Sunday, August 26, 2007

Back home and on the road again!

Well, I finally made it home from Baghdad! I arrived in Shreveport at 10:00 pm on the 15th of August. Of course, Cindy was there to meet me. It was a great reunion after being gone for 7 months. It's a great feeling to be back home. I'll always remember my time in Iraq; the people I worked with, and of course the war, but I love being home again.

And, I'm on the road again. Well, I should say that we are on the road again. Cindy and I are taking a trip to see family along with a good portion of the Southwest. We are traveling to Albuquerque for a night on our way to Las Vegas. We are going to meet Melissa (and her boyfriend Pete) there and sightsee for a couple of days. Then all 4 of us are off to Simi Valley, CA to see my sister Nikki and her family. Can't wait. It's been about 20 years since I've been to California to see her. About 4 days there and then up to Salt Lake City to visit with my parents and kids, and of course our Grandson! We will also be attending Cindy's annual family reunion, which will be a lot of fun. Then it's back to Shreveport and back to work.

My first step when I get back to work is, believe it or not, go TDY. Three of us are going to Minot to do some currency flying. That will be great since I haven't flown since January! Can't wait to get back in the jet.

Have more to come after that. Keep checking back as I will be blogging during the trip and hopefully adding some pics of our adventures as we go.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

The End of an Era

Saturday night was an ending for JCCS-1. Last night the squadron officially said goodbye to it's first wave of Air Force EWOs (and one Intel guy). Last night myself, Stoli, Foggy, and Dozer were all awarded our medals and the CAG said the official goodbyes. We each said our words and then the rest of the squadron came up and shook our hands. We are now only a few days away from beginning our trip home. In fact, the number of days until we get home are now counted in single digits! What a great feeling. That's the sweet part.

The bitter part is that we are only a few days away from beginning our trip home. I know, I know, that's the same thing I said was the sweet part! It's all one and the same. Although I am very excited to go home (and wouldn't stay for all of King Midas' gold) I also hate to leave. The people I have been working with here have been great. We have had a lot of fun, we've worked hard together, we've even come under fire together. They have all been hard-working, competent, focused professionals here to do the job, save soldiers lives, and win the war. It is difficult to leave them. They are also great friends. I've worked with the Navy before and it's always a pleasure. So, to my fellow warriors at JCCS-1 I wish you fair winds and following seas.

This deployment has been one of the most professionally satisfying of my entire career. I have found over the years that my combat deployments are much more satisfying than normal day-to-day ops at home. This particular deployment, being much closer to the fighting than ever before, has been the best of the best. That may be difficult for many of you who have never been in combat situations before, or who have never served in the military, to understand. But I know there are some out there who do understand it. One reason for the satisfaction is that, for those of us who have made the military a career, it's a chance to actually do the job that we spend such a large amount of our lives training and practicing for. For example, I have accumulated over 2,500 flight hours in the course of my career. Only about 250 of those hours have been under fire in combat. The other reason these combat deployments are so satisfying is that you have much more immediate feedback on the effectiveness of the work you do. In combat flying, you can fly your mission and when you land back at base and debrief, many times you have the bomb damage assessment already available to you. Instant feedback knowing that the target(s) you were assigned were destroyed. Here in Baghdad, it's been reading the daily reports of the IEDs and how often lives were saved because of the work we do here. It's a great feeling.

We should be leaving here in only 4 days. We'll spend a few days in Kuwait, turning in equipment and decompressing before going home to our families. Then we'll be on our way. As you can imagine, after 6 months away, going home is just about the only thing on my mind. I think Cindy mentioned something the other day about how she thought it might be pleasant for me to come home. Actually she's very excited, and who can blame her. As usual, she's had to deal with many things since I've been gone. We've burned our share of electrons calling back and forth, sending emails, faxing documents, etc all so she could do those many things that I would normally take care of. She's done a fantastic job as always.

I look forward to seeing you all again when I get back. If I don't get a chance to post here again before I leave, I'd like to thank everyone who read my blog while I was over here. It was my first attempt at blogging and I enjoyed it immensely. In fact, I enjoyed it enough that I fully plan to continue this blog (though under a different name) when I return home, so keep checking back. Obviously the content will change some, but I hope to keep it an interesting mix of what's happening with Cindy and I (and the rest of our family) and maybe some commentary on current events. Thanks again.