Now for something slightly different
My name is Flt Lt Jim Bradshaw and I’m an alcoholic. Wait, wrong blog. I’m an Air Traffic Controller at Camp Bastion and I’ve been here for 2 months. I’m based at RAF Northolt in the UK and it is safe to say that this a little bit different. I’m used to business jets not Apaches, and C17s.
Our tour length out here is 4 months, so we’re the lucky ones as a lot of people I’ve met seem to be doing longer, especially the army types. For us controllers this tour is one of the best jobs we can get as Bastion is the third busiest UK operated airfield, behind Gatwick and Heathrow and it’s a fact that we bang on about at every opportunity. It makes us feel special. Our shifts are 12 hours on 12 hours off with 24 hours off when we change from days into nights. So while we get our down time it does take its toll, we spend our days constantly tired and I imagine that is a feeling shared by all those in Afghanistan. But it’s not something that any of us complain about. In fact I’m proud that we all operate under such pressures and still do the job as well as we do.
Out of work there isn’t a great deal that goes on. This place isn’t exactly central London. We do have a pizza hut and a KFC has just been put in, which gives us a little taste of home, although taste maybe a touch generous, I’ve never had pizza hut that tastes like this! I spend some time in the gym, mostly to stave off the inevitable weight gain from the above fast food and the US feeder that we have over on the flight line. (They have cookies and cream ice cream. It’s the little things.)
So that’s me and more to come over the next few weeks.