Yesterday at KAF I decided to chance the 2100 show time for a return to Bagram. My other choice, 1400 just seemed too early to accomplish seeing everyone on my list. (This is operating on the assumption that you should spend at least as much time at the far end doing work as it takes you to get there and back).
Getting dropped off at the Outbound PAX at 2100 – since there were less than 20 of us for 56 seats – it looked like we were Golden. Ignoring the usual pain of getting through the metal detectors by 2120 I was upstairs and bemoaning the fact that there was no real food – just junk. Never mind we had eaten at Harvest Falcon only a couple of hours prior, it just seemed like a good place and time to snack…
Just before midnight, we load up and hike out to the plane, it is sitting just at the break point where it is easier to hike schlepping gear than it is to get on a bus loaded like a mule to drive 200 meters and struggle back off the bus.
We take off, we fly for over an hour and land. When the back gate on the plane comes down – we all look out. Kandahar. We have just landed in Kandahar.
Off the plane, and dropped off at the inbound PAX terminal. At 0130 in the morning I am not waking up our LNO for a ride. Instead, grabbing my rucksack, I hike back down to the outbound terminal. Flights are listed for 0645 and late afternoon show times. It is blocks across the post to billeting and I am tired.
Just as a number of us are about to head out the door, a TSgt comes in from the small admin space. There is a crew dropping off equipment in a few hours and before going back to Bagram – hang on he will try and get us on the return leg.
0240 – 13/14 are there for the show time. Since the inspection people have gone home, we skip the metal detectors in favor of just going upstairs and crashing. On book #3 for the day, it is all blurring in my mind.
This time, when we load up it is the same lovely NG crew as I fly out with on Monday. They even offer me a cockpit ride, but I am too tired to really appreciate it. Plane is empty except for us and our small pallet of gear. This time, when we touchdown, it is Bagram. After directing a couple of soldiers toward billeting, the hospital and Dragon DFAC and a couple of AF Lts to the outbound scheduling side I head inside the terminal.
Wall to wall people, there are troops on the floor everywhere just crashed.
They were outbound to Manas, going home. The weather was too bad for them to land so they came back.
Makes my little delay seem insignificant
Our little blizzard did a major number on east coast airports! No flights in or out on Sunday. Monday had occasional flights, but lots of airlines just moved their planes out of Newark and the NY airports, so if you have a clear runway but no planes, it does you no good.
Those poor soldiers: so close yet so far! How frustrating for them and their families waiting to get them home.
Glad you finally made it back to Bagram and with a friendly crew, too! How annoying for you to have one of those “flights to no where!” and in the middle of the night to top it off.
How relatively insignificant our lives can seem at times…..