Day One AT
We spent a lot of time getting ready to get ready to get on a plane today. I was up at 0400 to report at 0630 to catch a C-130 at 1430. Do the math. A lot of down time. The upside - first time on a C-130 in my life. I've done many a cadence about the C-130 going down the strip, but until that dry, hot, fume laden prop blast hit me in the face as I approached the loading ramp I never really appreciated what it meant. As the trade winds shifted, different amounts of the blast beat me about the face. At times it took my breath away, others caused me to choke on the fumes. I never figured out the pattern of breathing and holding my breath. One time I tried to hold my breath until I boarded, but the line stopped with me in the midst of the howling heat. I held it as long as I could. When I finally gave in I was treated with fresh fuel fumes. Sweat dripping down my brow, I stood there waiting for the soldiers ahead of me to find a seat and strap in. I was grateful for the pitifully weak aircon when I finally reached the seating area. It felt like the arctic after facing those hellish temperatures.
I gained a lot of respect for the flight crew who had flown several chalks before ours and had to deal not only with us, but the heat too.
Once on the ground we moved to KMR where we settled in to prep for our trek up the mount to PTA. I am always amazed at how much I like all parts of this job. From the discomfort of the heat and humidity to the physical jabot to the problem solving, this challenges me on many levels. I am grateful to have this job and get to learn all I am.
Final note for the night. As I type this in on my iPhone, SGT K is across the gym snoring so loud that not many of us can get to sleep. Hopefully this too will pass and I'll get some sleep.