I just returned for ten days at a training site near Ramstein, Germany. I can't say it was a thrill ride exactly, but it could have been worse. We took a bus from Aviano, which left early the morning of the 25th; and after 14 hours, we arrived at our destination. The actual training didn't start until Sunday, so we got the chance to go downtown Saturday night and have a few drinks with the locals.
We lived in tents and slept on cots all week, which wasn't too bad, mostly because I shared a tent with Rick, Johnny, and MSgt Hammes. The rest of our tent was filled with fire fighters, who were also pretty cool. We spent each day in class, learning how to set up our contingency assets, followed by hands-on training.
Our class only had seven students: four from Aviano and three from Ramstein. Everyone was cool and laid-back, so we had plenty of fun mixed in with our training, which included decorating Johnny's hat with daisies and dandelions...
Everything culminated in a short, two-day exercise, wherein we put to work everything we learned over the course of the week. To be honest, I didn't really learn much about how to do our basic job, as I've been doing it for a while, now. But I was in charge of our entire crew, so it ended up being great experience in management skills. We became pretty good friends with our Ramstein counterparts, and since it's a relatively small career field, I'm sure we'll cross paths again. I'm just thankful they made Silver Flag into a three-year requirement, meaning we won't have to endure long days in battle gear without showers for a long, long time.