Almost every time I leave Camp Spann, it is after coordinating with the ALO. ALO stands for Air Liaison Officer; The officer who books flights and schedules the convoys to and from the airport to connect with those flights. It is a fairly thankless job, which our ALO has done very well. I know that as our plans have changed, as they have done very frequently, he has always worked to support us in a thoroughly professional manner. He is a superb example of an officer working way outside his usual field while deployed and doing it very well. He went through the same training class that I did at FT Riley. In fact he was only one bunk over in our 40 man bay. He has let me sit up front during several of the convoys in MRAPs. Finally, however, he is leaving in just a few weeks. It will be quite a loss for the mobility of Camp Spann when he departs.
As is only healthy, our ALO has a good sense of humor. He has the below creed posted on the wall of his office. It may have some terms that are unfamiliar, but if you have every watched the movie A Few Good Men, you will recognize the speech the COL makes while at the witness stand. Thus, courtesy of the ALO, I give you A Few Good ALOs
Son, we live in a world that has flights and those flights need to be booked by men with emails. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Battle Captain?
I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for ISAF flights and curse the ALO; you have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that your early convoy show time today, while tragic, probably saved lives and that my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives.
You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties you want me booking your flights, you need me booking your flights. We use words like CONOP, Showtime and SP. We use them as the backbone of a life trying to move people around. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the freedom of movement I provide and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said "thank you," and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest that you hop in a MRAP and drive a convoy. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to.