Recovery

As much as I love traveling, there’s no question that it can wear you out. Especially when you’re packed so tight into a C130 that a commercial coach seat feels like more room than you know what to do with. Add to that the fact that you were traveling for nigh on 20 hours and even without a time change there’s some not insignificant turboprop lag.

The hardest part is just keeping yourself going knowing that, while it would be so easy to just lay down and close your eyes, it’ll just make it that much harder. So you get up, you walk around, you drink a glass of water.

It’s not quite tired. It’s not quite fatigue. It’s that haze where you know there are things you need to do, but you’re just not going to do them. It’ll be okay, there’s always tomorrow. And if that ever starts to bother you don’t worry, tomorrow there will still be tomorrow.

But still you push, and you get a thing or two done.

And then you reward yourself.

With tacos.

Farewell

St. Thomas, USVI – Day 30

So after several days of not leaving, we are finally on our way.

Of course everyone was skeptical. After all we’d already packed up once before. But sure enough, in the afternoon we were once again packing our bags. Then came the lovely task of driving a large pallet of baggage over to the airport.

 

After that the only thing to do was sit around until it was time to load up and go.

 

When we got to the airport we had yet more waiting to do as our plane had not yet arrived. We, however, did have confirmation that it was on our way. And sure enough it came.

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I did have a momentary panic when we were all called together that we were going to be told that for whatever reason we weren’t getting on this plane, but thankfully that was not the case.

It’s been an interesting trip, but it’s time to go home.

…And Not Today Either

St. Thomas, USVI – Day 29

Another day of just waiting. We got up in the morning had a quick meeting and then just sat around and waited until later in the day when it was time to load up all our bags on an aircraft pallet. So that time came and we did this thing. An hour or so later, as I was laying on my cot watching a movie on my phone, Captain came in and, quite annoyingly, said that we were not leaving today. The flight had been delayed, or retasked or something that meant it wasn’t coming in. So I walked outside to discover that it was beer o’clock.

Hey, at least we had a good party.

…But Not Today

St. Thomas, USVI – Day 28

It will, of course, be much more difficult to leave that it was to arrive.

We did get the chain saws that we were waiting on yesterday. Unfortunately they came in several pieces so the early parts of the morning were spent trying to put them back together. By then the weather was so bad that we couldn’t go out and work. Alas, it would have been nice to actually get to do some clearing work like that, but it seems that it was not meant to be.

We also got told to pack and that we would be leaving this evening. Then we found out that the plane that was bringing our relief (that we were then going to get on) was reassigned. Then we found out that that wasn’t true. Then we found out that it was coming tomorrow afternoon/evening. Here’s hoping that stays true. It’s been an interesting trip, but it will be nice to be home. I’ve been gone pretty much this whole year and would like to spend some time at home.

I grew a mustache. It looks pretty weird.

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Hurry Up and Maintain

St. Thomas, USVI – Day 27

Still another day without a whole lot to do. But that’s the life when your mission is to maintain what you built. You just sit around and wait for something to break. Which of course, when you’re as good as we are, doesn’t happen. So the morning was spent mostly reading. Which in and of itself was not a bad thing. There was some talk about going up to clear a road, which I was excited about because that’s one of the things we thought we might be doing when we got here. So I also helped load a skid steer onto a roll off truck. And then we sat and waited for some Blackhawks to bring us chain saws. Which, of course, never came. Well, the helicopters did, but there weren’t any chainsaws on them. And then we found out that there were but that they’d been sent up to the armory, but also there was no gas for them. Guess we’ll try again tomorrow. In the afternoon though I did get a little stick time digging a trench and a hole for some more drainage that we were putting in in another part of the site.

It’s been raining a lot the past few days. I think I need to go to Arizona for a week or so when I get back, where it’s dry, rocky and there are no mosquitos.

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We may be out as early as tomorrow. There’s a KC135 that’s supposed to be bringing in our relief sometime tomorrow, probably late, and the hope is that we can get on that and at least get to Savannah and if we’re lucky a Mansfield C130 could then get us shortly thereafter. Though even if we had a night in Savanah we could at least be somewhat rested when we get home and I won’t have to sleep on the shop floor for a couple hours. But even if it means sleeping on the shop floor for a couple hours it’ll be very nice to be home.

When Trainees Aren’t There to Train

St. Thomas, USVI – Day 26

Another day of “maintaining.” So I was planning on spending the day around camp hoping there was something to do. Then out of nowhere I was told I was going up to the other site to help train some Army plumbers on how to replace toilets and take care of a few final things in that camp. I was also told that I might want to pack a change of clothes and/or swimsuit.

When we got to the armory, where the other camp we set up is, we found out that of the five toilets we were told didn’t work, two of them worked just fine, one just needed plunging and the other two were actually broken. We also found out that the plumbers we were supposed to train weren’t there because they were in class (the university started up again today) and that they wouldn’t be back until sometime later in the afternoon. Guess we’ll try again tomorrow.

After that we went back to the beach bar we’ve been to a couple times for lunch. We were going to try to go snorkeling but the dive shop there has wonky hours and by the time we’d finished lunch they were closed. We’ll see if we get another chance at it before we leave (which could be in the next two to three days, by the way). What was really cool about that though is that one guy got talking to a local who then mentioned that his generator was acting up. Well we just so happened to have two generator techs with us. Next thing we knew we were up the hill, sitting on his deck, having a beer while the two guys see if they can figure it out. Sadly they couldn’t, but the guy, Al, turned out to be pretty interesting. He started out in the Army after high school, and when he came back to St. Thomas after a couple tours in Germany he was tapped to be the Sergeant at Arms for the legislature, which he did for 30 years.

After talking to him for a bit we went in search of what was supposed to be one of the best beaches in the area, but the resort it’s attached to did not fare the storm well. Also by the time we got there it was raining. So we stopped off for dinner and then back to camp.

We have another late start tomorrow, and unless there’s some measurable change I imagine the day after will be late too. Hell, we may even be leaving Wednesday. Who knows? I sure don’t.