13 April 2009
How we left Iraq, Part II- The "Freedom Bird"
From the Soldier side: OK, now to continue my little story on leaving Iraq. Our year was up and we flew out of Baghdad International Airport. I didn't really see very many international flights leaving, but as long as we had a flight out of there, I was OK.
The very fast and comfortable C-17 landed in Kuwait and we un-assed and were taken to another out processing facility (oh yeah, forgot to mention how many times our bags and equipment were inspected by Customs MPs--what the hell were we going to take home---camel dung?)
Kuwait was just as hot, dry, sandy and crappy as I remembered it from before...but it was away from people trying to randomly kills us.
The customs inspection in Kuwait were done by some Navy folks. I'm pretty sure they didn't really know what they were looking at when they inspected our gear because I had several AK magazines mixed in with my M-16 mags...they just looked at them and made sure they had no live rounds and passed them through. Nice little souvenir from the streets of Fallujah (Dec 04)
I don't even remember how long we were in Kuwait...it could have been 2 or 3 days...wasn't important. From there we loaded onto a civilian charter flight---"Low Bid Airlines".
Again, we were all happy. The flight went from Kuwait City (another place not to go on vacation) to, of all places, Shannon Ireland. I love the Irish!
Just before we landed in Ireland, our Battalion Sergeant Major made an announcement. I think it was a big mistake....but who was I to stop the fun. He told us when we got off the plane for the quick flight crew & refuel stop...we could all have on drink (of an alcoholic beverage.) Now, don't forget we had been pretty much "dry" for a year.
One of my friends bought me a "pint" and it was good. Just one. That's all I needed to help fall asleep for the 16 hour flight across the ocean.
However. There are some soldiers who should never be allowed near alcoholic beverages. Some of the lads bought bottles of liquor and brought them on the plane and drank across the ocean.
One funny thought some of us kept having....Why was it if the "Mission was accomplished", were we still there???
To be cont.