After over four months of pre-mobilization training, we are set to board the jet that will carry us to a faraway land. My phone is on 'suspension', my extra stuff has been mailed home, and all the last-minute items have been purchased.
Yesterday the field house here (the gym) held a Super Bowl party for mobilizing and demobilizing Soldiers. We went and had a pretty good time. As you can see by the photos, there were some very good sponsors. We had everything from the Olive Garden to On the Border and Starbucks to Hooters. So I heaped Italian food on my plate, grabbed some wings from the Hooters table, and snatched some donuts from Dunkin Donuts for dessert. After downing all that, the game came on and I settled in with some iced coffee from Starbucks. Lieutenant Douglas and I are the die-hard Starbucks members of the unit. We freaked when we found out they were here.
After the game (the end was great!), we prepared for a day of packing. Most of us have two duffle bags, a large rucksack, and a personal bag/computer bag/footlocker. That first bag, or the 'A' bag, weighs around 80 lbs. since our body armor, helmet, and most of our gear resides in that bag. The second bag weighs a little less and the rucksack is the bag we will live out of for the next couple of weeks. I have a footlocker also...it holds personal items that we like to have during deployments. Since we're only a 20-person unit, we're not authorized a nice container like a conex, an ISU-90 or a couple of quad-cons to transport our stuff in.
We have the pleasure of moving all our baggage and our unit equipment ourselves from place to place, piece by piece when we go from our staging area in Kuwait to Baghdad. Great workouts are in our future!
So, for now, this is my last blog until I get situated in Kuwait. Tomorrow we load up, clean up and head over to the terminal for our flight. Right now, a lot of us are in the day room, hunched over a laptop or watching Total Recall for the 3rd or 4th time. This time tomorrow, we'll all be sprawled over baggage and chairs, iPods and MP3 players raging, munching on snacks, and waiting to board. We'll see Fort Dix down below as powerful turbine engines take us higher and we'll doze off...thoughts of families and friends lingering...I'm sure I speak for everyone in my unit when I say that we take them with us.