Well, there goes my ruck

 We just touched down in Kabul not too long ago. As the ramp of the C-130 let down, a beautiful sunrise stretched across huge snow caped mountains.It was a refreshing and wonderful view. We all filed off the aircraft and made our way over to our still palletized bags. We were instructed by the British forces who work at the Kabul airport to quickly gather our gear and get it out of the terminal, as there were other troops in bound directly after us. The Kabul airport isn’t very big at all and hasn’t been operational very long from what we are told. It consists of one in bound terminal and one out bound terminal.

We scrambled to locate each of our bags. Us PA’s all have six bags or more but not by choice.The reason for this is our pro gear or camera gear has to be transported in pelican cases to ensure it doesn’t get damaged along the way. I was told once that a photojournalist in a war with a damaged or non-operational camera is useless. I guess that has some truth to it. I’ve really got nothing to contribute to our efforts over here without my weapons IE camera, notepad, and pen.

We all worked together un-palletizing our bags and gear. After the pallet had been cleared I noticed I was short a bag. Great! I looked at the pile of gear with Holston marked all over it and counted once more, hoping that I had miscounted the first time. No luck. The number of bags totaled five I have six. Tired and stressed from the events that took place over the last 72 hours I was not excited to deal with this situation. I lugged the 5 bags that did make it outside the terminal and put them with all the others.I then made my way back out to the baggage dock and grabbed the first British troop I could find. I explained the situation to her. She looked at me, and in her sincerest voice said I’m sorry sir. The bag that’s missing is my big ruck. It contains my sleeping bag which we use often and the rest of my combat gear that’s not already on my person. Such as Knee pads, elbow pads, goggles, etc. I found some of the other PA’s thatI had traveled there with and explained to them the situation. They felt bad for me as well but what could they do? Not a whole lot. I went back into the airport found a DSN phone which wasn’t easy and managed to get the number to the passenger terminal that we had just flown from. I called back to them but no answer. After several more tries resulting in the same outcome my only other option was to fill out a missing bag claim with the Brits and go on about my business without it. So I have. Hopefully some other kid’s knees and elbows are being protected. I mean shoot those aren’t vital parts of your body anyway right….hmmmm for goodness sake. I haven’t even made it to Kandahar, and I’m already minus a ruck. Sleeping in a tent without a sleeping bag should be interesting tonight.

Dude it was right here

As we all advance throughout our journey en route to our various locations, the group  we started with originally back in Norfolk had dwindled. Some folks stayed in Manas as that was their final destination and others Bagram. The group that I’m with now consists of seven people, two females and five males. All of us are from different duty stations but work in Public Affairs, and know each other rather well at this point. After doing everything I could to locate my ruck, my next move was to get my bags to my tent. So I began to drag what was left of my gear about a quarter mile to our tents, pouting the whole way. Just as I reached the tent I hear TSgt Sk,i a good friend of mine who is also a PA, yell out.

I stopped dragging my gear, swung around and said “what man???”His face looked as if he had seen an IED. “What man ?Spit it out.” I said. He shouted out my weapon….I looked him up and down realizing that he only had his M9 on him and not his M4 which is his rifle. “Ok ok I said we have only been here for a little bit, lets back track.” “When did you put it down?” We went through the motions for a good while. The whole time Ski was in utter panic. He must have mentioned losing his stripes like sixty times. Well turns out, Ski took a smoke break and laid his weapon down beside some of the other guy’s weapons who were also taking a smoke break and had SrA Lang watch them. SrA Lang set her weapon down as well. When Ski returned she grabbed what she thought was her weapon and began dragging her bags to the tent. The rest of the fellows who were smoking returned and grabbed their weapons as well.There was one weapon left which actually belonged to SrA Lang who was already in her tent, so when Ski realized he didn’t have his weapon we went back to look for it and found SrA Lang’s weapon. However we didn’t know that weapon belonged to SrA Lang,and Ski was just sure his weapon was gone forever. So after a good while of panic and heartache SrA Lang finally came trotting out of her tent now know that she was actually carrying Ski’s weapon.

Ski looked up and said “Lang! what’s the serial number on that weapon?” she said, “oh, this one isn’t yours, but I’ll help you look.” He went up to her, checked the serial number, which confirmed that it was his weapon and all he could do was hug her really tight and laugh about it. I shook my head and immediately went back to pouting about my ruck. I’m glad we got that taken care of.

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3 Comments

  1. Awww come on! I can’t believe your ruck is missing! I was so hoping it would be found by the end of this entry :(. Dude! You’ve had it rough with equipment mishaps. I hope that maybe it will show up on that flight that came in just behind yours…is that nieve civilian thinking?

    Hang in there…lots of love:) as always waiting for the next update!

    LDH

  2. Kenny,

    Too funny…not that you lost your RUCK, but that Ski found his weapon. I’m so thankful that weapons are so easily found. lol
    I heard on the news about the bombings at Kabul, and immediately my thoughts and prayers were with you.
    Stay safe and keep writing!!! Honestly, I have no idea what a ruck (guessing a bag of some sort) is exactly, but it sounds intensely important especially since it involves your sleeping bag. 🙂 Special prayers going out for the large ruck…

    Until next time,
    Phyll

  3. Just wanted to say hi and that I’m still here with you, I read and look forward to hearing from you. Looking forward to your safe return home and meeting you. Your ventures get my heart to pumping, hope all is well from here on out. Take care.


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