Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Lucky Man

Sorry I have not wrote in my blog for a while. I am doing well. I am now in Al Asad Iraq. They sent a group of us here to build a Big Top tent. This is a tent that is over 100 ft. x 100 ft. and 40 ft. tall. That is what Red horse does, builds stuff. They are like a traveling construction team. Al Asad is a Marine base in northern Iraq. So far I like it here better than Ali. We PT every morning here wich I love. This deployment has turned me into a gym rat. Sitting at 204 and 10% body fat. My goal is 220 and about 8% before I get home in October. The gym keeps my mind off of home. It is also cooler weather here, not quit as hot as Ali in mid day. Hope some more projects come up here so we can stay here at Al Asad. I would not mind staying here the rest of my deployment. The daily routine is nice.
Days are passing by faster now that I am busy. Two months down and four more to go. Its hard to believe that I have been gone that long. This is the longest that I have ever been away from my best friend. After 13 years of having a Friend and wife like Jill by my side it is not easy walking alone. Being away I realize that Jill and the kids are not just a part of my life, they are my life. They are why I wake up each day do the thing that I do everyday. Take them out of the equation and I tell you what, I feel completely lost. Uh what do I do with myself. I try to put on this tough guy persona but those who really know me, know that I am just like a big dumb puppy dog. And I tell you what I have never whimpered so much in my life. Some day I will look back on this experience and say wow what a boob. I can't believe how blessed and spoiled I have been in my life. This experience has really opened my eyes to that fact. All of us are lucky to be Americans. Sometimes I don't think we realize how lucky we are. If this is deployment is the biggest sacrifice that I have to make for my family to have all the freedoms we do than I am a very lucky man.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

First Time to Church in Ali

I was able to go to church today and it was awesome. We had a sacrament meeting and Sunday school. They alternate each week. One week we will have Sunday school and the next we will have Priesthood and Relief Society. On Mondays they have family home evening and on Thursdays they have scripture study. It felt really good to partake of the sacrament and renew my covenants, it has been over a month since I have been able to do so. The spirit was very strong there. It is awesome to see the church is the same everywhere, even here in Iraq. It  was just military and DOD employees from here on the base. There was about 25 people there. They mentioned that they/we were just made an official branch here in Iraq and before they were attached to a branch in a different country. I can't remember which country. So this is the first time since Daniel that the priesthood has been established here in Iraq. I thought that was pretty sweet. Our Father in heaven has a plan and things happen for a reason, maybe one day we will be able to understand why everything has happened the way it has. We are here trying to help the people of Iraq reestablish. The priesthood being here to help guide us as we do that is one giant leap in the right direction.  Anyway I really enjoyed going to church today and was asked to say the closing prayer in sacrament.

1st week at Ali

One week down and 24 more to go. Long week! We are working 72 hours a week. Monday thru Saturday 0600-1800. There is not much water and fuels system maintenance work to be done here. We are sitting around quite a bit, which does not help the days pass any faster. We had one job this week. We installed some fuel lines on two generators that supply the power for the flight line lighting system. They have been running off of the belly tanks and have had to refuel them every six hours. They built one large fuel tank that will last at least a week. Who ever installed the tank originally used the wrong type of fittings and the lines began to leak and the generators kept loosing their prime. Finding parts here is quite a chore. The army has a shop that was able and willing to help us. They had a machine and the correct fittings that they crimped on the ends of our fuel lines for us. We gave them a case of powdered gatorade as trade for helping us out. The Air Force gives us powdered gatorade packs that are perfect for our 1 liter bottles of water. The Army just gets water so they were pretty excited about the deal. Worked out great all the way around. This whole process of driving around base looking for parts and jumping through hoops to get the job done took 2 days. This job back home would have taken about 2 hours. I would have looked at the fittings we needed, ran to EVCO bought the parts and installed them, piece of cake. Things like that are just not that easy to do here. No EVCO to run to in Iraq. If we would not have been able to get those army guys to help us out we would have had to order the parts and they would have taken at minimum a week to come in, and in the mean time someone would have had to fill up the belly tanks on the generators every 6 hours. This is a great example why a war like this one is so expensive and takes so long. This is just a small thing and because we are in Iraq in the middle of no wear it took 2 days to do a job that would have taken 2 hours back home.  Those of you that have worked with me before know that I am a high speed person and like to get in, get a job done, (the right way the first time) and get out. Things like hurry up and wait are hard for me to swallow. It is very frustrating but just one of those things that you just have to realize is the nature of the beast.
 I have been able to keep my spirits up most of the time. I try to stay as busy as possible. I try to fill my time with things to do. I set some spiritual goals, some physical goals, and some educational goals. Some which are unrealistic but I know that if I do that I will use every bit of time I have to meet those goals. When I have time to just sit and think is when I start to get myself into trouble. I start thinking about the wife and kids and that is what kills me. I am working 72 hours a week, I am in oh so beautiful Iraq, half way around the world from my family, and making what comes out to be about $14 an hour. Hard to tell yourself that it is worth it. It is though. If soldiers were not defending our country and fighting for all those freedoms we have I would not have my life as I know it back home. It is my duty and responsibility to do my part. There are people sacrificing a tremendous amount more than I am. I am grateful that I am in the Air Force and get to work on water and fuel systems. There are lots of Airman and Soldiers that are  not so fortunate. I am able to talk to my wife and kids daily. That is huge for me. I can not imagine having to do this without the support of Jill and the kids. I love them and can't wait to get back home and hold them in my arms. 

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Arived at Ali Air Base

I am finally here in ALI Air Base Iraq. I am glad to be here. It was a long trip. I start work Monday, and can't wait. Don't have any idea what I will be doing but I don't really care at this point, just want to get to work. The time will hopefully start to pass faster once I am working. I now have my own 9 ft. wide room in a single wide trailer. Living like a king with my own personal space. I have a bed, a wall locker, a desk and my very own little fridge right in my room.The fridge is awesome. I store my own little stash of derk-a-dew that I confiscate from the chow hall each trip. The chow hall is pretty nice as well. Like I said living like a king. Worst part is I wake up 2 to 3 times in the night to drain my weasel and have to get dressed and walk across the street to the latrine. Can't much complain though. Counting days? Yep, 171 more to go. I can't wait to get home and smell my beautiful wife. Man she always smells good with all that damn smelly lotion I complain about her buying. Truth is I just enjoy complaining about spending money. (unless it is on Ball shoes) That probably sounds kinda weird, I can't wait to smell my wife. It is just a big dust ball out here. Always smells like dirt. Jill is one of my favorite smells and something that I just miss. I also miss sitting in the small while Big Neil sits in the big recliner watching TV. I usually try to see how many times I can get Big Neil to say son of a beach in a night. Pretty fun game. The thing I miss most of all though is waking up with my kids and snuggling together in a recliner while watching cartoons. No other feeling in the world better than that. I actually miss Plant and all the guys too, as sick as that sounds. Miss my morning talks with Ned. Miss screwing with Norm and hiding his keys to his truck as well as his whole truck in some of the most unimaginable places. My personal favorite, truck in the headworks with all the overhead doors closed and keys on the hook of the chain hoist in the headworks raised all the way up to the ceiling. Miss just shooting the shiz with all the guys in the lab. Miss golfing with the crew, well as long as Bob is not driving the cart. 171 more days and I will be back to all things I love. Being out here makes me realize how good I have it. My heavenly father loves me more than I can fathom. He shows me that everyday by all the blessings he has given me in my life. Sometimes I think we lose site of that. We grow accustom to all the wonderful things in our lives and forget how wonderful they are. Everything happens in this life for a reason. He has a plan and a purpose for us all. This is where I am suppose to be, I feel it in my heart. I came here for a purpose and will learn and grow in many ways from this opportunity to serve our beloved county.