Heather Bennett, News 9 ContributorOklahoma Airman Serving In Afghanistan
Heck yeah! I've been here for a month, and time has flown by pretty quickly. I hope it keeps going like this.
This whole deployment is like a roller coaster. Imagine that you're standing there waiting in line, acting like you're not scared to ride, and then you learn that you're deploying. Next, you get the huge hunk of metal that slings you around at an ungodly speed, and the thought crosses your mind, "let's just get this over with." That's all part of training and just getting to where you're going.
As the ride starts with that huge climb to the top, it's not smooth at all. It jerks you back and forth making all sorts of noises, which you're convinced can't be good, and then it happens. That slow and unstoppable ascent and you see the track ahead of you. You sort of know what's going to happen. That climb is the build up to the half-way mark of the deployment, and then it's over the crest of the hill…three months down, three to go. The end is almost there. I know three months is still a ways away, but it's really all downhill from there. I haven't started a countdown yet, but trust that I mark the days I've been here and I know that soon enough, I'll be stepping off the roller coaster and back onto solid ground.
It's four in the morning on my night off. I'm outside because that's where I get WIFI, and I'm freezing cold. But I'm comfy, enjoying a Red Bull and my last bag of "sweet & hot" beef jerky (hint, hint for those who have my mailing address).
I'm sitting here typing away, and I hear a BOOM off in the distance. My friend Jess and I look at each other with an "OH CRAP" look. We all have this same look, some better than others, but it's all the same. We stop talking to see if there are any more. There's nothing else for a good 2 minutes. As it turns out, one of the ranges we drop bombs on is active. That's good info to know.
That part is not what I wanted to tell y'all about. I wanted to talk about the friendships being made here. For 12 hours each day, I'm with someone that I have to trust with my life, whether they're my driver, my gunner, or I'm that person for them. But, it's not only 12 hours. It's day-in and day-out, 24-7. We've got each other. The conversations all start the same, "where are you stationed?" and "where are you from?" From those two questions, stem the next 12 hours of conversation. Nothing is off limits.
It's now 9:00 in the morning here, and you're probably thinking, "She types slow!" Not true at all. Here's a recap of what's happened while I've been writing: Jess and I hear the bomb range, which is not a big deal. We hear it all the time. She decided to go back to her room and watch a movie. Being dedicated to this blog, I sit in the cold hacking away at the keys.
All of a sudden, I hear a much louder BOOOOM!!! I wish you guys could hear these. They are a little like the booms from the fireworks you see at the big shows, but imagine them being only about 300 meters away. I looked over at another Security Forces member and we gave each other the familiar "oh crap" look. We close up our computers and tell the other cops that we need to get back and get our gear. I haul off like a track star, computer in hand, jumping drainage ditches to get back and tell the girls I live with what just happened. Then 3 more explosions happened very close. Not close enough to hurt me, but close enough for me to feel the concussion.
I get back to my room, bust open the door and tell Jess to get ready, that the base just got hit and we need to go post out. The other roommate was still sleeping, so we woke her up. In the matter of 5 minutes, the three of us were out the door and headed to post.
We have no idea what's going on or where they need us, just that we need all the bodies armed up and ready to go. We know we have to get out there and help defend the base. We post out and get everything going, and everyone where they need to be. Every cop rocked out here! I'm sure others did what they were supposed to as well, but the cops rock!
I know I got off subject with the booms, but it's what happens here. When I was writing about being in the hands of others for 12 hours, those booms happened and we actually experienced having to rely on each other. It's late and I'm tired, so next week I'll finish up about the friendships that are formed here. Just an FYI, from what I know, everyone is ok with no injuries from the booms.