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.