Going Home from Afghanistan: Hurry Up and Wait

Going home from Afghanistan is a lot of hurry up and wait. You probalby don’t realize the process it takes to get you from Afghanistan and back to the United States. Some of it makes sense, some of it is just a part of the military. Here is part of the story of going home from Afghanistan.

Going home from Afghansitan was a long proces of hurry up and wait. While stuck at Manas I sent a letter home explaining the process.

Since I am sitting at Manas without much to do I would write a quick note about going home from Afghanistan and about the past few weeks where it seemed all we did was wait and wait until it was finally time to leave. Somehow our group of four found things to fill up our days to make our days left in Afghanistan disappear. And then the day finally came.

It was time to start the journey home.

We had to go to one appointment after another until it was finally time to go through customs. Customs was a “through” search of everything in our bags. With four bags, plus a carry on this took a while. I had my chemical weapons gear, two weapons, three personal bags and one rucksack full of army gear. And we also had our body armor and helmet. I was unaware this was what was going to happen so I had carefully packed up my stuff making sure it all fit. Then it was ungraciously unpacked by a Sergeant and searched and then shoved back into a bag. Somehow it all fit.

Then we waited.

Next they came out and told us to put on all our gear and grab our weapons, it was time to go. We lined up headed out to the plane. When we were about 300 yards away from the plane and they told us they weren’t ready for us.

So we turned around walked back and waited for another hour or so to do the same thing.

Finally it was time to leave Afghanistan

We were on the plane, crammed in. Do you know what it like to sit on a plane with two weapons, your body armor and your personal bag all shoved into an airline seat?

Not fun or comfortable, but it was a short flight that I pretty much slept. I guess being exhausted has its benefits you can sleep anywhere in any position.

So we made it to Manas early in the morning half awake and sore from carrying all our stuff and sitting cramped on an airplane and got to sit through a number of important briefings about where we were to stay and how to turn in our army gear. Luckily, we retained all the important information and once the briefing was complete, threw our gear down at our temporary home and then went back to pick up our bags. The army gear went in one bin and the other bags were put into storage.

Since we needed to stay awake for an appointment we decided it was time for breakfast. After breakfast we watched the World Series (game 2) we got to see innings 2-8 we thought we were going to see the whole game, but the 8th inning was never ending and we left when the score was 4-0. Go Giants!


Turning in our gear

We turned in our chemical weapons gear, army gear and weapons. We felt free we no longer had to worry about where our weapons were and every once in awhile I still feel like I am missing something.

After all our tasks for the day had been accomplished we had a snack and then went to bed. We slept untill about dinner time and then went to eat and then went to the bar to hang out. Air Force members are allowed two drinks a day.

I don’t really like beer so I wasn’t too excited about this until I found out they had wine. So we hung out at the bar (Pete’s Place) and then they started doing karoke. It was fun to watch/listen to everyone and they sang.

I guess that is pretty much it. I am ready to go home from Afghanistan, and now Manas. I am tired of waiting for the next show time, but we are almost there. I will be home soon. Thanks for all the love and support. I can’t wait to see everyone soon.

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