Bullet Wisdom

I am an Active Duty Officer in the US Army. I am a Husband, father, writer, hunter, gamer, and SOLDIER. This blog is a forum for my many hobbies as well as my random musings.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Training at Taji

Last week I think we were waiting on a plane ride to Baghdad. Well, the plan arrived and we began our arduous journey north. Actually it was not all that difficult. We flew by C17 from Kuwait to Baghdad International Airport. They packed us into the huge aircraft like sardines. It was truly elbow to elbow with bags stacked everywhere. It was so crowded we were not allowed to get up to use the bathroom in flight. On a positive note, the C17 is a hell of an aircraft. It was a comfortable ride and one could barely feel the landing.

Here's a hint for you future TT deployers: They'll let you have two carry-on's when you leave Kansas, a backpack such as an assault pack plus a laptop bag. They both fit in a wooden box they use a screening. However, The Air Force only lets you have one when you fly from to Baghdad. So make sure your laptop bag, if that's what you plan to use, can hold a bit more than a laptop i.e. about 24 hours of provisions (shave kit, poncho liner, etc). I would suggest a tactical looking laptop backpack and stow the assault pack. Leave Fort Riley with only one bag in hand. The fewer the bags the less the hassle down the road.

From Baghdad, they moved us by helicopter under darkness to Taji. We stacked ourselves and our gear into Chinooks, large dual rotor aircraft, and took off into the darkness. Of course, with helicopters you move with no light and a ton of air flowing through the back so it's always an experience. We waddled off the back of the helicopter and incorporated ourselves into the Phoenix Academy at Taji. Phoenix Academy is where MNC-I trains all the different types of Training Teams coming into Iraq. We are a large class with many different types of teams.

For the most part this is refresher training. Consider it the final cram session before the exam. There are classes on Advising, Security, Arabic, Counterinsurgency, etc... The majority of it is familiar, but most importantly we are getting the information as it relates to what is going on the ground NOW. In case you didn't know, around here, if you left six months ago, you are already obsolete. Timely information is paramount.

National election are coming up rapidly. The new Security Agreement between Iraq and the US is already in effect. The bottom line is things are continuously changing and we have arrived here at a challenging time. Regardless of what you see on the news, or how peaceful you might think things are at the moment, you must always be vigilant, hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. So far, with the personnel we have on our team, I think we have the right combination of optimism tempered by realism and pessimism. That sounds kind of hokey, but we are ready to go. In the next couple of weeks we get through Phoenix Academy and transition with the current team.

Until then.


membrain said...

I just found your blog through Mrs. Greyhawk's round-up. I wish you all the best with your mission.

Take care.

David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 01/19/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.