me it was a disappointment. It tasted just like all the other lobster I’ve ever had. I’ll stick with my primary seafood group from now on – shrimp.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Rain in Maine...

We decided to take a small vacation. The AF gives you a couple of weeks off after a 6 month deployment. Based on a recommendation from a coworker we are visiting Camden, Maine. We traveled up this afternoon. (One side note - we stopped at a Quiznos - you know how their eating areas are always very small? Well this one might have been the largest one in the world - there was room for the 6 of us (always a challenge) plus at least 10 other tables. - It rocked). After checking in to our room, we looked over the local tourist map for something fun. The Owls Head Lighthouse proved to be a winner.

We walked up to the lighthouse and then walked down to the adjacent beach. We decided that we can’t have all the kids happy at the same time, but between viewing the lighthouse and collecting shells on the rocky beach we were able to at least get a smile out of all 4 kids.

One of the things I have come back to is Cory's aversion to rain/clouds/storms. At the mere mention of "rain" he starts to wig out. Actual clouds and rain send him into a screaming fit. This pic shows that he felt a single drop of rain - and was miserable.
To finish the day we found a quaint seafood place and enjoyed the local fare. Then back to the hotel for some time in the pool (which is really where the kids wanted to be all day - drive hundreds of miles and all they care about is the swimming pool).

Sunday, July 20, 2008

So what would you say you do here?

Now that I have been home for a few days I thought I would share some thoughts about what I did while I was there.

Big picture…we provided a review of the detainee’s case. Every 6 months the cases were reviewed in person. A three member panel would read the case file and hear from the detainee. Just as my quote on CNN said…these guys were not convicted of a crime, they have just been held because they were determined to be a threat. The six month review provided a new assessment of that “threat.” If we said they remained a threat they were held for another 6 months, if we recommended release then another process was kicked off that could result in release fore them. We reviewed many aspects of their case to include the reasons they were originally detained as well as their behavior since being put in detention. There were many programs in the facility to help teach them reading, writing, some trade skills, and other things. We were able to take all those things into consideration. I am convinced the process was real. The detainee knew I was the best and quickest way out of lockup (as opposed to Self-Release [the PC term for escape]). Although I was not the final authority, my recommendation was carried forth a majority of the time.

I can’t talk about specific cases, but I can say that I saw the full ends of the spectrum (in many areas). I heard from poor sheep-herders that could not read and write to successful business-men with multiple degrees, from civilians to high ranking military members, from people in the lower classes to ranking members of the political parties, from people who I though were in the wrong place at the wrong time to people I clearly thought were responsible for committing acts of violence against US soldiers. I can honestly say I have seen my fair share of “terrorists.” And there is not a cut and dry formula for “what they look like.”

I learned a few things:
1. War is an ugly thing. It causes people to do bad things regardless of their original intentions. The people who want war the least…are the soldiers who have to fight it.
2. You never know what tomorrow will bring. Live for the day and enjoy what you have, before the sun rises another day your world may be turned upside down.
3. The AF clearly treats people better than the Army.
4. Most people just want simple things in life, a decent place to live and work and to be able to enjoy their family.
5. If people do not take responsibility for their own actions or at least take notice of the actions of the people around them – really really bad things start to happen.

To hear more you have to come visit me in person…and bring beer.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Back to the Family

I landed about 1300 at Baltimore. Then we talked our way onto a flight to Boston just a few hours later (instead of the next day). There was a nice reception of USO volunteers clapping and cheering when we left customs and entered the terminal. It was very honoring.

Of course the most exciting homecoming was at Boston when I fainally saw the kids. Here's a pic of the whole fam. K had the kids all dressed up in red white a blue. It was awesome.

Last but not least the whole neighborhood was out waving flags and banners to welcome me home.

More later when I have a few minutes to catch my breath. Just wanted to make sure you guys knew I was back home.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I Came I Saw I Judged

As I sit and wait for the 3 day travel event to kick off - I thought I would enter one last blog before I leave the Desert. The last few days have been extremely windy and sandy. It certainly has not made me want to stay any longer.

Our group is whole again – Javi – who we left in Baghdad made it back to us last night. His experiences were very similar to ours at Camp B. He was at the other detention facility in Baghdad sitting on the same type of review boards.

I feel proud knowing that what I did made a difference to some. I know the war is far from over, but at this point it is clearly a fight for the hearts and minds more than for small tactical advances.

I know the adjustment to home will have some bumps. Just like I have changed, I know that the family has changed as well. My 6 months away has taught me many lessons, most of all…live for the now. You never know what tomorrow will bring. Hopefully the next blog will be from a much friendlier place...

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Different Kind of Cache

Many of you who know me know I enjoy a hobby called Geocaching (visit ). It’s like a high tech treasure hunt kind of game. People hide things and place the coordinates on the website. You use your GPS to go find them and log your visit. While I was sitting around fighting the boredom I decided to see if there were any caches in the area. Thanks to the technology of the web I can see multiple cache’s are located within easy walk of my tent. The one downside is I do not have a GPS device with me. No way to get a fix on the hide spots. But I did not let that deter me. I used my expert caching skills and cheated a little using hints and comments on the website to focus my search. The other tough part is the freakin heat. It’s too hot to be wandering around outside in the daylight and the darkness makes Geocaching a little difficult. I’ve looked for three of the different caches and I was successful in finding one of them. I haven’t given up on the others, but they have so few visits and no pictures for me get to clues from…I’m not optimistic about my chances for success.
I took some pics. Here’s the general area of the cache (it’s called Welcome To The Rock). I also took the cache container back to the tent to show the others what I was up to. That allowed me to photo the cache with a little bear I picked up for my youngest Titanfan. It was nice to be focusing on a cache that was fun and supposed to be found unlike the weapons caches that I read about for the last 6 months.
Today should be the last full day of wait. Tomorrow is supposed to be final out processing then begins the multi-day journey home.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Best Korean Food I've Ever Had - In Kuwait

Someone in our group acquired a truck. I'm not sure how, nor do I really want to know. But I did enjoy taking a ride to the Army side of the base and enjoying dinner. There is an oriental restaurant there they told us, and Brandon and I were both up for something different from the standard fare. We ventured off and found it without much problem. Our excellent guide took us right to the front door. It’s a business run by the same AAFES people who run all the other eating establishments around here, but at this one you actually sit down and someone takes your order so it is a novelty. The only other time I “ordered” in the last six months was my few days on R&R at the fake Chili’s. Brandon was excited to get some Korean food, me I’m more of the American-Chinese type food guy. He had the Bulgogi and I had the Sweet and Sour Shrimp. They had chopsticks and English as a second language staff. It was just like back in the states.
We enjoyed that food actually had some spice as well. I sampled the mushroom soup and Brandon had the Kimchi before the main course. There were quite a few people there and it looked like for lunch they have a quick style serving like in the mall food courts. Chuck told me I missed ribs in the D-FAC. No biggie. My shrimp was yummy.
Just a few more days till our rotator. Wahoo!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Tell everyone about Fight Club

I went to a Bible study last night. It was billed as Christian Fight Club. Some of you may remember the movie Fight Club with Brad Pitt. It’s not a Christian movie by any stretch of the imagination, but the central theme has to do with a man finding himself in the physical struggle of a bare-knuckle brawl with a stranger…hence the name ‘fight club.’

One of the Chaplains here started a bible study based on some of the tag lines in the movie. For example the number one rule of Fight Club (from the movie) is: Don’t talk about fight club. Ask anyone who has seen the movie what the first rule of FC is and they will probably recite that. The Chaplain thought hey – there is something catchy there. So he came up with his own 5 rules of Christian Fight Club (CFC). The CFC rule is different in that “you are to tell everyone about CFC.” This was just the first session of many (they had an earlier group that got too large so he is splitting into two groups and this was the first meeting of the new group). I might try to borrow some of his ideas and develop my own little CFC. I think it is a great concept. I plan to talk with the Chaplain a little more about what he has planned across the weeks so I can work on it on my own.

At the beginning He asked why I was here (as he had done to everyone else) – and I said “well the name was cool – so I had to show up and see what it was about…and one of the rules of fight club (the movie) is if it’s your first time…you must fight…so I wanted to see if I would have to fight…” Unfortunately there was no fight to speak of. I’ll have to work on that…my CFC should have some sort of first time fight. That’s he whole point right – you have to make it mean something. I’m not sure all that makes sense when I type it out…but I’ll keep thinking/praying about it. For quite some time I have been searching for some sort of men’s group theme and a way to turn a Bible study into something that was more than coffee and pancakes with other guys. A buddy and I have discussed the Spiritual Battle we all face and thought of things in fighting type terms many times. Maybe CFC is a link to something larger. Some google searches turned up a couple of items but nothing significant – except this picture. Chaplain Shipman’s first rule of CFC – The Battle belongs to the Lord.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

B-I-N-G-O was his name-O

I told you we went to bingo night a few days ago with our guy who works in services. Well none of us won so we all gave him a ration of complaints about how it’s fixed. Last night was another bingo night. It sounded better than another boring night in the tent so we all went over. Brad (services guy) went early and volunteered to help the local guys setup – and made sure we had a table reserved (sometimes it’s good to have an inside man). This night was Chiefs night. All the Chief Master Sergeants on base did the calling. The Chiefs are the senior ranking enlisted members. They’ve all been around forever and most will be happy to tell you about it. They also thought it was amateur comedy night and tried to be funny (some were successful). Most of the bingo regulars are pretty serious…so they grump back at them when they don’t call fast enough. Once again the services crew had designed a crazy set of bingo layouts on the card – instead of the simple any row up/down/across/diagonal, they design pictures on the card and you have to fill them in. Like an Airplane for example. The last puzzle of the night is the big money puzzle. It’s a progressive type jackpot. If you get a bingo (all black – completely blank out the card) on this last puzzle within a certain number of calls you were to win $300. No one made it…but they continue to call numbers until someone gets a Bingo. And low and behold it happen to be little old me. I won $100 – wahoo! Now I guess I have to buy Brad lunch at Taco Bell after giving him so much lip about Bingo. Here’s a cheesy pic of me and my prize.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Be Like Mike

An added bonus to the USO tour was a visit by the Chairman of The Joint Chiefs – Admiral Mike Mullen. While I was in line someone in the back of the room yelled – standby for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs…he 30 seconds out. Most of us in line had no idea he was even coming. So we were all kind of surprised. I was still waiting to shake the Commish’s hand, so I wasn’t sure I would get to see ADM Mullen. But I spent my time and finished with the celebs then headed to the mass gaggle in the back of the room. There were people crowded all around. He was handing out Coins and hamming it up for camera shots. There was not really an organized line but more a mass of people swarming around him. I wormed my way to the front as he worked the crowd. I finally got a chance to say hello and he was asking people where are you from? What are you deployed for/where to? He commented that we were doing great things at Bucca. Not sure if that was just a canned answer or he actually believed that. I’m sure he’s been briefed on camp B if not visited already. Regardless he was attempting to make small talk and be nice to the troops. One of my buds snapped a photo in the chaos. Getting a coin from the CJCS is a pretty neat thing, so it was a nice bonus to the already cool day with the USO tour.

Current tent score:
Mice = 0

Monday, July 7, 2008

Meet the Commish

Every once in a while you have one of those moments where you I can't wait to tell the guys about this. That was today. A USO tour came through: The attraction was 2 Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, an actor from the show Heroes (Milo is his real name) - he plays Peter a nurse or something on the show, Jack Lengyel (he was the coach of Marshall right after the incident where the football team died in a crash - they made a movie about it). The real draw at least for me was the NFL side of the tour. Drew Brees (QB New Orleans Saints), Osi Umenyiora (DE NY Giants) and then most important (at least to me) Roger Goodell - NFL Commissioner (third from left, blue shirt and green hat).
For those of you that don't know me that well...I am a huge NFL fan. Things in my life are ordered 1.God 2.Family 3.Country 4.NFL (and sometimes NFL creeps up next to family). I run a Fantasy Football League with mostly the same group of guys for the past 13 years. I'm the Commish of the league so meeting the real Commish was a big deal for me. They were here first thing in the morning so I had to drag out of bed and head over. By the time I got into the theater I was approximately #150 in line. No biggie - I've got nothing but time. They just had one long line and you cycled through all the celebs and had your picture taken with the 3-4 people who were in line next to you. All week I had been prepping my speech for the commish. I had a couple things to talk about, but they were rushing people thru so I had to narrow it down to my most important point.

I finally make it to the stage. Osi is first - he's a real ham and was showing off his super bowl ring. Then the Commish (I felt like a kid in line for Santa Claus). I hold on to his hand to keep his attention and say, "I read what you said about the rookie salary cap a few weeks ago. I agree with you. I think it is important for the game that you do something about it. Keep it up!" He pauses. Kind of smiles and points to the guy next to him (Drew Brees) and says - "Yeah I know - talk to him about it." Then we all have a big laugh. You see the players don't want any caps/or limits on the salaries. They want as much money they can get and I don’t blame them. But the Rookies (especially the top picks) are getting exorbitant amounts of money and they have not even played a single down in the NFL. Goodell says the owners should only pay top bucks for guys who are proven. And I whole-heartedly agree. So I moved on and had my pic taken while I was at the end of the line. It was cool.

The thing that struck me most was how normal the guys looked. They were big people -and I am sure they are in amazing shape, but the players were not much bigger than most of the soldiers. I was glad to shake the Commish's hand and speak my peace. Today was a good day.

Oh yeah - the Chairman of The Joint Chiefs of Staff (top ranking officer in the DoD – THE big cheese) was there as well. But I'll save that story for tomorrow.

Sunday, July 6, 2008



After we had been in the tent for a few hours we realized we were not the only inhabitants. We saw a mouse run across the floor a few times. It was no big deal we've seen them most of the time here in the land of the deployed. A few days later we realize these guys are very bold. Phil said one was in his shoe/sock when he reached for it. Then we watched as one crawled up into our lockers...that was enough. Phil bought some traps. We knew it would not take long since they were so brave to move around with us in the tent. After an hour or so we heard the tell-tale snap (oh the pun). This photo captures the scene of the aftermath. None of us were that upset that we had to set the traps, but none of us wanted mice pellets in our stuff.

Other than that it was a very average day. I went to church in the morning and really enjoyed the service. It made me sad that I missed so many Sunday morning services since we mostly worked on Sundays. I spent some of the day escaping the heat of the tent in the Chapel's Rocker Lounge. It's a nice quiet room with comfy chairs where you can sit and enjoy some reading. Since the mid-day heat makes the tent well over 100- it's a nice option.

I spent the evening playing some computer games with the guys. No movie tonight - they are having some American Idol knock-off event here on base. That's not really my thing to watch so computer games sounded like more fun.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Not quite Nathan's

Day two of the 4th of July celebration was today. The base is having events all weekend to try and make it fun. I watched Saving Private Ryan last night. That's just a good movie. The D-Day invasion at the beginning is just amazing. As a soldier I just cannot fathom what it was like for those guys to walk into the blankets of gunfire.

Back to today...there was a BBQ-Burger cookout type dinner in the recreation building. We all went over becuase it something different to do. The event (dinner) was to start at 1730. Well 15 minutes past time they still had not started (all good cookouts take some time to get going is what I say). They finally did some intros and some bad jokes, then the emcee asks who likes hot dogs? we all kind of cheer, then she asks "no who really likes hot dogs - stand up." I standup hoping it will help me to get food faster. She asks a third and fourth time...who like dogs - stand up. Then my Spidey Sense goes off - something is not right here - I sense a chance to get caught in public buffonery is about to happen. I sit down. Then she calls ok all of you standing come up here. (yeah good choice to sit down). Well 3 of our group had followed my lead to stand-up but were not so quick to sit down. They all went up and were "volunteered" for a hot-dog eating contest. They eventually get 10 people up to the table and say whoever eats the most in 2 minutes is the winnder. Well my buddy Brandon is a contestant. As he's up there I can see in his eyes he will take this seriously. And when they finally get all set-up, Brandon has his game face on. When the starting gun goes off - Brandon grabs 4 dogs and shoves them down all at once. The rest of the reluctant group is in awe. Brandon chews and chews. Some of the others are gingerly eating one at a time. Brandon now has dog number 5 down. The local photographer has taken notice and is waiting for Brandon to get his next handful of dogs and tries to get a great action shot. Brandon wolfs down another 3 before time runs out and is clearly the winner. Afterwards he says to me - I just can't back down from a challenge. It's always fun with Brandon around. He won a pair of computer speakers (incidentally they are exactly like the ones he had a Bucca and sold to someone else). I told him to trade them in for something else at the PX. It was a little less competition than they have in NY every year at Nathan's Dog eating contest, but Brandon can lay claim to Hot Dog Champion of Kuwait.

Friday, July 4, 2008


One of our guys AF job at his regular base is part of the Services unit. That's AF code for morale type stuff (you know O-club, social events, lodging, and things like that). He's been on us about bingo night for quite some time. That we should go, they have money to give away as prizes and not many people go - so we should clean up if we were actually to participate. So the gang all loaded up and went out last night for Bingo.

It turns out it was a bit of a party for some of the local leadership leaving so they had free pizza and subs. Wahoo. The big prize was $300. None of us won a game. We bought some near-beer and enjoyed our pizza though.

We all had a good time but I'm sure we would have enjoyed it more if we had won something. We said a toast to our brothers and sisters back at Camp B.
Today was anothe relaxing one. We have quite a few days of nothing. Our transpo out of Camp B worked out in our favor and only took a fraction of the time it did for the previous group so we have some days to kill here before our scheduled rotator. Once again it just proves the AF and Army have a very different way of scheduling things. Chuck completed some medical out processing thing we have to do. He was our guinea pig - we sent him over first to scope it out. It seemed harmless so we'll all go over soon. Just some standard questions I guess...we all joke about what we could say about our hearings with the detainees. It's probably best to keep quiet about all that - some of those people are like TSA - they never can take a joke.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A few shots from the last day there

Now that I am in a place that has a little better internet connection I'll try to add a few photos and share with you some of the good things about Camp B. I've whinned about the heat. Here's a pic I took the last day we were there. This thermometer was outside Brandon's POD. as you can see it was pegged past 120 most of the time. I'm sure it isn't the most accurate gauge, but you get the idea.
Also here's a pic of what I like to call Lake Bucca. I think they busted a water tank or some sort of storage container a few months back. One day there was suddenly this giant pond of water. It is slowly evaporating now. It looks like someone fashioned a boat from a chair and some barrells, but I never saw anyone out on the lake (I'm sure it wa done after dark to avoid trouble). Brandon and Phil posed for me as well (my camera skills were off that day and it did not occur to me that they would be so far away from the pic that you couldn't see them - sorry). I think I posted in the past about this exotic sunny vacation type location. Lake Bucca is just one of the many amenities for people to enjoy there. Boating was not on the original list, but I'm sure someone will add it.

The land of silverware and real plates

We made it to Kuwait. We’d been on standby for a few days with the usual hassles of transpo in and out of Camp B (weather and limited air assets). My trip was uneventful. All our bags made it as well. There was lots of sitting around and waiting (as always)…mostly in the sun or at least outside under a canopy to give a little shade. The Blackhawk ride out was clearly the bumpiest of the helo rides so far, but still no big deal. It was a nice feeling to be leaving Iraq.

Once we got back to Kuwait things went very smoothly. Brandon commented that he noticed a significant difference in how we were treated. Everything worked out as if people were expecting us and there were no hassles. That was a big change from what we had experienced on the way in to our final destination. Of course we all chalked it up to being back at an AF base. They just seem to care about people more. Dinner was a treat, not because the food was good, but because we had real flatware – not plastic. The plates were something we noticed as well; I was tired of flimsy plastic plates. I could go on and on about the small things like streets and sidewalks that we commented and smiled about, but I’ll stop here.