I’m gathering stories and memories of 3/2’s redeployment in Sep 2005, to plug into one of the final chapters. Not sure what to call it yet, maybe just ‘Redeployment’. It’ll be a short chapter, capturing some of the sights, sounds and feelings that guys remember on the trip back from Iraq. Here are some memories from Jeff Maniscalco, from Kilo Co:
Before we left Al-Qaim we did a left seat right seat with the new unit that replaced us… They were definetly nervous you could tell. [Just] as we probably were 7 months earlier.
[At AQ] I was always feeling like anything could happen… A mortar/rocket attack. Someone trying to hit the main gate or get in the wire… Plus we knew the new guys were manning the posts so you felt like we didn’t know them so you may not have trusted them to do what they needed to do.
[When we left] they left the back hatch of the chopper open so we had a clear view of Camp AQ as we were taking flight. It was probably one of the best feelings I’ve ever felt… It was strange. Glad to be leaving but sad at what we all had experienced. Nobody really talked, I remember that. It was also a short flight. [I was like] ‘Thank God I made it out of that dump. I hope I never have to go back!” I felt like I accomplished something good by not dying.
Al-Asad was different. It was huge and we finally felt like we were “off duty”. It was pretty chill. You [could] walk around without your rifle… We could finally “drop our packs” and relax a little… We sat around mainly just made phone calls home, explored the base. Ate at the chow halls. Food was good there. Got haircuts. –Jeff Maniscalco (used with permission)
Here are other possible ‘scenes’ I’d like to capture.
-Getting a burger (or pizza or whatever) at Al-Asad
-Crossing out of Iraqi airspace on the flight to Kuwait
-Switching from C-130 to ‘charter air’ flight. Airliner seats. Stewardesses. Etc.
-Flight across the Atlantic
-Landing in the U.S. (not sure where you first touched down).
-Arriving at MCAS Cherry Point
-Bus ride to Lejeune
-Arrival at Lejeune, and forming up, getting dismissed
-Meeting family, parents, wives, kids, etc
-Days after arriving. Adjusting