Operation Southern Partner – Day 9

“Hurry up and wait.”  A phrase in that I have become intimately familiar with this past 9 days. Today was the day where we repositioned the entire Operation Southern Partner Team to it’s next set of islands. Our C-130J from the California Air National Guard was all fixed up and was ready to take us and all of our gear to either Jamaica or Belize. I opted to go to the first stop, Jamaica, since I was a bit tired of traveling aboard the C-130 and I would be able to catch the Pararescuemen jumping in Jamaica later on in the week.

So all of the teams in Trinidad gathered in the hotel lobby at 0700 and loaded up our bus with the gear and headed to the Trinidad & Tobago Air Guard (TTAG) hangar. A light rain was falling and it seemed like there was an air of sadness for leaving a place where we had developed such great relationships and a hint of trepidation of whether the C-130 would fly and being on it for another 8 hours. 🙁

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And as the phrase goes, “Hurry up and wait,” we got there, loaded up the pallets with our bags, and then sat around and waited. And waited. And waited. At least with commercial flights, you know when we are taking off and landing. But with our military flights, it was anyone’s guess when (and if) we were taking off, how long it would take, and what the plan was. And then the rain started….

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So I did the only thing I knew to help pass the time: take pictures.

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A lot of the Airmen did the only other thing they knew to do: sleep. Because if you have been following my blog, you know that flying aboard the mighty Hercules is not the most comfortable ride.

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But eventually we took off on our way to Jamaica. 3.5 hours of a dull roar of 4 engines and being squished with 40 people. This was our fullest flight yet. So while I tried to pass the time, nothing worked, so I grabbed the camera and started snapping pics.

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And having already shot most of the familiar angles in the plane, I tried to catch some of the details of the C-130. Luckily the crew was very friendly and allowed me a lot of latitude.

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And eventually it was time for landing in Kingston, Jamaica.

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All trip long, there was one shot that I really wanted to get. It was a picture of the Heads Up Display (HUD) and an airport in the distance. So I asked the crew and they were all for it. They let me sit in the jump seat and helped get “the shot!”

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And once we landed, we reversed the process all over again. Pax come off. Palettes of cargo get offloaded. Load it onto the truck. Clear customs. Good times.

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Oh, and did I mention the two fully armed security escort vehicles from the airport?? Ummm…yeah. Welcome to Kingston! More on that tomorrow.

One Reply to “Operation Southern Partner – Day 9”

  1. Sager, decent photos man. Actually, great photos. Thanks for your biscoffs on the way out of Jamaica, they held me over. Looking forward to your pics of our canceled jump. If you have any you are not posting on the site, of my team, i’d like to see them. Thanks for your work during the trip.

    –travis

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