Well, HAPPY THANKSGIVING everyone!  I hope you are all spending time with family and being very thankful for all you have.  🙂 As for myself, I’m having a pretty standard day.  I’ve been back from AQ for almost 2 weeks and I can’t believe how busy I’ve been.  Some of you I’ve emailed more with then others, so if anything in the rest of this email is repetitive, I apologize.   The temperature dropped a solid 10 or 15 degrees about 3 days ago, so it’s been pretty chilly here at night.  I checked the weather for the next few days, though, and it looks like it’ll warm up a little bit again.  Either way, during the day it is pretty perfect here.  It’s sunny about 6 days out of the week and the high is about 70.  I’ve started walking to work in the afternoons now and I enjoy it quite a bit.  It’s about a mile and a half hike and I get to see the sun setting over Lake Habbaniyah if I come in around 4 in the afternoon.  As long as the weather is pleasant, I plan to make a habit of this little walk.

Let’s see…the rest of my time up in AQ was great.  We assisted in over 50% of the strike packages (aka: killing bad guys) and flew 2 flights a day all day every day.  Needless to say, we stayed busy, but I also had a blast with the Marines up there.  I also met a female CH-46 pilot who was super nice and we got to chat a lot about flying and, really, about life in general.  It was pretty cool and I enjoyed having the female company, albeit only briefly.  My trip back to TQ was kind of a long one.  We stopped in Al Asad and had a 7 hour wait until our C-130 flight left for Camp Taqaddum.  While we were there, a Sgt from the JSTARS detachment picked me and LCpl Koopmann up and showed us around part of the base.  Al Asad is HUGE!!   We only saw a tiny part of it and it still seemed gigantic compared to TQ.  Anyway, it was cool to see yet another base and get to see another one of the intel platforms we have out here.
So, I am working slightly different hours in TQ than I used to (coming in around 3pm instead of 8pm) – which I like.  Although, somehow I’ve ended up staying until 4 or 5am almost every night which is almost as late was I was here before.  Hopefully by next week I’ll start leaving earlier so I have time to actually sleep and workout again.  I’ve only run once this week (boo! 🙁 ). Also, a couple of the mornings I’ve had doctors’ appointments to finish up the flight school package stuff.  I’m just waiting on a couple more things and then I’ll send it off next week.
Work has been good.  I like being busy, and for the most part, the dynamic here is really positive.  They changed the night crew up, though, and I miss the guys who were a little funnier, but with all the projects I’ve got on my plate now I don’t have as much time for “smoking and joking” anymore anyway.  Speaking of “projects”…I’ve finally been tasked with some “real” work to do and it will definitely be my chance to prove to the CO that I am a capable Marine.  I basically have 3 different video-related products to produce – 1 in the immediate future, 1 on a weekly basis, and a big one due at the end of the deployment.  It’s something I can task my Marines to do, then monitor their progress, and come up with a tangible product at the end.  So, I’ll be working on that stuff on top of the normal work I was already doing.
The only cool thing about today was that they had pie at chow.  It was goooooood.  I had a slice of pumpkin, sweet potato, pecan, and cherry….c’mon it’s Thanksgiving! 🙂  Oh, well, that and today was also the 3 month mark from when we left the states.  So, only about 4 more months to go!!!
Well, I need to wrap this up and get back to reading some reports, so I’ll let you all go.  Thank you, too, to everyone who has sent packages, letters, and email.  Every single one of those is appreciated more then you know!!God Bless!! :)Sarah