Friday, March 02, 2007
All Up in Djibouti, part 1
Great friends are few and far between in this world. One of them, known to you as 'Tumbleweed', stops by every so often to contribute to this site. Another one is currently stationed in Djibouti, and as promised, has finally sent some good pictures of... Yemen? Still waiting for the Djibouti pics, but these are just as good. I'm just glad he's OK out there. We weren't sure how they'd treat the 'Filipino Legend' out there in Africa.
Ironically both of these friends are leaving the Air Force soon. We all went to college/AFROTC together, and thankfully I have enough trash on them to guarantee they won't share what they have on me with anyone else. Big picture though is that the Air Force is slashing and burning their Officer corps, and retraining many in the Enlisted ranks to downsize and 'adapt' to the new reality of money and war. War = higher costs of operating = more expensive toys = cutting personnel expenses = Do more with less, and suck it up.
Talk about U.S. companies handing out Pink Slips... the Air Force has been saying 'adios' to so many folks it's unreal. And the cuts still aren't over. What was once a guaranteed job as long as you were squared away is a now a 'cross your fingers-dust off your resume-hope you don't get cut' gig. Sadly, they're losing some of their best folks over this. Many are taking the separation pay rather than sticking around to be cut, which offers almost nothing other than a handshake and a pat on the back.
So, back to reality. Here's the highly edited and sliced up letter my friend sent me, along with some 'modified' photos he attached. I thought I'd share the experience with you, without giving up anything important.
Enjoy, and wish him luck.
I’ve been traveling back and forth between Djibouti and Yemen for the past few weeks and just got back into town last night. I’m taking care of construction work in these countries as well as covering for another person sent elsewhere. Its all good, at least it makes time go by faster. Although, its seems like I’m working for UNICEF or the Red Cross than the military. Very humanitarian stuff going on here.
My life thus far… I was living in a tent, but now it looks like I moved up in the world and am now in a CLU (Containerized Living Unit---basically a large metal box with a window, 20x20ft). Think of a metal box with your own bathroom…That’s a clu. Trust me, its much better than it sounds. And it definitely beats being in a tent with a bunch of strangers. Man, I can’t wait to use the snooze button again. Plus, I’m getting tired of walking to the restroom at 2am (I should really stop drinking water before I get to sleep).
I attached pics from my trip so far… they’re mostly from my trip to Yemen. I had yet to take a prolonged trip (w/ my camera) in downtown Djibouti.
What intrigued me about the Yemen trips most were the amount of people who had Saddam Hussein pics displayed on their cars.. Luckily I made some ‘friends’ with the local military, so I felt pretty safe. They even let me pose with the 'dishka' (the gun on the back of the truck). Now I'm a true gangsta!
I took pics of my recent trip to Socotra, an island off the east coast of Yemen…. In essence, a beautiful, tranquil place. Europeans vacation there for snorkeling and deep sea diving. But the place was very technologically backwards…limited phone service, dial up Internet, no hot water. Did I mention there are 2.5M goats inhabiting the island? I’ll send some pics once I get them downloaded.
Saladbar, aka Your Brother from Another Mother
posted by El Capitan at 4:54 PM
Dang! Saladbar is getting out too? That is a real bummer to hear. Seems like the very best of the underrated officer corps is departing the USAF. Hey Saladbar, if you're reading this it's a shame we didn't run into each other on Active, you considering Guard or Reserve?
Djibouti and Yemen, sounds like real garden spots. Did you get to meet any French Foreign Legionnaires?
BTW, I made a bunch of "Thank You" calls to all the Guard and Reserve flying units I was hoping to fly with to thank them for their advice and help. I told them what happened with my flight physical and everyone pretty much said it was one of the biggest bullsh*t reasons they had ever heard. makes me feel a little better that I wasn't the only one.