From the Front

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Senior Airman Mel "Crunch" Nestle
Unit : CFSOCC (deployed name for SOCCENT) J2/ ISE Floor
Job description: I monitor what is going on in the Arabian Peninsula and write up articles with an assessment every night to keep the two-star general informed on the current situation. I also provide current intel to be briefed to the ops guys and the leadership twice a week.

Have you gained or lost weight? How did it happen?
I have lost weight because I go to the gym six days a week and I try to do the 5k fun runs.

What will you remember about your deployment 20 years from now?
The smell of the Middle East, and how people stare at you if you look different than them. How happy you are when you are out in the capitol and another person smiles back at you. And in the long run, you determine what your deployment brings about. The phrase over here is "embrace the suck," meaning the sooner you do this the better things will be.

What's the most useful item you packed? What do you wish you had packed?
My debit card because you can find anything online, and my flip flops because you never know what's in the showers. I wish I'd have brought more civilian clothes because when you aren't on your shift you can wear civilian clothes and it's boring wearing the same ones. And more hoodies because it's really cold outside with the wind and my shipping container is freezing inside.

When did you realize you weren't in Kansas anymore, aka your "Dorothy" moment? When I got off the airplane and there were tons of men in traditional dress and no one was speaking my language. Then again when we started driving toward base with all the roundabouts and the people who didn't know how to drive. It's worse than in Florida.

What has this deployment taught you? I have learned more about the Arabian Peninsula countries and about how it all ties into the problems in Iraq.

What new survival skill have you learned?
Hoodies and sweat pants are key if you live in a frigid shipping container.

What will you buy with your hazardous duty pay or other $ garnered from your deployment? Go on a day shopping trip, pay off bills, put a lot toward my car payment.

What food are you craving most and what will your first meal be when you return?
A quesadilla from Moe's with a 7/11 Slurpie (mixed flavors though so it looks like a Dr Seuss Slurpie