Friday, December 11, 2009

More Boondoggles and let the turnover begin…

(As always, the internet is not cooperating very well. I posted the blog entry on Friday, but had to come back on Saturday morning to finish uploading the pictures.)

Shortly after I last posted, the OT staff had a small luncheon. This was on last Thursday. Dr. Ayobi treated us all to lunch. I don’t know the exact Dari word for what we ate, but the called it “hamburger”. I would call it an Afghan wrap. Here is a picture of a half eaten wrap:

Here are some pictures from the luncheon.

On Saturday, we went to the depot for a going away luncheon for the Air Force Logistics (“Log-E”) mentors. It was a big gathering of almost 40 people. Here is a picture of the food we ate: (It was delicious)

On Monday, we took our normal trip to NDS, but I was a passenger this time. After our mentoring, the team dropped of DJ, Tim and I at the airport (KAIA) for a trip to Bagram. The US Air Force Hospital (Craig Hospital) has a 2-week training program for the Afghans. I took the Chief OT nurse, DJ took one of his anesthesia residents, and Tim took a pharmacy tech.

Flying in theater is always a chore. Once we got to KAIA, we checked on our flight. We found out we were booked on a non-existent flight. That made us happy. We asked to go standby on a later STOL flight. It was the best flight we have had here. We went to the counter and checked in and then dropped all of our gear to be palletized. We didn’t have to wear IBA or helmets on the flight. It is like flying on a real commercial plane, only small. There is only 30 seats or so. The biggest limiting factor is weight. We have to weigh all of our gear and ourselves. From the time we checked in until the time we landed in Bagram, only an hour had gone by. It was an awesome flight and didn’t take hours upon hours.

After we arrived, we got rooms and met up with the Army mentor at Craig hospital. Yes, it is an Air Force Hospital, but the training program is run by an Army nurse. I spent all of Tuesday, Wednesday and half of Thursday in the OR with my nurse. There was also another OT nurse from Kandahar going through the training.

We left on Thursday to return to NKC. Whereas Friday is the weekend for the Afghans, they left on Thursday afternoon to return on Saturday morning. We could only stay for this week as we are going to begin our turnover with our replacements. They haven’t arrived to NKC yet, but are on their way. They have been delayed a few days because of flights. It took DJ, Tim and I almost 10 hours to get back. In Bagram, you have to show up 3 hours before the flight to check in. We were booked on a STOL flight back to KAIA. We checked in our 3 hours prior, but 1 hour before the flight was too leave, they cancelled it. We had to scramble to get on a C-130 to return. We got the last flight of the day. We boarded the C-130 about an hour before we were due to leave, but sat on it forever. We had to wait on a 3-star general, who showed up about 15 mins after we were scheduled to leave. We finally left about 45 mins late and finally got to KAIA. We were on the C-130 for over 2 hours for a 15-minute flight. Traveling now is miserable. I can only imagine what it will be like after another 30,000 troops are in country. Once we got to KAIA, we had to scramble around to find a ride back to NKC. We only waited about 20 mins before we lucked out and caught a ride. By the time we got to NKC, it was 10 hours after we went to the airport in Bagram. 10 hours travel to go 70 km. I can’t ever complain once I get back to the states and fly commercial. Nothing they can do will be worse than flying in theater.

We will begin our turnover in the next day or two and will be leaving NKC in a few weeks. Normally, turnover (RIP/TOA) is only 10 days, but they are getting here a little early and we can only go through the Warrior Transition Program in Kuwait on certain days. It is a scheduled class, so we have extra time to turn over. Turn over is such a good word…


  1. The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 12/11/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

  2. Hey Dan, You'll love WTP, it wasn't bad at all! Congrats on almost being done! Take care, Dave.