So - certain members of the MILAIR support staff were totally cool - especially the Sergeant Major who arranged for my stuff to be held at the back edge of the baggage truck, so that if, just if, my company pulled their *&^$% out of the (*^#$, I could grab my stuff, jump on a commercial flight and get out of that hellhole. Alas, that was not to happen.
So - my MILAIR experience began at 12:00 in the afternoon on Friday. It went until 1230 on Monday morning.
Friday - load bags and stand in formation to be told the flight was delayed. Okay, fine, report back Saturday.
Saturday - in the midst of a wonderful downpour, we report three times, each time getting told to come back later. Finally, about 2:00, they tell us we are being bussed to Atlanta. 3:00, we get on the busses. 5:00 we arrive at a big, empty, cargo terminal and pull up a piece of tile floor to wait. And wait. And wait. We lay out our carryons, get everything searched, and then wait. And wait. And they tell us "no smoking, sorry" Joy. So, about 7:00 we get on the plane, and get yelled at by some E-7 who is getting frustrated that the flight crew is apparently telling people where to sit (that's her job, and what is the flight crew doing interfering with the whole boarding of the plane thing?) Its kind of amusing, actually. So then we sit, and wait. Then the captain comes on and tells us that we are going to have to wait SIX hours for the de-icing. So we all file off the plane, and they take pity on the smokers. Mad rush out the door. A hundred people standing shivering in the coldest day in the HISTORY of GEORGIA (who knows...), puffing madly away. We come back in, someone orders us pizza. Then, we wait. Some people sleep on the empty tile floor. Mostly soldiers, who are a little more used to this stuff. You ever slept on a tile floor? It sucks. You can't shift to get comfortable, the tole steals your body heat, my back STILL hurts.
Sunday - 5:00 we get up (notice, it has been EIGHT hours since they said six hours). Someone has McDOnald's breakfast delivered. Its gross. We get on the plane, we take off. Eight hours of flight time (I think, I slept through most of it). We land to refuel at Leipzig. Another mad rush of smokers. And let me tell you about Leipzig - I have never seen as much pornography and Rammstein on display in my life. I wanted to get a mousepad, but I think that might violate GO #1...
Monday - finally get to Kuwait. Three hours of random briefings later, I have a bunk, and I pull out my poncho liner to discover that my duffel bag had apparently been sitting in a puddle for the last ten hours. Joy. Thankfully, its dry here in Kuwait, and most of the stuff (pillow, pillowcase, woobie, etc) dries out while I catch a blessed 4 hours of sleep on a real mattress. After my nap, I load up onto my flight to Baghdad - a C-17 this time. I highly recommend it. It smells a hell of a lot nicer than a C-130, and you don't have the weird facing backward thing of the C-5. One hour flight to Baghdad, land, walk out. Its COLD - especially at 1200 in the morning.