Ali Al Salem, Part I
We finally arrived in Kuwait twenty hours after we were supposed to. The World Airways charter broke in Leipzig, Germany after we landed. We lined up to reboard the plane at 1100 hrs Saturday, but were told the plane required maintenance. Delay after delay occurred. The word was passed that the plane was ready around 1600 hrs and that we should get ready to go. We lined up again -- and waited. The flight commander (an O-6 stuckee) announced that the original time was bogus and that parts needed to be ordered, shipped, installed, and inspected. We returned to our bunks and our books, tried to sleep in the bunk room, but the lights and noise were too great.
Another time was announced. The plane would be ready to go at 0430 and we needed to transport at 0400. To add insult to injury, Daylight Savings ended in Germany at 0300 Sunday and we had to relive another lost hour. Lined up at 0400 ready to go. And waited. Another announcement. There was water leaking out from the galley. Another delay and an uncertain future.
By this time, we were enjoying the hospitality of the Eastern Germans. We were all in this together, except they were not deploying to the Sandbox.
An announcement that the plane was ready came at 0500. We lined up yet again, this time to be surprised that the shuttle buses actually arrived, the line moved, and we were transported to our POS plane. At 0600 we took off for our delayed adventure.
We landed at Kuwait International Airport four and a half hours later. We waited an hour and a half for the baggage to be unloaded, then drove in a caravan of buses for an hour to the Ali Al Salem Air Base out in the desert. Ali Al Salem is the transition point for US Forces and contractors entering and exiting Kuwait. After waiting an hour for a briefing, we received a scaled-down briefing that lasted 10 minutes, and then were directed outside to unload four trucks holding our baggage. By this time, it was dark, a few external lights were available, and we were faced with a daunting task of finding our two green duffle bags amongst five hundred others. The wise ones who had been through this before had their flashlights available. It took two hours to recover everyone's baggage, load them into ITT vans, and then unload them near our camp tent. Pictures of the compound will be included in the next post.
We got oriented to our new surroundings, walked around a little, found the latrine and the showers, and took long hot showers and put on clean clothes. We all felt better.
Tried to sleep, but we have sixteen guys racked out in eight bunk beds, a few of whom snore. I didn't get to sleep until around 0300 Monday morning and stayed asleep until 0730 when I was awoken by flashlights and activity as everyone arose and began our new workday. I'll be glad to move to my final destination -- if I have one.