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February 28, 2004

February 28, 2004

Right now I’m crammed on the bench seat cargo netting of a C-141 with about 120 other Marines taxiing to the runway ready for take off for a 20+ hour trip to Kuwait. I guess this marks the beginning of a great journey that I—we—have ahead of us.

It’s Saturday, another weekend lost to the Corps. Last weekend we had a five day field operation starting on Thursday at March AFB, where we are flying out of right now. We were doing an exercise simulating an Iraqi town with our Firm Base secured on the edge of it. We would conduct patrols and Cordon and Knock scenarios, etc. It was good trash, but it rained and was cold the majority of the time. That was miserable. Less than a week later, we’ll be in Iraq! Funny how things are.

Monday, when we got out of the field, we decided to go to Rookies to celebrate Hokenson’s birthday a couple days late. I ended up getting more drunk than I wanted or planned and spending more money than I wanted to. The shitty part was that I got stupid, and Justin Lowe and I started talking to these girls. Both were married and had kids, but we were intoxicated and didn’t care, of course. I don’t think they cared, either. Anyway, as they were leaving I started making out with one of the ladies; she was married to a Recon Corpsman. I suck! I’m really disgusted by my behavior.

On Tuesday night, Mike’s parents and wife came into town. We all went to Macaroni Grill. It was a good time. I fell in love with one of the waitresses! She looked like an older, hotter version of Moira! Way hot! On Wednesday, Andy and I went to church, which was interesting. Only like 20 people were there, but it was good fellowship.

On Thursday, we were only supposed to clean weapons for a couple of hours and get off with Friday off. This would have been nice because Dad was in town until Sunday. Well, someone got in trouble, some idiots, and we had to field day until 1800. So I missed out with my dad and had a 0700 formation on Friday.

At this formation, our rooms were good, and I was planning on spending time with my dad. Hell, no! Top Vargas tells us we are leaving in a day. Talk about my balls sucking up into my stomach.

So at noon, Dad and I hung out. We got some things done, had some coffee and cigars, and talked. Later, we ate dinner with Donna, Willis, Lena, and Robert at Mangia Bene’s. There are so many hot girls that work there! Then Dad and I went to see The Passion of The Christ, which wasn’t bad, but made me cry. We went to Denny’s for coffee and goodbyes. At 0200 Saturday morning, I sent him back to the hotel because he was tired. I got ready for work and waited to load our gear.

We waited on the ramp for hours. Then we finally left the tear-filled eyes of my fellow Marines’ families. Gomez and Delfin’s new wives caught my eyes the most. Newlyweds separated for eight months. I was kind of glad I had no family there. I feel very young and free. No girlfriend, wife, etc. I’m glad I have family who cares but that I have no real responsibility for. It’s a lot less to worry about. It’s kind of like my boy Dooley sitting next to me right now. He hasn’t talked to his family in a month or so.

All I’m concerned about is the mission at hand and my relationship with God. I know my sister is pretty upset because just in the last year or so we’ve gotten closer. In high school, I was an ass to her. But Lord knows I love her. I could tell my dad was worried, but he’s good at hiding such things—or just not talking about it. It was really good seeing him though.

We have just taken off from Gander, Newfoundland, where we had a brief two hour layover. It was snowy and I loved it.

Lord, keep us safe with your guiding hand. Protect us and surround us with your angels as we venture to an unknown land with unexpected possibilities.

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