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.

What Is Wrong With This Place?!?

After a good night of sleep that left me very refreshed and mostly recharged, it was time to explore this strange new place I am to call home for the next few days or so until we continue on to our final destination. First item of business was breakfast. We (myself and Matt, one of my best friends in my platoon) walked to the dining facility and ordered breakfast. Bacon, eggs, hashbrowns, cocoa puffs, and orange juice. Just like I always have when I’m stateside. It was a relief to finally eat again, even though it had only been a few hours since my KFC binge.

Next thing on my mind was a shower and a shave. Feeling the warm water cascade over me was an amazing feeling. Slowly. Very slowly. This place is starting to feel normal. But normal may not be something I want this place to feel like. Maybe normal is what this place will become, and life stateside will be odd and unnatural. But those are questions for later on in this nine month journey abroad.

Next order of any trip after food and hygiene is supplies. Thankfully there was a base post exchange not far from where we are staying. the post exchange (henceforth referred to as the px) is basically a one stop shop that sells anything but food. I got the necessary items. Socks, Q-tips, power adapter, headphones. The essentials for life away from the usual
comforts of home. We stopped at the open air market after that.

The locals here are a wonderful people. Very friendly and always looking for business opportunites with the soldiers who filter through here. As we were looking through the little bazaar, a notebook seller caught my eye. Leather bound journals of wonderful craftsmanship were his specialty. I ended up buying one from him. A black notebook with a wonderfully intricately carved camel on the cover. It will probably end up being a more mundane and less filtered version of what I put on this site. I look forward to filling its pages with the memories I accrue here.

From what I’ve written so far, it would appear that this place isn’t that bad. Well I have yet to give you the weather conditions here. It truly is a kitty litter box. Sand everywhere, briefly broken up with patches of gravel and plastic walkways. It is surpisingly hot for November, and the sun is nearly blinding as it comes off the sand. But the worst is
the wind. Very windy, and the feeling is truly disgusting. The sand kicked up gets everywhere and makes you always feel dirty.

We keep busy. Sleeping, eating, reading, and exploring this wonderful new place. I only wish I could continue my language studies in spanish in peace here. They told us to have a goal for ourselves while we are here on deployment. For me it is learning a language in nine months. It’s an ambitious task for sure, but I know I am more than capable of completing the goal.

The dreaded jet lag hit hard today. I’m ashamed to say that I slept all afternoon and through dinner. But that’s what midnight chow is for, so I’m not going to bed hungry. But seriously, this whole sleep all day and night is getting rediculous. I just want to get back to a normal sleep schedule. The wind isn’t as hard at night, giving us a reprieve from
the harsh conditions of the day. But I’m signing off for now.

Peace to you all!

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…

I. Hate. Charter. Busses

Well. aftet that half bottle of NyQuil last night, I tried to get comfortable, but those seats are not at all conducive to long legged people like myself. so getting comfortable wasn’t going to happen. needless to say, i did manage a solid four or five hours buried underneath my woobie. waking up to see the familiar sights around post was a relief. We were finally home. We got off the bus, turned in our weapons, and then went to go get our bags.

Now, little thing I’ve noticed in the relatively short time I’ve been in the Army is that nothing is ever on time. If it is, it’s something short of a miracle. So. bags coming at 0930? Ha! I showed up at 10 and they didn’t get there until 11. Typical army scheduling.

It was time to unpack. first thing was getting the truck running again. Yea. I think my big baby was a little upset that I wasn’t around her giving her attention, cause she wouldn’t start. Jumped her to go get the bags, and nothing short of a new battery is gonna get her back up. Not happening any time soon. So I went back to my room. Food. Shower. Unpacked the tv out of my closet and turned on the netflix.

It does seem like I have a constant stream of adventure. And I do. But when I have time, there’s nothing I like to do more than just wrap up in my snuggie and chill out with a fat dip in.

It feels good to be in my own bed again. Sleeping on my own bed, underneath my warm blankets, and not having to worry about my feet dangling off the end of a broken down cot. That’s enough talk for tonight. Stay safe y’all.