Saturday, September 5, 2009

You might have seen me there. I just dropped a load of celery.

I made it home. I got home about a week ago after lots of waiting and waiting at Fort Dix. There was a lot of downtime between appointments so I tried to make the best of the time and do some sightseeing with the other people who were also stuck at Fort Dix.

I went to Gettysburg, PA and Hershey, PA. We went to the Harley-Davidson factory in York, PA and a couple Harley dealerships. Okay. A lot of Harley dealerships.

I'm just trying to get the proper gear and parts for when I get the "new" motorcycle running. I figure I won't even need a job if I get the bike going. It can't cost that much to drive around on a bike and sleep in a tent right?

I was able to come home a few times on leave. On one of those trips I met some people from my squad at Six Flags Great America and we spent a day there.

I was also able to go to a Phillies game and sit in some really good seats.

I also made it to a Tigers game last week while I was in Flint.

Right now I am back in Chicago. I'm getting my Commercial Driver's License and I'm going to be hauling celery for a while. I am still looking for a full-time engineering-type job but the celery will hold me over in the meantime.
Thank you for all of your support while I have been deployed. It was a really good deployment over all.

I'm going to buy a five gallon tub of peanut butter,


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Top Secret IED Defeat Systems

Now that we are safely back in the United States I feel confident showing you some of the Top Secret systems we used to defeat Improvised Explosive Devices (IED's).

The first system is called Portable Nemisis Detection Assistant (PaNDA). It is a vehicle mounted search and destroy system. You can see the sensor peeking it's head out in the lower right corner of the windshield. It scans the road ahead for IED's and fires the counter-charge if it detects one. You can see the counter-charge projectile mounted on the front of the hood. It may look like it's mounted with duct tape (or 100-mph tape for you military types) but I can assure you it is much more high-tech than that.

The other system we used is called Super Portable Observation Technology (SPOT). Unlike the PaNDA, the SPOT is capable of detecting IED's but not destroying them. SPOT fits neatly in a grenade pouch for dismounted patrols. When the system spots an IED it alerts us with a bark-like tone.

The insurgents tried to get us with IED's, RPG's, rockets, mortars, small arms fire, and rocks. Boy, do they love those rocks. Anyway, thanks to SPOT, PaNDA, and some really bad aim we came through it all with no problems.

I'm still here at Ft. Dix trying to get finished up and get home for good. It has given me some time to look for a full-time job though so that is good. If any of you know of jobs in the Midwest for an Industrial/Manufacturing/Quality Engineer then let me know.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Road Home...

I realized that a lot has happened since my last update so it must be time for a refresher.

First of all, the 1174th Transportation Company from the Tennessee National Guard came to relieve us. I really appreciated them doing that so I could leave. We trained them on what we do rode with them on their first few missions.

The picture above is of the Transfer of Authority (TOA) ceremony we had. Once we had transferred authority for our mission there was only one thing left to do.

Just a little water training.

The picture above is the new way that Michael Phelps has to enter the water for all of his swimming events. That way he gives the other guys a chance.

After we patrolled the swimming pool for about two weeks we finally a got a plane out of QWest, Iraq. And I don't think we are allowed to take pictures on the flight line so I would like to thank whoever it was that took this picture and gave it to me.

This is me and my buddy Gepford on the plane headed out of Iraq.

We got down to Kuwait where the food was terrible compared to Iraq but they did have real milk. It's seems a little strange to have to put "100% real, fresh, cow's milk" on the label but it is also reassuring.

This is the tent we stayed in for a day or so while we waited on our flight out of Kuwait. We had to go through some briefings and get everything we had inspected by Customs. I would like to say that we did finally find a use for the Navy in Iraq though. They can search through our bags with the best of them.

We let Kuwait on Independence Day and took the scenic route back to the United States. We went from Kuwait to Germany which was our only stop on the way over. Then we stopped off in Scotland for a little bit. Then we stopped in Iceland. I guess you could say "I went to Iceland and all I got was this blurry picture of a plane." From Iceland we flew right into McGuire Air Force Base which is right next to Ft. Dix, NJ.

This is our barracks that has been home sweet home for a little bit now.

We have been very busy going to lots of classes and trying to get out of here as you can. By the way, did I mention they have grass here in the United States?

The food here is the worst I have ever had in the military. We are resourceful though so we got ingredients for pizza at the grocery store and cooked it on the grill. It turned out pretty well.

Most of our company went home today but a few of us are stuck here at Ft. Dix. We just have a few issues to get worked out and we should be home soon. I don't know when I'll be back home yet but I'll keep you updated.