Saturday, December 04, 2004

Hook Is Home

For those of you who missed it, I'd like to re-report that Sgt. Hook has returned home from Afghanistan. Hook is - actually, was - the First Sergeant of a Hawaii-based Army chopper unit whose job it was to give the "air" and "mobile" to "air-mobile" Army units operating over in the 'Stan. His eyes on the ground over there were an invaluable asset to those of us who want to stay informed about the real happenings overseas.

Hook's entries offered a great personal perspective into the Afghan operations over the course of the last 8 months which included, if you'll recall, the highly successful, first-ever, elections there. Hook was also the founder of Operation Shoe Fly which provided shoes to Afghani kids of all sizes over there. His blog is a great read and I recommend it. Perhaps the best entries are the ones where he details how he did this or that or speaks on his travel to and from. His latest is on his waiting for a flight to Germany. Sounds like a common experience, based on what I've been told by returning members of the military in this area!

::::::::Stepping into the plywood passenger terminal, I dropped the duffel at my feet with a “clunk” and sat down on one of the dozen couches that were lined dress right dress in rows of three facing a large screen television airing the Armed Forces Network to help those of us waiting to catch a flight outof the Stan pass the time. There was no travel agent to book my ticket out of the desert, so I silently hoped that a good dose of patience and a lot of AFN would be enough to keep my sanity as I waited to begin the first leg of my long journey home. A large white dry-erase board hung on the wall next to the televeision screen with the schedule of outgoing flights hand written in blue ink. Noticing that I was in luck, only two hours until the next scheduled flight to Germany, I settled in for the wait. It wasn’t long until the announcement was made for “those passengers wishing to travel to Germany to please report to the manifest window with a copy of their orders.” I obediently reported to the manifest window with a copy of my orders in my hand.

We were notified that the flight had been cancelled and that there were no seats available on the following one, but there was a flight with some thirty open seats scheduled in about eleven hours. I sat back down and waited noticing on the mission board that a red line had been drawn through the listed flight I had anticipated being on. What the hell, eleven hours really isn’t that long of a time compared to eight months. Sgt Hook out.

As he says, the Army goes rolling along. To Hook and his family, I'm glad you've returned to America. That you returned to the Pearl of the Pacific is only better. Mahalo, Hook, and Aloha!