Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Willkommen in Deutschland

Finally back in Germany. After loading the plane, which the Air Force made a 6 hour process of, we flew for 7 hours finally hitting the ground at 8:30 P.M. German time on Monday. The obligatory handshake with the General getting off the plane was followed by the customs inspection then meeting with the unit reps where after a year of carrying it around, I was disencumbered of my 9mm. There was a reception at Rhine Ordnance Barracks where the families would finally get to see their long lost spouses and parents, but with Pam still waiting for me in Colorado for a couple of weeks, I opted to secure a ride straight from Ramstein to the house where, God bless them, our landlords had turned on the heat, and stocked the fridge with a few morsels and some beer. The food will last a while, the beer is gone.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

On Flying

Pam loves to fly.

She hates the chaos of airports with the parking, security, rude people, long lines, and waiting, but she loves to fly, and the take-off is her favorite part. She could be running late through heavy traffic to DIA, not be able to find a parking spot within the same county as the terminal, be in line through security behind the guy that has to strip down through his first 3 layers of skin to get through the metal detectors, and be seated in the center seat in the middle a section reserved for insomniac toddlers, but when the plane turns onto the end of the runway, the pilot opens the throttles, and she is pushed back in her seat, hardly able to contain herself, she never fails to turn to me with a beaming smile normally seen on children taking their first carnival ride.

I know exactly how she feels.

Last night, our C-17 turned onto the end of the Bagram runway, the cabin lights went dark, and then with brakes holding us fast, the massive engines roared up to full throttle. Suddenly the brakes were released and I was jolted back in my seat as the mammoth aircraft lurched down the runway. A moment later we rotated into I am sure was a space shuttle like trajectory, and at 14:45 Dublin Pub Time I left Afghanistan soil for the last time.

I know I'll be in Kyrygzstan (sp?) for a few days, and I know it will still seem like an eternity before I see Pam or German beer yet, but at 14:45 DPT last night, I was thankful for the darkened cabin so no one could see me with the smile of a child on his first carnival ride and tears in my eyes.