For Fort Bragg unit heading to Haiti, it's hurry up and wait

Sunday, January 17, 2010; A16

At a lunch of pork chops and mashed potatoes at the Fort Bragg chow hall, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Greg Meyer and one of his senior officers planned an afternoon treat for their roughly 30 troops after a day of waiting to leave -- showers.

And he gave his troops a departure update: "I have nothing," he told them. "We're being patient."

Nineteen minutes later, things changed. The call came to get on the bus. In six minutes, the troops with their gear and weapons were packed on a bus, headed to an airport hanger at Pope Air Force Base.

"Hurry! Get your [expletive] off the bus," yelled Master Sgt. Rindi Foster, as the men got on a large scale to weigh in with their gear. Back on the bus. Drive to hanger. Unload. Load ammo. Call home.

As he went through his gear, one soldier made a last call to his young daughter. "Yes, honey, we're going to help some people," Maj. Jesse Godoy said.

Wait. Another update at 2:44 p.m. Wait. One hour. A crew is coming in to fly the plane. Stand by.

But just shy of 4 p.m., another change. The crew that was going to fly the plane couldn't because it had reached the safety flying time limit. A new crew would have to check the aircraft. "This is a minor delay in the big scheme of things," Meyer said.

-- Dana Hedgpeth

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