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03/18/03

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Globetrotting with Push

With your host,
Pvt. Reggie "Push" Pushinsky
3rd Combat Communications Group




03/18/03 - Ahmed al Jaber Air Base


Wherever I serve in the world, I take away special memories of that place. Singapore was just magical until the malaria took me down, whereas Osaka will always be where me and my spleen parted company. This however, has to be the sweetest assignment yet!

We are stationed a mere 35 miles from Kuwait City, an elegant modern metropolis with a McDonald's, Internet cafes and everything a savvy traveler could want to learn about the colorful and extensive local history. The Salmiya shopping district is supposedly among the finest in the Middle East.

The sun is shining and it is almost 80 degrees Fahrenheit. I had just picked up a "Care Package" from my mother in Baudette, Minn. Mint Skittles, the new issue of Conde Nast, socks, and of course, her letter. How I love every third Tuesday!

Munching a cookie, I walked back towards my barracks with my nose buried in that letter. The Simpsons' dog had puppies ... it's really cold ... Mary Jacobs from the store was asking about me! I was so wrapped up in the letter that I didn't even realize that I had wandered onto the business end of runway Delta Niner. My first clue was the vibration, much like when one stands 4 feet from the tracks when a freight train goes by. It rather reminded me of my youthful hooliganism! I stopped and turned just in time to catch a glint of sun off the control vanes of an AMRAAM missile as it soundly clipped my helmet at 250 mph while attached to the wing of an accelerating F-16 Falcon. Everything went black, but I could sense myself being wrenched up off the tarmac by the nozzle blast of the departing fighter and hurtled through the air. I landed, face first, in a rather unusual position in the desert scrub beside the runway. The searing pain in my face and the smell of burning hair told me the F-16 pilot most likely had his afterburner lit. Those fellows! Always "hotdoggin'"!

Smouldering and unable to move, I could hear the medic's siren in the distance. This brought a reassured smile to my lips, which were now covered with angry, biting fire ants whose hill I had destroyed with my face.

Skin-grafting isn't really what military field hospitals do, so I'm currently spending a good deal of time with the fascinating and caring Dr. Masood and his crack team of specialists at the Al-Marzook Medical Center in Kuwait City. I would love to share more from my adventures in the Middle East, but Dr. Masood thinks it best I wait until the swelling goes down a bit more so as not to frighten the delicate women and children of Kuwait.



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