Sunday, May 20, 2007

Destination Camp Fallujah

The first thing that hit me was the hot rotor wash of the CH-46 as I walked in the ink black darkness towards my final flight of a very long day to take me to my new home. In the darkness I followed the crew chief into the back end of the helo and threw down the heavy pack and sea bag I had been carrying all day, with a flack jacket and helmet on, I was drenched in sweat. Four Marines in flack vests helmets and weapons joined me as we took our seats and sat quietly. We were a group of two CH-46's outbound from TQ airbase where I had arrived earlier in the day from Kuwait via our good Friends in the Air Force on a crowded C-130 of mostly Army folks headed "In-country".

We took flight and the cool breeze from the rear of the helo and the open doors of the door gunners felt great after sweating it out on the ground, several minutes later the door gunner's released the safety on their weapons with a clank and reality was here, I was flying over Iraq as a Marine fully suited up with my TO weapon as an officer of a 9mm pistol strapped to my right thigh, I could feel my heart race I was finally here after the long weeks of Quantico, I was no kidding on the final leg to Fallujah. A Marine in a combat zone.

We touched down in complete darkness again and grabbing my gear I stepped out the back of the helo into the black void of a dark moonless night, I noticed a light off to my right and walked towards it. I was greeted by a Marine Corporal who plainly stated "ID Card sir" I was here.

Once I was checked in as arriving, I was greeted by my new friends here from the Marine Corps Center for Lessons Learned (MCCLL) who helped me with my gear and got me billeting for the night and a much needed and enjoyed shower.

I will spent the next couple of days getting setup here and learning the In's and out's of life here in FOB Fallujah.

In typical USMC fashion I was greeted the whole leg of this trip by Marines at every stop, from my arrival at Kuwait International Airport where I was greeted by and driven to Ali Al Salem by a Gysgt and SSgt. At TQ a CWO-5 greeted me and got me food, water and down time in some much needed A/C as the temp hovered around 100 degrees. At Fallujah once again I was expected. The quote that "Marines take care of their own" is very much alive and well here in theater.