Thursday, January 29, 2009

Been off the blog for too long

I apologize, that I have not made any new entries for some time. I got back to Salerno safely, and I was told to leave for another mission to Orgun-E. I went there last October. Then I was informed to go to Forward Operating Base Boris. I went down to see about a chopper flight, and I have been trying to get a flight for three weeks. I finally got out today (29 Jan 2009).

I have been assigned permanently to Bagram Air Base. When I return to Salerno (After this mission) I will collect my gear, and fly to Bagram. I would really much rather stay at Salerno. I have a bed, with a mattress and sheets. I am in a tent, but it is more than adequate.

I will be on a cot, with no privacy at all at Bagram. The base is an anthill, way too many people for the square mileage. It takes forever to get any where.

Anyway, I am at Boris. I got some decent quarters, and the chow hall is adequate, but not Class 1. The chow hall has three meals per day, instead of the two per day served at FOB Tillman. There is a decent Rec Center, where I can use their computers for my work.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Leaving Tillman

Well, the work is not done here. But there is a shortage of helicopters, and as the winter weather closes in, there will be fewer flights. So I am leaving Tillman tonight, I cannot say that I am sad to leave here, fact is , it will be good to get back to my home base, and clean sheets, and some privacy. Also the chow hall at Salerno is Class1, with three meals perday. Also I have two months of mail waiting on me, back at Salerno.

The work is not finished here. There is a hassle with one of the power supplies. I do not like to leave a base, where there is a problem.

I have been getting some more comments on the blog posts. I am always glad to get comments, 99.9% of them are very positive. Since I changed the "open comments" policy, the comments got much more positive.

Some individuals have offered to send personal care items and snacks for the troops. For this I am grateful. I take the items down to the Rec Hall, and give them out to the troops. I was at a small base, that did not have any soap, and I collected a couple of soap bars at the Rec Hall one time.

It still amazes me, how much these guys like beef jerky. Personally, I cant stand the stuff. Also, I am amazed at how many of these guys dip snuff and use smokeless tobacco. I cannot think of a more disgusting habit, and it destroys your teeth and gums. Live and let live, though.

I am not glad to be flying at night. I have to wait outside in the cold for an hour on the flight line, then I have to fly in a helicopter, with the back door wide open, and the wind whooshing through the passenger compartment. By the time I get back to Salerno, it will be almost sunrise. Then I have to crawl into the bed, and try to sleep.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Sunday night

Wrapped up the work here at Forward Operating Base Tillman. What a miserable and lonely place! I am very anxious to clear out, and return to my home base. I am going to have to fly back to FOB Orgun-E for an installation. When I get there, I may be stuck there for some days or weeks.

The sun came out, and the small volume of snow melted away, leaving the base a sticky mud-hole. I had chicken with penne pasta for dinner. I am appalled at the way soldiers waste food. Truck drivers risk their lives, to bring the supplies here, and then the soldiers pile the food on their trays, and then throw so much of it away. I say, take all you want, but eat all you take.

Physically, I am much better over the past couple of days. The medicine that I got from the Army doctors cleared me right up. The high altitude and the thin air, is still taking some getting used to. I have to walk a lot here, and the rough gravel works like torture on my feet. I have a new set of combat boots, but they are wearing out fast.

The ice froze out the satellite dish last night. On Saturday, the Army TV station broadcasts an episode of classic "Star Trek", and I like to watch the shows. The ice melted off the satellite dish, and I was able to watch some TV this afternoon. There are some new movies being released this spring, and I would like to see some of them. When I get back to the USA, I will go to the movies a lot!

It is now after 10pm here on the roof of the world. I think I will watch some CNN news, and then call it a night.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

3 Jan 2008 Still at FOB Tillman

Wrapping up the work. It is cold and snow flurries. Just enough to make the whole base sticky and muddy. With luck, I can get out of here soon.

If anyone wants to donate personal care items to the soldiers, you can send the items to me, and I will pass along the items to the troops. The guys are nuts about smokeless tobacco (I can't stand the stuff), also beef jerky and chocolate. Soap, toothpaste, razors, etc. are also highly prized. If anyone is interested, please send your donations to:

Charles E. Martin
BETTS-C Project
FOB Salerno
APO AE 09314

On behalf of America's finest, I thank you!!