So I figured after a 4 week hiatus I should probably get off my rear and get back to writing on occasion. In all actuality we have been pretty busy the past month which for me at least made the last half of June and the first half of this month pass by fairly quickly. In addition to flying the OIC duties have been keeping me busy with evaluations and recommendation for awards and such.
We swapped out two flyers at the beginning of the month and they were replaced by two new flyers from the AE squadron here in Ramstein. After a month of fairly easy sailing I finally have a problem child who to be blunt is a huge pain in my ass. I wouldn’t mind so much but he is a Captain as well and after the Chief Nurse refused to reassign him due to him leaving in two weeks we had a “little” closed door discussion. So far so good but time will tell.
Our flight schedule has been quite hectic which also helped pass the time. In the last month and half we have flown 13 missions which is just over two missions a week. It may not sound too bad however when you consider those are two 24 hours days per week and then you add in the time that we spend in “stand-by” alert, the time starts to add up.
We were blessed with a 3 day break this past weekend in Jackson Mississippi. For once I was actually glad Amanda and Cam didn’t attempt to make the trip down to D.C. as we were only there for 3 hours and then flew onto San Antonio and then to Jackson. We had the opportunity with fly with a film crew from CNN and I was interviewed by Barbra Starr, the Pentagon Correspondent. The crew was documenting the increased number of casualties coming out of the Afghanistan Theater of Operations after the recent troop surge. They actually got a good taste of what we do on a daily basis.
Barbara and the camera crew flew from Ramstein to Bagram on Thursday afternoon, returned to Ramstein Friday morning and then jumped on our mission Friday afternoon back to the States. We had a fairly large patient load leaving Germany and she was very impressed by how busy we were during the 9 hour flight. Unfortunately I was the Medical Crew Director on the flight and even though I thought I had escaped the inevitable interview with about an hour left in our mission and Boston out the right side window I was asked to say a few words.
I was surprised by how laid back she was and the 5 minutes seemed to pass very quickly. Hopefully this won’t be a repeat of the “courage under fire” crap that idiot from Fox 61 pulled when he flew with us a few years ago. Regardless the interview should be a 3 part documentary and should start airing the last week of July or the first week of August.
The World Cup also provided numerous opportunities to pass some of the time. For all but one of the Germany matches we met our friend Axel in the small town of Bissersshiem and watch the game with the local volunteer fire department. With plenty of beer on tap, a fire truck and Jaggermeister (which is awful by the way) there was always a good time to had by all. It was disappointing when the German national team lost in the semi-finals as I think it would have been pretty cool to be present in a country that won a World Cup.
During the 3rd place match we were all given polo shirts from the fire department as a token of friendship and we passed along some of our unit patches which they promptly put on display in the “social” area of the department (aka bar). Kevin was graciously given a signed fire helmet from the department that they asked be placed in the firehouse he works at and I was given a signed, Germany World Cup Burger King crown to add to my in-flight kit. I am sure anyone who has ever flown with me can’t wait to see the new addition.
Next Thursday night the fire department wants to celebrate Kevin and I going home so they invited us to what they call an after-work party. Only in Germany would they celebrate getting out of work by throwing a party, and on a Thursday night even. Anything for a gathering I guess but if it is fun perhaps I will bring the tradition back to the States. I do think Kevin is in for a big surprise however. During a previous visit he half-heartedly invited the guys the firehouse over to visit Boston whenever they wanted. According to Axel that will be early next spring and 6 of them are already making plans and may have already reserved the time off. I may have to take a road trip to Boston just to watch this event.
Well that is all for this next to last installment. Today after we get back to Ramstein I hope to go to the travel office and reserve my ticket home. Looks like August 6th will be the big day. My replacement gets in on July 31st however we have a scheduled mission right around that time and there is a very good chance I will have to fly even though he is present.
Replacement, now that sure is a great word. Let’s say it again, replacement :-). As normal, pray for world peace, the safety of our troops