Saturday, February 07, 2004

Departing Fort Bliss for Kuwait

Departing Fort Bliss for Kuwait
Saturday, February 7, 2004
10:35:00 AM CST

03 Feb 2004

Well, we've arrived at Camp Doha in Kuwait. This journey seems to have taken weeks since we left Fort Bliss. Just to clear things up a bit, we knew last week Thursday that our departure was scheduled for Monday. I just am complying with the OPSEC (Operations Security) rules since this involved the movement of troops and resources into the theater. That said, it was a loooong weekend of waiting. We all just wanted to get on with it and depart.

On the positive side of things, we were able to see the Super Bowl. What a great game! It all was up to the last 1:08 minutes. Sal (Salvatore Bono) and I went down to the NCO Club on Bliss and watched the last half on the big screen while sucking down some of the last beer we would taste.

We left the Bliss Inn at 0530 the following morning 04 Feb, to make an 0600 formation that never materialized. We had been told that we would have formation at 0600 and chow at 0630. Then briefings and departure scheduled for 1000. At leasted we stayed at the Bliss Inn for our last night. Our co-workers in the open bay in 503A were moved last night to an even bigger open bay circus tent near the flight line. It must have been the size of a half a football field with bunk beds as far as the eye could see. Not that we were expecting anything better than that once in Kuwait and Iraq, but why suffer any sooner than necessary?

We finally were bussed over to the military departure building on Biggs Air Field. The bags were then lined up for the dogs to sniff. We had taken our luggage and duffels over to 503A on Saturday morning for loading, so all that we really had on Monday morning was our carry-ons. Same routine was done at 503 with the dogs. Rows of baggage and duffels lined up flat for the dogs to give them the once over looking for contraband.

Briefings from teh chaplain and the outgoing reserve commander at around 0900 til 1030. We then were called alphabetically to board the waiting Continental 777 waiting for us. It wasn't a full flight, but we had about 40,000 lbs of baggage. Volunteers for handling the baggage got the opportunity to fly business class. That might have been nice, but moving 40,000 lbs of luggage four times isn't worth another ruptured disk!
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