Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Bangor Maine Vets and friends

Here are some of the Vets that greeted us at the airport when we arrived on US soil. They were awesome and dedicated to their mission...they have greeted over 2000 flights since the war began and the have not missed one in over 3 years. The guy right in front of me in the photo lost his wife last year on the way to the airport to greet a flight of returning soldiers. I am honored to join their brotherhood and am grateful for them to be there to say welcome home because I know that they have been there and seen worse then I hopefully ever will. I enjoyed their company and promised to continue the fellowship when a new generations turn has come to say goodbye to loved ones and serve our country far from home.

As the day of my return becomes very close it becomes very clear why they put us through so many briefs on being reintegrated into society and especially your own family. It is more nervewracking then you can possibly imagine and as much as it will be complete joy to be together again it will also take a long time to get back to "normal". Coming back home is a difficult transition for everyone and even though marissa and I communicate to each other our hopes and fears about the reunion we both know it will have its rocky moments. We have no doubt that in time things will be back to normal but it will be a huge challenge. Its funny, even though all the veterens I knew told me that this was the toughest part I found it hard to believe until now. If anyone has an interest in some of the emotions and struggles that families go through in the reunion you can find some great information at www.militaryonesource.com

To Marissa I can only say how much I love you and how much you have meant to me through this deployment. You have had the tougher burden by far then me and I cant thank you enough for all that you have sacrificed. Military spouses are Vets just as much as soldiers and deserve medals and parades for what they endure in silience while we get the limelight. The fact of the matter is I could not have done what I did without your love and support and for that I am so very grateful. You are the best!!! Thank you!

I love this Photo!!



Originally uploaded by mensik_baker.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Guiness in Ireland


Guiness in Ireland
Originally uploaded by mensik_baker.
I am home in the United States!!! Here is a picture of me in Shanon Ireland enjoying a nice Guiness beer. It was very nice to be able to sit and enjoy a beer and it was even nicer because an American businessman bought all the soldiers on our flight (130) our beers.

I will write more later about our travels and experiences but I have to go shower and go to a dog and pony show with our CSM. Love you all....ITS GOOD TO BE HOME!!!!!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Sand Storm


Sand Storm
Originally uploaded by mensik_baker.
I tried to post a couple of days ago but was unable to get it posted before we went into communication blackout. This picture was taken during a sand storm we had a couple of days ago. This was actually a "break" in the storm. At its peak, visability was reduced to about 5 feet. It was impressive, but quite unsettling when I got caught out on the road on the way back to the hooch from work. We left during a break in the storm which lasted long enough for me to drive about a hundred feet. It would have been more entertaining if I wasnt driving in an area where large fuel tankers and armored 18 wheeler drive through. We made it back safely though and the next day found out that we missed the best part of the storm. Right after we left, LT Harer was looking out the window of our office and saw the porta-potty blow overon its back. The best part was that there was a soldier in it at the time. When the soldier tried to climb out the wind was blowing so hard it kept slamming the door closed on his head. He finally gave up until the wind died down and ha managed to climb out to much applause from his unit who witnessed the whole event. Of course his fellow soldiers did what any good soldier would do.....they took pictures instead of rushing to his aid. Good times!!!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Halo from Detonation


Halo from Detonation
Originally uploaded by mensik_baker.
One day a couple of months ago we had some big controlled detonations on camp. For whatever reasons the conditions worked out favorably for some very cool photos. The cloud from the detonations formed a perfect Halo high in the sky. As the winds blew it towards us it began to lose some of its perfect shape but as you can see in the picture it left an almost perfect circle within the cloud that was free of dust. The result was a really incredible cloud and some cool photos.

Not much going on over here at the moment and this is a good thing I guess. We have all reached a point were we are burned out and I think the next month will be the hardest. Once our replacements start the process of coming to Kuwait and preparing to move up north to take over for us it will give us some hope. Until then I try to stay sane, get some sleep (which is easier when the contractors arent building a wooden structure outside my can), and hope that things stay calm long enough for me to get my butt on a plane back to the states.

Well thats it for now...take care of yourselves!!!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Controlled Detonation


Controlled Detonation
Originally uploaded by mensik_baker.
This is a photo of a controlled detonation somewhere on TQ. Perriodically the will detonate capture munitions and blow them up which makes for some spectacular explosions and some good photo ops. Maybe its just the engineer in me but I love explosions, especially when they are planned.

Well I hope things are going well for you guys back home. I wont bother to update you on how things are going here as I am sure you can read the news and hear all about it on the TV/Radio. All I will say is I will be glad to leave this place in a couple of months. The time is sfast approaching when this will be over and I will be overjoyed to get on the plane when that day arrives. It is almost hard to fathom what that moment will be like. I am sure it will be a very emotional moment!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Goodbye Ireland



Originally uploaded by mensik_baker.
It was a sad day today for Marissa and I. After a lot of thought and soul searching we had decided while I was on leave that we could no longer provide Ireland with a home that she deserved. She never adjusted to Grant's arrival into our family. She never treated him bad its just she hated his presence in our family and she did not want to be around us if Grant was there too. She no longer followed us around and she spent most of her days in self-forced isolation. We loved her very much and it was a hard decision because she was "our" dog. We got Ireland within a few days of coming home from our honeymoon and she was the start of our family. Having decided that she deserved a home where she would be happy and get lots of attention we decided to find her a new home. Marissa found her a great home where she will be happy and so she is now no longer our dog but a part of someone else's family. Yet another casualty of the change the deployment brought into our lives.

On a possitive note, Marissa and Grant leave for Portland today!! I am so jealous that she will get to spend a month there. It will be good for both of them because Marissa will have lots of things to do with Grant and Grant will have lots of people to spoil him rotten. I am slightly concerned with Uncle Luke getting a whole month to teach him bad habits though. Thats my job!

Well I should probably get back to work! I hope you all are doing well and that you are enjoying the last little bit of summer. It sprinkled some rain here yesterday and I stood outside in such total joy it was hard to describe. I miss rain!!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

This is your brain on coffee at 0300

I know this is not a pretty picture but this is what I look like at 3 in the morning. I have had a change in schedule....again....and I am working midnight to noon. Its not all that bad but I have only been working the graveyard shift for about 6 days and my body has not adjusted quite yet. The good thing about this shift is that it means I am awake at more of the same time that Marissa is so I can call her at night when Grant is asleep. I love talking to him on the phone but he usually makes it difficult for Marissa to be able to relax and talk with me without having to pay attention to him.

The last week has been a very eventfull week for the 970th. We recently received word that the Major was medically retired. Our thanks go out to him for his leadership and mentorship in the time that he was with us and we wish him well. The news goes downhill from there. SSG Galbreth has also be medically redeployed and is currently on his way home. I was sad to see him go and he will be missed. I know the air side where he was the NCOIC will miss him very much. SSG Bart is also leaving us to go to another base in support of their mission. We are all very bummed about it on our side of the unit because he was our NCOIC and he was an invaluable mentor for the young and young at heart NCO's. Even though we have 3 capable NCO's and 1LT Harer it is a loss for us. WE have 12 years of military experience between us and Bart had 18 by himself. So as you can immagine it is a considerable loss of experience. The day after we find out about Bart leaving us he continued his run of bad luck physically. He now has a cast on his left hand from a tragic John Deere Gator mishap. Lets just say Bart has had a bad month. Thank goodness we are on the downhill side of the deployment!!! Well take care and I will try to be better about blogging.