...your replacements arrive. After January's bad news of the extension, no one wanted to get too excited about going home this time. The odds were of course astronomically against another extension, but you just never know.
But this last week saw two sure signs of our imminent departure.
First, we loaded all of our non-essential gear into a connex to be shipped home. Second, our replacements arrived. In the military, one unit replacing another in a combat zone is a very complicated process. The new unit arrives, gets their bearings, and then gradually assumes more and more responsibility, as we will have less and less. One of the most important things we have to do is train them on some of the trucks they will be driving.
The ASV, called an M-1117 by the Army, is a newer vehicle used specifically to help defeat IED's. And it works, as I can say from experience. The IED that hit my truck was later determined to be four 130 millimeter mortars wired together, which makes it a medium to large IED for our area. Although we were shook up, all four of us in the truck walked away with no injuries. The mechanics put on two new tires and we were back on the road the next day. Although there is no way to know for sure, it's likely that a Humvee would have been crippled by that same blast. So I am somewhat biased in favor of ASV's.
Over the next few weeks we will continue to train our replacements and take them out with us on missions. As anxious as we are to leave, they are just as anxious for us to go as well. Once we leave, they can run the missions as they want, without us staring over their shoulders.
There's another important process going on as well. Over 15 months, we have accumulated more stuff than we can take home with us. So we will be selling TV's, microwaves, mini-fridges and the like. It's fun to watch some of the wheeling and dealing that goes on, more intense than any used car lot.