Much Better…

I’m sitting in my CHU (Containerized Housing Unit) about to bed down before a 4:15 a.m. meeting for my MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) trip to the Green Zone tomorrow. Everything seems to have been sorted out. I’m not sure what went wrong, but it probably had something to do with the fact that my flight got me in on the 16th despite leaving on the morning of the 15th. I don’t know, but it’s nice to be in a heated room with some food, internet and a bed.

I have to say I’ve been impressed with the friendliness and helpfulness of every soldier and contractor I’ve come across so far. I know it shouldn’t be a surprise, but basically thus far every next step has been a mystery, and I’ve had to rely on the U.S. military 100 percent to guide me. And they’ve come through. When I don’t know something there is always someone there willing to either answer my question or direct me to someone who can. I figured in a high-stress environment where thousands of people are moving through everyday people would be less interested in helping out a total neophyte. I was wrong.

I’ve got six hours until I’ve got to catch my ride to the Rhino, as the MRAPs are called, so I’m going to crash. I got a Skype call in to my wife, saw my dog, and wolfed down a sandwich. Tomorrow I think I get to do what I came here to do.

2 thoughts on “Much Better…

  1. Erik,
    Firstly, congratulations on fulfilling part of your professional dream as a Middle East correspondent! Secondly, I am writing a brief article on your assignment. I spoke with Sasha, your dad, and your mom (we’re having dinner tonight at her place) ~ Can you tell me when you arrive in the Green Zone and which New Hampshire Nat’l Guard troops you will be staying with and interviewing? Will it just be NH military? When will your first broadcast on NHPR be? Does MPR know about this? I might give them a head’s up if they do not. I will be on deadline Tuesday. It is now 3:30 p.m. in Boothbay on the 17th. Thanks, Blessings and wishing you safe and satisfying travel, Lisa Kristoff

  2. My father used to fly C-130s (Hercules or “Herky Birds” as he called them). During the first Gulf War, he was stationed in Saudi Arabia but flew supply missions to the front lines and then, navigated the same planes back to the Delaware Air Base where they were stationed (he was part of the Delaware Air National Guard at the time). Watching them land with a group of people who were all waiting for someone they loved and had spent months worrying for to disembark was incredibly powerful to a 12-year-old me. Those planes mean three things to me: someone leaving for a dangerous place, someone returning from one and someone else waiting on the sidelines. Stay safe, Erik.

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