Well ladies and gentlemen of blogworld, I have returned. Back I am with the usual amount of snark, and bitterness you have come to expect. It’s been since January since my last post and quite a lot had happened. I have thus returned to Douchebagistan from my unsuccessful attempt in gaining entry into Iraq. I’ve had some good people leave this place, as their tours have come to an end and it was their time to go home. I’ve had people whose companies lost contracts which forced them to leave. I’ve also had people who were simply relocated somewhere in the ‘stan. For a while I was hemorrhaging buddies, but then a couple key folks came back. Good times I guess…….
Let’s go down the line shall we? When I came back from Kuwait, I learned that Kandahar had actually had some snow. I missed the whole thing, which of course is the norm for me, but I did get to experience the ball shattering cold that KAF had to offer in the winter. We don’t get the awesome snowy landscape that the northern camps get like Bagram. No ice, no sleet, nothing like that. Just shitty cold winds adding to the already awesome contributions of the Poo Pond, and the trash incinerator that runs non-stop. It was magical….
There was an awesome flood here on KAF that made portions of the base look like we had a little zombie apocalypse. Heavy rains resulted in a flash flood that wiped out half the base. Vehicles were abandoned all over the place, regular vehicles I can understand being bogged down and abandoned, however the tactical vehicles I could not. I saw hummers, and LMTVs stranded and ditched in the middle of the road, side of the road, in ditches. It was pretty bad. I suppose you wonder how I was able to get access to all these various sights. Easy..… Four. Wheel. Drive. I have these things call thumbs, and they allow me to grasp things like the knob that puts the Toyota Hi-Lux SUV I was driving into 4-wheel drive to navigate the flooded roads. Apparently the people driving these massive, high end, highly engineered, specifically designed vehicles being operated by these highly skilled, trustworthy, professional soldiers either did not have 4-wheel drive, or the idiots behind the wheel didn’t think to put the damned things into 4-wheel drive. It was a huge pain in the ass driving around them as well. The road was littered with these pilotless vehicles, and here I am, in the 1993 Toytoa, driving around just fine. This place is awesome!
After all the freezing, and flooding, the weather warmed up, and things dried off. Then things got hot. Really fucking hot…. Again. The cycle continues. It gets hot, it gets cold, it rains, floods, dries, and then gets hot again. So let’s talk about the damned heat shall we. It was so damned hot here, the Devil himself was bitching about the heat. It was so damned hot, that if you were to take a piss outside on the rocks, it would sizzle away before it even hit. It was so damned hot, that going to the Port-o-Johns to take a shit was a trial of endurance and dedication. It was like an ancient rite of fucking passage. It was so hot out here during the summer that you would strongly considering not wearing pants, ever. Kandahar is a super duper place to be. I sympathize with those Marines in South West, and the soldiers out here that had to wear body armor, and hike in that heat. Fuck that shit.
After the summer months had wrapped themselves up, when autumn was settling in and getting cozy I got for very bad news. See, I was home a couple of times this year, and I made an effort to see my mother whenever I was home. I made sure that she would get to see her son, daughter, and grandbabies. The last time I was home, I could only spend a very short time with her as I was not able to be home for an extended time. The news that I got was that her chemo was killing her and that she was stopping treatment. Having just returned, I didn’t know how I was going to be able to return, or if I even would. As her health degraded rapidly I began making the arrangements to get home, to see her, to do…. Something… whatever I could. As I was in the air between Dubai, and Atlanta my mother passed. It was heartbreaking when I heard the news, just as it’s heartbreaking to type the words. After I touched down in Jacksonville, I gathered up the family, and we began our traveling. We went to Mount Holly to handle all the funeral/memorial prep. We then returned to Jacksonville for a night before trekking to Philadelphia to lay her to rest. During her service, I had to give the eulogy, and it was the single hardest speech of my life. I was so awash with emotion, that I could barely speak, but I did it. With the support of all those in attendance, I was able to complete my speech, and say what I needed to say. After the service, we returned to Jacksonville where I tried to wrap up several things. I stayed busy, and that kept me from being dwelling on her loss so much. I knew I would have to deal with it, and openly mourn, but I just couldn’t. I had to be the strong one for the family. For my children. Either way, this was the longest I’d been home since I departed April of 2011, and I took comfort in being with my family.
Once I returned to KAF, I began to notice a lot of anti-contractor policies being put into place. No PX at certain hours, not MWR gym at certain hours. It started small, but the writing was on the wall, THE ARMY COMMANDERS FUCKING HATE CONTRACTORS! As useless as most of these people and THEIR people are, they hate contractors. It’s pretty bad that an Afghan bomber gets better medical care here than I do, but to further treat us like we are sub-human is just plain mean. I’ve come to expect this type of behavior from the haters that think they run the base though, but I won’t forget who they are. They will need a job after they retire (the irony of which is not lost on me), and I hope I can influence that process.
That pretty much brings us to where I am now. Well into December, gearing up for another exciting year, of smoke, dust, poop, and rockets. I have my Charlie Brown Christmas tree in my office, and when I get shit from Amazon.com, I’ll put it under this poor little tree. It’s one of the little things I can do to make this place bearable.
All in all, 2012 was both a good, and bad year just as most years are. I watched my hours get cut, treatment of KAF further degrade towards absurdity, and my beloved mother pass away. But I also had a lot of good things happen for my family. My happiness is tied to theirs. As for me, my 13 years in the Corps has prepared me for the adversity I’ve been dealing with out here. As long as I have good folks to smoke with, and a job, I’ll be OK. It’s been real 2012, now get the fuck outta here! Thank you, and drive safely.
And remember, leave a comment. I like comments. I like them quite a bit….