Tuesday, May 24, 2005

No Flights Today

OK, so we got another on of those 3 Stooges finger-in-the-eye tricks from the Air Force today. I'm trying to get to Bagram, so around 3:00 P.M. Dublin Pub Time yesterday, I was faced with a dilemma. The Air Force's Secret Squirrel Astrological Flight Decoder System showed 2 flights for today going to Bagram, 1 leaving at 1:00 A.M. DBT (5:30 A.M. local) and one leaving 6 hours later. Now I know the vindictiveness of the Air Force Flight Planning Voo-Doo Witchdoctor, and I know that once he saw my name on the manifest he would unleash all his unholy powers to perpetuate my miserable track record of reliable air transportation in theater.

Now the 5:30 A.M. flight doesn't sound real bad until you take into consideration that the Air Force somehow feels that it is necessary for all passengers to show up 3 hours before the flight with all your bags ready to fly. I've done a little bit of traveling in the past couple of years, and I'm fairly certian that I could negotiate the ticketing, check-in, and baggage procedures at Chicago O'Hare on Thanksgiving weekend in somewhat less than 3 hours, but the crowds on FOB Salerno might be a bit too much to handle, so catching that first flight would mean that I'm waking up around 1 A.M. I played out the scenario in my mind of waking up at 1 A.M. shaving with an electric razor, going without a shower until sometime in the afternoon, shlepping all my bags across the FOB and finding the terminal door locked because the Air Force canceled the flight then waiting for another 5 hours for the next flight. I decided to just cut to the chase and take the 2nd flight.

I thought the genius of this plan lay in the fact that I was relying on a single airplane to land, load, and depart in accordance with the Secret Squirrel. The Witch Doctor would never suspect that I would do this, he knows that I've been burned too many times and would never rely on only one flight. I figured that all the evil powers of flight disruption would be channeled towards the first flight and I could slip out undetected freshly showered and with breakfast in my belly. Little did I know that his unholiness had devised even more diabolical and perverse ways to torture me.

From the comfort of the Bucksnort, I heard the first plane land and depart exactly on schedule, and I knew I was in deep trouble. I had tempted the powers of the Evil Air Force Flight Planning Voo-Doo Witchdoctor, and I would pay dearly.

So after spending all morning cleaning out the Bucksnort and shipping off all excess baggage through the post office, I shlepped all my bags to the terminal 3 hours before the second flight. The flight was still scheduled. The weather looked good. We loaded the baggage pallet and waited. I asked for and update and everything was still on schedule. One hour before departure, there was a roll call. It was now carved in Jello that the plane was coming and I was getting on. 15 minutes before scheduled arrival, myself along with 7 mishappen travel partners put on our body armor and helmets, picked up our bags and trudged to the flight line and waited for the distant humming of our ride to BAF.

SSG Griffin pulled up in an ATV and said "I'll take your bag back to the TOC Sir."

The look that I gave him must have asked the question for me.

"The flight was cancelled Sir"

I laughed and looked over his shoulder for the plane that was surely descending from the sky at this very moment.

"Sir, I'm serious, the flight is canceled."

"How can that be?" I asked "The tower was just talking to the pilot on the radio. The have to be close."

The terminal attendant nearby clarifies "They called and asked what the load going out was. We told them 3 pallets and 7 passengers and they said 'No'. We don't have time, we have to get back to Bagram before the weather closes the airfield there."

It was then that the brilliance and purity of the evil struck me. Through years of practice at stranding people in remote locations, my genius plan was about as transparent as a little kid closing his eyes so his Mom doesn't see him. I was now left with no one to complain to, no flight crew to plead with, no amount of begging could conjure up another plane. All I could do was succumb to the evil ones master plan.

The Secret Squirrel tells of more planes tomorrow though, I only hope I have paid my penance.

3 comments:

Dad said...

Hi Brian: We really like your journaling. Read the entries with great interest. It certainly keeps us up on your activities. Pray for you daily. Was particularly interested in the birthday comment from "huntress" about being aware of God's presence in the midst of unusual situations.

Concerned about the recent unrest there triggered by Newsweek article.

But the aid you are giving to the people is very gratifying and will bear fruit.

We are in Ocean City, NJ right now.

Love you, Brian. Dad and Anne

Toni said...

I guess the AirForce gods weren't with you for this flight. That was an extremely creative post though. I quite enjoyed it. Hope you've caught your flight by now.

Rob Purdy said...

Dirty, nasty, Aviators. You can never count on them, can you, Sir? Always go for the first thing smoking...