Saturday, March 12, 2005


We've begun standing down. Many of us can taste the stale bag lunch
sandwich we'll be handed for our flight out of here :) that'll be the
only meal I am looking forward. We had a briefing yesterday and when
the words "your demobilization orders are being printed as we speak"
were said there was a slight eruption of elation in the crowd. There
are those who choose not to celebrate until we're wheels up. I think
it is a pretty sad state where a person has to be in a constant state
of waiting for the other shoe to drop, and its not that we are
untrusting its just that we've been given no reason to believe that
anything is what it seems to be until it has happened. Unfortunately
that is the state a lot of people are in. I find myself looking back
and feeling bad that I didn't take more pictures, that I'm not in more
pictures, that I didn't buy more memorabilia, well maybe not more
memorabilia. The first class association for FWD Bravo has done an
excellent job on these "Life in Kuwait" videos, and there are 4
volumes of them. I didn't get any of those, but I think I will ask
for the final slide show that CS1 has put together for our farewell

I look at my little 8x8 space and see it becoming more spacious every
day...things disappearing, into the trash or being turned in :) or
being packed into my bags. I am going to miss this space, but maybe
its not missing; missing assumes that I will return to it later on
that I will come back. I won't be coming back. So maybe it is just
my saying farewell to 27H. I am proud to serve in the Navy and for
the work we've done. Seeing all the pictures and statistics that were
served up by the officers yesterday made me feel proud of the work
we've done. I've tried to suppress my cynicism when it comes to the
statistical reporting that is done, and just be proud of the numbers.
Having been responsible for reports, numbers are relative to how you
want to display them and what criteria is used for reporting :)

I will not miss Kuwait, or Camp Patriot. I will miss the friends I've
made here, and spending time with them. I will be able to move on
though, we'll see each other on AT's where we'll be able to have fun.
Where we'll look back on this time and that was screwed
up...or remember when... I am ready to see my baby girl, and my wife,
to see Chicago, to see my home :) to feel the lukewarm air of late
March, to smell the grass growing and snow melting and fresh smells of
spring, to return to freedom. There are so many things that I feel so
thankful for, and will not ever take for granted. It cannot be
explained, to try and explain this feeling to someone who has never
experienced separation like this, it cannot be done. My wife
understands, maybe my parents and in-laws, but certainly no one else
except those who have served. Who've had to leave precious loved ones
behind can understand.

There was a video shown yesterday at our all hands award ceremony,
American heroes. It was moving, the song is one by Enya, and I forget
the name of it, but it was just background music, as it allowed the
pictures to speak for themselves rather than overpowering them,
causing you to focus more on the music than the pictures. We're
heroes, everyone of us. Not just NAVESLF FWD Bravo but every veteran
of every conflict, and those who have served but never served in
combat zones. I think of the line in Armageddon just before they take
off in shuttles named Freedom and Independence "You guys are already
heroes just sit back and enjoy the ride", we were heroes before we even
left Chicago.

We came here to do a mission, and we did it better than the group we
relieved, better than any group before them, and probably any group
after us. We jumped right in and tackled the mission with strength,
and safety. We set a precedent and raised the bar to a point that
will be tough to live up to in terms of work completed. We have every
reason to be proud of the work we've done. There have been some
disappointments, and I know that personally I will not forget them
because they were glaring errors and ones that should never be
repeated. These disappointments will probably cost NAVELSF skill sets
that will be hard to replace. Life goes on though.

I know that when I return here, I will have a different focus. I will
be a veteran, someone who's already been there done that. Next time
around it will be a test of can I do it better than before, have I
matured since the last time, a refining time. Lets hope that it
doesn't come too soon.