Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Trip Home, Part Zwei

We took the majority of the afternoon off. I went to check e-mail and Facebook (to let Cristi know I made it safely). We met again that evening to do some more shopping before dinner. I had to go pick up a 110/220 adapter for my laptop (who’d’a thunk that there’d be no 110 outlets in billeting???), then to the commissary to buy some breakfast goods. We then went to find the Polish Pottery store tucked away in a little village somewhere. I had never been, but Don had when he was here a mere 6 years ago. I couldn’t even remember where the village was; he got us that far, but then the adventure began. He couldn’t remember exactly where it was, so he was looking for something familiar. Failing that, we turned down nearly every side street looking for it, ending up on two-way streets only wide enough for one car because of all the cars parked along the side because they were residential streets. Finally, we had to ask two Germans out walking. We finally found the place. It did have a fairly good selection, but man the prices were high – about 4-5 times what I paid for the stuff in Poland 10 years ago! I got the two pasta bowls to complete our collection, and Don got what his wife sent him for. Off to dinner!

When we were in the commissary, we were discussing where to go, and a lady overheard us. She told us if we wanted good schnitzel, and lots of it, to go to this place called “Big Emma’s” in Ramstein Village. We got half-portions that weighed in at a hefty 17 oz. The full portions were 35 oz, and for those big appetites, they had 71 oz portions available! It wasn’t as good as the Firehouse, but it was pretty good, and we certainly didn’t go away hungry! And so ends a great first day back in Germany…

The next day, we started our meetings – out at our new old stomping grounds. The 1st was planning a new building when I left, to replace the old WWII bomb shelter and hardened aircraft shelters we used for our workcenters. The new place was stunning! The troops now have bays big enough to store and work on their equipment indoors – a good thing considering the rainy German weather. That’s pretty impressive considering it takes a lot of space for satellite terminals, air traffic control equipment, and generators.

Combat comm units have a long tradition of high morale, probably because their sole mission is to go anywhere in the world to support the guys that put bombs on target. I already alluded that this was my best assignment, but we also have a long history of unit loyalty (we disparage the 3rd Herd and 5th Mob all the time because of their inferiority to the 1st), so I just had to get my picture taken with the 1st Combat Comm rock.

That picture will look nice in my office, don’t you think, right next to my 1st Combat Comm flag? Oh, and we had a good conference, too. The 1st’s commander, Lt Col Bill Waynick, was a great host (two more nights of good schnitzel), and we had the right folks here from the 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 644th to get some real work done figuring out what combat comm should look like in the future.

To be continued...

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