“The Last Journey”
Article 5 a&b...First Impressions
After the C-5 landed, we were escorted down the long ladder which leads to the cargo deck. There, we retrieved our checked luggage and carried it all between the pallets of cargo. Each time I do something like that I remind myself that I’m always carrying too much stuff. I hate this part. It’s so draining. All part of the process however.
We were picked up by an
old bus that somewhere along the line must have been discarded by some other
entity in the Air Force and now used to pick up passengers that land in
This is going to be a difficult journey, but I can do it.
The people who picked us up were young soldiers, and were actually pretty cool folks. Music in the bus was pretty much blarring out some kind of heavy metal which is not my taste at all, but in all fairness to the younger generation fighting this war, they can listen to any music they want, it’s fine by me. It’s their war. My generation just put them into it.
We were taken to what is
called the pax terminal in
Arriving in the middle of the night, my first order of business is to try to coordinate a flight out of here to Bagram. That means, wait in line, get on a list but this time, wait outside for roll call. Herein lies the new problem. At this time, it was 0300 hrs in the morning by the time we got to the pax terminal. The next flight schuduled for Bagram is not until 0100 hrs show time, the next day. There is nowhere to wait, it’s hot and dusty, dark, I’m burned out, and I have at least 22 hours to figure something out. So, my friend from the Pentagon and I, sign up for the list, and low and behold there are only 200-people ahead of us for an aircraft that seats 53 passengers. This out to be fun.
At this I soon realized
that I have to somehow locate my proxy POC and see if we can get some
assistance for the next hours.
Otherwise, we will be in a world of hurt health wise in short
order. I immediately told Vic that I
would be back and was going for a walk.
Now, the problem is, I don’t have any ID card, yet, but I do have
a travel pass that is to be renewed every five hours. I located an internet place which is run by
some Pakistani business guys and it’s a huge rip off. It costs $5 an hour and it takes about
15-minutes to log in. I bought the time,
located an email I had saved with some contact information on it and found a
cell number for a Maj. Constantino, who is a public affairs officer here in
After loading up mine and
Vic’s belongings, we were taken just down the street to the offices of
the media center and given a place to lay our head, washroom facilities and
protection from the outside elements. We
had made it to shelter, got water and now rest was on the horizon. And, to top it off, the Army folks taking
care of us were all excellent. At the
time, we were the only ones here. But,
that would soon change by the next afternoon.
My friend Vic is getting a real education how this end of the war
works. It’s been fun to show him
this side of things. And what’s
more so, I’m pretty much learning it all about 30-seconds before having
to explain it to him. I remember getting
We were shown our sleeping area and put our bags up. Soon we hit the sack after taking a few bottles of water. I had been negligent on drinking water but now was time to hydrate. Now, I find myself always with a bottle of water in hand and sipping it throughout the day. It’s something that must be done now every step of the way. I woke up this morning with somewhat of a large headache and immediately began drinking water. Much to my surprise, the headache subsided after about an hour. Cannot get dehydrated, must remain aware of that.
By daylight hours, Vic and
I began checking things out. Vic now has
become part of a story I will do on him because his son is also deployed here
There have been serious
dust storms here for the past several days and one can taste the dust in the
back of the throat area. It also has
caused a huge backlog of folks trying to get to Bagram. As I have said many times, this is the
hardest part. Just getting there. In the mean time, I’ve noticed that
this particular base has a huge international flavor to it, much bigger than
what I saw in
**MORE TO FOLLOW, MUST SEND NOW**
Getting on today’s
plane was no small feat. Is a matter of
fact, there were over 200 people waiting to get to Bagram from
Upon arrival in Bagram,
the C-130 opened its tail gate area and I could see the mountains surrounding
Bagram from my seat. Mountains. That’s what I see, and they are high,
very high. It looks at first like
I’ve been notified
that by August 1, which is less than 30 hours from now I will be on a
helicopter headed to
I’ve been walking
around the base for a couple hours since my arrival and getting set up in my
room. It’s a huge base and there
is no way I could ever get to figure out just what’s here. One thing I’ve noticed for sure is that
here there is also a large contingent of multi-national
forces. This is a big joint effort from
lots of countries across the globe.
It’s very big. What that
tells me is the enemy is strong. I know
this to be true. I also know that there
is one more day in July and it has been the deadliest month yet in this war