Three Years Ago Today
MAJ FatHead suggested that I post more blogs, so I will write about what happened three years ago today:
I was at a dark, dusy FOB in Iraq. My wife was in the third trimester of her pregnancy back home. I checked my email to find out that she was having complications with her pregnancy. She also stated that she asked the Red Cross to send a message to both myself and my leadership (a Red Cross Message is the only way a service member can leave a war zone for an emergency at home).
I went to my commander's office while the Red Cross Message was coming in. I was told to pack a small bag and go to the flight line. I was on the next helicopter out of my small FOB and on my way to a larger FOB. As I flew through the Iraqi sky, I began to recognize areas that I patrolled on my last deployment. Soon, I arrived at a larger FOB when I sat and waited for a few hours to get on a C-130 to fly to Kuwait.
Very late that night, I was in Kuwait. I checked in and was assigned a bunk in a tent. There were about 100 tents, each had 10 bunks. I walked until I found the outprocessing office. They told me to come back in the morning with a few forms filled out. I did so and was informed that I'd be taken to the civilian airport in Kuwait City and fly out on a civilian ticket. My report time was not until late that night.
I wondered around for a while. I found a McDonalds and ordered a few cheese burgers. They were horrible. I tired to sleep but couldn't. I went to the PX and bought a pack of smokes. I spent most of the day and night walking around and smoking. I ate dinner in the dinning hall. I don't remember what it was, but it was better than McDonalds.
I was given some civilain clothing to wear before I left for the airport. I rode the bus through open desert, past oil refineries, and into Kuwait City. Finally at the airport, I finde my way through security then to my gate. I fly from Kuwait, to Germany, to Seattle, then finally to Alaska. While on the second flight I woke up from a nap. I just knew that my wife had given birth. I don't know how or why, but I just knew that my son was in the world.
I landed in Seattle. I changed back into my uniform to try and use it to my advantage to get through secuirty a bit faster. I turned my cell phone on. I got a notice of a text message from my sister-in-law. I opened the message and saw a picture of my son. I was so very happy. I made my way from the international area to the domestic area of the airport. I had to check in to my flight. I was at the end of a very long line. A ticket agent came up and pulled me to the side. He told me to go and stand at a desk where no one was. He checked me in to my final flight. I got the secuirty line and was told to go through the first class line. Once through security, I found my gate.
It was still several hours until my flight. I called my sister-in-law. She was with my wife. I talked to both of them. My sister-in-law said that she'd meet me at the airport. I then found my way to a sports bar. I really wanted a drink after not having any for several months while deployed. I sat and ordered a double Jack and Ginger Ale (it's very good with some lime juice) and ordered a sandwich and fries. A group of guys came and sat a the next table. They started to talk to me. Asking if I'm on my way home from Iraq. I said yes, and told them about my son. I showed them the pictre. During the course of our conversation, I ordered three more double Jack and Gingers. They left before I did. I was finishing up my fries when I asked for the check. The waitress told methat the other guys paid my tab. I left her a tip anyway for her customer service.
I got over to the gate a little bit before they began to load. I was alowed to go on at the same time as the First Class passengers, eventhough I was sitting in coach. Once airborne, I ordered a drink. The flight attendant gave me a drink on the house. She also told me that I can have two more for free during the flight. I ordered both drinks back to back and took a nap. I landed in central Alaska a few hours later. The nap and sudden exposure to negative tempatures sobered me up quick (it was almost a 150 degree tempature diffrence between Kuwait and Alaska).
I got to the hospital and saw my son for the first time. I was filled up with love so fast. I finally understood unconditional love.