Friday, May 04, 2007

I'm Home

  First, let me apologize for not posting anything sooner.  I couldn't remember the address that I e-mailed my posts too because my Al Qaim account was deleted and I now have a new e-mail account with a blank address book.  I also tried to log on manually to the site but I forgot what my password was.

  A lot of things have happened since I last wrote so I will run down a few of them.

  While I was in Kuwait, I found out that Britni broke the 200 Meter Freestyle record in the Girls age 12 Division for High Desert Swimming.  The record had stood for 9 years.  Her time was 2:50.25.  She shattered the old record by 3 seconds.

  Our plane stopped for a one hour layover in Ireland.  Usually we do not get to board/deboard with the general public.  (Like in Indianapolis when they herded us into a small metal building at the far end of a runway and made us wait until the plane was refueled, or in Budapest when they wouldn't let us off the plane at all.)  When we deboarded, we found ourselves in the middle of the airport.  Everyone started standing up and clapping.  Old men were saluting me.  We couldn't believe the support we got.  It was wonderful to see that.  I had no idea that the Irish were so supportive of us.

  We got off the busses around 10:00 P.M. on Friday night.  All 86 Pvt's and PFC's that checked into 3/4 a week before our arrival were standing in lines on both sides of the door as we got off.  They were all clapping and welcoming us back.  At the end of the line, our families were waiting inside the gymnasium for us.  After hugs and kisses and seeing the new babies I went out and grabbed my bags from the 7 ton truck that had hauled them from the airport and got into my wife's new van.  She did a good job picking out the van.  It's pretty nice.  We got the weekend off and reported to work on Monday.

  Our buildings were not ready for us to move into for the first few days so we just had morning formations for accountability in a parking lot and then dismissed everyone for the day.  Can you believe that not a single Marine has gotten into any trouble yet.  Usually that's the first thing that happens when you come back.  We finally got our buildings after a two day wait, and of course, nothing was left in them.  So we have been doing a lot of lifting and moving on top of getting the computers back on line (we have civilians that run our network on base and it is very frustrating waiting for someone to come out and do something that you know you can fix in a few seconds if you just had the access) and getting the telephones working.

  Yesterday I went to Santa Anna to pick up 1,000 T-shirts to sell at the reunions.  The money we raise will go towards the Marine Corps Ball.  I have to go back next week to get another 1,000 to sell to the Marines.  I have locked on a trip to Primm, Nevada so the Birthday Ball committee can meat the managers of the hotel where we will have the ball.  They have given us all a free night stay so we wont have to drive back the same day.  Today was the first day that I could actually sit at my desk.  My phone was just installed as I was typing.  The Marines are very busy running back and forth putting out little fires that are springing up everywhere.

  The base is currently packed with units training to go to Iraq.  There are so many Marines here that we don't have enough space for everyone.  I have Marines that will be sleeping on cots until some more space is made available.  It's a shame that it has to happen like that but they understand and they are happy to be home.  They know it's only temporary.

  Britni has a swim meet this weekend and a clinic.  Her team match on Saturday is in Beaumont.  Then on Sunday she is going to the University of California at Irvine to attend a swim clinic.  We will be staying in a hotel so we don't have to drive so far.  

  The rest of the Battalion starts coming in today.  They will arrive on the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th.  I am excited to see them.  Of course, I wont be able to see the guys that come in on Saturday and Sunday but when I got in I didn't really care or notice who was there.  All I wanted to do was see my girls and go home.  So I figure I won't be missed.

  Right now we are scheduled to go back to Iraq in January.  There are several rumors going around - the most common - and the most credible - is that we will not actually go until March.  We may not even go to Iraq - We may go on the Unit Deployment Plan (UDP) to Okinawa, The Philippines, Australia, Korea, and Thailand to train in environments other than the desert.  Anything is possible.  You learn to never really plan too far in advance.

  Like I said before, I now have a new e-mail address and I can't change it on the blog site because I can't remember the password so I have listed it below.  Please feel free to e-mail me at anytime.  I will respond to any and all messages.  Thanks to everyone who takes the time to read my blogs.  This will be the last entry.  If I deploy again, I will definitely have another blog.  It was a lot of fun and I was surprised at how many people actually read it.

Respectfully Submitted,
MSgt Michael R. Harris
Communications Chief
3rd Battalion, 4th Marines
Twentynine Palms, CA
Work Phone: (760) 830-8561