The Sandbox

GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire

Welcome to The Sandbox, a forum for service members who have served or are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned vets, spouses and caregivers. The Sandbox's focus is not on policy and partisanship (go to our Blowback page for that), but on the unclassified details of deployment -- the everyday, the extraordinary, the wonderful, the messed-up, the absurd. All correspondence is read, and as much as possible is posted, lightly edited. If you know someone who is deployed who might have something to say, please tell them about us. To submit a post click here.

WHEELS UP |

December 01, 2008

WHEELS UP
Name: T.T. Carnehan
Posting date: 12/1/08
Deploying to: Afghanistan
Milblog: Long Warrior
Email: longwarriorblog@gmail.com

Pack your bags. Decide they are good enough. Stare at them for five minutes. Dump them all out on the floor and start over. Make a mental checklist. When this fails you, make a written one. Keys, wallet (don’t need the Sam’s Club or Blockbuster cards anymore), Sta-Bil in the fuel tank (like your car is going to start right up in 12 months anyway), check your watch, check it again. Go drop off your car. You’re officially locked down.

Get accountability. The army loves accountability. You will continue getting accountability every three seconds for the rest of the year. This is the civilian equivalent of keeping an adventurous child within eyesight at WalMart.

Once you have your accountability, you need to get ready for the movement. Better check your carry-on to make sure it will fit. The army was kind enough to build a breadbox that is supposed to approximate the size of the carry on compartment. If your bag fits in the breadbox, you can go to Afghanistan. If it doesn’t, you need to rip your carefully packed crap apart and start over. Unfortunately, this carry-on gauge doesn’t appear to be life size, so you feel like an ass when you’re easily sliding your bag into the plane's carry-on compartment. Guess you had plenty of room for those Danielle Steel novels after all.

Framed Carnehan WHEELS UP Before you get on the plane, you have to manifest. Manifesting is a process of getting accountability.The two go hand in hand. Manifesting is the Superbowl of accountability. We had some saints from what I believe was the VFW’s lady trooper society with us. They baked a couple of pecan pies, enough cookies for a small army (which is what they had), and gallons and gallons of coffee. As we were munching down on these goodies waiting for our transportation, we were called to order.

Apparently, there was one last inspiring speech we were to hear before leaving.This final inspiring speech was actually to be the first inspiring speech, but this was no time to be technical. I knew it was going to be good. You see, we (The Combat Advisers) are the military’s main effort. We are simultaneously the exit strategy and the victory strategy. How could this speech miss? Just when our anticipation was piqued, a junior major came to the microphone to address the 200-some TTs on their way. Really? A major? Imagine a trombone squeezing out WAA-WAAAA. He was outranked by a third of the audience.

Twenty-hour plane rides are a good time. You get to find out who has overactive sweat glands and who hates other people, and who thinks What Happens in Vegas starring Ashton Kutcher is a really, really funny movie. Shocking. Other than the deep lingering disappointment that was everyone’s when a 30-something steward with a lisp took the place of the imagined comforting wife/mother figure stewardess we were hoping for, the flight was wonderful. They tell me that the seven movies that were played were all dubbed and lame. Apparently the lines aren’t as effective when the hero is called a “son of a biscuit” by the villain. Of course, I slept the whole way, so I can’t really comment.

Next stop: somewhere...

Comments

Godspeed.

The flight home will be a lot better, I hope it's soon.

T.T., thoroughly enjoy your observational skills, interpretational writing style, and wit piqued with no small dose of irony. Look forward to your future postings. Keep your sanity and let it flow.

I've often shared flights from various departure points in the US as far as Kuwait or Bahrain with US men and women in their combat boots and camouflage backpacks. I've wondered what is going through your minds, what you're thinking or feeling, if you've been out before or if this is your first deployment.

Thank you for your blog, I'm looking forward to reading more.

God Bless!

I've often shared flights from various departure points in the US as far as Kuwait or Bahrain with US men and women in their combat boots and camouflage backpacks. I've wondered what is going through your minds, what you're thinking or feeling, if you've been out before or if this is your first deployment.

Thank you for your blog, I'm looking forward to reading more.

God Bless!

Get yer butt out of the military, we don't want to pay you. If you don't want to be there.

Kirk Shut up. Keep your opinion to yourself. Didn't your momma tell you that if you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all? That would be best.

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