August 17, 2007

Return to Iraq: Day One

We are on day one of our third trip to Iraq. Jim Martin CEO of Altitude Bob Calvert, together again.

Our first stop was Dallas, one of the cities so well-known for how they welcome our troops back home and support them when they leave. When we deplaned in Dallas, Major Patrick McAfee was waiting to greet me and take me around. He helped me with the heavy body armor and kevlar (helmet) bag. The Major is with the US Army Dallas-Forth Worth Personnel Assistance Point. He has served our country in the military almost 21 years--another hero to thank.

We checked in my bags at the terminal set aside for military personnel coming in and heading out: Gate 33. You have to see this to believe it. The welcome messages along the walls--everywhere!--are incredible.

Major McAfee and I then went to Frontier Airlines and met Jim Martin as he arrived from Denver. The Major then took us on a tour of the different USO places and introduced us to Linda Robinson. Linda will be opening up a USO Office in Balad, Iraq soon, and she will be there for a year. Don't we have some incredible American citizens out there serving our troops and their families?

The Major then took us to the USO Lounge for military personnel. Wow... the USO is incredible. We hear about all that they do--like SoldiersAngels--but you have to experience it to really appreciate the depth of their dedication to our troops. The troops can come into this USO lounge and hang out until it is time for their plane to leave. They can watch TV, go on the internet, eat, sleep, visit with family and more.

Also the USO has a Reading Room for military personnel to come in and read a book for their child (children). They set there and video tape themselves in the room as they read it. The USO than packs it up and Fed Ex delivers these wonderful DVD's to the military personnels loved one. What a great service.

At Gate 33 as we and the military personnel awaited the time to leave and fly to Kuwait.... USO volunteers come out in carts filled with all kinds of goodies, water, and most of all lots of love. The smiles on the troops' faces said it all. We were amazed.

When we come back after our 18+ days in Iraq, MAJ McAfee is hoping to have approval for us to film an hour or more, covering the welcome home events and the USO with interviews and more. What a close to this trip that will be, should we be allowed to do it! The whole country should take note of what Dallas and some other cities do to show our troops--as they come home and as they depart--that we the American people appreciate their service.

Next post will be arriving in Kuwait.

Thank you again to Patti Bader and SoldiersAngels for making this third trip possible. We will do our best to honor our soldiers' stories and bring them back to you, the American People. We will also be depending on you to help us get the word out. And thanks also to FbL for helping Non-tech Bob :) to be able to share with you through this blog.

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