Thursday, June 11, 2015

Preparation for Iraq -- Part III

This is a continuation of Kathi’s and my RV travels in 2005. We pick our story up on Sunday, February 27th at the 29 Palms Golf Resort and RV Park in Twentynine Palms, CA. (A quick aside to explain the spelling of the name of Twentynine Palms. The town was named because of the palm trees found there in 1852 by a surveyor, Col. Henry Washington. The town was originally called Twenty-Nine Palms and for years after Twentynine and Twenty-Nine were used interchangeably. The city council decided to standardize the spelling a few years ago and now Twentynine Palms is preferred. The 29 Palms Golf Resort and RV Park uses 29 instead of Twentynine since it reduces the size of their signs and advertising considerably. Often in my writing I get tired of writing Twentynine Palms so often and I just call the town 29.)

Sunday and Monday we stayed home in our RV and watched the neighbors. There were a lot of senior citizens there that were a lot more ambitious than Kathi and I. Many played golf at the resort every day and others put their clubs in their cars to drive to other golf courses. Some just came and went frequently. We never did find out what the frequent travelers were doing, since we did not find a lot to entertain us in Twentynine Palms. We ate in most days and usually left town for meals out. Our main focus was on the Marines and their planned deployment.

This must have been a Leap Year since Tuesday was March 1st. Christopher called and gave us his travel itinerary. That phone call upped the anxiety for us, but the Marines seemed to be looking forward to the experience. In retrospect, Kathi would have probably liked to talk about the anxiety and get it into the open. I never learned to express my feelings and was usually stoic about most things. I always picture a good outcome in my mind and dwell on that. I should have offered Kathi the opportunity to talk.

March 2nd and 3rd the Marines did not have anything formal on their schedule. Thursday morning we picked up our son, Christopher and his friend Cauthorn and we went out to eat and turned in their cable box. Friday the 5th we went to the base early and all the Marines had their gear lined up in the parking lot and ready to load on the bus to take them to the airport. There were about 350 Marines dressed in their cammies with rifles slung on their shoulders. Most of the guys were excited, except Andrew Harris who was unusually quiet. He told us he was okay, but I suspect he was feeling the same anxiety as Kathi and I. We had a disposable camera and took pictures of the event and none of the pictures came out – what a disappointment.

Around ten am we got to take a couple of the Marines with us for breakfast or lunch, whichever meal they were having at the time. Around one pm the busses arrived and they loaded their equipment and themselves for the trip to March Air Force Base in Riverside, CA. From there they made stops in Maine, Frankfort, Germany, Kuwait and the Al Asad Air Base in Iraq. The Marines were then given individual assignments around the country backfilling for Marines who were on the way home. Christopher ended up in Kalsu which is about 25 miles south of Baghdad.

To us it was going to be a long seven month deployment and we were glad we had RV travel plans to occupy our minds.

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