"For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace." John 1:16

A place for us to document and share the grace upon grace we have received.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

My Return Trip to Bagram from Kandahar

Rather than coming back on a C-130, which is the norm for the relatively short flight between Bagram and Kandahar, someone fortunately suggested that I try and take a "STOL" flight , which I did. As it turns out, there are civilian contract airlines that supplement the military airlift system in theater, especially for passenger transport. The actual aircraft was a DASH 8-100 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombardier_Dash_8), which is the same airplane used by some of the regional carriers in the United Express. "STOL" indicates that this airplane has excellent capabilities for "short takeoffs and landings", which is essential given many of the small runways at the forward operating bases (FOBs) in Afghanistan. No offense to my C-130 friends, but I'll take a STOL flight any day, which was (at least for a war zone) actually very comparable to flying on the regional airlines in the states. Our "showtime" was 10 am, and we took off around 11:30. Landing at Bagram around 1:00 PM, I was back at my office by 1:15 PM. We even had our own "combat stewardess" who read all the various FAA boilerplate you get on stateside flights, showed us how to put on our seatbelt, how to use the oxygen mask, etc. (yep, regulators like the FAA even regulate in war!). I even had to be reminded by the stewardess to turn off my cell phone. However, this was a welcome reprimand because I am accustomed to receiving it when I travel stateside because I am always trying to grab that last minute email. It felt just like back at home!

Of course, when we landed back at Bagram, I quickly became reacclimatized to the fact that I was back in the slums. I am exaggerating because it’s actually not that bad. However, the weather in Kandahar was terrific comparatively so my bias was leaning heavy in that direction. Although no longer at "Club Kandahar", Bagram has become home to me over the last couple of months. I even found myself breathing a sigh of relief when I crawled into my bed in my plywood B-Hut box that night since I was “back home”. It's always good to be home, no matter where the "vacation".


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