27 December 2008

How It Started

It was a 6a phone call in October (whoops! Time zone difference between Florida and Nevada). The USAF was finally offering the opportunity to their Reserve Dietitians to go to the hospital at Balad AB. Did I want to go?

Less than a 30 min discussion with my husband, we easily had our answer. After 11 years in the Reserves it was a chance of a lifetime, to do the job for which I had been training, to serve my country and make a difference. Of course I want to go. My husband had pros and cons: He only just got back from his own six month tour in Afghanistan. But was excited that I would get to have a similar experience (hopefully not too similar - since he lived in the middle of an UN compound on the airport tarmack and there were rockets and morter fire).

The next two months have been filled with training, training, getting my uniforms and other supplies, and more training. I've learned how to fire an M-9 (shooting Expert!), self-aid buddy care, crawl through the dirt and man a guard post (hopefully I'll never have to do any of these skills in Iraq). My usual duties over there are suppose to be writing nutrition support for hospitalized patients, and helping support healthy eating/wellness with all our troops and contractors on the base. This is a 7 day/week job (but there is should be time for fitness training - I heard they have a couple of pools over there).

Here are some photos from my training:

In a few days I'll be taking off for a trip halfway around the world.

Here is where I'm going (upper left corner):

Here's a closer view:

As I begin my odyssey and this six month "working vacation", I plan to update my friends & family here on this blog with my thoughts, my emotions, my experiences, and photos of this journey of a lifetime. Thank you for joining me.


  1. be safe and i hope that this trip is all you expect it to be and more!

  2. Stay safe, Holly! This sounds like a great opportunity for you, and I think the troops will benefit not only from your expertise, but also from your positive attitude and warm smile. I wish you all the best and will be checking in on you.