Well, my adventure started on 3/6/2008 when I left home and kissed my wife and girls goodbye at 0430. We flew half the day and eventually landed at Travis AFB. This so happens to be quite close to my hometown and I was warmly welcomed by my family (Mom, Dad, Brothers, Sister-in-Law, Nephew, Grandmother, and Uncle). We had a quiet dinner and I enjoyed being with my family again and catching up with everyone. The next day I stopped by my old high school and visited with some of my old teachers and coaches. My dad set up an interview with the local newspaper and received a little article in the paper. I would have liked to spend the day there visiting but was only there for 45 minutes before had to catch my next flight to Hawaii. We spent two nights there after a painful 8+ hour flight. The trip is so much longer because the F/A-18s have to stay fully fueled at all times in case for some reason one has to divert it will need all the gas it can carry. The process of getting all the aircraft cycled through getting mid-air refueled is quite impressive. The drawback is that we can't fly as fast as we would normally due to the limitations of the refueling equipment. The time spent in Hawaii was nice and the weather was great being that it was March. I was able to spend a little over two months in Hawaii last time we deployed to Japan. But, that is another chapter all together. From Hawaii we flew to Guam. Yet another painful journey. For those of you that have never been to Guam, it is quite beautiful. The people are friendly (lots of Japanese tourists). It is often called the Japanese Hawaii. The next step in the journey would take us to the Republic of Korea. We participated in a two-week exercise with the Navy and Air Force as well as the ROK Air Force. The nights were in the 30's and the days were around 60's. We all were quite eager to get to Iwakuni, to have our own living spaces, showers and a sense of normalcy. Living in tents in the freezing cold let us appreciate our ground brethren. Here are a few pictures of some of the stops we made along the way.
This picture was taken from my cell phone of Yosemite Valley from the cockpit of the KC-10 refueling aircraft on my way to Travis.
Here is my attempt at taking a panoramic shot of the flight line on Marine Corps Base Kaneohe Bay.