• April 6, 2009
  • 19

The Longest Day

Everyone who has spent any time in the military is familiar with the concept known as ‘hurry up, and wait.’ Waiting is fundamental to Marine Corps doctrine. Why, you may ask? Because if we eliminated waiting from our planning and operations we would be back from our deployment already and that is just not acceptable.

Case in point, the longest day. This is the day you leave for your deployment. How is it the longest day? By all means read on…

Our longest day began with the planned chartered flight scheduled to take off at 08:30 in the morning. The abhorrent trolls who run operations at the air field (US Air Force) demand we show up 4 hours prior to departure. So then we had a show up time of 04:30.

But wait there’s more…

The casual observer will forget we are moving approximately 300 Marines and Sailors with all their equipment. This requires loading and unloading all this gear into chartered trucks. So we must tack on an extra hour for this. Very well, 03:30.

Hold on…

Before we load gear the State of Hawaii demands an agriculture inspection. This is to prevent the spread of man-eating venus fly traps and the mad orchid disease from becoming a pandemic. So a dog handling team has to go through our bags before we load them. 03:00. The dog will be late. 02:30.

We also have to issue weapons, optics and all high speed equipment to all ninjas deploying. This is an exercise specifically designed to give everyone involved rectal cancer. It will also take at least 2 hours. 00:30.

Marines being notorious for their meticulous attention to detail, it just wouldn’t be right if we didn’t inspect the barracks before we left it in the hands of others. So let’s start that at say 23:30.

So for an 08:30 flight we arrived to work 9 hours before departure. And who are we kidding anyway? You know I didn’t get any sleep that night so there I was up all Friday going into Saturday’s deployment ritual.

Then the dumb stuff started happening.

We got on the plane at 07:30 as planned but there was some kind of contract issue involving weight and crews and other details which escape most Marines who are simply trying to do as they were told.

08:30 moved into 09:30 and on into 10:00. It seemed we are not at fault on our end but safety was now a concern as well. The pilot refused to fly the mission with the plane we had. As a side note I will never ever bad mouth anyone on a safety call and in this case I believe our pilot was looking out for our best interests.

Finally, it was resolved we would be served breakfast on the plane we were on (it was 13:00). We then got off the bird and boarded a new plane with bigger engines. We would finally depart at 15:30. By the time our flight finally left we had been sitting on the tar mac for eight hours.

The eight hour wait was followed immediately by an eight hour flight to Detroit with a two hour lay over. Then we blissfully continued our journey among the clouds to Amsterdam where our Dutch friends refused to let us go anywhere in the airport and we hung out in a terminal area smaller than our plane was. I guess they didn’t want us animals scaring the locals.

Finally, we landed in joyous Kuwait where generally the weather is not unlike that of your nearest oven set on high. This time of year it is thankfully more like a low bake though.

The flight in and of itself was twenty six hours not counting the eight hours on the flight line or the nine or more hours of cat herding and full belly roaring employed to remind Marines it was healthier to move with a sense of urgency than not to.

So here I am in Kuwait. Waiting for another flight to Iraq. Today all I have to do is turn chow into crap. The waiting has all been factored in.

/ / / /


  1. Just to make you feel better, the Army does the same crap, the last unit move I was on was from Panama back to the US, started at 1900 hrs for a flight the following morning 0800, some stuff just sucks, stay safe my friend….

  2. We have our respective roles and that’s how it is meant to be.
    But I do think you do a good job at caring for your charges, and their mothers appreciate that. I should know, my dear friend is a Marine momma.

  3. I can’t claim arduous hours of childbirth…but hours sitting on the tarmac…breakfast or not…would not sit well with me.

    glad you got there safe and sound…

  4. Sgt. I am enjoying reading your blog after ending a previous relationship with a Lt. Colonel in the Army. He never shared this stuff when he was deploying because he thought I wouldn’t be interested…. but it is interesting to me. He didn’t want to share any of the pre-deployment woes and now that he has returned, he hasn’t shared much of what happened over there either.

    I appreciate you sharing your journey with us. I gained much appreciation for the military while supporting a soldier through his 15 month deployment. I had some idea of what he was going through… what little he did share. He was hatin’ it. That’s all I knew for sure.

    Godspeed and I’m looking forward to the next installment.

  5. Oh yeah, go Anndi, you tell him gal! LOL

    Seriously all that hanging about would just about do my head in! At least when you’re giving birth you can scream and shout! 😉

  6. That does not sound like fun … especially eight hours on the tarmac with nothing to eat.

    And those clowns in Amsterdam? Keep a mental note of that the next time the Dutch need your assistance.

  7. Been there, done that! Even as a Tin Can sailor, if you take a military hop anywhere you are at the mercy of REMFs…and they want all the medals.

    Take care, Sgt Mike.

  8. I’m smiling at the feedback here, B. No, not “I told you so”, brother, but I am pleased they echo what I have always said. People care and they want to know what is going on and how you are. Hope you eventually got some sleep. You’re an ass without it.

    And if that wasn’t enoguh of a segue to the less sappy…boy did you rake it in at the grocery store today! Matthew was maniac. He KNOWS what you like. ha…he thinks he knows…***thinking to self***actually he didn’t do half bad…

    Don’t worry I sent enough so you wouldn’t have to worry about people taking you out in your sleep or the Cpt. or the SgtMaj duct taping you to something out on the AO. They would avert theri eys and miss the hard look and dodge the firebolts you would shoot from your hands, of course…;)

    PS. Better get me three more ninjas..the kids are fighting over Weemer already. Let me know and I’ll post the the addy over your way. It would be cool if we could generate some other supporters for your Marines there.

  9. That wasn’t whiny. Whiny is civilians who check in 10 minutes before a flight is scheduled to depart and continue to demand an aisle seat on a flight with first come first served seating, after they have been told the flight is fully booked.

  10. Top,
    You did it again…you gave me Flash Backs to Bosniraq deployments. Only, we had to go through this multiple times going there and coming back because “we’re just National Guard” and the Army has to really fuck with us more. Like when we got back to Ft Screwus and the regular army pukes got to go home right away, but the Real Army assholes said we had to stay there a few weeks so they could see if we had PfuckingTSD or something. We told them we were developing a case of it if they didn’t let us go home… fuckingretards.

  11. Sarge, it just goes to show that some things never change

    T, you were in a relationship with an Offcier, in the Army. ‘Nuff said on that I think. Sometimes doing what I do sucks, but I don’t hate it. If I hated it then it would be time for me to get out.

    Hope, SHUT. UP.

    CI Roller, don’t get me started on the PTSD issue. Maybe that will be a topic of a later post. Suffice it to say that I have strong feelings in that regard. I do believe PTSD and TBI exist and have had Marines who suffer from those. How we handle/diagnose these is what I have heartburn with.

    To all, thanks for wishing me and mine well. We appreciate it.

    Semper Fi.

  12. Hey Gang-
    Heard from Mike last night via IM/email. (noon his time.) They were getting ready to fly out and he should be back around in a couple of days he said. He was in good spirits and has some news about his blog he’ll be sharing once things are put to bed.

    Keep leaving messages and such, he’ll get them if he can access Blogger and if he can’t, I just compile them and drop them to him via email.

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