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Laurence, Lar, Lerouix, Levi Ross explores Diego Garcia

Dec. 8th 2004
Hello My Friends,

Just a few footnotes from the Indian Ocean to share with all, please
forward as you like.

Ah yes! Life on a tropical island you must be wondering, perhaps even a
bit envious. Diego Garcia, somewhere in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
Nearest piece of terra firma is some 3hrs jet time away, either Sumatra
to the East, or Madagascar to the West. Certainly would be nice if one
had time to enjoy it a bit more. This is becoming a cronic aspect of my
groovy-ing existence here on Diego Garcia. I must elaborate here since,
at the risk of sounding like whidging it is the reality of this blokes
attraction to adventures of the unusual kind. Don’t get me wrong here,
this island is incredibly beautiful, or atleast what i have seen of it,
but I miscalculated the Maurice Buls(my jippo employer) element of the
job scope. I came to work here based on a 60 hour week, which the crew
has not seen. More like 84hours plus with no additional compensation.
Apparently my boss was a little concerned that I might not consent to
coming if he had told be the truth that this job required more hours.
There is no tourism here, no options for the arbitrary freedom to
“dragging up” and heading for the air terminal. You can’t just decide
to leave. Your placement here requires government clearances and
authorizations on and off. This being said, I am, for all intents and
purposes of my Boss’ and his General Contractors’, virtually stuck
here. As I have gained more real information, it appears that my
employer is in a situation of making more money on the standby time
than on the product or grinding and grooving the runway. The elements
include here, counter to progress of completing the job, is the War in
Iraq, keeping the one 12k foot air strip occupied a great deal of time,
and the poor condition of the machines leased to accomplish the
grinding a grooving. Numerous breakdowns, plus the nature of 854plus,
25 year old, 15’X15’ concrete slabs, that make up the some odd 450,000
square yards of runway. This concrete is made of some design mix of
imported aggregate combined with dredged coral from the lagoon. As has
been discovered upon our initial tests, It is very brittle and
difficult to groove. The science of diamond blades and which type is
best suited for cutting this sort of concrete is being studied and thus
has delayed the grooving portion of this project due to spalling of the
kerf itself. So, we are in the process of just getting the grinding
done, of which we have completed half. Having been here a bit over a
month, and figuring the down time from all the activity in the Persian
Gulf that encumbers our freedom to get on the runway and grind, we
should be done about the last part of Dec. with the grinding. I am now
resigned, albeit very eager to be finished with this project, hoping
for a few days wait for the plane “out of here” to catch up on visits
to the Hawkbill Turtles(Soon to be extinct members of our deteriorating
world) and some pristine beaches and sailing time in the lagoon,
before I go. The Grooving may or may not occur later, but it most
certainly will not include my participation.
To date my visit does however include some profound highlights
and hopefully making my short tenure here pleasant for my limited free
time. Being in the presence of many Navy, Air Force enlisted personnel
and Philippine support workers make for a very interesting non
indigenous culture. As much as I am counter to our ( countries’)
misguided efforts in the persian gulf for “king of the oil” pile, I
have a enormous respect for our our military troops. I don’t come in
contact with many and for the most part only observe them here. They
are all just doing their jobs and stoically serving our country with
each individuals special contribution regardless of political posture.
I am very impressed with the facilities provided for the moral of each
individual living here, contributing to the overhaul quality of life
for the time spent here. So many healthy options for one to get
involved in. All it requires is the inclination. My training schedule
includes running 6miles minimum along a course that for the most part
is entirely under a jungle canopy, followed by cooling down with a mile
of laps at the pool. My crawl and breast stroke are improving nicely.
On opposite days, I am trying to do a bit of body sculpting with my
focus being my abdominal muscles, my gluts and my upper chest and
shoulders. I am most content with my exercise here and find outside my
communicating on the net with family and friends, this occupies any
extra time. I am working the night shift, getting only about 4hrs
sleep a day. I have one day off, but has proved to be a time of
catching up from the general sleep deprivation I accumulate during the
week. I have taken a local Sailing Test at the Marina to allow me to
rent the Hobie Cat or Hunter 170 to day sail in the Lagoon. I hope to
be out on the water this Weekend. What will ultimately make my time
here indelibly endearing, with be the B-1 Bomber........... Yes, as a
pilot I am fascinated with flight but have kept my interest almost
exclusively in Bush Aircraft for flying to remote places. Stationed
here is a Fleet of B-1 Bombers. Around 8 of them. These are more a
hybrid of a big fighter jet and a Rocket. I don’t have allot of
specifics about the B-1 but find myself most curious. In as much as I
am so anti war I am utterly thrilled with watching these giant Rocket
Bombers literally launch from this airfield. I have been, up till last
night I have only experience seeing these beautiful birds take off,
watching them from as near as 200 ft. off to one side staying behind
our Hold Fast line required by the Tower and airfield restrictions.
Just a couple of nights ago I had the opportunity of watching a B-1
take off with me standing less that 200 ft off the runway at the 10,000
ft point of the 12 k runway. I was truely knocked on my ass, lieterally
and figuartively by the shear power of this bird. I have never seen
anything like this. A rocket virtually coming at you traveling at lift
off point at around 300 miles an hour with rockets/after burners
blazing, initiating there flight into the heavens. These bird have a
tanker take off right behind them to refuel them twice during they’re
15 hr round trip journey. After all the awesome power I feel blessed to
experience, morally I wonder, do they ever bring any bombs back? Do I
really want to know? I do know that I would love to have the
opportunity to fly along second seat. I see a couple take off most
nights and have not grown sophorific in the incredible thrill of
feeling the concusion, the ground shake beneath your feet, the
exhileration of so much science before you very eyes.

That is all for now. Look for more ongoing logs soon as I get the
chance to send along. Wishing you all a wonderful and enjoyable winter.
Please note this is email is generated from a temp. account, so please
CC. any correspondence to my levi_ross@yahoo.com............. address.
All the best! Laurence, Lar, Lerouix, Levi Ross

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