So we finally moved our asses out of Salerno and on to Camp Clark. So any of you who were wondering, you can mail stuff to me here now. I’m actually here. In paradise!
You would not believe this place. I still haven’t quite processed all of it. They have it all here. I actually sat down the other day and watched Terminator Salvation on a projection screen in a room with bean bag chairs and leather couches. This is the best war zone ever!
So let’s start with the title. I call this place Rocket City, because well this place takes indirect fire so much that it managed to make the front page of the Stars & Stripes because of that, and the amazing shit that this place has here.
I’ve been here going on 9 months now and I have never seen shit like this before. We got a chow hall run by a chef who used to work as the head chef at one of the cruise lines. I mean that alone would make this place the best ever, but there’s more...
Movies, video games, phones, gym, rocks you can actually walk on without breaking an ankle, and that’s the rest of the joint. You should see where we live.
This place has a floor. I mean a real fucking floor. Its made of some rubber shit, but it is guaranteed not to crumble on us. So its better than Wazi on that fact alone. Then there are cement walls that keep the heat out and the cool in, and we are sleeping on real bunk beds. God damnit for the first time in a long damn time I am sleeping in a real bed. Sure the mattress is lumpy as hell and there is a spring that pokes me in the ass all night but you’d be amazed at just what you appreciate when you have spent a few nights outside the wire.
Then there are the shitters. Which, I can’t even explain the opulence of these things. Well, opulence as far as I’m concerned. First of all, the toilets actually flush! There is always running water in them, and I’ll tell you the best part. I’ve taken a few showers here, and the water has always been...
A. Always there and running.
Some people think that heaven can’t be on earth. Well, I beg to differ. After the last 9 months or so this place is about as close to heaven as I’m going to get.
Then there is the bad part of this place. It tends to get little flying presents of death delivered by the Taliban on a fairly regular basis.
We couldn’t come here as early as we had wanted because our building wasn’t ready. Why? Because a rocket had flown through the wall, landed, and exploded. Damaging the building, making it uninhabitable. The part that really sucks is that you can see the spot on the floor where the rocket landed. And its about 5 feet from my bed. Why wouldn’t it be?
Ah, what the hell. I’ll be more than happy to trade a few rockets for being here as opposed to the other places I’ve been. Fuck em’ Its just a rocket.
So we are finally winding this whole thing down. We are starting the process of packing up to go on home. Which is a little weird all things considered. I mean, we left home about 11 months ago. Yet it feels like a million years. We traveled half way across the world, but I still wonder sometimes if I am still on the same planet.
I am sitting here listening to Rancid’s “Civilian Ways”. (I’m going to be able to set this entire deployment to music.)
And I’m wondering...
There’s a line in the lyrics of that song that goes, “I feel the cold steel of my rifle as I dream of foreign lands, and I promised myself I will cherish every moment I can.” “When I say goodbye, I try to be strong, now I’m goin’ back to the US where I belong, I ain’t never alone, the war seems to follow me home.”
Well, how many times have I written the words, “Someone always said it better than I did” And in this case its a punk band. Ain’t that some shit?
I already know that I am going to cherish home in ways that some of you will never be able to understand. Suffice it to say that I am fascinated by flushing toilets, so think of how wonderful all the rest of it is going to be.
When I say goodbye to all those that I came here with, that’s going to be a bitch. Made a few friends here that I’ll probably have for the rest of my life. (Where the hell is Pigpen?) But regardless of whether or not I ever see them after we leave this place, I’ll never forget them. And that’s enough about that, Forrest.
The last line is the one that bugs me. If this war follows me home, I’m gonna be pissed. But somehow I figure it will. There’s no way around it. And that truly sucks, but like everything else...I’ll embrace it!
So we got about six weeks left. I can actually say now that I should be home NEXT month. Can’t start thinking about that. Too much left to do.
Too many rockets left to dodge.
Too many IED’s left to drive over.
Too many bullets left in the guns.
Too much time left in the suck.
Stop thinking boy. You’re gonna make yourself crazy...
I love you Mom...