Friday was just another day like the previous week – accountability formation and that was it. I got quite a bit of stitching done and I finished packing. I went to dinner with a friend. And then the travels began! We had formation at 2300 and after several accountability roll calls, loaded bags on the truck, final equipment check, etc., we headed to the air field. We had quite a wait, but it turned out that my friend LH’s unit was there as well. Then we finally left for Kuwait. After a little bit at the air field there and briefings, we got on buses and headed to Camp Virginia. Once we got there, it was more briefings and then we finally got into our tents. I got about an hour and a half nap and then headed to lunch enroute to an afternoon of briefings on various redeployment topics. I did ok until the very last one and then I had a really hard time staying awake. But they were finally done and I headed back to the tent area – to find LH’s unit there. They were going to be on the same flight home as us – very cool! So LH and I went to dinner together and hung out for a while with some of the other guys in his unit. I was in bed (a cot) by like 2030 and did I sleep good.
Sunday morning we had accountability at 0700 and then I went to breakfast. I went to the Contemporary chapel service at 0900. When I got home, I took about an hour or so nap before heading to lunch. Then it was just sitting around and waiting before we brought our bags out, cleaned the tents, loaded the trucks, and got on the buses to go back to the air field. Once there, we had a customs briefing about two hours after we arrived. And then it was on to customs, and this time I didn’t have to completely dump my bags out. That sure was nice. And then we had about two more hours before they did roll call for the flight. We got on the buses and headed to Kuwait International Airport for our flight home. I slept good on the bus ride – it was about an hour and a half or so long. Then we had a stop that was only going to be 30-40 minutes, but I think we were there for an hour or two. I was asleep. We finally got going again and got to the airport. And then we had to wait more. We finally got on the plane and boy did I have a poor seat. But we finally got in the air, and one of the flight attendants came back and said that there were some empty seats near the front – so I moved!! I ended up going from 2nd seat from the left in the middle of the plane (row of 4) FULL, to a left side (as you’re looking to the front of the plane) window block, aisle seat. There was a guy in the window seat and the middle seat was empty!!! Boy was that nice! We stopped in Amsterdam for a couple of hours for a crew change and refueling. Then it was on to Ft. Drum. During the flights, I got a little over 4 hours of stitching in, read magazines and my current book ("Reading Lolita in Tehran" by Azar Nafisi) chatted with LH for a while, and slept some. The food during the flights was awesome for a change! We flew on Northwest Airlines.
We finally arrived at the airfield at Ft. Drum and I cried as soon as the wheels of the plane touched the ground. Couldn’t help it – totally involuntary thing. We processed through customs (which involved giving the customs officials our customs forms) and then turned in our weapons (YAY!!), inprocessed admin, got Ft. Drum e-mail accounts set up, and the single Soldiers got their barracks assignments and set up appointments to get their household goods delivered from storage. Once everyone had finished the processing, we had more briefings. They had stuff for sandwiches there, so at least we could eat. Then it was finally time!! We got on buses once more and under Police escort, we headed to the gym for our Welcome Home Ceremony. The ceremony was nice and short and then was the word we were all waiting for – "Dismissed!". Robbie came running for me and I scooped him up in a big hug and Ryan was right behind him. Several of my fellow band members who have been home since January greeted me as well. And I ended up being interviewed by the local media. You can see a video clip and read a little about the ceremony here: 100 Soldiers Return Home Early from Iraq After I got my backpack off the bus, we headed to the motor pool to get my ruck sack and duffle bag and then headed to Walmart for a few things. And then HOME SWEET HOME!!!! It sure was good to be home.
Today I slept until almost 1100. The guys went to school as usual. Once up, I folded clothes, went through the stack of mail waiting for me, did computer stuff, started cleaning the bathroom, and vacuumed a little. After the guys got home from school and had relaxed for a while, we went to the Golden Unicorn for supper. It was nice eating there again.
Today’s high: 37
Current: 28 (and under a Lake Effect Snow Warning)