The Transporter by Hoot Hooten
In 2004 I was deployed for the first time and landed myself in a strange place. I remember endless briefings on the rules to remember when entering Kuwait! WOW!
We got off the plane and the terminal opened up into a face-slamming world of strange cloth, noises, people! When we went to town for the first time, the strange world became even more strange; and ever so interesting! Seemingly ghost towns were they build entire towns at the same time! Houses that looked like they were ready to collapse, squeezed between brand-new high-rises! Traffic signs that threatened with death if you didn't put your seat-belt on! People driving 90 mph within CITY LIMITS! Food that most of us had some trouble with, because our stomachs just weren't used to it! People that talked fast in languages we couldn't understand; and acted even stranger!
In the mids of this, a strangely familiar view...
An older guy with jeans and leather cowboy hat!
He became a friend, a mentor and a great example of courage, tough as nails, will to survive! And his wife and daughter are as dear to me!
He has/had this ability to draw people together into one, tough team; no matter how rough the circumstances! They would work with him, because he made them want to; not because he had the stripes to make them!
So why talk about him? Because he is a great man and this poem reflects so clearly what the world of a soldier is like. It will be Christmas soon! And while we are sitting in our nicely decorated living-rooms enjoying the holidays with our families, there will be soldiers out there fighting wars in far away countries! Not because they want to, but because they feel it is their duty! So that we and others like us may enjoy the rights and freedoms we take for granted!
This poem is about 2T2s. Their official job title or AFSC is 'Air Transportation'. But we call ourselves Port Dawgs! 2T2s are the fist of the supply line. Their job is it to load whatever is needed on the planes flying to deliver it. And when the lives lost return, we load them on the planes carrying them home!
If you truly believed in what you are doing as a Airman, being a Port Dawg is not a job; it is a way of life! Maybe not quite as glorious as it was when they were still 605s, but still as impressive!
I'm not an American Soldier
I'm not a Marine with pride
I'm the Airman with a cup of Folgers
Who greets them in and out on their ride.
Yes I'm the Air Force transporter
The one safely getting you off the plane
From Army, Marines to the reporters
We treat them all the same.
With respect and honor and loyalty
We fulfill and understand the mission
We stand tall for freedom and liberty
With each act and decisive decision.
We watch them come in with smiles
We watch them walk tall and true
Knowing that some will return in a while
In silver cases we salute red white and blue.
We send them food, water and equipment
We send them ammo and guns
We transport their mail for enjoyment
And send them out again when their done
No, I'm not an American soldier
And I am not the Marine with pride
But I will share my cup of Folgers
And help load you for another ride.
TSGT JAMES W. HOOTEN