Yesterday began the first stage of my journey home: I left COP Dragon for Camp Striker in the Victory Base Complex (Baghdad). It felt so good to leave. Driving away and knowing I'd never see a place again evokes mixed feelings for me usually. This time, all I felt was relief and elation. There were people there that I will miss. Not all of them were as my previous posts have indicated. This manifested itself again the morning I left when a good group gathered to give me my end of tour award and say farewell. It was usually just one or two people doing specific things that made this experience worse than it could be. Regardless, it's all behind me now. No more walking 100ft to a porta-john in the middle of the night. No more worrying about whether some of the concrete was going to come crumbling down on top of me. AND no more worrying about my equipment. BUT, it also means no more nightly cigars with the boys and the occasional poker game. Those things I will miss. If I had to choose between staying and leaving, though, those two things wouldn't be enough to make me stay. In fact, it would take a lot more - probably more than what would be possible.
Anyway, I'm in Baghdad now getting some of my check-out knocked out so it's not a mad rush at the last minute. I'm also shipping a bunch of stuff. It's amazing what kinds of things get accumulated over 10 months. I've already sent home 2 good sized boxed and I still have more to go. One is just excess clothing so I don't have to drag it all with me through Kuwait but one is a rolling trunk of various "stuff". But, it's all good because I'm DONE!!! See ya! So long! Adios!!!
4/9 and a wakeup!