Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Journey Home.

All of the ADVON (Advance Party) personnel had to meet at the bus and load our gear at 0800 on 4-APR-2012.  We loaded our gear onto the truck and took the 30-minute trip down to LSA (a base where most of the traveling is coordinated).  Once there, we all unloaded our gear off the truck.  After that, we are told that we have to meet in an hour for a formation.  Well, no formation was held, but we were told that we had an additional couple hours to "hang out" or get chow...whatever.  After those couple hours we had a briefing that lasted all of about 20 minutes.  Then, we sat in that tent for another 40 minutes or so.  We shuffled all of our gear over to the customs tent and had to have all of our bags x-rayed and then our person had to be imaged.  This was a long process to get everyone through this station who was set to be on the flight.  Lastly, we all went into a secured area on "lock-down" for the next 4 hours or so.

After the 4 hours of waiting we all had to get into alphabetical order to prepare to load the buses to transport us to the airport.  This process took about an hour until we loaded up on buses and headed to the airport.  The trip to the airport took roughly 2 hours.  Once there, we all got onto the plane and waited there for about 30 minutes until takeoff 45 minutes past midnight.

This leg of the trip took us to Liepzig, Germany.  It was about a 6.5 hour flight.  We all disembarked the aircraft to sit in a waiting area for the next couple hours while they refueled the plane and changed the "crew."  Then, we all hopped back on and took off about 30 minutes later.

At this point, it is about 10 a.m. Kuwait time.  We take off en route for Bangor, Maine, which is a 7 hour flight.  I slept most of the way. We landed in Maine where we were greeted by Vets of many conflicts as well as a hand full of various civilians and their families.  This is
a pretty powerful moment for me...getting back to America after being gone for so long is just a feeling I couldn't describe appropriately. It is just an amazing feeling!

After a 2 hour wait there, we got back onto the plane and headed to Pope Air Force Base right by Ft. Bragg.  Here is where about 20% of the plane's population got off for their welcome home ceremony.  These folks were all Active Duty personnel who are stationed at Ft. Bragg.
After about a 2.5 hour wait there, we all got back onto the plane and headed to Gulf Port, MS, which was a 2 hour trip.  We landed there and were greeted by a General and many of the Rear Detachment (non-deployed) Full time Staff who are here to prepare for us to demobilize.  Then, we loaded up the buses and took the 1.5 hour trip to Camp Shelby, MS.  Once we arrived here at about 1930 (7:30pm), 0330 Kuwait time on the 6th of APR, we unloaded all of our bags and headed to our temporary housing for the time being.  So, a total traveling experience taking roughly 43 hours from start to finish, or from Camp Buehring, Kuwait to Camp Shelby, Mississippi.

As much as I needed a shower, I need sleep more!  I wasn't feeling all too well from all of the traveling...taking off and landing..sitting...waiting...airline food, etc.  So, I hit the sack around 1030 p.m. to get some rest to be able to get up, shower and eat before I had to be in formation at 0645 the next morning to begin our demobilizing experience.

Here's what I look like after about 40 hours of travel.

Now...I'm here at Camp Shelby for the next few weeks to a month.  This should prove to be an interesting month.  I am excited as all hell to be in America as it is another step closer to HOME!  When I actually get to come HOME, however, I will probably be the happiest man alive!!!  The day is coming!!!  I will see you all soon!!!

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