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Friday, April 15

I was able to catch a flight to Manas, Krgyzstan, just a couple of hours after I arrived at Bagram. I was expecting to have to wait a few days at Bagram. Six of us traveled together in the first wave, six others caught up last night, and the others will catch up soon. They're still training our replacements. The bad news is, we still need to wait for our scheduled rotator flight several days from now. Manas is a staging area for troop and equipment air movements destined for Afghanistan. They won't fly civilian aircraft into Afghanistan so they fly us charter into and out of Manas, then military aircraft in/out of Afghanistan. Manas is 1.5 hours ahead of Kabul, so I guess I'm 11 hours ahead of Kansas now.

It's nice to be out of Afghanistan. Manas is fairly civilized from what I can tell. We are sleeping in tents, but it's better than Bagram. It's strange not carrying my pistol around with me. Wednesday and Saturday nights they serve beer: two per person. We made it in time for beer last night. It was strange, as motivated as the six of us were to get our beers, most only drank one and left the MWR tent early. They had a pretty good band from LA playing and there was a good crowd. The Air Force sure knows how to have a good time. They really take it for granted. To talk to some of them based here for big '3 month' tours, you'd think they were serving with Marines in Ramadi, Iraq. The armorer replied when we asked how he was doing "If I didn't have a family I'd have killed myself by now." This from the guy babysitting the transiting Soldiers' weapons! Other people have similar attitudes here. Well, after being here a couple of days now, I know that while we fight Al Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan, the enemy here is boredom. The base is very small with a very simple mission of pushing people and materiel through to Afghanistan. They don't get to leave the base at all.

Well, it ought to be a slow, relaxing few more days here till our flight. I've been reading a book that I brought twelve months ago and hadn't had the time to read till now. The sun is finally out today. I went for a real run for the first time in a long time. Usually I use a treadmill. The air is much cleaner here and there is more room to run. I found about a 4/5s of a mile loop to run. Not much else new. I hope to be in my own living room within two weeks. Oh, that will be nice!

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