Will I ever get to Qatar?

All I want to do is take a few days off. That’s all, just a few days. But the US Air Force hasn’t been very helpful.

Last week I figured that if I wanted to ever take advantage of the Pass program I better do it soon. The planets were lining up nicely. The battle group I am assigned to is switching gears to a different type of operation. The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the NATO run operation, will be taking over Regional Command South from the US led Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). I have already prepared the required annexes to the operations orders for upcoming operations. Plus, it looks like I may be reassigned to TF Aegis (our higher HQ) to work in the plans cell. I figure now is the time to cut the umbilical and take a short break.

Last Sunday, I got the paperwork signed and placed myself on the wait list for a flight. I clear off my desk, configure my “out of office” message on all the e-mail systems I use, said good bye to everyone, and later that night I encamp myself at the terminal for a flight with a report time of 0400 Hrs local. I was the only one in the terminal going to Qatar. Everyone else was going to Bagram. When the Bagram flight was manifesting, I asked the dude at the desk about the status of the Qatar flight.

“Sorry sir, we just found out the bird has developed mechanical problems. They are going to attempt to fly anyway but will not take passengers.” My response, “I need to get to Qatar, what are my options?” “Tomorrow there is another flight departing at the same time.”

I trudge back to my quarters. My room mate was just getting up and was shocked to see me. I told him about the mechanical problems and he laughs (I would have also if I were in his shoes). He asks if I will go in to the office. “What? Are you kidding? I been up all bloody night and I will be up all night tonight again! Screw that, I will be in Qatar tomorrow.”

Monday I sleep till lunch time. I go to the gym, shower up, grab dinner, and then I trudge to the terminal. I ask about the status of the flight. “Sorry sir, that flights been cancelled.” I look at the guy in total disbelief. He tells me that there will be another flight tomorrow at the same time. This time I get the terminal phone number so I can call to verify my flight. I go back to my quarters, my room mate laughs at me again, and I hit the rack.

Tuesday, I do the same routine except this time I call and verify. The flight is still on. I trudge over to the terminal and ask the dude at the desk, flight is still on. I go over to the Green Beans Coffee joint (thank goodness they are open 24 hours) to enjoy a coffee and Danish while reading some investment reports on my laptop. I trudge back over, flight is still on. The flight arrives, they manifest everyone, me and three others can’t get on because the good folks in Bagram already put eight people on. Curses!! Foiled again!!!

Wednesday, same routine. My roommate tries to wake me up for lunch and I say I am not hungry. He then accuses me of being lazy and that I am just trying to avoid going to the office. My response was if I would have known that I would have been delayed as much as I have been, I would have willingly gone to the office but this whole staying up all night to catch a flight is getting intolerable. In any case, I call the terminal and the flight was cancelled!!! They did tell me about an Australian flight and they did get me their number.

Will I ever get to Qatar? I have a sure thing early Friday morning. I called the Aussies and they had one seat left. I am on it!! They have my name and service number. I am not on some wait list. There is a US flight tomorrow as well but screw those guys, I might get bumped or some other crazy thing will happen. Thank God for the Aussies! Hopefully, my next post will be from Qatar.

CPT NightHawk


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