From the Front

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Name: Maj. Chris McCleary
Deployed Unit: Combined Air Operations Center
Home unit: TES, F-15E Operational Test
Job description: Master Air Attack Planner

What will you remember about your deployment 20 years from now?
How to stare at a computer monitor for 11 hours straight without blinking.

What's the most useful item you packed?
Protein powder and good music.

What do you wish you had packed?
More protein powder and good music.

When did you realize you weren't in Kansas anymore aka your "Dorothy" moment?
Going through customs at Doha airport and then getting shoved out into a see of Qataris to find my ride to Al Udeid. Of course, no one was there to pick me up.

What has this deployment taught you?
Regardless of how long we stay in this fight, the conflict in this region is going to last FOREVER.

Have you gained or lost weight? How did it happen?
Gained 15 pounds so far--protein powder, lots of meals, and working out.

What new survival skill have you learned?
Too much flouride is bad for you, but they are killing us by telling us to drink plenty of water. Meanwhile the only water they let us drink has a very high fluoride content. Survival skill is this: learning how to drink just enough water to stay hydrated but not poison myself.
Another survival skill: if you elevate your computer mouse while working on your computer for 11 hours, you can prevent carpol tunnel syndrome. The elevation can be as simple and ugly as an 8-inch Fed-ex box. It really works!!

What will you buy with your hazardous duty pay or other $ garnered from your deployment?
Already spent.

What food are you craving most and what will your first meal be when you return?
Ummmm. Nothing sounds good. How bout a bottle of good red wine; something worth more than 50 cents a bottle!