Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Breaking in is hard to do....

A young priest arrived in theater recently, and he's been spending about a week with SFC McG and myself, as we accompany him and his Chaplain Assistant around the battlespace. I suspect he's finding things a bit overwhelming over here.

It's his first deployment. (Mine too, but hey, I'm old enough to be his father!)

So far, we've experienced a convoy -- he did not like being bumped around in the back of an MRAP at all, and a couple of helicopter flights -- the first of which for him was the Hero Flight I mentioned a few days ago. What an introduction to life -- and death -- over here!

Most recently the four of us went to the flight line to await transportation to a post I've been trying to get to for a long, long time. It finally looked as though we'd get there. The weather during the day was great, if a bit chilly, and the birds were flying.

Until we got to the flight line.

There we discovered that the Air Mission Request folks had bollixed up the manifest, and had taken him and his Chaplain Assistant off the roster. After standing around for about an hour, they went back 'home'. The young priest was pretty annoyed at the confusion and hassle.

SFC McG and I stood around at the flight line for another two hours before it became clear there was no way for us to get where we needed to go, do Mass, and be ready for the return flight -- if it even would show up. So we scrubbed the mission.

The young priest was aghast when I got back to the CHU (now I'm sharing my living space with him, after the several weeks of sharing it with my former boss), and mentioned that we'd wound up waiting in the cold for a total of three hours before calling for a ride back to the office, and that it took about 40 minutes for our driver to get there to pick us up (one of the other Chaplains had the vehicle we normally use, and our driver had to find someone to lend him their vehicle in order to the LZ (landing zone)).

When I mentioned to the young priest that SFC McG and I take a convoy that starts out at 4:30 in the afternoon and doesn't reach its destination until after midnight -- with us bouncing around on manifestly uncomfortable seats the whole time, and then two days later leave at 12:30 in the morning, only to arrive back in time to begin the day's work about 8:30 or 9:00 a.m., his eyes got really big, and he looked really uncomfortable.

Welcome to paradise, my young friend!

Breaking in is hard to do.

Blessings and peace to one and all,

Fr. Tim, SJ
View My Profile

1 comment:

admajoremdeigloriam said...

Fr. Tim, I want to introduce myself because I recently came across your blog, and enjoy reading it. I am a Chaplain Assistant, about 2 months into my first deployment. I am also Catholic, which makes me enjoy your posts even more since I work for a non-denominational Chaplain. Your work here seems to follow a different mission from ours, as I have also noticed through talking with the priest here on my COB. I look forward to hearing more from your posts!

Powered By Ringsurf