Reflections from Day 1 (John Buck)
Wow, where to begin? My first day here in Bahrain and I have to admit I woke up before the alarm went off in anticipation of seeing and spending time with the troops. Our first stop was at a highly classified location which was amazing and proved to be an eye opener to see what they entail on a daily basis. At our second stop, we visited the airbase and had the opportunity to have lunch with Army, Navy, and Air Force personnel. This allowed me to have personal conversations with the troops and learn more about their roles in the military. I met a gentleman from Kentucky who basically does overall maintenance on computers and electronics. I also met some pilots from New Jersey and yes I did get them to do a fist pump! After lunch, we were able to check out their living arrangements. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it happen to be a much smaller and confined than I had anticipated. It is hard to believe how they cram that many guys into a small community tent. Plus all they had were sheets separating them for individual privacy. As they were taking us through the tent, they said the temperature can get up to 120 degrees during the height of the summer and the AC unit did not look big enough to pump out a lot of air conditioning. Just one more humbling reminder of what the men and women go through to protect us and make our lives comfortable and safe in the United States and around the world. After a 45 minute autograph session at the same base, we headed over to see the world famous Tree of Life. For as much significance as this tree possesses, it definitely did not seem to be well preserved for being a national landmark. Other than a small iron fence around the base of the tree, it appeared vandalized with name carvings, dates, and other stuff you can imagine. From there we went to a military base and hosted a baseball clinic for kids ranging from the ages of 7 through 13. The camp came with good timing as it gave me a second boost of energy due to the long day. The kids had a great time and of course we ended up getting more out of those kids than they got out of us. It was one of those experiences that I will never forget. As I write this blog before I shower up and prepare to hit the town of Bahrain for a good dinner, I can only imagine what tomorrow is going to entail for us. We start bright and early training with the Marines and it should be a good one if I survive. Rumor has it they are the best of the best.