Posted by: Dude in the Desert | December 9, 2009

9 Dec 09

and now, the rest of the trip…after our two hour ride thru “death valley”–as I later found out that what it’s called, because of all the IEDs on that area–we arrived at the FOB and met up with two other AF guys that were here for about a week in the beginning of our deployment…one vehicle maintenance guy and one generator guy…we dropped our gear and headed to chow …their chow hall is outside the camp on the main base area …it kinda sucked for such a big base–well, area-wise it’s not all that big, but there are a LOT of people there … tents packed together like a puzzle with just enough room to walk in between each of them…after we filled our bellies we walked back down to the guys’ room and hung out for a bit…we were told all the flights had been cancelled for the next few days due to incoming weather…great, we thought we were gonna be stuck there for a week or so…I was really in a hurry to get back because I had a tattoo appointment set up–otherwise I wouldn’t care and wouldn’t mind staying for a while…we hung out for a while and then got word there was a few trucks rolling to Bagram at 0300 that night…well, I decided to hit the sack and get some rest if we were gonna be heading out at that time …Joe went with the other generator guy to help work on a light cart…the place they had us staying was another wood shack, but it was separated into 6 rooms…it was nice to have a little privacy…but the bed was horrible… I sat on the edge to take my boots off and the side of the mattress folded completely over and the spring stabbed me in the ass as I sank down to the wood frame…I have to admit it was more comfortable than the US military cots…so I laid back and immediately passed out …riding in a truck for two hours doesn’t seem like something that would make you very tired, but when you’re traveling roads where people are trying to kill you there is an unbelievable amount of adrenaline pumping thru your body…there is a feeling of super alertness, constantly scanning around the area for anything that could be a threat–even tho my view of the outside was very limited, I was looking at any part of the road or roadside to see anything I could…I remember the missions on my last deployment where I was a gunner–after those missions I would crash hard for 12-14 hours without stirring a bit…it’s like a massive sugar rush and being on uppers at the same time and then having that crash when everything wears off…anyhoo, it was some good solid sleep…around 1800 the guys came in and woke me up for dinner …again, not too impressed iwth the food, but I guess they do the best they can…so we went back to the other AF guys’ room and hung out for a while–we actually hung out all night until about 0200…then we went back to our spot to gather our gear and get ready for another road trip…I laid down on my totally uncomfortable bed, but it felt so good that I almost passed out again…I got up and we headed out to the trucks …the team guys were packing things up and checking out the trucks…oh, and we found out that one of the main reasons for this particular trip was because one of the team guys broke his leg and needed to go to the main hospital at Bagram…they were out hunting bad guys while riding 4-wheelers…his got stuck in a ditch and wouldn’t start so he was trying to push it out…well, it rolled over and landed on top of him and broke his leg…they did a mission brief, which lasted about 37 seconds… basically–“we’re going to Bagram on this highway…in case of contact or an IED you all know what to do…make your weapons hot and lets roll”…we all charged our weapons and put a round in the chamber, hopped in the trucks and buckled up…we rolled down the road at top speed–in these trucks it was about 50-55mph…and in these big MRAPs that feels like 100mph…we slowed down for some traffic and pot holes and speed bumps, but other than that it was pedal to the metal haulin ass…this time it was pitch black outside so there was nothing to scan for and nothing to see out the windows, but I still kept totally alert and ready for action…luckily nothing happened and the trip was very uneventful…this time we rode right thru the middle of Kabul–one of the worst places in the country for suicide car bombs and IEDs and shape charge hand grenades and whatever else they can blow us up with…again, nothing happened…we hit the Bagram area and went straight off the road into a 4X4 driver’s dream…mud holes, hills, slopes, and anything you can think of good for tearing shit up in a monster truck…we went around the base and skipped the main gate…we ended up at a gate straight into our camp…it took a while for someone to open it because I guess nobody knew we were coming in at that time…we parked over by our barn and downloaded the trucks…there was ice on the windows of everything parked and it was cold as hell…once again my toes were froze…I got our shop truck and we loaded our crap and drove over to the barracks…I thanked the team guys for the ride and headed “home”…I threw my stuff in the room, cleared my weapon, and headed ot the chow hall …it was breakfast time already… I saw the chief and told hom we were back, ate some grub, and went to the ops center to sign back in…chief told me and Joe to take the day off to get some rest and take it easy…I hit the showers and then hit the rack…same as before I passed straight out and got some really good sleep…I set my alarm for 1700 so I could wake up and get ready to go over to the other camp and get my tattoo…I got cleaned up and dressed and headed out to the other camp…I met Jose down in the parking lot and we went up to the “tattoo studio” (aka his room)…he had an eagle drawn up for me to go on my stomach…we talked a little while he touched up the drawing and made a couple changes…then he had what I wanted…he did the stencil and got me laid out on the hospital table he acquired…he did a tattoo for the Sgt Major and ended up with his own double size room, a hospital table, and a few other items needed for a tattoo operation…I loaded up on sugar (mike & ike candies) and water–I found this helps me sit thru tattoos better…usually I chow down a bag of gummy bears, but I only had the M&Is this time…well, he started the buzzing of the gun and it brought back all the memories of my other tattoos–just thinking of all them and where I got them and who did them for me…I closed my eyes and relaxed…remember to keep breathing deep slow breaths while consciously trying not to tighten my ab muscles…all the millions of holes in my skin didn’t really bather me too much…at one point I think I dozed off a little…in a couple spots he had to do some small lines really close together–that’s when it started to burn…to me it feels like some has a serated edged steak knife that’s been sitting in a fire and they are dlowly dragging it across my skin…I can handle the pain without flinching or twitching, but it freakin hurt…especially around my belly button…it felt like he was using one of those small gardening rakes and ripping my belly button out from the center…he finished the outline and had to change needles…I had to have a smoke and load up on some more sugar…after a while my body will start shaking and shivering like I was cold if I don’t take in more sugar and water…not really how that all works on the biological side, but that’s how it works for me…so, he started with the coloring and shading…again around the belly button was excrutiating, and then he got to the tail feathers…there are long lines really close together…that area was already raw and burning from the outlines and then he hit it again with the coloring…man that hurt…it seemed like he was doing that for 4 hours and he said “we’re halfway thru the tail”… holy crap, are you serious?? only half of it ?? well, I suffered and maintained my composure thru the rest of it…he wiped it with a cold wet wipe towel and said “we’re done” …that cold never felt so good…it was kinda hard to stand up, but I got on my feet and headed ot the mirror…it was done, and I was happy with the finished product…the whole thing took a little over 3 hours …we settled up with the payment and I headed out…the seatbelt sucked, and the rubbing of the shirt was pretty bad too…I got back to my camp and went to take a shower…of course, there was no water in the showers…I headed down the gravel to the other latrines…I got washed up and back to my room…by this time it was after midnight…I went to bed but had to pile up some pillows on my sides to keep the blanket off my stomach…it was kinda hard to sleep, but I finally dozed off…this morning I get up and head ot the latrines–no freakin hot water–ice cold…so I headed down the gravel again to the other showers…went to work and sat around all day basically doing nothing …today was rainy, wet, dreary, gray, and just all around blah…we took off around 1530 and that was my day…it’s getting colder and I am surprised it isn’t snowing already… it’s still raining out there right now…I’m thinking I will wake up to some snow on the ground…well, that’s about all for now, love you and miss you all… OOL



  1. I had to laugh about the mattress attack. At least you were so tired that you didn’t really notice the crappy bed. And I can’t imagine getting a tattoo like that. The little one on my foot hurt enough. Love you and miss you too! OOL

  2. The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 12/11/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

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