Good Morning

  • Published
  • By Chap. (Maj.) Ken "Chappy" Reyes
  • 39th Air Base Wing chaplain
I will be leaving Incirlik soon and I will take away many wonderful memories to include traveling and meeting wonderful people both on and off base. But maybe in my last three years at Incirlik I've either created unrealistic expectations or my sensitivities have become very acute. Let me explain. Over this past week I did what I have done since I've been here, smiling, giving and receiving "Hello... Good Morning ... How are you doing?" comments. But this last week I said, "Good morning," "Hello" and "How are you doing," to more than 12 different people ranging from Temporary Duty to permanent party families and to my surprise and shock I got nothing in return.

I thought, "OK, maybe they are suffering from jet lag, maybe they don't want to be here and are grumpy. Maybe it's just too 'hot and sticky' to say anything. Maybe they just got off a 12-14 hour shift and they are a walking zombie. Maybe they are new and are recovering from the fact that they are here instead of where they came from or wanted to be. Maybe they are reflecting on the loss of income due to their Permanent Change of Station to Incirlik. Maybe I was speaking in Turkish and they didn't understand me or, maybe my worst fear; they know me and don't like me."

While each of these thoughts is valid and real, is it reasonable to expect a response? Yes! Common courtesy and respect? Absolutely! Incirlik is a place where people are friendly. You can wave to people because you know them. You can stop your vehicle, run into each other in a hallway, in the commissary, Base Exchange, Fitness Center or even places like Cappadocia or Kizkalesi and chat about whatever. You run into one another 10 times more often than you would if you lived at a busy Continental United States base where you live off-base. I will miss this community and I must tell you I got spoiled with the warmth and generosity of my many acquaintances and friends at Incirlik.

If you happen to be one of those who didn't respond, a piece of friendly advice, you are here and you can't change that. Make the most of it. I do not believe you are here due to luck, a bet you lost or an error in the system. I believe you are where God has put you, so embrace this experience and allow it to bless you by making the most of it.

The silver lining in all this is the fact that many who left have written back praising their experience and the wonderful people they met. Give Incirlik a chance. How? By starting off with the little things like saying, "Hello ... Good morning ... or How are you doing"-- and mean it! I don't think I'm a victim of unrealistic expectations or acute sensitivities, just a friendly face wishing you a good day.