Friday, October 02, 2009

The land of my forebears....

We arrived here at Summer Camp - Über Alles a bit ago, after a long day's journey into night. We stopped at Gander, far enough out in the Atlantic Ocean that the time zone there is a half-hour off from (most of) the rest of the world. That was a bit odd.

I'm not quite sure I should even be here, at least according to the Deployment Orders I received. Everyone else's orders, concerning the duration of the deployment, read "Not to exceed 355 days."

Mine read "Not to exceed 0 days."

I mentioned this to the Battalion Commander as we were standing around, waiting for the buses to take us to the airport. I told him I'd checked with many other Soldiers, and that all of them had orders for 355 days; since mine read 'zero days,' I continued, "I guess this means I won't be able to come with you overseas."

He was not amused.

After an hour's trip to the airport, we gaggled together in the baggage claim area which seems to be the Army's waiting room for deploying personnel. The floor was as comfortable as linoleum can be.

Four hours later (about 2230 hours; 10:30 at night) we boarded the aircraft and settled in for the flight to Gander and then on to Europe. I asked to use the aircraft's commo system and offered up a prayer as we began our journey, as well as a blessing over the food. Since the Jewish High Holy Days had just ended, I offered that prayer in Hebrew.

What with the time change, and all the travel, it was 1700 (5:00 pm) local time when we landed in Europe. After another waiting-around time ('hurry up and wait') we boarded other buses and took off to our next Summer Camp.

It was pitch dark by the time we arrived here, and after the trucks bearing our gear had been off-loaded and we'd schlepped our stuff to our barracks. When we were at Summer Camp - West there were only four other people in the rather large barracks, and that was difficult, but OK. At Summer Camp - North, we had twenty guys in the my barracks bay, and that was very difficult.

Now here, in the land of my forebears, I'm in a barracks with 30-some other guys.


Blessings and peace to one and all,

Fr. Tim, SJ

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