Hello from Balad!!!
Now you are probably wondering WHY I have sooo much time to write – It’s cause I’m Bored!!! Which is a good thing, it means that I don’t have much to do right now. Which is good as, if I am not bored, that means all Hell is breaking loose here!
’Scuse my French.
Anyway, have to tell you about my flight over here. Was a military chartered civilian flight. Wide-body somethingorother. Capacity over 300, actual body count (OK, is that a good term to use when referring to a bunch of soldiers going into a war zone?!) about 120, which means we all had a row to ourselves. Nice to stretch out on, especially as it was a 17+ hr flight.. After we took off the pilots said, "Hey, the door's open, come up and visit us in the cockpit. Anytime." Kinda neat! I mean – think about it - how secure could this flight be? Count the weapons in the cabin – each of us had either a 9MM or an M16, or both, plus assorted personal protection items such as boot knives, belt knives, big knives, little knives, leatherman tools, throwing knives and probably other things I wouldn’t even know about.
Go ahead. Make my day. Hijack this flight.
– Oh by the way an M16 is stowed UNDER the seat with the muzzle pointing towards the outer wall of the plane. Just in case you ever have to travel with one.
So I stopped by the cockpit while we were refueling in Maryland, and started to talk with the navigator, who’s wife was pregnant (ed note: Major Pain is not just an RN, she's also a registered Midwife, with a Masters degree). Got myself invited to be in the cockpit for when we land in Ireland. After we took off and were still climbing out of the airport, my name got called over the intercom "Major Pain, report to the cockpit!!". So while we were still climbing out of the airport, I was making my way up hill to the cockpit, grabbed a seat and got a good view of Boston and NYC from the air. The pilots declined my invitation to get closer to NYC for a better view though…
Spent a lot of time in the cockpit, watch and listening. Saw the sunrise from the cockpit. Wow. There was a 747 about 1000 feet above and to the left of us on the same route – neat to watch it pace us. When we came in for a landing in Shannon, Ireland, the crew shut the cockpit door so it wasn’t apparent we, the extra riders, weren’t strapped in to the jump seats, and I got a wonderful view of Ireland and landing in Shannon just after day break leaning over the shoulders of the navigator. Wow Unfortunately, the aircrew changed in Shannon and I was confined to the rest of the plane for the duration of the flight.
Anyway – Back to being bored.