Reach 547

the call sign for the C-17 Stratevac fight today from Bagram to Ramstein. Stopping at the terminal this morning to on Space-A flights to Germany, I was expecitng to be told to come back at 0200 or so tomorrow morning. Most of the fights out leave early in the morning which puts them in to LRMC just after 0900.

About once a week (Thurs night or friday morning) there is a C-17 lift. The rest of the time it is KC-135s. The C-17 can haul a lot of patients, the fuelers no where near as many. Most of the time Thursday becomes when they schedule the ambulatory patients.

The AE flights can also take the occasional Space-A passenger. Not regulary scheduled or movement of units, ammo or equipment that might jepordize their status, but certainly those on Emergency leave or people looking to hitch-hike a ride home.

There were a good dozen names on the standby list this morning. The nice TSgt at the counter told me to come back about “three thirty.”
In the morning?
No, this afternoon. The flight just landed and they are reconfiguring – it will go back out later this afternoon.

I am standing there almost frozen. He just told me this is the C-17, it is the most likely flight to take excess people. For whatever reason, the schedule was changed. This flight is 1030 in the morning. I have 13 certificates to produce. Files to burn from the computer. A duffel back to pack and a room to clean.

Oh yes, and lunch might be nice.

In the next couple of hours I manage to get everything done at the office by noon – all the files from the computer, email accounts closed down, certificates sent and find two office mates to help me at 1400.

Between 1200 and 1400 I operate somewhere between whirling dervise and speed demon with the brain totally on auto-pilot, managing to cram an incredible amount of stuff in my remaining duffle bag, pack all the rest in my rucksack, log about 15 books through Bookcrossing and straighten the room.

My timing was terrific – I had just remembered to pick up my last load of laundry (which meant restuffing the duffel) when my buddies showed up. Turns out my caution was a good thing – show time was 1445, not 1530. That extra time gave us a chance to stop at housing and sign my room over to one of the incoming personnel.

Six of us made the hitchhiker list, throwing our gear into the back of a pickup truck before getting a ride out to the C-17. Loading us first, we were barely settled before the first evac bus shows up with all the ambulatory patients and the first three litter patients. Second bus following rather closely behind, as soon as the last patient was loaded it seemed like we were taxing out.

With the time zone changes it is hard for me to get a good grasp on the length of the flight. Taking off after 1700, finally getting our gear at 2230 (Terminal closes at 2300) plus the 3 1/2 hour time zone change – all I can tell you is that I am a bit tired.

Of course, since flights are so chancy, I exercised my usual option which is call for a ride after arriving in country. You know you are loved when, on a dark, cold, rainy night without prior notice your husband is willing to get in a car and drive over an hour each way just to pick you up.

Heidelberg, Germany

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24 Responses to Reach 547

  1. ruth says:

    You’re home!

  2. Holly says:

    Yes (grin!)

  3. Mark says:

    Have a safe flight.

  4. Alison says:

    Well heck YEAH!!! Get your wife after she’s been in Afghanistan? Good
    for him, absolutely, and welcome home!!

  5. Barbara says:

    This came in literally as I was writing you an email!
    Welcome home!

  6. Isobel says:

    And you had a question? I don’t think so.

    So, are you officially out of the Army? Plans? I mean aside from reading, knitting and drinking tea?

  7. Linda says:

    welcome home!

  8. Bob says:

    Thank God for seeing you home again safe and sound, ready to take on that new role . . . of retiree. And God bless that wonderful partner of yours for making the drive from home and back to home. Hey, you know he was really waiting for your call to pick you up. From my experience, leaving that uniformed world behind is kind of like having your hand in a bucket of water. No matter how much you swirl it around while it’s submerged, there won’t be much of a hole or a lot of rings left when you pull the hand out of the water. Just think of all the things you can do with the hand now that it’s not water-logged. And if you have to get some gloves to help with the transition, Germany makes lovely gloves. Log off, take a break, enjoy home and then – when you’re rested – stay in touch.

  9. Berg says:

    Welcome home Holly

  10. Suzan says:

    So pleased to hear your flight home was so good. I know you’re thankful to be in your own bed, own everything again.

  11. Mitch says:

    Welcome back!

  12. Cat says:

    Glad you are out – just wish everyone else was as well

    Hope you have a good rest now.
    George is obviously one in a million!

  13. Ruth says:

    Mazel tov!!! So glad you are safely home…hope you are safely retired, too. Good timing…home on Purim and the Sabbath.

  14. Bryan says:

    Glad to hear you’re home!

  15. Mary says:

    Welcome Home!!!!

    I had tears of joy in my eyes when I read your email just now over a mug of steaming coffee on a beautifull – cold – cloudfree sunny morning!!!
    Fantastic news!!!

    Super that you weren’t hanging about for days and days trying to get home. Really wonderful that everything fell together so quickly and smoothly….and, you didn’t forget your laundry!! πŸ™‚

    So, are you completely free or do you still have “stuff” to do? I hope you can just put your feet up and enjoy yourself for a change!!

    Fantastic news!!

  16. April says:

    A few min ago i read your letter of the flight home, and I thanked God for keeping his promise to get my sister home to her family . I am so relieved you have no idea. here sits your sister a million miles away, with tears streaming cuz you made it home.
    I am so glad.
    dont forget me and beau are here and love you.Enjoy you earned it .

  17. Diane says:

    Welcome back! This is good news πŸ™‚

  18. Christian says:


  19. Kathy says:

    It’s nice to be loved. Welcome Home

  20. Diana says:

    Welcome home πŸ™‚

  21. Ruth says:

    Wait! Aren’t you back in Germany? I’m so confused.

  22. Kris says:

    Welcome home! And now you can have fresh flowers, too.

  23. Cheryl says:

    Congratulations on getting home!

  24. Steve says:

    I’m just catching up on your posts, Holly, and my heart is light to read of your return to Germany

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