Letters from the front

  "Home from the War"

by Brad "Mexican Bob" Pilgrim  ©2008  5May08 1317Z



I put on pants for the first time in four months yesterday.  Thatís not the sort of revelation that usually thrills my mother, but itís the truth.  I made it back to the states and finally I can wear something besides my flightsuit.  We did a lot on this deployment and Iím glad itís over.  The Army and Marines do this for up to 15months at a time and I donít know how or why they put up with it.  Iím glad they do though.  My last airdrop mission before we came home, pushed us over one million pounds of equipment that my squadron has dropped.  About a month ago we did a drop just a few miles away from downtown Baghdad but other than that, it was all in Afghanistan.  Some of these drop zones are in pretty hairy locations and Iím glad to leave all this nonsense to the next squadron.
Unless something major changes, this was my last long deployment for the USAF.  I figured out a few months ago that since 1995, Iíve spent a little over 1,300 nights of my life over here in the middle east.  Prior to 1995 I didnít count the days but itís also a significant amount.  Maybe itís petty of me and maybe Iím wrong, but I believe Iíve done my duty for God and Country, Mom and Chevrolet.  With that in mind, In November, Iím moving to Altus AFB in Oklahoma.  That is the location of the C-17 school and Iíll spend the rest of my career teaching new loadmasters how to do this job.  Iím pretty good at this and I think Iíve got a lot to pass along to the next generation.  Truth be told though, Iím tired of the operational life and quite honestly I need a break.  Unless I stay past twenty years, Iíll retire at Altus.  Hopefully from there Iíll go somewhere and work on old airplanes the rest of my life!  I donít doubt Iíll miss the excitement of the real Air Force and Iíll be mad when I donít get to be the first plane to land in Iran someday.  But, maybe that wonít be as exciting as students trying to kill me everyday!
I had two other job offers that I was supposedly first in line for, both in California.  One was a flight test loadmaster at Edwards AFB and the other one was the acceptance loadmaster at Boeing in Long Beach.  I didnít take either of them because that is just two far from my daughter in North Carolina and because I would have had to report there by May.  I really didnít want to leave my other loadmasters out here to pick up my slack if I left early.  Another job option, and the one I probably would have been forced to take if I didnít volunteer for something else, was being a sensor operator on a UAV!  At Altus Iíll nearly always fly in the pattern and wind up where I left from, but the UNMANNED in Unmanned Aerial Vehicle means I wonít fly at all!  I might as well get out of the Air Force if thatís the case!
Itís a little strange being back home, but Iím glad to be here.  Itís nice not having to walk 266 steps to the bathroom.  Itís also nice to be able to cook my own food and not having some Filipino guy argue with me over how many eggs I want for breakfast!  It will also be nice going to get my hair cut without thinking some dude from Sri Lanka trying to molest me by doing the ďmanssageĒ when heís done with the scissors. 
People always ask about interesting stuff I experienced when deployments are over. Maybe itís just because the wars have been going on so long and maybe Iím just not as easily impressed anymore.  We carried lots of interesting equipment and interesting people and I learned a lot of things about people.  When all things are said and done, I learned, once again, that my Mama was right. 
 I hate to clean my house.  I much prefer to have a clean house but I hate to have to do the cleaning.  When I was a kid, my Mama always made us clean the house before we went on vacation.  Her reasoning was that it would be clean when we got back home.  Iím 35 now and still donít understand that.  When you get home and it isnít clean, does that mean you arenít happy to get there?  When the Pharaohs died, I wonder if the people that sealed them in their tombs were supposed to have cleaned the place before closing them up for all eternity?  Iíve been to Egypt and seen several of the tombs.  I think their Mamas would be ashamed of them. 
The part of cleaning that bothered me the most was making up the bed.  I honestly believe that forcing a kid to make up a bed is cruel and unusual punishment.  She didnít even wait for vacations; we were forced to do it every day!  Even on Saturdays! I hated to do it then and I hate to do it now!  I really canít think of a bigger waste of time.  Itís right up there with going to the bathroom.  You may wonder what those two events have in common.  Simple, you are forced to do both of them and they are a total waste of time.  Nothing constructive is accomplished by either of them.  Sure you can read in the bathroom but whatís the point?  It always makes my legs fall asleep. 
Before I left home back in December, I cleaned my house just like Iíd been taught.  In the event that I got shot down or something like that, my Mama would be comforted by the fact that I had a clean house before I left home.  Iíd also be wearing clean underwear, which was another concern of hers when I was a child. Well, at least they will have been clean when I put them on! I canít vouch for their condition after I figured out Iím gonna crash!  I came in the door of my house at 0400 and it was clean!  The bed was made and everything.  I donít know if I would have slept in the yard if it wasnít, but once again my mama was right.  Itís sure nice coming home to a clean house!  Does that sound gay?  Maybe I spent too much time around the ďmanssage guyĒ!
Hope to see most of yall in June at the Olympia airshow.

Faithfully Submitted