A Night in the Kuwaiti-Deployed Life of B-Nez



I am deployed to Kuwait right now. I've been here for two months and I'm going back home soon. What follows is a hairebrained depiction of what my life here in Kuwait consists of. I have become a vampire, clinging to the shadows and avoiding sunlight all-together. Yeah, I'm a freak, I know.

I am here for presonnel recovery. That's the new fancy term they've given to combat search and rescue. I'm here with a C-130 crew that refuels helicopters. So basically, if a pilot goes down, the helicopters have to go rescue him. The helicopters, at some point will need gas. That's where we come in. We tag along behind them, and pass gas when needed (pun intended). That is the essence of my existence while I am here. Which means, that as long as no one gets shot down, I have nothing to do. Now, we do get to fly some training lines a couple times a week, but we do that at night, too. So, I have no reason to be up before 3:00 most days, except Monday and Wednesday (before 1:00). And other days I don't even have to get up at all.


Chapter 1 -- Night Falls

I awake as the harsh Kuwaiti sunlight that has disturbed my sleep all day begins to wane. It is almost dark inside my homemade vestibule save for a couple rays of light shining through the tent door. I glance at my watch. However, because it is a cheap Tag-Heuer copy I bought in Turkey, the digits don't illuminate very well. I continue to stare at the watch as my eyes begin to focus. Inevitably, the tent door swings open, as one of my tent-mates enters/exits, bathing me in the evening sunset. 6:00. Cool, just in time for dinner. The door slams shut violently. That was obviously Woody. That waste of space has no consideration for others, and slams the door all morning long. Someone should slam his head in the door. Anyway, I slowly wrest myself into a sitting position (so as to avoid a head-rush), and continue focusing my eyes. I pull on my Airwalks, throw on a t-shirt and sunglasses, and step outside. The fading sun beams like a brilliant sword, even through my cheap $12 sunglasses. One quick "morning" smoke before I head off to chow. AUTHORS NOTE: I'LL SPARE YOU THE DETAILS OF MY CHOW EXPERIENCE, IT'S PRETTY TERRIFYING.

Chapter 2 -- Nightly Routine

Once I get back to my tent, I begin to assemble my Bathroom Bag. That's right, I have to pack a bag to go take a shower. I pack soap, shampoo, deodorant, shaving cream and razor (on the days I choose to shave), toothbrush, toothpaste, and a big bottle of water. They say the water isn't safe to drink or brush with, so I have to use bottled. I usually shower, shave, and brush -- in that order. Something about getting a closer, more comfortable shave immediately after showering...I don't know; I'm a creature of habit. The one drawback to that, is while rinsing the toothpaste, and licking the frothy Mentadent from my mouth, I also get to taste the residue from my shaving cream...yecchh. Anyway, then it's back to my tent for the dressing ritual.

Chapter 3 -- Netizen Attire

Back in my tent, I pull out my clothes for the evening. From the wall-locker, jeans and a shirt of some type. I have two pairs of jeans with me. The first, a good old pair of Levis 555's with a big stringy hole right over the right kneecap, and the beginnings of yet another over the right thigh. A few more washings is all she needs...The second is a brand-spanking-new pair of Levis 550's I bought in Bahrain two weekends ago. No sissy $80 designer jeans here. Just real jeans for real men -- Levis. I wear 550's, 555's, and 560's. Exclusively. Best damned jeans in the world. And that old, holey pair -- comfortable as heck. Anyway, I put on one of the two pair, and whatever kind of shirt I feel like wearing. If it's chilly, a sweatshirt; if not, something else. I'm not near as choosey about my shirts. Next I put on either my Airwalks or my desert combat boots; depends on my mood. I unpack the flight gear from my commando-backpack (carabiners and crap all hanging off it), and repack it with my tools: CD portfolio (gotta have tunes), a magazine or two (in case the net drags down), Motrin, and an extra pack of Camel Regulars. Throw on my old leather jacket, toss the pack over my left shoulder, and emerge the tent as -- B-Nez, Net-Vermin.

Chapter 4 -- The Trek

The walk from my tent to the compound takes about 10 minutes. I stop at the chow hall on the way, and grab a cup of syrup-like coffee. Sometimes I return a video rental to the Rec Center as well. We're not talking "new releases" here, either. Stuff from the early '80s and '90s. A few movies from '95-97. On the way to the compound, I also pass the nightly basketball game, some razor wire, a few Hum-V's, and probably some snakes. I finally get to the compound, smile at the guard, and grab a chair in front of my workstation. In this case, my workstation is a Micron laptop wired into the WAN. I think it's a 586 of some type, and has 256 Megs of RAM. You can never have too much RAM. Log on, and it's time to Rock and Roll, baby!

End of Part I


PART II Coming Soon

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