Just like Johnny Cash, I've been everywhere. Or so it feels like it. Well, my last post was from Thailand. I was "stuck" there for an extra month waiting for two jets to be fixed. It is tough to fix jets when you are a thousand miles from home where all the extra parts are. It was fun to get to see Thailand and to learn some of the language and culture.
From there we flew the two jets down to Singapore with the help of a KC-130 to refuel us part of the way. Singapore was beautiful. I stayed there for two weeks and once again got to see and experience yet another culture. Singapore was beautiful and they intend to keep it that way. On one of the customs forms I had to fill out once we arrived it had the usual: "Do you have any prohibited items such as illegal drugs, firearms, explosives or . . . chewing gum?!! Apparently chewing gum is illegal (so is spitting) and can earn you a hefty fine and/or caning. Ouch!! I got to fight the Singapore's F-16's and F-5's while we were there. Very strict flying around there since Singapore is so small and the relationship with the Malaysians to the north aren't that good.
I left Singapore before the Exercise was over and caught a C-130 up to Malaysia to start flying in another Exercise flying with the Malaysian MiG-29's. It was awesome seeing the aircraft which we read about and train to fight. The only other time I have seen a MiG up close was in Iraq. Unfortunately all the MiGs there litter the airfield on Al Asad and are but shells of there former finely tuned selves.
From Malaysia we flew the jets up to Okinawa, Japan. We will be here flying against our own Air Forces F-15s. We will also be getting to drop live ordinance on a couple of Islands that are uninhabited and are used for air-to-ground bombing. This is something that we aren't able to do in Iwakuni. Kadena is pretty nice and is fairly big. You have to give it to the Air Force when it comes to providing nice facilities for it's members.
Once we got here I was able to fly up to Iwakuni and change out some of my clothes and pick up some things. I hadn't been back to my place in Iwakuni since I left for Thailand in April (over 3 months). The rest of the squadron has been back a couple times but since 3 of us were left in Thailand waiting for the jets to be fixed we weren't able to. I am glad I did because the apples I left on top of my fridge were growing beards. We will spend a total of one month here in Okinawa and then fly up to Iwakuni to spend the last month there before we begin the long flight home back to Beaufort. It will take week to fly all the way since we will lay over at every stop for a day of rest before we fly the next leg. It is harder to fly east since we lose an hour every time we fly through a time zone. This time we will be flying our route through Wake Island, Hawaii, San Diego, and then on in to Beaufort.
I will post some pictures of the 3+ month adventure here soon. Stay tuned!
The Passing of a Hero - Ken Taylor
2 years ago