Monmouth a long way from a Kuwait summer
Polk County Itemizer-Observer
August 2, 2001
It's hard to believe that I have been gone a month -- until I think about Monmouth in the summer. The smells of backyard barbecues, the sound of special concerts in the park, and the feel of a lazy afternoon are all parts of what home really means.
I am proud to be here but I must admit that I am marking the days on my calendar and looking forward to the return flight.
As you can imagine, the work here is steady. While you are acutely aware of the hours, the days sort of slip away.
Time is measured by events.
The day the thermometer hit 130 degrees and broke, the day the bazaar was allowed on site, the day "of the long mission," or the night the USO entertainers put on a show.
Every day on site feels like a week.
The experiences we've had cannot be duplicated elsewhere. Sometimes that is a good thing -- some tactical experiences you just don't want to repeat.
After 30 days the mission is still very interesting. Every day we are challenged in a unique way. Each mission presents us with a circumstance (or series of circumstances) that refine our standard operating procedures.
The consequences of our decisions are real. And this clarity of purpose and accountability helps us focus on what is important and not so important.
On the whole, things here are pretty good. Quality of life is always improving. In fact, the physical facilities are constantly evolving. The civil engineers are hard at work with civilian contractors building a real base. It is interesting to watch.
I remember what this place looked like in 1996-1997 and it doesn't look like the same place. Hootches (portable cardboard and aluminum housing) and tents are giving way to steel and cement structures. The best way to describe this place is that is looks like a giant anthill -- people spread all over the place, always busy, always working on different projects.
A few weeks ago I mentioned that it was an honor to work with the folks here. Having spent even more time with many of them I need to amend my previous comments: not only has it been an honor working with folks from guard units across the states but it has been a rich learning experience as well.
I have gained a new appreciation for the places my new friends are from. I have learned about their homes through their eyes.
I am not quite to the halfway point of the TDY. However, as the days pass I can't help but get excited about the fall. From what Joe Presler writes, the community is doing well and enjoying the summer break. I hear he is doing a terrific job as council president and I am eager to get back to work -- for we have much work to do.
Soon enough it will be time for the formal opening of our effluent reuse project, the 24-hour relay challenge, another tree planting, and CHS/WOU homecoming events. These thoughts make home worth waiting for.
Monmouth's Deployed Mayor