Retirement Countdown

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Home sweet home, well almost! It took a total of 43 hours of travel from Kandahar to Lemoore, CA. Three days after arriving in Lemoore, I picked up the new Explorer and drove 34 hours to Wisconsin to see my honey! The picture on the top left is the first meal we had at the Sundara spa in the Wisconsin Dells, fantastic, even though we really had no idea what we were eating! haha. The menu was written in "fancy words" and I'm from Kentucky! The picture on the top right is of me and Shayna having a glass of red wine, I had my Hugh Heffner robe on. The bottom left picture is of me and Shayna visiting some of her family, it is our official first picture of us after me seeing her for the first time in 8 months, great day!
Shayna is doing fantastic with her external fixation devices off of her legs, she is now swimming around 2.5 miles 4 times a week, awesome. I am still running and trying not to gain back all of the weight that I lost while deployed, it's definitely a challenge with all of the holiday foods surrounding me! I'm still not smoking and hopefully that holds out also.
My cousin Adrianna in Cleveland is thinking about joining the Air Force. She has been fantastic through my Iraq and Afghanistan deployments. She is constantly sending me messages and keeping me informed of what was going on back home. She is interested in being a Biologist, and is great with animals. I will support her through her decisions and am very proud of her of even entertaining the idea of serving her country. See you soon Adrianna!
I got a call from Keith in Kandahar the day before Thanksgiving, it sounds like things are heating up for those guys over there and I feel bad for not being there with them, well I feel bad at least for a minute or two! haha. Hang in there guys, you have a fantastic surgical team, kick butt!
We are hitting the road again on Monday morning for Cleveland to see family and friends, and then off to Cincy to see the rest of the family and friends. I can't wait. I'll be updating this again next weekend and hopefully every weekend thereafter. Take care and I'll be seeing everyone soon!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Travel Time

Well I figured that the trip from Kuwait to Lemoore should take a total of 42 hours, we’ll see! I’m writing this from Kuwait International Airport at 2354 local time(1500 EST). So far the whole warrior transition program has been really well organized and a breeze to get through. Although we were staying in tents and had to walk to the showers outside, it was a great experience. If the people who organize and run the WTP ran the Navy, I’d be staying in another 10 years!

Have I said that I cannot wait to get home? Well I can’t! haha. I’m pretty tired right now and can’t wait to get on that plane and feel the wheels come off of the ground. I’ve noticed one thing about Kuwait, the roads on the way to the airport were all nicely paved. As soon as we got to the spot to depart the bus, dirt again! I wonder why. I’m sick of dirt by the way. I think that we have a 6 hour flight to Germany and then an 8 hour flight to Baltimore. I wonder who is going to be hammered once we are able to finally drink a beer or two or ten! I’ll probably only have one in Germany and then one in Baltimore, we’ll see.

I’ve met up with several people I trained with in Fort Jackson this past week. It was nice to see them again and hear their stories. Josh was in Kabul and in charge of training the Afghan Police up there, he said that it was very interesting. Saw a couple of pictures he had and it definitely looks like a third world country. I never did get to go out into town, and I didn’t want to either! I was fine being a “fobbit”, a FOB is a Forward Operating Base, and a fobbit is someone who never leaves the FOB.

Now I’m writing from the plane trip from Baltimore to Salt Lake and then finally to Fresno. It was a 34 hour trip from Kandahar to Baltimore. After the 9 hour flight from Germany to Baltimore I had to sprint to the gate to catch the flight to Fresno, I missed it by 35 seconds or so. I watched the plane back up. It turned out to be a nice rest stop though. I got a room at the Sheraton and relaxed, it was a beautiful night! Like I said before, I’m writing while on the flight, in flight Wi-Fi rocks! I should be home in Hanford around 1300 or so this afternoon, can’t wait. People have been really nice, upon check in to the hotel last night, the manager bought us a couple beers each. This morning at the airport I had breakfast and some lady paid for it for me, absolutely amazing! I feel for the guys who returned from Vietnam who were greeted with spit, thank you to those who served during that “police action”. Take care and I’ll keep writing every week or so about Shayna and I if anyone is interested.

The picture this week is after we ran the Marine Corps 5K to celebrate their birthday. I ran it in 23 minutes, not too bad. I’ll be running a 4 mile race with Larry, Shayna’s dad, the day before Thanksgiving, should be a lot of fun.

Shayna I love and miss you very much, see you in about a week. Take care everyone.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

On the road again

We are in transit once again. We arrived in Kuwait around 0300 on 8 NOV 09. We immediately went to bed and got up around 0800. I finally was able to run outside again, and did 7 miles on a nice flat surface, without dirt and rocks, woohoo! At 1300 on 9 NOV 09 we turned in our weapons, it was like getting rid of a bad friend, it feels great not carrying around a piece of metal everywhere. I’m getting up at 0430 on 10 NOV to run the Marine Corps 5K, in celebration of the Corps’ birthday, should be fun, I think I’ll be getting another t-shirt for you Shayna, gotta love the t’s!

So far the WTP, Warrior Transition Program, has been surprisingly well coordinated, hard to believe being run by the Navy and everything. Haha. After the Marine run we come back and turn in our 2 seabags of gear that was never used, that will be a load off of our minds, literally. After the turn in I’ll be down to a 2/3 full seabag and a carry on, traveling light will be a welcome change. I’m at the point now that I throw away a pair of socks, underwear and t-shirt after each use, since everything has a wonderful light brown tint to it from the laundry in Kandahar.
I’m under the impression that our decompression classes start on Wednesday, and continue through Thursday and then we’re outta here. I love the feeling you get when the wheels leave the ground for the last time, it’s incredible. Everyone cheers and then settles in for two long legs of flight, but they go by really quick since we know we are on our way to see our loved ones. Can’t wait to see you hun.

I checked with the overseas sales office here today about my Explorer. It was built on the 2nd of November and was on the rail system for delivery on the 5th. Keeping my fingers crossed that it will be there by this weekend. It will be a nice drive to Wisconsin either way, but I’m really hoping to break in the Explorer with a nice, relaxing, long drive.

I know that these paragraphs are not in chronological order, but I’m doing random entries so stick with me! Haha. I finished the 5K (3.2 miles) in 23 minutes, I cut a minute off of my best time! I felt pretty good afterward. Today we have a small stress class and then our doctor’s appointments to go over any injuries sustained while deployed. For me it’s the left ankle and a possible hernia, we’ll see what happens. Tomorrow, the 12th, should be pretty much free and then we’re outta here! Woohoo. I should be able to write a short entry at one of our stops, at least I’ll try to. Take care and I’ll be seeing everyone soon! Shayna I love and miss you, everyone else take care!


Friday, November 6, 2009


This is the last entry from "beautiful" Kandahar, really this time! There will be more entries to follow from the trip home. Very short entry this time, but needed to close this trip out. I don't know if it is an official tradition to have a cigar at the end of a deployment, but it has been the case on my three deployments. The first picture is of me having a stogie at the end of the Ramadi, Iraq deployment in 2007 and the second is of some of the 10 last survivors of our original group enjoying a stogie last night. Again it's been a challenging and rewarding experience here and I'll miss some things, but definately not enough to extend! haha. Shayna, I'm almost there and can't wait. Everyone else take care and I'll be in touch.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Zip, zilch, nada, zero.......

That’s about how many days I have left! Woohoo! After 36 amputations, 21 craniotomies, 12 appendectomies, 46 external fixations, and a multitude of other surgeries, it’s finally time to call it quits. I was involved in a total of 369 surgical cases, 79 of which I scrubbed and first assisted in, not bragging but I am damn proud of that! I have gone through the whole gambit of emotions, sadness, happiness, anger, jealousy, etc. I didn’t experience depression which is a good thing! The “can’t waits” still apply from the last entry, just getting a little stronger now. The emotion that I’m feeling the most right now is HAPPINESS!! I’ll be home on 13 NOV at 2100!!!! I can’t explain how ready I am to have the wheels touch down on American soil.

The picture this week is another group shot. This one is unique because it contains people from Napal, Canada, Denmark, Holland and of course the USA. I'm going to miss these guys, it was a fantastic collection of professionals from around the globe! I’ll be doing another entry from our next stop with plenty of more pictures I’m sure. I’m going to keep this blog going every week even after the deployment to keep in touch with family and friends as our life evolves! Take care.

Happy birthday to my brother Dan! Thanks for all of your help with Shayna’s travel plans and listening to me talk to you about the crap that has been going on here. Take care and I’ll be seeing you next year in Florida.

Shayna is doing well and can’t wait to go to the movies with me and some other things, I can’t wait either gorgeous! When I get home I’m going to pick up the new SUV and start driving form California to Wisconsin. The 2-3 day drive will give me a chance to get all of the bad things from my memory before I see Shayna, family and friends again. After Wisconsin we’re going to head toward Cleveland and see family there, then on to Northern Kentucky to see family and friends. Hopefully we’ll be able to have a big get together somewhere in KY where we all can catch up and tell “sea stories”! To complete the trip, Shayna and I are driving back to Wisconsin to pick up our cat and then to Cali for the final stop, at least for 2 years. If Shayna gets in the Air Force or Army there will be many more stops until she retires in 12-13 years. Looking forward to the travel babe and being the military dependent for once! Haha.

Hours worked:
1 NOV 09: 11 Hours
3 NOV 09: 10 Hours (LAST DAY!!!!!!)

116 GSW
132 IED
49 NBI

Shayna I love and miss you very much, and will be seeing you in a couple of weeks, can’t wait! Everyone else take care and I’ll be seeing some of you soon.