Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Bulgarian Holiday

So here I am.  Nestled among the towering mountains of Bulgaria.  The sun beating down on me like I stole something.  All in the name of Freedom, Democracy, and lower oil prices for all!


Anyway.  Currently Im somewhere in central Bulgaria on a NATO training mission.  This is the first such mission that the US and Bulgaria have ever joined together on.  Actually this is the first time the US has ever been in Bulgaria.  So it pleases me to be the first.

When we got off the plane, I mean C130, we were doing a lot of "Army firsts."  Guys were going around doing stuff like: the first Army moonwalk in Bulgaria, the first Army charlie-horse, and a lot of other non-sense.  It was funny though.

The C130 is a propeller plane that is very noisy and uncomfortable.  There are no seats.  There is a large net that takes the shape of a bench.  On this net bench, the soldiers sit with weapons between their legs.  Luckily, I had been up late the night before so I was tired as hell, and had no issues knocking out on the plane.  Oh, I almost forgot the best part.  There is no private toilet.  There is a hole type thing near the rear of the when  you go...Everyone can take pictures.

The camp here is not bad at all.  There are around one hundred GP-Mediums (10 person tent) up around the camp, which is simply called Bulwark at the moment.  Though they will probably rename it soon enough.  This camp has over one thousand soldiers at it right now.  I am responsible for providing phones, internet, and video to all of them. 

When we first got here, we had to unload our vehicles from trains, called "rail-loading", and bring all of our equipment back here.  We worked for 24 hours straight then got 5 hours of sleep, got back up and worked for another 24 hours.  We were programming routers, servers, and phone switches all night.  Then we ran over 50km of cable around the camp, not to mention burying it.  Have you ever tried to bury anything on a mountain?  Mountains are made of rocks...not fun.  Oooh, and here is the kicker.  Before we got here they said, that there was UXO (unexploded ammunition) here, so we didn't have to dig.  We get here and they are like..."Go ahead and bury that cable."  We replied "What about the UXO?"  They answered "We'll look into that, but go ahead and get that cable buried."


Turns out that the UXO is about 5 miles from here on an old Bulgarian mortar range, so all is cool.

We actually had to make one cable run that was 2km straight.  Its to the range tower that oversees the urban combat range.  We are going to get some training on clearing rooms.  Thats the part in movies you see when the guys bust into the room with weapons ready to lay waste to any hostiles in it.  Thats going to rock!

As for now, we have been here 2 weeks going on 3 and everything is chill now.  Thats the best thing about being Signal Corps.  You bust your ass for about a week straight, then chill for the duration of the mission.

We hooked up the Medevac guys with some extra phones and internet in their sleep tent so they are going to be taking us up in the Blackhawks to check out the mountain passes tomorrow which should be very cool since I have not been in a "whirlybird" before.  One of my buddies here Neito went up two days ago and said it was awesome.

Thats all for now.  Hopefully I'll keep to this blog. 


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