Evac

St. Thomas, USVI – Day 5, Homestead, FL – Day 0

Today we were woken up at 5:30 am and told we had to pack now, we were leaving at 7:30. This was quickly revised to 1730, which is very different. We got up, had breakfast and then tore down the remaining tents and packed them up. Anyone who has ever been camping knows that once you take the tent out of the box you can never get it back in the same way. These tents are no different. I stayed behind with a few others to finish up and a little before two we were back over at the airport having left our camp behind.

We weren’t waiting at the airport too long. We went through processing and then loaded up on a C130. They are significantly more cramped than the C17. Funny enough the plane was out of the 179th Airlift Wing in Mansfield (For those that don’t know the 200th Red Horse is also partially out of Mansfield). There were some comments about just having them take us home, but if they had everyone would probably have scattered.

Right now we’re in a gymnasium on Homestead Air Reserve Base in Homestead, FL. We’re going to be staying here until the storm passes and we can go back in and start building up the tents again.

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I did have one minor panic when I realized that my hat wasn’t in my bag. I figured it had fallen out in the plane when I hurried to get everything back in when we were getting off. I wasn’t too concerned because with the plane being from Mansfield as well I figured when they found it they’d just send it over to us. But it still left me without a hat. I mentioned it to the lieutenant and he was all set to give me an extra one he had, but then I mentioned it was my first one and he asked one of the sergeants here if there was anything he could do. He ended up giving me a ride back to the flight line and, sure enough, it was on the plane right where I had been sitting. A happy ending after all.

Author: Jonathan Rodriguez-Lucas

I've traveled the world, but the exploration never ends. I've run marathons, but the race is far from over. I've completed life goals, but strive for more. I have questions with no answers, and answers to questions I've yet to ask.

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