Thursday, May 19, 2005

Going to War First Class

I never thought that I would go to war first class on a Northwest Airlines Jet. After leaving Fort Stewart, I arrived at Hunter Army Airfield, outside Savannah, and proceeded to "manifest" by swiping my military ID (registering me for the flight) and weighing in. With my rucksack (the smaller of two) I came in at 282 lbs. It was dark and the sky was a deep midnight blue when we walked out onto the tarmac past military jets and boarded the chartered flight to Kuwait.

I was one of about 40 soldiers that got to sit up in First Class, and I curled up with "Dr. No" by Ian Fleming for the takeoff. Ten minutes into the flight, while reflecting that "Dr. No" was one seriously disturbed individual, I fell asleep and did not wake up for 8 hours, until the wheels touching down in Amsterdam for our layover. We deplaned at Amsterdam International and sat for half an hour in an enclosed terminal. Many of the soldiers enjoyed the novelty of being able to smoke indoors, and we were quietly guarded by Dutch police with submachine guns. The Dutch were quite polite, and they offered us pastries that we wolfed down.

We touched down in Kuwait at 3:30 am local time, and boarded buses, where we were instructed to keep the curtains closed to prevent people from seeing us on the bus. I attempted to speak my pidgeon arabic to the driver, but it turned out that he is a Seikh from India, whose brother drives a Taxi in NYC. It turns out, that most of the workers and laborers here are either from India or Pakistan. We received bottles of water, and it was quite sobering when two soldiers on each bus recieved live ammunition. This was to defend the bus in the event that we were attacked on the trip from the airport to our present location.

By 8:30 in the morning, it was already 90 degrees. By 12:00 it was 120 degrees. Imagine putting your face into a lit oven, turning a powerful hairdryer on your face, and throwing sand in your eyes. If you can picture such a thing, this is what it is like in Kuwait. The sun rises at 4:30 am, and turns into a big ball of fire in the sky. When the wind blows, there is no relief from the heat, because the wind blowing turns the sky into a sandstorm. Why anyone would want to live in such a place is beyond me.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

My family will pray for the success of your mission and for your safe return as well as all our men/women in uniform (and civilians).

Thanks for your service. God bless you always.


7:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good luck Adam, come home safely...


11:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Be safe and smart Adam (like you are). I miss you already and can't wait until you come home. I didn't even get a chance to tell you, I got engaged on April 29. The wedding date is either March 25 or April 1, 2006, but I don't think you'll be back yet. Let me know if you are and where I can send the invitation regardless.
G-d bless.
Deb W

2:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Real Danish pastries and a First Class flight? May the return trip next year be just as grand and uneventful. Because you will be back.

I truly appreciate the big sacrifice that you and all of our troops (and the Coalition, for that matter)are making. DOn't forget to let us know if you need sunscreen in your care packages!

Praying for you,


2:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's always a great surprise to cross paths with you -- even if you're on the other side of the planet. There's no doubt you'll all do us proud. In the meantime, I'll think up something crazy to do so we can trade memorable stories when you return.

-- Mensangel

7:08 PM  

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