Sunday, July 5, 2009

Back to Tallil

At 0730 this morning we were told to return at 0820 with our bags. We would be flying by 1130! I packed up and told the guy on the top bunk I had packed up before and would be reclaiming my bottom bunk if the flight was cancelled. He promised to be ready to move and I was off to the next formation. We waited in a tent for a couple of hours and then we loaded our gear, loaded on the bus and we were off to load up on a jet for a very short flight.

On the bus I sat with a 23-year-old regular Army soldier returning to duty after R&R leave like me. Unlike me, he is on his second deployment and is planning on being deployed to Afghanistan. His current job is body guard for a colonel. Last deployment he was on convoy duty. Five times he had a vehicle blown out from under him by an IED. He has been temporarily blinded by concussion and has shrapnel lodged in a couple of places, but, at least by his own standards, he is OK. After his next deployment, probably ground combat if he gets the assignment he is looking for, he plans to get out of the Army and go to college to work on computer networks.

"I figure three deployments will be enough," he said. He will finish his third tour at the ripe old age of 25.

Back at Tallil, my new bike was waiting in the post office. I signed for it, put it together but because of a sandstorm, I decided not to ride around the base and cleaned up my dust-filled room instead. My roommate is still away at another base, so the CHU was unoccupied for a month and got very dusty. More tomorrow.

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