|Flying back up to Baghdad was pretty uneventful until we got back to BIAP (Baghdad International Airport) and tried to get only the Blackhawk flight back over to the IZ. Our scheduled flight was going to be leaving at 2230 (10:30pm for all you non-military folks! Grin!), but of course we were trying to find an earlier flight back than waiting a couple hours with nothing to do but look at each other (we were a pretty sight, either!) ...
The trouble came when one of the guys I was with (our Aussie guide while in Tallil) talked the folks at the helo desk to take us Space-A onto a Blackhawk that was leaving at 2200 ... although only a half hour ahead of our scheduled flight back, why just sit around for another 30 minutes (so we thought!) and we gladly jumped aboard.
IF we had gotten onto our scheduled flight back, we would have left BIAP at around 2230 and arrived back in the IZ around, oh ... 2240, and I would have been back in my rack at, umm ... 10 minutes after that.
What happened you ask? We apparently got onto what is known as a "Ring-Route"flight ... which in everyday speak means that city bus your mom told you never to get on, because it would take you all over the city before dropping you off a block from where you started ... which is where you wanted to go ... Sooooo, 6 stops later (one of which was the same place twice!!), 1 refueling, and a couple dozen "where exactly are we now?" increasingly frantic conversations with the Blackhawk gunners (who double as in-flight attendants without the nice attitude (grin!)), we finally touched down in the IZ ALMOST 2 HOURS LATER! So instead of climbing into my nice hard bed at 2240, I finally climbed into my rack quarter past midnight, feeling strangely ambivalent towards my new Australian friend. Luckily, he was a good friend from our weekly ad hoc Rugby games, so I could take out my frustration on him then! (Grin!)