From: Don L. Ross
Sent: Monday, June 11, 2007 9:13 AM
Subject: Rolling Thunder
Attached: Photo of Andy Filson and Don Ross at The Wall
We were at the WALL this past Memorial Day weekend for Rolling Thunder.
I travel annually to Washington DC for Rolling Thunder http://www.rollingthunder1.com/ an organization known for 300,000 bikers from around the world that represents all the POW/MIA’S unaccounted for since WWI.
So Saturday we spend the day seeing the sights (year after year…it never gets old).
Sunday is the parade and bikes begin to line up in the Pentagon parking lot around 6am. The first bikes roll out to the wall around noon and for four hours bikes are rolling.
It’s a sight to see or experience.
Well, the CLU list is #17. (#18 last week) In case you’ve forgotten this important acronym, it stands for Container Living Unit as opposed to TWITGTTAS acronym. (Tent Walking In The Gravel To Take A Shower). I started out at 68 and felt pretty good about how fast I was dropping, apparently the folks in front of me like it here and aren’t rotating home. Weird. To go with a different # and one that does actually move, we are up to the 30% completed mark.
RAIN! We had an exciting AND busy week here in Africa. First, it rained on Tue and I included a picture to prove it. Like Florida, 10 minutes later it was sunshine and 95 degrees. I briefly considered having Vicki send rain gear, but in retrospect imagine I can wait 10 minutes wherever I happen to be.
Joe and I had an overnight mission to Nairobi, Kenya Wed and Thu. This is similar to flying from Columbus, Oh to Denver, Colorado to include the higher elevation of 5300 feet. Although we arrived at 1130 PM and left at 600 PM, we did have 3 hours or so to site see. Our Embassy driver, Robert, was very informative and took us to the site of the Embassy bombing in 1998. They have turned it into a memorial as 219 people died. Although a much smaller scale, you couldn’t help but think of the World Trade center.
Monkey off road. We then ran into a troop (someone correct me if “troop” isn’t correct, I could have went with the term “barrel” also) of monkeys on the side of the road, pulled over and took several pictures. One Mom had a baby holding on for dear life under her belly, too cool.
School kids. We also made a short trip at a wildlife park with numerous school kids present on field trips. All of the kids wear uniforms to school either being the sweaters you see in the picture or blazers. In fact, most of the people walking around downtown are very well dressed in suits. Odd seeing a man in a suit with a “blue tooth” ear phone talking on his Blackberry next to an old rickety cart being pulled by a donkey.
Nairobi Tourist Trap. The last picture is me with an uncomfortable smile holding hands with 2 guys at an African tourist trap. The only thing missing is the “big ball of twine” in the background. Robert must have felt we needed to this to round out our experience.
I must pause a moment and explain the situations I describe for myself at the camp or on the road are not typical for soldiers here. On the camp most soldiers do not have their own laptop with separate monitor, desk with dedicated phone line for their use or a 42″ plasma TV with Xbox. (Previous pilots spent lots of the own $$ for me to live in the manner I have become accustomed) They have to visit the MWR tent (Morale & Welfare), wait in line for a phone or computer and restrict their use to 20 minutes. This of course is only during their off time and not when they decide to take a break as in my case. The ones who do go “down range”, do so to construct hospitals, schools or dig wells at the various countries in our Area Of Responsibility. Their living conditions are much better here at the camp even though most tents here have all bunk beds filled and their shower tents have a line most of the time. We do not share pictures or stories of the nice hotel we stayed in while flying to different locations.
On to another serious note, we were warned in our briefings at Ft Benning that changes would occur on the home front and we should be prepared for such. Of the 6 pilots, 2 families have acquired a new dog in each house, both being the small “rat” type. (Nothing derogatory meant by that term) Another was threatened with 2 kittens. Apparently these guys have absolutely no control in the house! Vicki, please do not take this as a challenge to what animal you can obtain, unless you can find something to “happen” to the mean cat we currently have that likes to bite people who have the nerve to attempt to pet it.
Little windy today. I’ll buy the wings Wed Mar 14th at BW3’s to make it up.