Sunday, January 29, 2012

Paratroopers Jumping

Gunnar had a jump this week.  Typically they will stop permitting soldiers to jump so close to a deployment because they are trying to avoid injuries.  It's typical however, for his unit to disregard some things like that.  Thursday was the scheduled jump.  Gunnar went out to the drop zone area early in the morning.  Fort Bragg has several drop zones and he gave me directions to come out so the kids and I could watch him.  He missed an all-important detail and instead of taking a left I went straight for many miles down a dirt road through some remote area of the Army base that I'm undoubtedly not permitted to traverse.  I'm talking dirt roads alongside shooting ranges.  The only sign of life I saw was a handful of soldiers walking with lots and lots of gear and weapons.  There was a truck following them.  They looked tired and like they'd been walking forever.  My first thought was to see if they needed a ride, because that's the kind of gal I am.  Then I was wondering why the hell the guy in the truck wasn't letting them ride with him.  I also wondered if I was supposed to go 40 mph down a bumpy dirt road in the middle of the woods.  Eventually Gunnar realized he gave me bad directions and I had to turn back and go around the guys that were still walking!  They looked at me like I'm nuts.  I looked at them like they're nuts for walking all day.

As it turns out, they were walking 10 or 20 miles or something insane like that.  And the truck is there to pick them up when they physically cannot walk any further.  Walking to exhaustion maybe?  It's called something like that.  Hooah.

So the weather was uncooperative and the ceiling dropped too low so the jumps were canceled.  I drove back home and then the weather got slightly better but it was getting late and there's only so much daylight in January.  So Gunnar spent all day like this...

Naps happen
Jumps were rescheduled for Friday.  It was a beautifully clear day but windy.  Too windy.  I can't believe they made them jump it was so windy.  But they did.  And this is what it looked like...

Sort of hard to see but that's a Sherpa.  And it's adorable.  That's what they were jumping from.
Gunnar and his buddy getting ready to jump
View from the air.  That's the chutes from the other paratroopers jumping.
Drop zone.  The goal is to land there.  It was so windy, it didn't exactly work out that way for some.
Back on the ground!
So Gunnar made it back to earth.  He hit pretty hard and lost consciousness for a moment.  He was evaluated for a mild concussion but everything looks okay.  I get worried because of his previous TBI from the last deployment.  And head injuries are just bad news in general.  He was lucky though and some other soldiers not so lucky.  At least two were sent to the hospital with injuries from the landing.  Here's to hoping for speedy recoveries for those guys. 

Well that's what a jump looks like!  Hopefully he won't be doing this again for a while.  And fingers-crossed, next time maybe on a less windy day.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

So much to tell you!

So things around here have been busy, actually busy for the first time in years it seems.  I became involved in things around here all of the sudden.  It's weird and fun.  Here's a few highlights:
  • I run a facebook page with a few other girls.  It's for Ft. Bragg Wives and we have over 2000 members.  We talk about lots of different topics and it's a pretty interesting glimpse into the life of a wife around here.  Also, on the page I organize a lot of events like coffee dates, dinner parties, play dates, and meet and greets for new wives at Ft Bragg to come and meet some new friends, make connections and meet people.  I wish there had been a way to connect with other ladies when I first moved here so it's actually nice to provide that for other girls.
  • I was just recently asked to become key caller and co-leader for my FRG (Family Readiness Group).  I am in charge of communicating with the other wives while the husbands are deployed, among other things.  I never really saw myself as being part of this group but I'm really happy to help some other ladies through the deployment.  Again, I wish I had that sort of thing around here the first time Gunnar was in Afghanistan.
  • I had some sort of role at my kid's preschool organizing field trips but they just banned field trips for the undetermined future so I guess I'm off the hook on that one.
Oh!  By the way, did you pick up on the fact that there's another deployment looming in the near future?  Yep, they're heading out very soon and will be gone for most of the year.  Stupid, stupid war!!!  I'm really nervous about how I'm going to explain this to the kids.  Gus is 5 and starting to understand so much more than he did the last time.  I don't think he really even remembers Dad being gone for so long.  I think it's going to be very different this time and pretty rough for all of us.