Takin’ a Break…

I’m back at Camp Adder for the weekend. I flew up on Friday. Basically, a weekend to pick up some warm clothes (the low temp forecast for the week is 30 degrees… F), sleep in a real bed, eat real food and not get stuck here for a week or more, as seems to be the standard for our team. Everyone else who has come up to Camp Adder has ended up staying here longer than intended. I’m scheduled to go back to FOB Hunter on Monday. Let’s see what happens.

The flight up was uneventful. I got to my room and everything was still here. However, someone had stripped the bed. My very cool Cars bed sheets were no longer on the bed. I was sure something was wrong. Turns out, they were folded and stacked up on the locker. OK, no problem. So, I start right in on the first task. I had brought some stuff up from Hunter to store up here and I needed to get some things to take back to FOB Hunter. Now, there’s probably a good approach to this but I don’t know what it is. I dumped two duffle bags out on the floor and started re-sorting everything into piles. Of course, one distraction after another and now it’s almost 0100 and I’d like to go to bed. I can’t because there’s crap scattered everywhere including the still unmade bed. I moved everything to the floor, made the bed and went to sleep. Which meant the job of sorting stuff had to be redone in the morning. As I sit here now it is mostly done. I need to start packing things into my ruck to take them back down to FOB Hunter. Oh, to add to the mess, I had three boxes waiting for me full of all kinds of wonderful goodies from my family and friends. Well, of course I had to open those first. My wife will be gravely disappointed that I did not take pictures of the mess that was my room last night. Sorry, hon.

Plans to move me to Camp Adder permanently to work in Operations has been scuttled. I will stay at FOB Hunter. With the whole team there, that should be OK. The dynamic is much better with everyone there. Going forward we’ll lose one person at a time to the leave schedule. SPC Schoeneman heads out first.

Today is day 129 of this deployment. That is, 129 days since I reported for duty at Mountain View, CA to work full time for the Army. The orders read 400 days. We’ve been “in country” for 92 days. Team RONIN has been living at FOB Hunter for 65 days. We’ll hit the half way point of pretty much everything at the end of February, mid March if they actually keep us the full 400 days. I actually expect to be home by 28 August 2009 given that DoD policy says Reserve and Guard mobilizations should be 12 months. We have 237 days until 28 August 2009. I guess the most uplifting of all that is that at the end of February I’m half way home. That’s 129 days so far, 237 days to go, and on February 26 we’re half way done. You could have parties celebrating the half way point of my deployment and send me pictures. That’d be kind of fun. If you want to celebrate the whole team then it would be Team RONIN (for some reason ronin is always capitalized) or, if you want to celebrate the whole unit it would be A/445 CA BN on the signs. SSG Smith (Blue), Team RONIN or A/445 CA BN is half way home!! would be a great reason to celebrate.

My wife and I are planning a short trip together when I return. Last time I deployed the whole family went and spent a month in Hawai`i, made possible by my gracious father and his wife. They vacated their house on the island of Kauai so that we could stay there. We’re looking to do something different this time. The kids are older which makes it a bit more of a challenge to find something that interests everyone. Given the economy and some changes that my wife and I would like to make in our lives, I’d like to use the time off that I’ll have a little differently this time. So, I plan to take a short trip with my bride and then do things with each of the kids as well.

Anyway, we’re thinking about spending three or four nights at Hotel Del Coronado. I’ve wanted to stay at Hotel Del Coronado since I discovered its existence while serving in the Navy. I’ve walked through the place but never stayed or even eaten there. It is attractive because it is simple, relatively easy to get to, and relatively inexpensive. Which is not to say that I think Hotel Del Coronado is inexpensive. Only in relation to the other things we might consider such as a cruise or some other location.

The other place we are considering is The Carneros Inn in Napa Valley. I found this place in a Google search for best honeymoon hotels. What?! Reuniting after a year apart is not terribly different from a honeymoon! The Carneros Inn offers stand alone cottages with private gardens and open air showers. Hotel Del Coronado is a bit more reserved. I have to guess that we’ll end up trying both in the long term.

Lastly, I’m sure many of you wonder why I don’t post more pictures. There are several reasons but the biggest is that photos of the military installations poses an operational security issue. The bad guys study the photo to gain targeting and tactical information. Now, I could try to be judicious about the photos I post but I’d rather not take the chance. For the same reason, I am very hesitant to post information about missions. Obviously, this makes writing for this blog a bit of a challenge. As I get more familiar with what matters and what doesn’t I think I’ll be able to talk more about what’s going on in my sector. For now, as my friend Bruce reminded me, I need to write about how I’m doing so that family and friends can stay connected.

This year I’m wishing and praying for a stable, prosperous, democratic Iraq. Happy New Year, y’all!


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