From the Front

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Name: Lt. Col. Thomas "Hog" Behnke
Unit (current): CAOC / Al Udeid Air Base
Job description: Strategy Division 

What will you remember about your deployment 20 years from now?
The day I walked outside and the temperature was 116 degrees with 90 percent humidity. I thought I would melt. I have been stationed at Clark Air Base in the Philippines and dealt with tropical island humidity... and I've been stationed at Holloman AFB with its 'blow dryer' desert heat, but I've never felt the one-two combo of this place. 

What's the most useful item you packed?
What do you wish you had packed?
Most useful: Work out gloves. To keep my sanity in check I hit the gym six days a week.
Wish I'd packed: More Harley magazines! 

When did you realize you weren't in Kansas anymore, aka your "Dorothy" moment? 
The first time I saw Al Udeid during daylight hours. I thought my flight had been diverted and I landed on the moon. Enjoy the landscape of the moon at a fraction of the travel costs. 

What has this deployment taught you?
There are numerous Air Force assets (people and aircraft), DOD civilians and contractors working throughout this AOR 24/7 to support the U.S. and coalition troops on the ground. 

Have you gained or lost weight? How did it happen? 
I have lost about two pounds up to now at the 70-day mark. With all of the pie, M&M ice cream bars, cookies, ice cream, and cakes you want... you actually have to watch what you eat. Some people tend to pack on the pounds out here. I set a goal to get some of the bench press T-shirts before I leave, this keeps me focused. 

What new survival skill have you learned?
In climates like those here, never leave your room without water. Dehydration can hit you hard when outside for extended periods. Also, don't forget to send your wife a card. 

What will you buy with your hazardous duty pay or other $ garnered from your deployment?
Buy a boat grill that attaches to the back of our boat and cook out at Shell Island. And with the rest of the money... buy half-a-tank of gas for the boat. 

What food are you craving most and what will your first meal be when you return?
Good Mexican food. I'll have a combo plate at our favorite Mexican restaurant, 'Old Mexico'.