- April 6, 2009
The Longest Day
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.
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.