It's October 12th, two days before our scheduled flight to Kuwait. Confined to the barracks, the proud soldiers of the 315th PSYOP Company don't have much to do, apart from trying to shoehorn just one more piece of overpriced, unuseable Army equipment into their duffel bags. This morning my team was issued five identical rifle cleaning kits: 5 identical sets of brushes, scrapers, pliers, solvent bottles, etc, each kit the size of a handbag, and costing $50+ on the civilian market. We could easily get by with one for the whole deployment. Maybe 2 for spares. Now we have to find space for all this stuff in our regulation 2-duffel-bags-and-one-rucksack for the flight over. No joke, they issued one of the teams a camouflaged battleaxe last week. A battleaxe. We're headed to Baghdad, a major metropolitan area, no forest for miles in any direction. I politely inquired of our NCOIC if we would sign for spears or perhaps a bear trap next. He didn't laugh.
Anyway, who cares about all that stuff. I just got back from LEAVE & PASS!
The Ft. Dix pre-mobilization process requires all soldiers to receive 4-5 days of leave prior to flying overseas. I flew Joan and Madeline out to New England, rented a car, and spent a short week in a whirlwind tour of Manhattan, Boston, and Connecticut.
Most of the single guys in my platoon headed for New York or Atlantic City to burn their time in a blurry streak of bars, cheap hotels, and cheaper women. The Crandalls, however, focused on friends and family: Great Aunt Joan (Joan's namesake) of Bethany, Connecticut, who has waited patiently for 3 years to regale us with her meatloaf in chili sauce recipe. The Moores of Boston: former San Diegans whose daughter is two days older than Madeline and one of her best friends. The East-Coast Crandalls: My older brother Clyde, his son Scott and two grandkids, all Massachusetts residents. Throw in a day-trip to the Big Apple, and you can see how my 5 days went by in a hurry.
All the pictures from my Leave are on the web here.
I had a tearful farewell with Madeline and Joan this time. No more breaks for the Kentster: it's off to the Middle East for our 9 months boots-on-the-ground. The only way I come home early is if I get shot or a close relative dies. As much as I avoid complaining, it still strikes me as unfair that Joan should have single-motherhood thrust upon her again, or that Madeline should go fatherless for so long. They did nothing wrong, no trespass to deserve this sort of deprivation.
I leave you with this: the monster lobster roll I had for lunch in Boston, at a famous restaurant whose name I'm sure Joan remembers but escapes me right now.