A year ago, our bright and talented (okay, so I’m biased) son decided that he was tired of college and wanted to do something “real” for a change. So he joined the army. For a little background you may want to read my article about JB and basic training, “Diary of a New Recruit.” Well, JB has been in one year now and was recently deployed to Kuwait. He writes home when he can and I thought I’d share some of his letters with you. When I start to complain about the heat, I think of JB and the thousands of others in the military stationed in faraway places in less than ideal conditions. I am blessed that so many are willing to make sacrifices for their country and I am proud that JB is one of them. Thank God for our military!

Kuwait

Holy Cow Everyone, 

I’m in Kuwait! It is incredible. Already I have gone from “Whoa, this is awesome!” to “One more day of this and I’m killing myself!” and back again. Let me start from the beginning. 

It all started first thing Sunday morning back at Ft. Benning. I was tired and not really in a “Let’s Deploy!” mood. But I staggered out of bed and dragged all 155 pounds of gear (my body weight, incidentally) to the company area. Even though we had already stowed duffle bags and rucksacks I still had 60 lbs of junk to wear. {Editor’s Note: I wonder how many pounds of that were in the form of his books?} 

The plane was a Boeing 777. Talk about unbelievably cool! Each seat had a built in TV and remote. It had three columns of three seats each, plus first class. It would have been very pleasant had there been no soldiers on it. 

The flight was very long and messed with your head. Between sleeping at odd times, the 7-hour time change, 15 hours of flight, and 3 delays, I was thoroughly messed up by the time we got in the country. We arrived in Kuwait International Airport at about 1730 local time. It was my first experience with time travel. It was strangely anticlimactic. Of course, 7 hours isn’t exactly a huge time leap. 

We got off the planes right onto busses. There were lines of hedges, trees, (palms and short bushy ones) and grass! So far Kuwait is mocking my expectations. Board busses. Sleep. Exacerbate already bad jet lag. 

1930. Not the year. We only traveled in time for 7 hours, remember? We arrived at Camp Doha. Serious whoa. Warehouses. Military vehicles everywhere. Not as hot as I expected. {Editor’s note: Yet.} Nice breeze. Smells like that little beach by Grandma’s house. 

Briefing received. Lots of clichés and militarisms. Got it. We’ve heard this all before.

We are shown to our vehicles. Mine has two serious problems. Number one, my cooling fan rotates about as quickly as, as, something notorious for revolving slowly. The Earth maybe. 

But most worrisome is my engine access hatch. This is a hydraulic lift cover that rises to expose the engine components. Mine takes about 15 seconds to open and 7.5 minutes to close. Already I’m having visions: 

“Hogan, we’re halting. Go check your fluids.”

“Roger,” replies our hero.

“Whirrrrr....” says the hatch.

Private First Class Hogan (who just got promoted on June 15th) begins checks.

“Boom!!” explains the artillery.

“We’re taking fire! Get in and close the hatch, let’s go!!!”

“Tick . . . tick. .. . tick . . .” says the hatch moving so slowly it is unobservable to the naked eye.