Join me on my chronicles of daily life as a deployed military musician with the USAF Band of the Golden West. This particular tour features our 8 piece popular music ensemble "Galaxy," named after the massive C-5 cargo planes of the same name. Here we go!
1 February 2016- 3:30am wake up! 0655 flight SAC-MSP-BWI.
All of the planning, logistics, and rehearsals have brought us to this day. Pretty straightforward travel day, we arrived at BWI around 7pm local time. Had dinner with the parents for dinner, then off to bed...
2 February 2016- Hang day with the parents in the Baltimore area. Little Italy for lunch and a stroll around the inner harbor! Back to the hotel to grab one last beverage and a snack before heading off to the airport again for the big flight. Pretty surreal to think that I will be on my way around the world in just a few hours. Itching to get playing with the band again. It has been a few weeks since we've played, due to alot of logisitical things and last minute preperation for the tour. Some rumblings from band leadership in-country are saying our first gig will be this weekend on the base in Doha. The AF band from Hawaii who is the band we will be taking over for, will most likely share the gig with us. Should be great! At this point, all the planning and talk...I think I can speak for my bandmates that we just want to GET THERE AND PLAY. More later...
We arrived at BWI about an hour prior to check in time, with many people already in line from earlier in the day. These rotator flights are "General Admission" seating, meaning that if you are farther back in the queue, you won't get your window or aisle seat. I think I heard people were lined up since mid morning to claim their seat. Unreal. Of course, there are only 4 check-in clerks at the AMC terminal for 300 people all with multiple huge bags to be checked. I noticed quite a few families with children and pets, most likely on a change of assignment move from the states to Germany.
From what I can see out the window of our gate as I type this, the plane looks huge, easily the biggest plane I have ever been on! I should mention that this inital flight to get where we are going is a military contracted plane, meaning that it just looks like an unmarked commercial jet. Should be a rather easy flight, hoping to sleep through the night and wake up in Germany....
3 February 2016- 0230 Flight to Ramstein Air Base, Germany.
After sleeping most of the way to Germany, we have a 3 hour stop. Just enough time for a big 'ol German Beer!! Another 6 hours to Kuwait, before a quick 50 minutes to Qatar.
4 February 2016- 0600
We arrive in Doha, Qatar as the sun is coming up! Off to customs and to get settled in our rooms. In addition to us, there are two USAF band people already here that book the gigs and do logistics for us. One of our own from Travis AFB, CA and another from the USAF Academy band in Colorado. They greeted us and showed us around as we all desperately tried to stay awake.
We have a decent sized reherasal room and a few smaller practice rooms. Awesome! Other "life stuff" like a few gyms, dining facilites, mini mall, a few bars and even a Burger King and Taco Bell. My kind of military base! Some exploring on my own, a little drumming, and off to bed. This is going to be a great tour and a musicial experience like no other.
5-6 February 2016
The room is all set up with our gear, and we are finally ready to start making music! A few great reherasals so far, and getting rested up for a late night hit at one of the rowdy bars on base tonight.
I'll let some pictures speak for themselves!
That's all for this week...thanks for reading!