Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Arrived in the Belly of the So-Called Beast

Got here to Fallujah late last night after two hot and loud and very dark helicopter flights. It's always a thrill to frantically hump a hundred pounds of gear with a flak and helmet on across a flight line lit by yellow chem lights into an awaiting bird. You toss your gear against the bulkhead, strap yourself in, the crewchief turns off the blue night vision google lights, and in the darkness and heat you feel the aircraft shudder at the pilot's demand that it fly.

We arrived at Fallujah around one in the morning and, after a brief welcome aboard and check-in, found ourselves in the temporary male billeting tent. Technology has made it possible to air-condition tents in the middle of the desert to Artic conditions....nearly froze to death. Today was spent in the obligatory round of getting a permanent place to both sleep and to work. Tomorrow will begin the process of getting the lay of the land and planning my first trip outside the wire.

Fallujah, one of the supposedly most dangerous places on the planet, is surprisingly hospitable. But looks can be decieving.....

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