I had a thought that I think might make clear what I was trying to say yesterday about the difference between Camp Spearhead and Camp Patriot. Camp Spearhead is a place that you could make a TV show like MASH from. It had that kind of character, its own personality. Camp Patriot, at least for the moment, is just a place where a bunch of military service members happen to sleep and sometimes eat (when they can’t find some thing better).
We experienced some thing new last night and today. Humidity. Did I put a capital H on that? We talking wet. The condensation was becoming a real problem on watch last night. I was working under a drip that was gradually becoming a shower. Whenever I would walk outside my glasses would fog up bad enough that I could not see.
A dear friend of mine who will be heading over here next year mentioned that in the last few posts I’ve sounded down. That’s interesting. As I told her, a switch was thrown a few weeks ago. Suddenly, I was ready to go home. This isn’t a “OK, I’m done now, I’m not working anymore, I’m fed up with this I wanna go home” thing. It was really just a suttle shift in my own outlook. Up until then I really wasn’t thinking much about going home. I thought a lot about my family. I thought about how much I missed them. But I didn’t really think about going home. I wasn’t looking forward to the day when we would finally pack our gear and head back.
Rather suddenly a few weeks ago it just kind of occurred to me that I’d really like to go home now. This hasn’t made it any harder to work here. I am still mission focused and a positive contributor to my watch team. I’m still sharp at my job and looking for opportunities to learn my job better.
However, I now keep a count of how many days I have left here. I talk with my wife about plans for reuniting the family. I think often about how it will be to walk off the plane and see my family there on the tarmac. I think I wrote about that a few days ago. This is not a prevailing thought that makes me sad or depressed. In fact, it really brings me up. We’ve been here a long time. Not as long as some but still, a long time. I’m kind of excited to see the end approaching.
I’m looking forward to the change in focus that will occur as we shift from doing the mission to training and preparing others to do the mission. I’m looking forward to the change in tasking as we begin packing things up for our departure. It will be a lot of hard work probably in the middle of some really nasty hot days but it will still be a nice change.
Lastly, and probably most surprising to me is that while I am very anixious and excited about the eventuality of seeing my family again I am really not looking forward to returing to civilian life. For all it is, there is something addicting about being out here. As my friend and I talk about her upcoming deployment I find that I feel some twinge of jealousy to realise that some one else will be the one out here and I will be back at my day to day grind. I enjoy the military. It is a good job. Despite all the political wrangling going on back home the US is doing a good thing out here. There are a lot of good, positive things happening in Iraq as a result of US presence. It is a pity that the media chooses not to report on those positives but it does not make them any less real. One could do worse than to spend his or her career serving in the military.