Thursday, April 22, 2010

Kurkuk, Iraq

On Monday, April 19, 2010, my dad left for Kirkuk, Iraq. He works for a company that provides aeronautical support. His job is to train the Iraqi soldiers on how to implement and operate material planning and inventory programs. It is all a little confusing to me…but that is the best of it. Anyway, the deployment to Iraq has been in the works for some time now. Dad had a lot of things that had to be completed before he could deploy (shots, security clearance, gun certification…stuff like that) but once those things were done, it was a FAST departure. He finally finished everything on Thursday and was flying out on Monday!

So, we all went to dinner on Saturday night. And then on Sunday, we went over to Mom and Dad’s house and spent the day with him. We just hung out and enjoyed each other.

At one point we were all sitting around the table and Dad began going through his bags and making sure he had everything while BB and I just talked and watched him. All of the sudden, Dad’s body language changed and he became really panicked. We asked what was wrong and he said that he could not find his passport or CAP card (both of which he HAS to have.) We start frantically SEARCHING! Dad has a backpack, a suitcase and a laptop bag. I begin looking through the suitcase and laptop bag while Dad goes though his backpack. We tear everything apart and after about 10 minutes.... they were nowhere to be found. Two days earlier, Dad had shipped his foot locker to Iraq....that was the last time he could remember having his passport and CAP card. We silently begin to fear the worst…that he may have shipped his passport and CAP card with his foot locker. Dad decides to go upstairs and wake up Mom (she was taking a nap with Michael) and ask her if she had seen his passport. She starts to help us look (none too thrilled with the situation) and they begin to mentally retrace his steps. Dad thinks that MAYBE he left it at work and is about to drive to his office when I decide to take one more look through his backpack. His backpack has 9,000 zippers, so I begin to methodically open each one. There were zippered compartments inside of zippered compartments and it was a tedious task at best. Inside one of those compartments I spotted a little strip of color and YESSSSSSS…there is his passport and CAP card…safe and sound. The pocket was the same size as his documents and it was over looked again and again. BUT, we found it. We teased him about it until he was through security at the airport.

On Monday, he was scheduled to fly out of DFW at 4:20 pm to Frankfurt, Germany. We were a little concerned that he wouldn’t fly out due to the volcanic ash floating above Europe but we all optimistically piled in the car and drove to the airport. Once we parked, we spent another 30 minutes watching Dad go through his bags. He was zipping and unzipping everything looking for whatever item he feared he forgot. You would seriously think that he had never travelled anywhere before. It was pretty funny.

Finally, we were on our way to check-in.

Dad walks up to the counter to only find out that we are at the WRONG dang Terminal.

So, we all head back to the car and drive to the correct Terminal.

Once inside the correct terminal, we get in a very long line for the international departures.

Hoping his flight was not cancelled....we find out that his flight is the ONLY flight scheduled into Germany. Our luck begins to turn around and he is checked in with no problems.

We say our goodbye’s and " I love you’s" and watch him as he goes through security and we all wave one more time.

Dad was scheduled to get into Germany at 9:15 am on Tuesday. He anticipated a layover in Germany for a few days because of the volcanic ash but caught his connecting flight at 4:15 pm and arrived in Kuwait at 10:30 pm. Dad made it to his hotel in Kuwait around midnight. He caught his 4:00 pm flight to Baghdad and arrived at 6:30 pm. He signed up for “Space Available” on the next flight to Kirkuk. Dad is hoping to get a flight to Kirkuk on Friday morning. While in Baghdad, he is sleeping in a tent and on a cot. YUCK! That must suck. All a part of the experience I guess.

Anyway, we love you Dad and miss you SO SO much!! Michael sings his PawPaw song every day. Good luck with whatever it is that you have to do and hope you make the most of this life experience.

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