Monday, September 25, 2006
This is the last one of joe's back balcony. Bucket, mop, rusty grill, 29 empty beer bottles.
Flight Back: These are some of the guys I flew with to Germany. Then 15 days later, there they were again - to accompany me back to Kuwait via Bahrain.
This is Chief (WO3) Freeman. Downing it in one. Bahrain has drinks. One of two countries in the muslim middle east. But the clock was running out. Here, the Chief and I downed two or three in about 40 minutes.
Michael Freeman had just a few months left to go in his tour, whilst I was just starting mine.
Tearful Goodbyes. How lucky was I that Guinness was waiting there in the Sky-bar to see me off?
Guinness had to stay here, in civilisation. (Well, a mock-up of civilisation, anyway). I had to return to duty. Building sand castles at high-tide.
Parting is such sweet sorrow. Fare thee well, Guinness . . . We'll always have Sheik Ali Malouf Hassan Rubaidi Alaladh Jubari Mohammed Bint Sultan Abu Saleef Mustapha Achmed Al Sadiqi International Airport.
SSG Lissa. Lissa's a helicopter mechanic from Minnesota, stationed in Afghanistan. He rendez-voused with his wife in Europe for a trip around the block. He had about 4 months to go in his tour.
"Gloom, despair and agony on me,
Deep, dark depression, excessive misery.
If it weren't for bad luck I'd have no luck at all,
Gloom, despair and agony on me."
Self-pity gets you nowhere, and if you haven't learned that by the time you enlist, you will.
One of the curious things about military life, which draws numbers from every single walk of life - is that you're never suffering alone, (which is a different kind of trial). You're together, bound by hardship. The guy next to you might not have anything in common with you. But he was there. In that proud memory that you grow fonder of with time, as its singularity uncoils through the mind-years. If you could have chosen, you might have picked your buddies or blood relatives to stand with you, to wile away the bored hours that stretch into months. But they weren't there. We were. We "happy few".