Matt and I traveled to D.C. and met up with Bo, Don, and Shawn. Everyone was there in plenty of time with no problems. Nancy Catudal with United got everyone into the lounge for our long layover and everyone got upgraded to business class for the long flight. Guys were very happy.
We arrived in Kuwait ahead of schedule and with all of our bags. We then met up with Travis and Joe who escorted us to the hotel where we only had a very short stay before we had to head to “The Rock” to catch our flight into Afghanistan. Again we had no problems and everything went smooth as clockwork.
Once we arrived in Afghanistan we were greeted by Elissa Weaver and Joe Pettoni who escorted us to our lodging at the DVQ. Since we had no show that day it was time for some much needed rest and to get acclimated to our new time zone and surroundings at Bagram AB. We had a little “incoming” before we went to see another group of entertainers who were doing a show at the “clamshell” at Bagram… everyone except Bo who slept. Show was good and I got to meet David Beecham and some other of mom’s acquaintances, then it was off to bed. It was one very long day(s)!
We had a great start to the day. We all got to go to the flight line to check out the F-16’s and the A-10 warthogs. The F-16’s were great, they are under the command of the reserve units stationed out of Montgomery, Al. We got a lot of Roll Tide shout outs, with a couple of War Eagle’s thrown in there (totally non-biased account he-he-he). Then we moved on to the A-10 warthogs, what an awesome machine. It has earned the nickname “The Beast” and it truly is. I would not want to be on the business end of this plane. The enemy has learned this very quick and the soldiers on the ground know they’re well protected when it arrives on the scene, as it brings some serious fire power. It was a great morning!
In the evening we did a show at Salbula Harrison prison at Bagram AB where some very high profile prisoners are being held. This was a great place to do a show because the soldiers there very rarely get any entertainment brought to them and they were very grateful. The show was wonderful and had a great meet and greet afterwards.
After the show I went with the sound crew to get the equipment packed for the next day’s show. Somehow we managed to fit 10 pounds of shit in a 5 pound bag and it was off to the DVQ. I got about 4 hours of sleep, but it was all worth it.
Today was another great day, even better than the day before. We traveled by helicopter to the small FOB RC-C Morehead. We were supposed to fly in an A-7 Chinook, but a British General commandeered our birds. So we flew on a civilian operated A-6 Chinook. Actually on the way back we dropped into Camp Duskin, which is on the outskirts of Kabul, and picked up a soldier. When we started to drop in me and Elissa looked at at each other with a WTF are we doing landing here look on our faces. She didn’t even know where we were, I had to ask the soldier where we were. When we took off from Duskin they got that bird in the air FAST!
This is a special forces operation that works in cooperation with the AFA. These guys are Bad Ass. We arrived and they took us straight to the range where they had set up to play with their “toys”. Everyone was really pumped up to send some lead down range. This was an experience that none of us will ever forget. It ended with Bo doing a little “demolition”. We literally had a blast!
After the range we had time for a quick lunch and then it was time for the show. Again we had a great show in a very intimate setting with a great group of soldiers. I can’t stress enough about what a great bunch of guys they are. After another great meet and greet we rushed off to catch our bird back to Bagram. All the guys in the group could talk about is how special today was. Can’t wait to see what tomorrow has in store for us.
Today we finally got to fly on a Chinook out to FOB RC-E Fenty. This is the first time we got to fly on a gunship. Bo got to fire on of the machine guns, I love the smell of gun powder in the morning. We were a little bit behind schedule so everything today moved really fast. We had enough time for some quick meet and greets and a quick bite at the DFAC. Bo had been trying to get a haircut since we got to Afghanistan so we squeezed it in. The barber there was a riot. He went to town on Bo like Edward Scissorhands. We did 2 shows today back to back. We had about 250 soldiers between the 2 shows, which I thought was a great turnout considering where we were. The shows were in the chapel on base and after the show the chaplain busted out his bagpipes and rocked them.
After time for a quick bite to eat we caught our bird back to Bagram AB. Bo got the best seat in the house for the ride back. He got tethered off and got to sit on the back ramp with his feet hanging off. I was extremely jealous!!
At the end of the day we dropped Col. Ben Jenska off who accompanied us today. When we arrived we were shown the 9/11 memorial there at Bagram. This really puts things in to perspective and reminds us exactly why we are here.
Today is our last performance here at Bagram AB and in Afghanistan. It’s crazy how fast the time has passed. We have most of the day to rest before the show. Bo and the band members went to the Sunday service with Col. Bud Jenska who had accompanied us the day before to Fenty.
We had another great show tonight and the crowd was awesome. People dancing and really having a good time. The atmosphere is infectious and the show went on a little longer than scheduled because we are all having such a good time. Unfortunately the Air Force personnel are on curfew tonight. We are under imminent threat conditions because of the local EID celebration. Any time the local holidays are going on the base receives a lot more attacks, usually at the beginning and end of their holiday. The show tonight was the perfect way to end our journey in Afghanistan.
We have a late afternoon flight back to Kuwait tomorrow so everyone gets to have a good night’s rest tonight.
Today is our last day in Afghanistan. Crazy how quick this went by. Our flight does not leave until 4:30 so everyone had a good night’s rest. Since we had some time to kill, Elissa took us on a tour of the outer perimeter of the base. There is a section where there are no T walls, only fencing, where you could see outside the base. Makes you look at the big picture, and realize exactly where you are in the world.
After our tour we get a little rest before our flight back to Kuwait. There are some C-5 planes on the flight deck beside our “little” C-17. The C-5’s are massive, I guarantee that the tail wing is bigger than my house.
We arrive back in Kuwait, where we are met by Joel and our PSD’s. These guys are awesome people and are outstanding at their job. I would not want to be on their bad side. All in all its been a pretty uneventful day, if you consider flying out of a military base in Afghanistan uneventful.
It was wonderful to sleep in a real bed and have a real shower! Had a great breakfast at the hotel. The staff at the Radisson Blu are great. We were picked up by our PSD at the hotel and traveled to Camp Arifjan where we performed our last show.
After we had the Commander’s Call we had time for sound check and some dinner before the show. It was another great show and meet n greet with about 150 soldiers in attendance. It seems like yesterday that we arrived and now we are headed back to the airport to fly home. This was great experience with a great group of guys.
We arrive at Kuwait airport and it is a MADHOUSE. Think of the worst airport you can think of in the US and it’s a hundred times worse. I always dread this part, but it’s like they say, nothing good comes easy. I’m very happy to be going home, but at the same time sad to be leaving because it was such an awesome experience.
Everyone arrived home safe and sound on the 8th. This has been another very long day. We turned a 24 hour day into a 32 hour day, literally. Got to love the jet lag.