"Damn its cold." Thats all I could think about as I sat there on that C-17 with Centurion company. We were in Mannas in the dead of winter. It was negative twenty-four degrees outside and the back ramp was open letting the chilling wind in. My feet hurt because it was so cold, but soon I couldn't feel them anymore. The only thing that really kept me warm was my IOTV and my brain bucket on my head. It was the most miserable time of my deployment so I thought at the time. I had no idea of the hell that was coming.
Finally the planes engines started up and we were ready for takeoff. The plane started to roll with the back cargo doors still open. I only prayed that they would close them soon. I couldn't move because of how cold I was. Everything in my body was numb. I still remember the time that the plane took off it was 0552 in the morning. They shut the doors right before we took off. The takeoff was rough. The engines were rumbling and the hull was shaking. The clanging of loose bolts rang throughout the plane. The turbines kicked in and before I knew it we were off of the ground.
I was thinking about alot of things on the hour ride to Kandahar Air Field. One thing was that I hope I don't make the trip back in a box. I was nervous not scared. I didn't know what to expect when we landed, were we going to take fire as soon as we stepped off, I did not know. I thought of my wife back home and how much I loved her. It mostly excited me because I didn't know what it was going to be like.
I joined the military to experience war. I wanted to say that I did something for this country and not that I sat back and didn't contribute to what we enjoy everyday. Its not easy leaving your loved ones and not knowing if you will ever see their faces again but we do it anyway. We answer the call and go.
The ride was short then sunligt shined through the cockpit of the plane. This is the Afghani sunrise I thought to myself. This was it no turning back now. Im here and ready. The plane rolled into the infamous combat dive that any war veteren will remember. My guts ran into my throat and before I knew it Touchdown. Then the plane came to a halt on the runway. We all got up out of our seats and grabbed our bags and down the ramp we came. All of us anxious and eager to recieve our baptism by fire.
It smelled like rotten sewage. The air was musky and there were walls everywhere. Then it hit me that I was in a war zone and this was the real deal. We inprocessed and went to our sleeping quarters for the night.