Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Semper Fidelis

Today we have a distinguished visitor offering up a "Day in the life" guest post. We present to you that grizzled Marine, Jere Fullerton. Well, maybe not grizzled. But he is a Marine! Jere's a good friend from here in Gloucester who's pulling a stint (also known as a year-long deployment) in Iraq and is stationed at Al Asad Air Base. Which is in Iraq. I asked him what a day is like for him over there, he sent me a reply and so I thought I'd share it with y'all. Hey Jere, God bless you my friend. And thank you for your service to our country.
"I am truly blessed to be in Iraq. I could be somewhere else. Like Ouagadoogoo, Burkina Faso (formerly known as Upper Volta). No doubt, it's getting hot here. And it isn't cooling down much at night. A couple of nights ago it was 94 degrees F. here at Al Asad at 10:00 PM. And my A/C had conked out the week prior. The Seabees hooked me up with a new one yesterday. Some good ole boys from Tennessee and Alabama. My new best friends. I'm told August is pretty miserable here. That's when it hits 130 or better on a regular basis. I'm looking forward to being in Virginia for half of August with a weekend in Boston to watch the Yankees embarrass themselves again.

A typical day for me starts at about 6:45 AM when my watch alarm sounds. After ignoring that for five minutes my clock alarm sounds. I hit the snooze bar at least once for another ten bonus minutes of sleep. Finally I stumble out of the rack, make my rack, get dressed and trudge off to the shower trailer for a shave. Normally I'll eat some oatmeal at my desk with raisins and coffee. Before I open my e-mail I read "Our Daily Bread" x 2. Then I will unforward my telephone and open my e-mail. I pore over a bunch of morning reports, i.e. previous days ordnance expenditures, personnel reports, etc.

Hang on, I'm playing some air guitar to the new Newsboys album... "...that's the way we roll 'cause we've been set free.."

OK, I'm back. Well, every day presents new challenges. We are moving a lot of ordnance out of here. We are slowly disassembling our maintenance ...


...complex. We (our maintainers) work out of big metal boxes called Mobile Maintenance Facilities (MMFs). They are assembled to each other like dominoes. We are building temporary work spaces to make up for the loss of the MMFs. Everything seems to be accomplished by hook and crook here. We have some Marines here that are very good at it. We still have to support squadrons, both fixed and rotary wing, with ordnance, aircraft guns, crew served weapons (aircraft machine guns), bomb ejector racks, wing/fuselage pylons, missile launchers, gun turrets, Armament Weapons Support Equipment (bomb trailers, adapters, missile trees)... We still have to maintain a pipeline of ordnance and equipment to our more remote Forward Operating Bases (FOBs). A million other details need to be tended to. We get data calls galore. Always producing reports for the chain of command so they can formulate plans of action. Bottom line (if you read the news yesterday) all but a few dozen Marines (16,000 plus) will be out of Iraq by the spring. Hooray! you might say. Not so fast. Don't forget Afghanistan. Fortunately I will not be returning there. Afghanistan makes this place look like Club Med. Other things pop up all the time.

For example:

"ACE Ordnance, Chief Warrant Officer Fullerton, can I help you?"
"Jere, this is the X.O."
"Hey, Sir. What's up?"
"Have you heard about the fire at CMD (our supply warehouse)"
"Yes, Sir I have."
"The C.O. wants a JAG Manual Command Investigation. He wants you to do it."
"Aye, aye Sir. How long do I have, 30 days?"
"Ah, no. You have ten days. Stop by and get your assignment letter."
"On my way, Sir."

Add to my resume - "Fire Investigator, Self-taught."

The is no more oil left to burn at midnight. I plopped my 1 1/2" thick report on his desk yesterday. A day early. Happy to see it removed from my plate. If you haven't studied the JAG Manual you don't know what you're missing. Absolutely riveting.

Thursdays I attend Bible study for a couple of hours. Sunday is church. I try to run but I haven't gone as often as I would like. We have banned PT here between 10 AM and 5 PM. Too hot.

We haven't had a day off since we arrived, but I try to do as little as possible on Sundays.

I've rambled for way too long. I have a tendency to do that. Sorry. My days usually end by 8-10 PM

Later, Jere

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