Mischief Managed

So I just now realized that the last post I made was in February. Oops. But I swear I have a good reason. The long and short of it was that I was just a tad busy and mostly lazy. between missions, training, and a whole month spending time facing off against ISIS in a valley, things got a little crazy. This will be the last deployment post, which is nice, as I am beyond ready tube back on American soil, drinking sweet tea, listening to country music and soaking up the Southern sun.

For those of y’all who have prayed for the guys and me, I must sincerely thank y’all. There were some times when our road was tough, when things weren’t the best. between minor injuries, sicknesses, and of course the hazards of Afghanistan, I truly felt the Father’s protection over us. We are all coming home safe, and it is a blessing.

I’m going to keep this short and sweet. This trip has really taught me just how amazing America is. Life in Afghanistan is simpler, but at times, I can’t help but wonder what the country would look like if it wasn’t in constant turmoil. The people are happy, but so small compared to others. I once shook the hand of a local boy. He was maybe 14 years old, and happy as could be on his donkey. But the thing that struck me was how skinny and underfed he looked. Afghanistan has the potential to be a nice country, it just has a lot of political issues to work through, and lots of conflicts to settle.

So this is the point where I say thank you to lots of people. I also am going to keep that short. To all the guys in my platoon: y’all have been a pain in the ass most of the time, and occasionally I like y’all, but we did it. To my family: I could not have made it through this deployment without your support and prayers. Between choppy FaceTime calls, care packages, and long periods of no contact, y’all have always been there. It won’t be long until I see y’all again. To my friends: Thanks for always being there through it all. for those of y’all that sent care packages, they were much appreciated. And even if you didn’t send me something, even just texting and talking was a great and much needed distraction.

So that will conclude the updates from the kitty litter box. Next time I post I will be on American soil, safe and sound, finally home.

God Bless!

Bulldog36R (former) out.

Advertisements

The Working Vacation:

So apparently these updates have moved to being a monthly occurrence now. But I have a good reason for being this absent. And that is a mission. We moved away from our home base to another air field and worked with another unit as a security detail for them. It was by far the best base we have been to yet.

Unlike our base, which is still recovering from the suicide vest attack last November, this place was a paradise for us. Better food, better laundry facilities, and a bazaar (kind of like an afghan farmer’s market) that was next door to everything. It made the mile walk to that side worth the trip.

Not going to lie here, but I actually had a boring time there. They wanted a full time tech support guy, so that’s what I did. Now that sounds good, but when nothing was malfunctioning (a rare occurrence for me) things got slow. Besides climbing on ladders and rooftops setting up antennas, the rest of the time was spent relaxing… and getting my favorite item: food.

My job has lots of unwritten responsibilities. The best way to describe it is that I’m kinda like the underpaid intern. I have a job, but I also do whatever the boss has me available to do. So I got the midnight food. The downside was that I was working nights. The upside? I got an amped up golf cart to drive to go help get the food. So it all worked out in the end, and I had more than one buddy pretend to be a helicopter door gunner as we cruised around the airfield. (Side note: I’m pretty sure that the airfield set a record for the umber of speed bumps you can put in a mile. Super annoying to drive and have to slow down every 15 seconds.)

We finished the mission and packed up to leave. The group we were working for loved having us, and we enjoyed the time we had there. Unfortunately, we had to spend an extra night due to “bad weather conditions.” So we stayed the night… and of course it started pouring in the morning. So we left in a rainstorm, after staying outside on the flight line in makeshift shelters for three hours, wet and cold. Couldn’t fly through clouds, but bad rain is a go. We landed in about half a foot of snow… in a snowstorm. Yup. Couldn’t fly when it was clear, but totally can in terrible conditions. I’m not complaining, just marveling at the logic of it all.

So yea. I haven’t seen this much snow since I left Washington two years ago. And I’m reminded of why I am moving to the south when I get out of the army in about a year. I hate the late winter/early spring look and feel of snow. Ice covered by a little snow just waiting to try and assassinate you. And the mud. Everywhere.

Well, as soon as things start to speed up I’ll try and post more. but before I sign off, I would like to thank all of you who have supported me in this adventure. Between care packages and notes of encouragement, I appreciate them all. I sleep better knowing that I have people behind me cheering me on. So thank you all.

36Romeo out, and God bless!

I Think I Overate…

So lots of things have been happening. Actually… nothing has been happening. Besides lots of downtime, movies, and long cat naps, it’s been pretty chill in the sandbox so far. But we are on the move again, and these new adventures are gonna get entertaining.

We moved to a staging area for another movement. Needless to say, this base was incredible. We got in late at night, so the whole platoon of mine went to midnight chow.

Holy crap. This wasn’t just a midnight snack. Oh no. This was a midnight feast. Crab legs, roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy. Cheesecake. Cheesecake!! In the desert. I kinda stuffed myself. It’s almost ten hours later and I’m sure I’m still digesting it.

Breakfast was as large. Omlettes half the size of the plate, bacon, hash browns, and any drink you could think of. This place is heaven.

The reality that we are in a desert has totally set in by now. From the hill we were on this morning, I could see for miles around. Nothing but sand and open terrain broken intermittently by a few small hills. The sunrises and sunsets are amazing. The dust that seems to be a natural part of the atmosphere gives it an amazing reddish hue. For how desolate this place is, it does have some amazing beauty to it.

Well This Sure Ain’t Kansas

WELl. It’s been a long time traveling. I lost track of the hours after the first meal on the plane. Not gonna lie. Airplane food is highly underrated. However. I did enjoy the time on the plane. All like 15 hours of actual flight time.

We boarded the plane in Kentucky and began flying. As I settled in for the flight, I put a movie on and kept an eye on the tracker of the plane’s flight. Seeing us head north over New York and finally over the North Atlantic was a surreal feeling. When we hit Ireland and flew directly over it, the suspense grew in my mind. What was this new adventure going to look like? What kind of people would I meet?

We touched down in Germany and got off to stretch our legs. The first half of our journey was over. Next came the flight to the sandbox.

The one thing I like about flying is the turbulence. Crazy. I know. But the rise and fall of the plane reminds me of the waves and the times spent on lakes on a raft just floating along. When times were simpler. We landed down at the airport. As I looked out the window, all I saw was brown. Brown sky,  brown dirt, brown buildings. To be honest,  it looked uncannily close to tattooinne from the Star Wars series.

We got rooms, and settled in. Then came the time for food. Thank god for middle eastern Starbucks and KFC. Chicken was on point.

I am currently relaxing in a recreation building on the base. It’s 0130 in the morning, but the jet lag hasn’t set in yet. I saw a map on the wall here with pins put onto it to mark people’s hometowns. I proudly put one on lookout mountain. I’m already dreaming of going home.

Well. That’s all for tonight. I’m safe and in good company. Peace to you all.

 

IT’S THE FINAL COUNTDOWN

I’m going to try and make it through writing this post without tearing up on my end. But the fact of the matter is that this week is zero week. Deployment week. The week where my dreams and my nightmares collide in a beautiful display. It’s time to face the music, push all fear out of my mind, grab my B-A-11’s and go out to do my job.

I have two reactions to this new adventure in a far away land, this bold new chapter of my life. The first is pure unadulterated excitement. This is what I’ve wanted to do since I was small. To go pick up a gun and head to a big far away land and protect my family and my country. To go fight for the greatest fighting force on earth and do my loved ones proud. Sure the road took a lot of different twists and turns. A lot of highs and lows along the way, but the time is now here to hop on a bird and go.

The second reaction is fear. Not fear of death. I’ve trained enough for that to not be a factor. I have no problem with sacrificing myself for those I love. Death is no fear of mine. He is my brother. There is a saying among us infantrymen. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For I am the baddest motherfucker in the valley.” So death I do not fear. So what do I fear? I fear leaving people behind. A lot of my readers don’t know this, but my family kicked me out after I left college. This lead to me joining the army to get away from them, lots of daddy and trust issues, and the need for people to be in my life to replace that void. And I have found them. In Chattanooga, a family opened up a door. They invited me into their home because I was a friend of their sons. It was that family that showed what it was to be loved again. They didn’t see a broken, angry shell of a man struggling to make sense of everything. They saw someone who their boys loved who needed some compassion. A weekend turned into an invite to join them for Christmas, and then for the fourth of July. And then the time came for pre-deployment leave. With my truck in the wrecking yard, they still let me come on over for a week to relax. They picked me up from the bus station. And it was during that week with that family that I realized how much they meant to me. Then came a weekend with another family. Dear friends of the family that adopted me. They too are my family now. And that is what I fear. I fear leaving them and not seeing them again. Leaving them and not coming home and giving them a huge hug. That is what I fear. It has always been my fear. Despite my tough exterior that I front, I care deeply about people. My brothers in my platoon, my five brothers and four sisters in Chattanooga. My two wonderful sets of parents. These people mean the world to me and I cannot imagine where I would be without them in my life.

Jesus Christ I’m starting to get emotional over here. Time to wrap things up. Nine months in a kitty litter box is going to be tough, but I will get through it. For all of you who read this, I have one request from you. Please support us as we go fight the rag heads. I cannot say what our missions are gonna be, but they are going to be inherently dangerous. If you are the praying type, feel free to pray for us. Care packages are also a big request on our end here as well. Candy, snacks, toiletries, and forms of entertainment are the tops request here at 3rd batt. I’ll leave my email at the bottom if you want to contact me. But most of all, support us. With this world headed straight to hell, we are the first ones to protect you. And it is my pleasure to do so.

That’s all for now. 36R out.

brandoj2015@outlook.com. Feel free to contact me!

 

A Time To Relax

I apologize for not being as active as I should. But with work being crazy busy as we gear up for a trip to the kitty litter box, I haven’t had a whole lot of time.

But yes. I am still alive and very happy right now. After a crazy bus ride I made it down to Chattanooga safe. Let some free time off begin. I’m staying with friends, and these people are closer than family. My days are filled with relaxing and looking at what I need to do to resettle here in the future.

The biggest perk about Chattanooga is the friends I have here. They are wonderful people and I am so fortunate to have them in my life. So this is probably going to be the last post for a while. Family comes first. And this is time I am going to spend well.

GOD I HATE MONDAYS…

So…we all know the proverbial Monday blues. But this Monday took the cake. After a long weekend of relaxing and taking it easy, I was ready to go to work. or so i thought. maintenance day. Only usual task for monday. Got the paperwork I needed and settled in for the long haul. Lunch time hit and I told the person in charge of me that I needed to pick up some paperwork for the truck and I might be a bit late from that. He said that it was fine and to take care of it.

And this is where my day goes to shitsburg. So I was driving along with the radio on in my big truck. Just minding my own business. And then I saw it…a jeep running a red about 200 feet in front of me. I hit the brakes as hard as I could and tried to turn out of the way but let’s be real here. A lifted, rhino lined ford F-150 isn’t build to stop very well. Thank god for seatbelts.The other driver was an older lady (probably late sixties, early seventies) who just must not have been paying attention. I felt so bad and went over to see if she was ok. She said she was, which was a huge relief for me. Long interviews with the police, EMT’S and firefighters went by surprisingly quickly.

Then came the sad part. She was in no shape to drive, so I watched as my poor baby was loaded on the back of the tow truck and hauled off to the automotive shop on post. I got a ride pack to work, and then settled in for the rest of the work day. I did end up getting the paperwork and cleared my belongings from the truck. It was en emotional goodbye. Looking at her mangled fender, the destroyed headlight, and the body damage not allowing the doors to open. I remember when I first got her, admiring her strong body, raw power, and her unique design.

The odds of being able to rebuild her are looking about 50/50. At this point I’m not sure if I want to with deployment so close. But I’ll keep my options open and figure out what’s best.

I’m ok. Happy this round of shitshow Monday unicorn games is over. Can’t wait for leave and then a nice long shit in a sand box…