Saturday, February 23, 2008

HR to KWI

24 February 2008

Finally made it to Kuwait. There were plenty of flights posted, but when it came right down to it, maintenance issues kept the birds in Kuwait at least a few hours longer than anticipated. At least they were there (one did turn around and return to the nest in Kuwait) where all the parts are available. My primary worry was making it to Kuwait earlier enough so that there would be time to process my passport. Used to be it only took 8-12 hours to process, but now it is every bit of 24 hours.

Since I handed in my passport at 1930, I am hoping it comes back about that time...although the guy behind the counter is saying come back at 2100. If the bus for the airport leaves at 2130, that might be pulling things a bit close. But, for $50, I could always take a cab from Ali As Salem. We'll just have to wait and see.

I arrived completely washed-out. I only napped last night for two hours since I've been on mids and slept the whole day before. So with all the waiting at BIAP and by the time the plane lands and we're bussed over and process and drop off IBA (vest and helmet for storage...cuz I ain't draggin that crap around the world!) and catch a bite, I was hardly standing by the time 8pm rolled around.

I met up with one of my coworkers, Kevin. He left the day before me from BIAP. We did dinner and then he picked up his passport for departure back to the States last night. He was mentioning that they had a rather solemn flight. Their departure was delayed by about an hour for a special passenger. The folks at BIAP first asked all the group that was flying if they had reservations about flying with HR. Working over here, that is always a possibility on flights back to Kuwait. Of course no one spoke up. After all, how could you? As sad as it sounds, it should be considered an honor, given the circumstances.

Because of their special passenger, Kev said that instead of flying to the military end of the airport, they flew to the International side first. Then they had a military ceremony for the passenger's de-planing and transfer to another flight going Stateside. After the ceremony was completed, the pilots fired the engines up and took the C130 in a circle around the airport from the international airport and landed on the military side of the house to drop off the remaining passengers on the flight.

In case you aren't familiar with their special HR passenger, their passenger rode in the back cargo space of the C130 in constant view of the passengers...draped in the Stars and Stripes. HR stands for Human Remains. Godspeed and God Bless that soldier for his or her sacrifice.
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