Middle East Dispatches

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July 8, 2010   
MSgt Travis Bolt USAF


Sorry for the tardiness.  It seems that time just sails by.  I have stayed plenty busy and these last few weeks have been and will be the most busy.  With trying to complete open tasks and new tasks coming to light everyday and wanting to have a good turn-over for our replacements, the time seems to be sucking away too fast.
I have been watching the weather back home to make sure it isn't anything like here, not even close.  Our hottest so far was 127 w/ about 83% humidity, that was not good.  We set a new record in our time here with hitting the 100 degrees at 0651hrs just yesterday the 8th of Jul.  That makes for a long day and you feel like you can't drink enough water.
Each day brings a new adventure. Recently we performed a task that should have been completed by a contractor, but due to the fast arriving deadline, us AMMO personnel from Ellsworth jumped to the task and completed the load and unload, tranport, and relocation of over 14 million lbs of assets to make way for a future construction project of the host nation.  All this was done in minimal time on 24hr ops w/ a sever sand storm and 120 plus temps, suffering 2 heat related injuries-who have recovered well since.  A commendable  feat by any measure.
I am attaching a few photos and hope this short note finds everyone doing well.  I tried to send this thursday, but the internet service here is a whole story of its own.
Best Regards to Everyone.........Travis, someplace in SWA (for international political reasons we are not allowed to say our exact location)

February 2, 2010

Hello Black Hills Veterans Writing Group,

I hope this finds you all doing well.  I hear the weather has been just great these last few weeks--oops, wrong letter!!  I do hope you're all doing well in that wonderful cool, crisp  and fresh South Dakota air...

After a lengthy travel itinerary, departing EAFB about 2030 hrs on 17 Jan we finally arrived here at Al Udeid AB, Qatar at 0530 19 Jan 2010.  Before we departed the US, we made a stop in Bangor, Maine and I had the opportunity to meet the famous "Military Troop Greeters".  Hope you had the chance to see the documentary on PBS about them.  It was about 0130hrs when we arrives there and they were there waiting for us.  They have a great system in place to not miss a "in" or "out" flight of US military since they started in 2003.  In the one photo you will notice the numbers board they keep track of the numbers, to include military canine.  They have a website, www.themainetroopgreeters.com. Awesome group of people to do what they do and I hope to stop in and see them when we return.

Ok, after departing the US, we made out way here and the weather is in the 70s for the most part still.  At night it does get much cooler, upper 40s low 50s.  We have had some rain and even a electrical storm that caused us in the AMMO field to shut down our operations--can't seem to figure out why no lightning protection equals danger around explosives!!!!

We work 12 hr standard shifts, but that is short thus far as we have been tasked to do quite a few things to get the base in full running gear--so not only do we have a "War" mission but we have a daily normal AF mission.  Just because we are at a more hightened state of activity, we have to maintain the day to day things we do at home, nice to know that safety is not put to the side, although some of the normal things would get set aside if and when the call comes for increased "war" activity.

Due to the weather and conditions in the "hot" spot areas, activity is little as there is no movement in the winter weather.  As you see on TV, CNN International is best, they know what is really happening and that there are things in plan/motion to come soon.  We have a bet board for our first bomb drop date and so far 5 people have lost and 3 of us still remain.  Time will tell if any of us are right on target!!!

When I need a stress relief I take a short stroll over to some rocky areas are and I hunt for fossils----wow, and I am in a "War Zone" hunting for fossiles.  Sometimes you have to get away from the Super or the Lt and that works for me.

We have by far the best deployed conditions I have ever had.  Will send photos again of some things to describe it better.  We have 3 DFAC, dinning facilities--no longer called a chow hall that have every imaginable food you can think of.  So much food a person will get fat if they don't control themselves.

I know I didn't have much to say, but I hope you all are doing well.  My bed is hard, but it is clearly a bed and as a senior NCO I have a room to myself.  The time difference has play with me and I am slowlly adjusting and I suppose by the time that has fully taken effect, it will be time to return to SD.  Take Care and see you all in Aug!!

Sincerely,

Travis J. Bolt, MSgt, USAF

PS....Officially released, I will be planning my retirement from the USAF upon my return and complete my 24 yrs of service in Aug 2011--look out civilian world!!!!

Hello from Korea (6-24-11) Just a quick note...with it being 60 yrs ago that this war took place I am trying to get to some places that might hold a event during my stay.  I will try to take photos and share them on my return.  Raining and cool here today due to that typhoon moving in.  China was great weather and nice--glad I got to mark that off my bucket list--the "Great Wall" portion weclimbed was a killer and I can't imagine what it was like back then.  OK, signing off--keeping you all aware I am well.  See you when I return.  -- MSgt Travis Bolt, EAFB