America, this place is awesome and now I see fist hand what we have been fighting for. The trek home was a beast. It took about 4 days to get home with a fun 14 hour flight going through Ireland. It began with a helo ride out of Fallujah to another air station which we linked up with a C-130. We took off and flew about 200 feet off the ground until we were out of enemy threat. We even were in the fight up to the last day where sniper fire hit our posts. The last couple days were the worse as I then actually saw what all we do in a days work because the last day or so we didn’t have much to do and along with anticipation the day drug. 24 hours felt like a week.
I tried to sleep most of the flight as my days and night were swapped and all I could think about is getting back on US soil. Eating the airline chow and watching a few movies seem to make you feel guilty for sitting on your butt for so long doing squat. The airplane landed on the east coast as the pilot stated “Welcome back to the United States Marines” and the plane erupted in cheers.
The air smelled fresher and so many colors. Seeing other people in clothes that weren’t desert color. Many people asked what have I noticed the most. Chow, beer etc and I guess the most is family and friends and the threat of someone trying to kill you. It allows you to let your guard down and rest. It is still hard to believe Im here back in the states. Sure we had a bit apprehension when we drove from the air field home and had other cars right next to us. But we got use to it over time. My stomach is getting use to the chow here as it did back when I first got to Iraq. I went to watch a soccer game and felt kinda out of place. This man was chasing a soccer ball behind me and ran up on me as we watched a game. Not a good idea for him as I turned quickly and began to grab him thinking he was a threat. Hey, give me a break he surprised me ya know?? Good for him I didn’t have a weapon. After a little explaining he understood and all was good.
No problems sleeping as somehow we adjusted and I snapped right in to the daily routine here. I devoured my first quarter ponder with cheese without tasting it and look forward to the next. I watched some TV for the first time last night for about 15 min before falling asleep and laughed at the commercials. I told the Mrs that I bet that commercial was a Super Bowel commercial, she just looked at me like I was a weirdo. I cant drive for shit and Im terrible with directions around town now. Curbs? Red light…….what red light? I need a 50 cal mounted on my suburban!! I wasn’t able to check any of my email for the past couple weeks so Im sure its good and clogged up. We have it so good here in the states and its even more evident as I return.
Patience……..Im working on it. Coming from having things done by well oiled professionals to well,..... kids…….skreeeeeach! Nothing really has stressed me out as everything here isn’t a life or death situation. Today I got to see many of the Marines who returned with me. I missed them the few days I hadn’t seen them. We laughed as we shared the same stories about being back home, being a bit jumpy and trying to explain our experiences to family and friends who wont really get it because only the ones there will know what we mean even if I tell about every detail. Having a nice toilet, shower and many other luxuries around the house are great but I do think of the 289 killed and over 2100 wounded we left behind. How their families felt as we returned and they didn’t.
I have unplugged the phone, stocked the fridge with beer and killed some chow at the Cracker Barrel restaurant for breakfast the other day. I’ll be off line for a bit as I remember what the states are like, what money is, how not to drop "F" bombs all over and try to adjust. Probably take some leave and disappear to some island somewhere. If you know any good resorts that allows cigar smoking and lounging………….let me know, Im looking.
I had a lot of family and friends to meet me and that really made the difference as to see them and get hugs allowed me to take a deep breathe and say to myself………Im home.
Marines in Iraq are kicking ass!
From a grateful Marine………
Im going to get a cigar!