Saturday, December 05, 2009

So there I Afghanistan...

Taking a helicopter ride to a Forward Operating Base. This is a pic from my point and shoot. You can see the conditions down there.


This was the first pic on the ground there. The second helo in the distance really isn't that far away. This was the dust storm that forced us to this Combat Outpost, instead of the FOB we were supposed to visit.

The next morning we were at the FOB. This was a pic taken while waiting to take off for Kandahar. The HUMVEE on the right was the fire truck. One each fire extinguisher and an axe on the back. Primitive at best. Good times!!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

So there I Afghanistan...

Thinking we've got some awesome looking jets! These are a pair of my homestation jets, currently deployed up the road. Reportedly, the pic was taken minutes before they got the call to schwack a Taliban cave. They brought the rain!

Beautiful, no?

afmajbuck out...

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

So there I Afghanistan...

Getting promoted!

The post pin-on pic...

afcaptbuck is now...afmajbuck...

The long wait is over! I've already messed up answering the phone a couple of times today, but, that's ok. Still feels really good!

It feels just a little different, not much, but a little. I like the fact that it has finally happened and I'm now not waiting for it...

So...I'm off to get my remaining uniforms changed over. Out with the old!

afmajbuck out...

Monday, November 16, 2009

So there I Afghanistan...

Comic relief...the first thought I had after the bathrooms were "fixed." It was Yeah. That's the word... Made the gym a lot more popular I hear...

Find humor where you can! Another example:

Probably a lot easier to process through than it's big brother off to the Northwest!

Mildly amusing, but of course, had to have it removed:

Just a couple of examples...more pics to follow...


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

So there I Afghanistan...

So I've discovered the templates available to me via BLOGGER. You decide if it's worth the pain in the @$$ to try and figure it all out...

So the pic above was taken with my point and shoot. Not bad, IMHO...for a little $150 camera...
Standing on the flightline, watching A-10s headed off to ensure the bad guys get delivered to their 70 Virginians...or something like that...
You can't see the A-10s, because they were long gone by then. My boss and I were just standing there admiring the nice sunset. It's the little things when you're deployed.
Speaking of the little things...
Those are what you miss the most. Take a shower, for example, not a suggestion...
Most people don't have to walk more than 20-30 feet for a shower. Usually on carpet, tile or wood and usually in their bare feet. That's a nice feeling, being bare-footed. Here (like most deployments I've been on) the shower is a shared affair. And far away. Worst case, couple of hundred feet, best case across the road or the next structure over. Usually across gravel (best case) or dirt/dust (worst case).

I always look forward to that first shower back in the states! Sometimes at home, sometimes in a hotel, either way...great feeling!

The sound of crushed gravel underfoot is a distinct "deployment sound" for me...always has been. Walking across an unimproved parking lot in the states, or across the neighbor's RV gravel storage pad always makes me think of being deployed.

Standing there watching the sun go down though...almost makes you forget where you're at...for a minute anyway...

Gotta love the little things...

Saturday, November 07, 2009

So there I Afghanistan...

This is an all too common view around here...dust is EVERYWHERE.

This is not unlike last year's adventure in Iraq...but there are some differences:

1. The food isn't as good...which isn't necessarily a bad thing! Last year's fare was significantly better, with a huge selection available, nearly every meal. There was also an ice cream bar and world class cheesecake available every lunch and dinner. Not good. This year...well...let's just say I won't have to worry about that issue!

2. The accomodations aren't nearly as nice. I'm still in a tent, awaiting assignment of a "mod." Mods are modular buildings with about 6 to a room. Last year I was in a trailer, with only one roommate. I actually had more room as an A1C in Desert Storm in the tent I was in back then!

3. Travel and transport around here is much harder to come by. Last year I had a vehicle, this year we're all sharing and getting to chow, the flightline, laundry, etc. is a much bigger production than last year. Also, while we did encounter some of the dusty conditions, all of the roads/streets were paved. Here, not so much.

4. The job is MUCH better this year! Last year I was in charge of a small flight. In fact, the smallest I've ever had in my career as an O. While the responsibilities were there, they weren't that many. This year, well...450+ personnel and 65+ aircraft of 5 different types, in 8 different units...and I'm number 2 in the squadron. I run maintenance and my boss is the squadron commander. MUCH busier...and that is a VERY good thing!! The mission is also much more tangible. Results of our collective efforts are evident EVERYDAY.

5. This deployment is longer...last year's was a quick 125ish days...this year's 185+...although missing the kiddo's B-day was a repeat and the holidays will be a bust again. Oh's what we do...

So those are the major differences...more to follow...

Hope all are well!!


Thursday, November 05, 2009

So there I Afghanistan...

This is the view from behind our work tent. Actually kinda nice, no? I'd love to be able to take pictures this nice. I've purloined this one from a talented Master Sergeant who sits about 10 feet from me. He's got the requisite eye for photography, IMHO.

It's my "day off" today...all that means is I slept in (0720), am in PTs vs. ABUs and I'll only spend 6-7 hours working, vs. the "normal" 12-15.

But I do enjoy these days. Today will be especially nice! Dad sent me some Acid Deep Dish cigars!! I'll enjoy the first one today...been waiting for the time when I can sit and enjoy without having to worry about being pulled away. At least that's the plan...

Most days go something like this:
~0530-0600 Wake up and perform the daily morning rituals...WITHOUT coffee...
This is a significant issue about being deployed. Full disclosure: I'm an addict. I must have coffee.

The "fix" comes after I arrive at the work tent, a scant 100 feet from the tent I currently call home. As the first cup is being consumed, I review a couple of reports before sending them up the chain and prep myself for my morning meeting with my maintenance unit OICs. I spend about 1/2 hour getting status of aircraft from my OICs, grilling them, prepping them, mentoring them, about how to brief our Colonel. Less is more. Stop talking if he moves on. Listen. Don't formulate your answers to the question until AFTER you've heard the whole thing. Full disclosure isn't always necessary, because the "facts" at 0800 may not be "facts" at all.

We've got 30 minutes to go over 60+ aircraft in 8 different units, of 6 different types. Then the real challenge starts...

At the 0830 meeting our Colonel runs through his slides, anywhere from 100-142, depending on the day...we talk about everything from manning to vehicles, broken aircraft, parts for broken aircraft, scheduled maintenance, how flying went yesterday, what's planned in the future, etc.

This meeting goes anywhere from 20 minutes up to 75 minutes. Thankfully the Wing meeting starts then and it's my turn to brief all aircraft to our Wing commander. That's actually a very short meeting with a lot of "Got it" moments. Fighter pilot talk. "Got it" means "I understand, move"

So after the Wing meeting I begin my day in earnest. Mop up from the taskers in the 3 meetings prior, find a few minutes to get out onto the flightline and touch some aircraft, grab a bite sometime before the 1600 Production meeting.

Our deputy group commander conducts that meeting and we review strictly maintenance issues. Much shorter meeting. Usually 15-20 minutes.

After that there's lots of paperwork, email and other projects to work on...

I usually skip dinner at the chow hall and eat some stuff from home. Beef jerky, tuna, cashews, almonds, banana chips and often an MRE. I like MREs. Meals-Ready-to-Eat. The Potroast with vegetables is my favorite!

In the mid-late evening I'll try to talk to the family back home and see how their day will go...we're 11.5 hours off...makes for crazy contact times.

Usually head to the tent to read and fall asleep between 2200-2330...and do it all over again!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

So there I Afghanistan...
...posing in a helicopter...yeah, I'm a poser. At least in this pic...
I haven't posted in a long time...favoring Facebook...but it dawned on me the other day: I can access the blog, but not F/B from work, where I spend most of my time...too much, truth be told.
So...I'm going to start updating this blog o'mine, hopefully fairly regularly.
The above pic was taken the first week I was here...about 5 weeks ago. We were out touring my new units and I couldn't resist the obligatory "I'm a WARRIOR...dammit!" photo opportunity!
All that being said...the HH-60 Pave Hawk I'm shamelessly pretending to be a part of is one of the most important platforms in the theater.
It saves lives.
I've sent my dad a couple of pics and notes since I've been here, so I won't repeat those, but if you're interested, head on over to his place:
He's the writer of the family!
Out for now...
afcaptbuck...soon to be afmajbuck...but that's a post for a not-to-much-later date...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Took a quiz to see which religion I line up with...

Following in Dad's footsteps...yet so many ways!

Very interesting to me...

Don't tell my mom!

Neo-Pagan (100%)
New Age (95%)
Unitarian Universalism (93%)
Mahayana Buddhism (87%)
Liberal Quakers (83%)
Theravada Buddhism (83%)
Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (80%)
Reform Judaism (75%)
New Thought (69%)
Taoism (69%)
Scientology (68%)
Secular Humanism (66%)
Baha'i Faith (62%)
Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (62%)
Orthodox Quaker (60%)
Orthodox Judaism (56%)
Sikhism (55%)
Jainism (50%)
Nontheist (47%)
Islam (46%)
Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (46%)
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (43%)
Hinduism (40%)
Seventh Day Adventist (28%)
Eastern Orthodox (27%)
Roman Catholic (27%)
Jehovah's Witness (19%)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Started on Facebook...seems easier than blogger...may want to find me there...