Saturday, September 09, 2006

Arrival in Iraq

Hello all,

The below message was typed two days ago. I has taken this long to find an internet connection that I can access my site. I will type another blog today and try post it this afternoon.


I am finally able to write to my blog today. I ended up leaving Twentynine Palms on Thursday, August 31. Our original flight was cancelled on Wednesday morning and it gave everyone an extra day to spend with their families. It was nice to have the extra day. I used it to put together Britni’s new electronic piano and to install a new computer at the house.
We left Twentynine Palms on the standard white military busses around 1015 and arrived at March Air Force Base at 1200. Some volunteers were waiting for us in a hangar and fed us peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We got on a DC-10 at 1830 and landed in Bangor, Maine at 0130 Friday. When we got off the plain there were about 10 WWII veterans and their wives waiting for us. The vets shook everyone’s hands and all the wives hugged our necks. They had fresh cookies to eat and cell phones that we could call home on. They stayed with us the entire time we were there and each one of them thanked us for our service. It was really nice and I hope my junior Marines appreciated it as much as I did. They could have been at home sleeping and instead they were at an airport talking to strangers. I thanked all of them for their support before we got back on the plain. We left Maine at 0430 and arrived at Hahn Air Force Base in Germany at 0740 on Friday. This stopover was uneventful. Hahn has been abandoned except for the runway and a few hangar and buildings to support it. The old barracks are still standing but the grass is about three feet tall and they are in disrepair. We left Hahn at 2045 and landed in Kuwait at 0300 on Saturday. We unloaded the plain and took a bus to Camp Virginia in the Kuwaiti desert and stayed in 60 man tents. The Army runs Camp Virginia and they put us on the far outskirts of the base. We were almost exactly one mile from the chow hall. I had forgotten what 130 degrees felt like until I stepped outside of the air conditioned tent and started my journey to the chow hall. I think if I was in charge of a Marine Corps Base and the Army wanted billeting, I would put them at the far end of the base too. So, I didn’t blame them for doing that - even though I passed by plenty of empty tents on my way to the chow hall. We were transported by bus from Camp Virginia to Ali Al Salem Air Base in Kuwait on Sunday night and left on a C-17 cargo plane at 0400 on Monday morning. We landed at Al Asad Air Base in Iraq at 0700. They put us in 40 man tents and we stayed there to take some classes and get the latest intelligence briefings on our area of operation. On Wednesday at 0930 we loaded into a CH53 helicopter and landed in Al Qaim at 1030. Overall, the trip wasn’t bad. We had some good chow and the living conditions were far better than I had expected. From what I saw, the government is taking great care of all the men and women serving our nation. It was better than being at Camp Wilson aboard Twentynine Palms.


At 7:26 AM, Anonymous 147 said...

So glad the trip is behind you and things are better than expected. That the WW2 Vets. and their wives made such an effort really warms my heart too. Someday, that may be you and Schellee going it full circle!
Yellowjackets lost tonight to Hot Springs 21-20. I'm gonna go wake up Dad so he can read your post.
I'll call Schellee and Britni tomorrow and check on them.
You have everything you need Mike. I know you know that - and you know we love you. That's good!

At 7:48 AM, Blogger Missy said...

So glad to finally hear from you! Been thinking about you, everytime you cross my mind I send a prayer out for you and your troop. Love you so much!!!


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