Saturday, August 2, 2008

Left On A Jet Plane

We have arrived at Ft. Dix, New Jersey where we will spend the next month or so for training. We had a very nice going away ceremony in Buffalo, MN at the high school with a picnic at the lake to follow. The ceremony had the usual speeches by Army brass and government representatives. There was also a tap dance group that did a really nice military themed routine.
Those of us that are cross-levels (i.e. Not an original part of the unit in Minnesota) did not stay for too long at the picnic. It was really for the people to say goodbye to their families and have a good time with them but of course our families were not there. We went to see the new Batman movie in IMAX. It was an awesome movie and it was also not 90 degrees with 90% humidity like it was at the lake.
On Thursday we left for the airport and had a police escort the whole way. The Patriot Guard was also escorting us the whole way but more about them in a second. We had four tour buses for us and started out with two cop cars in the parking lot. At the first main intersection there was three cars blocking off the intersection for us and that continued the whole way. Each town we passed through had the intersections blocked off and then joined our convoy. One town even had their firetrucks set up by the road. When we got onto 94 they had a fire truck blocking off all three lanes and the didn't let anyone pass us. It was really cool to have the cop cars all around our buses and the Patriot Guard up front. I think we might have made some civilians mad with the huge traffic backup but I think that's a minor inconvenience.
We also had charter flights so the buses took us right onto the tarmac to load the planes. I know poeple have been complaining about airports recently but I didn't think traveling was too bad. I guess it helps to have a police escort and a chartered plane. I would recommend that for your next vacation.

I have included a bunch of links to news stories about the going away ceremonies in Green Bay and Buffalo. They have pictures and video.

Green Bay
News Story 1
News Story 2
News Story 3
News Story 4
News Story 5
News Story 6
News Story 7
News Story 8

The Patriot Guard Riders were with us for the going-away ceremony and the trip to the airport. They are some really cool guys. At the ceremony, they stood outside the whole time we were waiting there for everyone to figure out what was going on. During the ceremony they stood along the sides of the auditorium for the whole ceremony just holding their flags. They also gave us one of their logo flags that they had all signed to take to Iraq with us.
On Thursday when we were getting ready to head to the airport they came about an hour early and just stood around the motorpool with their flags. Once we got ready to go some of them rode with us the whole way and some stayed behind with the families to see us off. I don't have any pictures of my own up here but the Patriot Guard Riders have a ton of pictures up. The internet is really slow here so I haven't looked at them all but it's possible I'm in some of them.
These guys are awesome and we really appreciate them coming out to support us. They said they will be waiting for us to get back to Minnesota when we return and escort us back to the unit.

Our mailing address for here at Fort Dix is posted on the right of this page. We don't need a lot while we are here because anything non-consumable will have to be moved when we head to Iraq. However, letters don't take up much space and cookies are considered consumable.

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