RMS-NSY-ROB-LERT-RMS in one of the most spacious cabins in the air!
RMS-NSY-ROB-LERT-RMS=Ramstein Airbase, Germany-Naval Air Station Sigonella, Sicily-Roberts International Airport, Liberia-Rota Airbase, Spain-Ramstein Airbase.
I read the TRs here with great interest, always looking for ways to burn miles and points. It just dawned on me that I might have an experience that some of you may be interested in reading about!
I apologize in advance for the lack of quality of some of the pictures. I was using a point and shoot digital camera and in several photos were taken from a moving vehicle.
I realize that a number of readers may want to comment on the individual that triggered this trip for me, but I ask that we keep this apolitical and not turn this into an OMNI-PR thread.
In early 2007 I was at work one day and heard of a compelling mission that I was qualified to participate in! I jumped at the chance and my commander agreed that I was the right person for the job. Three days later, after several briefings and a visit to the local travel medicine physician, I was quarantined and waiting for my flight from RMS to ROB by way of NSY. After a 24 hour wait we were taken to RMS, processed and boarded a C-17 for 2.5-3 hour flight to NSY. We landed around midnight and checked into the Navy Lodge fully expecting to fly out the next evening. Little did we know that Mount Etna would become very active and we wound up being stuck in Sicily for an additional three days.
Finally after three days we went wheels up and flew a zig-zag route over the African Continent and landed in ROB at 0700 four days after our flight left RMS.
ROB is a small airport approximately 35 miles outside of Liberia's capitol city, Monrovia. The runway is 11,000 feet long and it was an alternate landing site for the space shuttle.
Roberts International Airport. The paved section of the road in front of the terminal was maybe 1/4 mile long. It then changed to dirt for a few hundred yards until you reached the main highway into Monrovia.
Immigration Information. Sadly I didn't get a stamp in my passport.
And finally, the flight home after a the mission was complete. I was able to sit in the cockpit for takeoff, what an amazing sight!
After we had been airborne for about an hour I went back into the belly of the C-17 and prepared for some sleep. We would land in LERT for crew rest and then return to RMS where our team dispersed.
What does the inside of a C-17 look like? Our particular flight had two tankers that provided fuel for Air Force One. The plane was just a few inches too narrow too accommodate them side by side.
Note the endless leg room. The full (180 degree) lay flat position you can enjoy. You learn to pack your sleep mat, pillow and blanket so you can stretch out after the crew chief gives the all clear. Meals were prepared with loving care by Air Force Chow Halls and consisted of a sandwich, chips, a piece of fruit and a Coke. Sadly there was no Krug. IFE? Whatever you bring on the plane with you.
Several of us choose to sleep under a fuel tanker. The thinking was if we hit extreme turbulence we would have only hit the undercarriage of the tanker while those sleeping in the open would risk hitting the ceiling. Fortunately the competing theories were not put to the test.
Of interest are the seat positions. Note that they face the center of the plane. There are very small windows (maybe 5"x12") over the center landing gear, and as the gear deploys you can see the ground approach and the touchdown on the runway.
Conclusion: One of those trips I will never forget. The Liberians were warm and friendly people who just wanted a better life for themselves and their children. After years of civil war they have a long way to go, I hope they reach their goal.
Walking down streets that stunk of sewage, I saw street people who had literally nothing. That's right, they were naked. The city goes dark as the sun set due to a lack of electricity. This trip made me much more appreciative of the things I have. I also have given a lot of though to the things I can do for those less fortunate when I leave the military in a couple of years and begin a new chapter in my life.
Programs: AA Gold, DL Silver (FO), UA Premier Silver, BW Platinum, HH Gold, Amtrak Select
What a great report! It's nice to read something different and from someone who takes pride in their work, good for you. I always enjoy your reports and your appreciation of the US and the military but this is your best so far
The law has outgrown its primitive stage of formalism when the precise word was the sovereign talisman and every slip was fatal.