Lea and I received the message below from our dear friend, Chris, who was one of Lea’s nurses in the Cardiac Acute Care Unit at Hartford Hospital in 2005. He is now on active duty as a flight nurse, caring for wounded soldiers being flown out of Iraq and Afghanistan. To catch up on his current tour of duty, see his writings in our Christmas time post, https://godswoodshed.com/2007/12/26/christmas-prayer/, in which we passed on two notes from Chris.

Here is his first note of the new year:

Greetings this week are from FL 330 somewhere over Turkey,

It is hard to believe that we are already on our 6th mission in only 20 days. Six missions almost 100 patients, over 55 hours of flight time and 30,000 miles flown so far. I can’t wait to cash in all of my frequent flyer miles. Since I can’t send this email until we get back to Germany early tomorrow morning I suppose there is no harm in saying that we are currently on our way home from Balad, Iraq.

Take off got a little sketchy but the rest of the flight has been fine. We are currently cooking up some hot dogs and corn dogs (sorry, no picture this time) for the troops. As soon as we get out of Iraq and obviously if the mission permits we cook up a hot meal for all of the patients. All of the food is purchased by our unit fund and help is always appreciated and needless to say it goes to a great cause. If anyone would like to make a donation please let me know.

The picture this week is from our version of Red Light district, somewhere near Mosul on our way down into Balad. Once we enter Iraq or Afghanistan airspace everyone puts on their armor, the lights turn red and helmets find their way onto our heads.

We have been averaging a mission every three to four days so when you consider the long days and trying to adjust your sleep schedule there isn’t a lot of down time. Free time usually consists of going to the gym and studying for a military course I am trying to get finished up while I am away. For a short time today we almost had two days off in a row however an unexpected urgent mission came up and in the end it will bump us up a day in the rotation.

If we can manage more than a day off I would like to make it to Normandy however that is at least an 8 hour drive so one day just wouldn’t cut it. New Year’s was spent much like Christmas in fun filled Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. It is incredible to see how much it has changed in the 3 years since I was stationed there. Instead of tents and buildings made of plywood there is actually a solid Hospital building complete with ED, ICU’s, OR and many of the services one would expect back in the States.

The food still stinks and so does the garbage burning but you can’t win them all. I can’t really say that I miss it all that much and besides the beer is a whole lot better in Germany. Well I should probably get back over to my hot dogs before I smoke up the cabin, I hope you all had a Happy New Year and I will talk to you soon. Chris

Lord, please keep a shield of protection around Chris and his team, and give peace and comfort to their families. Amen.