Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The never ending flight...

the flight here is now over...i have arrived safely, although i was trapped in the center section of the plane the whole flight. i was still on an aisle seat but the fact of the matter remains, my size requires an exit row. international flights are not fun. at least not in coach. i will call you as soon as i get back to the base mom.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Army Strong

There's strong, and then there's US Army Strong. Do you have what it takes?

Stuck in Dallas

somehow it always seems that the breaks always come at precisely the wrong moment. I was praying for a delay in kuwait so that i would be able to be home on christmas day, but no delay. I prayed for snow to close the airport, and it did...three days early. I got to dallas, and i was hoping for a quick flight out of here, and what happens...delay. Clearly i am not capable of getting the good stuff.
Anyways-I am taking the time to finally get some sleep. Noah and Cody have seriously interrupted my sleep schedule. Noah likes to get up at 0430 Colorado time, and as i was a good uncle, i had to get up and play with him (actually, i could not resist-he is too cute to not hang out with). Cody on the other hand is a lot more low maintenence. he eats, poops, and sleeps (there is a lot of work that has to be done just for these three activities, but love's labor is worth it in the end). My time spent in CO was well worth it. I met Joanna (leah's Au Pair). She was charming and easy to entertain-I hope that i was not too boring :)
Activities around the Haberer house are never boring. we had plenty of projects to complete (walls to paint, cabinets to build, rooms to babyproof, etc...) in the beginning of my leave, and then we had so much going on that i am truly worn out. I think that i will be glad to get to Iraq so that i can finally get some sleep ;)
thats all for now. I will write more later.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

who needs to dream of a white christmas...

Well, today is the first day after the Storm and I was outside all day digging a path to the main road. as you can see from the collection of snow next to the driveway, there was considerable snowfall overnight. the total snowfall from the center of the Cul de Sac was 22 inches. What a treat this was-just think a week ago i was in iraq!! My back and arms are really sore from the workout recieved by moving all the snow. there is a lot of snow. patricia reported 6 foot drifts in her back yard...leah is almost here-she was one of the many cancelled flights coming into denver-she opted to rent a car, and she is now on here way.

I am dreading the return to iraq, and up until this storm i have really not had a chance to put it from my mind. maybe there will be more storms-for like 6-9 months...guess not. well, whether the weather cooperates or not, i will continue to keep you posted on the goings on. i think that i have enough inspiration now to write the next installment to my story, part six right?
anywho-much love from the snow burried colorado. althogh entrenched in the drifts i still think about all of you-

Monday, December 04, 2006

the trouble with shift work...

I am really excited to come home. I kind of feel like i am in a rut...have you ever seen the movie with Bill Murray in it-Ground hogs day? Everyday i wake up and it is the same as the day before. no new stories, no new activities, its just the same. I thought life as a soldier was supposed to be exciting...oh well.
ill write more later...

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

the CDC is right-vaccinate early!

Thanks for the comments, i am working on the next installment but have been really busy. things here in Iraq are rather normal-as normal as this country can be...I am really excited for the trip home, the new pictures of my nephews make me a little homesick in a good way. I cannot wait to have the opportunity to hold them and play with them. Flu shots stink. I am suprised that i did not get sick this year. I guess that my body is already fighting enough disease that it is ready for whatever comes its way. Go Immune System!!
I miss you all-
I will try to get some more work done on the next installment.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Boots on the Ground: a Soldiers story of the War In Iraq

We were staged at FOB Warhorse waiting from the word from higher command as to when we would be departing. I knew that it would be an early morning, and that it would be at the most inconvenient time for me-thats just the way the army works. I took my time to pray and think through my actions before we departed to one of the worst areas of iraq. I knew that things were going to be different on this operation than anything i had been through so far. i took time to clean my M16 thoroughly, I knew that i was going to need it. every time that something bad happened to me, i would have a gut feeling that something was wrong before it happened. ever since i had arrived in Iraq, this sense was stronger than ever. I knew that something was going to go horribly wrong. we got word that we were going to leave in the early morning, just before sunrise. the chaplain came over from FOB Scunion and prayed with us. we prayed for safe travel and return, we prayed that God's hand would work through us in this mission, and I prayed that i would feel his presense. I had seen enough action already (i.e. the usual improvised explosive device), that i was ready for this convoy, but nothing could have prepared me for the journey ahead.
We rolled out of the north gate of FOB Warhorse just after sunrise and began the long journey south to An Najaf. We had to go out of the way of most of the cities along the quick route because unfriendly personnel were prepared for our march south. Thank you CNN. Our operation had been headline news for days. Have you ever felt like complete strangers knew more about what you were doing than you did? I was just a private. they tell me to drive, i do it. they tell me to shoot, i do it. Why do i need to know any more than that? My vehicle commander was a combat veteran. he had been a member of a tank crew, and he had seen enough action already. he knew what to do. SGT Long would be manning the only 50 caliber weapon among the support vehicles. support had sent 2 cargo HEMTT's and 2 Fuel HEMTT's. i was driving one of the cargo HEMTT's with a battle load of tank rounds and enough food and water for three days. i would have rather been on a rolling bomb than what i was carrying-hello private, i have no say in what happens to me. The ride was mostly uneventful for the first 12 hours...did i tell you that it was only supposed to take 12 hours. we were in the middle of a hostile area, and our commander was lost. thank you West Point. we had been lost for about 4 hours, switch-backed across lord only knows how many miles of iraq, and we were still no closer to An Najaf. the convoy commander had led us down the wrong road not once, not 3 times, but 4 times. did the lead vehicle have a team of monkeys working around the clock to make sure that we never got there or what?
Things progressively went downhill. by midnight, we were lost in Downtown Al Hillah. A little history lesson on Al Hillah. This city was an insurgent stronghold since the outset of the war. the people of the city had not seen an american in months. Al Hillah had been blacklisted and american troops were not to enter the city. here we are downtown in a city, at night, and we were lost. great. I saw hate in the eyes of the people on the street. if you looked long enough into their eyes, you could just picture that same individual holding a handsaw and cutting your head of for the nightly news. my gut was doing summersaults. i was going to die, and my mother was going to have to learn from CNN. I dont think i have ever felt such a suffocating feeling as i did looking into the eyes of these people on the streets of this unfriendly neighborhood. where was mr rogers when you needed him? we made it through downtown without incident, and I began to relax as we reached the outskirts of town. that's when i saw it. a white phosphorus parachute flare. this put both my TC (truck commander) and myself back on edge. we continued to drive down the road and made a left turn. there was a canal on the left side of the road and dense shubs on the right side of the road. this was not a good development. then i saw it again, another flare. we passed a marine convoy going the other direction, and that put my mind at ease. they were the ones who fired off the flares, i knew it. we made it about a mile down the road and that is when all hell broke loose. I saw the third and final flare.


The Heavy Equipment Transport (HET) 4 vehicles in front of mine was hit. time stood still. you know how in the movies, when the battle starts, everything goes into slow motion? they arent bullshiting. it felt like an eternity we were sitting there staring at the site of the explosion and wondering why the HET wouldnt move. then we started to see movement all around us. people were pouring out of a house just to the right of the site of the explosion. the track vehicles on the trailer of the HET started to fire on the people running up towards us. SGT Long fired off a string of expletives and then matched fire with his 50 cal. I was in a dream. this couldnt be happening. what was i doing here? I started to see tracer rounds coming between the vehicles from the left. I had been driving for 22 hours and i was not ready for this. I saw the vehicle in front of me start to fire in the direction of the fire, and i matched fire. Its funny that people say you never know what you will do when the rounds start coming back at you. its true. you just shut down, and, if you are lucky, you recieved good training that just takes over. the vehicle in front of me remained as motionless as it did the last time i checked, and the people coming out of the house were moving closer and closer to the vehicles in the convoy. one insurgent got about five feet from the passenger door of the truck in front of me. the medic in the passenger seat swung his shotgun out of the window and laid down great vengence and furious anger upon the man who was hell bent on killing him. the gun fire did not stop and my TC had gone through 3 ammo cans before the HET driver snapped back into reality. he pressed the pedal to the metal and we followed suit. we met up with the front part of the convoy about 3 miles down the road. we knew someone in the HET was hurt, and we were ready to provide as much aid as possible. Unfortunately, the civilian driving the truck had waited too long. A Staff Sergeant had been hit by a piece of shrapnel about the size of a California peach in his midsection. our first rate body armor is no match for a piece of metal moving that fast, and the staff was dead before the HET started moving again. we called for a medevac and a bird was enroute. 6 feet from the ground is a long way when you are moving deadweight. SGT Chase was a 5 foot something medic. Along with about 5 other medics, he stood at the base of the truck trying to figure out how to get this body out of the cab. Remember that trust that i mentioned earlier, he climbed into the cab, looped his arms under the staff's shoulders, looked back, and said catch me. he took a leap of faith, knowing that his fellow soldiers would be there to catch him. they prepared the body for pickup, and treated the driver for minor wounds.
The helicopter arrived about fifteen minutes after the call, and the casualty was loaded into the chopper. this ugly phase of our journey was over, but the night was still young. the HET platoon commander brought another person up to replace the TC and we were ready to roll. Unfortunately, no one had seen the driver. He had pulled a Keyser Soze' and he was gone. we could not leave an american in this hostile territory, even if he had run off. A group of soldiers were sent to search the surrounding area, outbuildings, and homes in an area where we were just attacked looking for this guy. 3 hours spent looking for him brought no fruit. the convoy commander callled back to the dust off and asked them to check the bird. The medic assured him that he was not in the chopper, but agreed to check just in case. When he came back on the radio, he informed us that the civilian driver had been found, curled up in the fetal possition in the back of the chopper. 6 medics, 2 pilots, and a convoy full of men had all missed him sneaking on to the chopper. that civilian punched his time card, and i am sure he was on the next flight home. 27 hours since i last slept. he wasted three hours of my time. I was mad, tired, and wanted to take a shower and wash the pain away. i would never be able to forget what i had just been through, but right now i wanted to wash all of the images out of my mind. ever since i joined the army, i wanted my chance to fight in this war, and now all i wanted was to be a little kid curled up on my mothers lap. safe from all danger. God i wish i could cry-why do i have to be a man at times like this.
we were still eight hours from our destination, we had just lost a soldier, and we all needed some rest. the convoy commander decided we would drive out as far into the desert as we could, the drivers would sleep while others took shifts on guard, and we would move out at first light. I dont know how i slept, but i found comfort in the cab of that HEMTT and i slept the best four hours of my life. when we got back on the road the next morning, we found that we were on the right track for an arrival at FOB Duke before lunch time. Insurgents had blown up every bridge leading into An Najaf the day previous-every one except the one we were headed for. I felt something jump inside me. A shower was calling my name...we continued to drive faster and faster towards our destination.
we made the last turn heading into the Marine base, and the Entry Control Point(ECP) was visible. I was so excited, we were almost there. Just before we arrived at the gate, the convoy commander made a left turn into a patch of sand. i thought this was normal. we were just going to get accountability before we rolled in the gate. boy was i wrong.
COL Dana J. H. Pittard, our Brigade Commander, wanted to name a FOB. In our brigade we were the Iron Dukes. Hence, FOB Duke. Instead of going to the Marine base-the one the had phones, showers, internet, a Dining facility, and a Post Exchange we were going to "rough it." I had not, nor had any of the other members of the team, on not having laundry facilities. this was about to get ugly.

Why is it when you are a kid all you want is to be dirty, but when you're an adult the prospect of being dirty is horrifying?

I felt like Pigpen-the cloud of dust and all...

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

technical difficulties

sorry that i have not posted in a while. i have been unable to access the website to put my posts on, but you have been rewarded for your patience. here are the next two installments on the story-well worth the wait i hope. things here are much of the same. i am really excited to go home for leave. thank you leah for the package that you sent with the christmas decorations. its beginning to feel a lot like christmas, and even though you arent supposed to put up christmas decorations before thanksgiving is over i say poo-poo to that.
I miss you all very much and hope you enjoy the story half as much as i am enjoying writing it.

Boots on the Ground: A Soldiers story of the war in Iraq (part 4)

When we arrived at FOB Scunion, this alien world that I was in felt a little more like a was nothing like the home I had just left, but it was getting better. I was able to call home after the first few days had passed, and I let my family know that I had arrived safely. We moved into our transient housing, which we affectionately referred to as the "chicken coops" because the windows were chicken wire and the rafters were full of pigeons. The chicken coops were home, but left much to be desired. There was no climate control, it was winter in Iraq, and I was a dumb private who packed his sleeping bag in the connex-real smart...
Scunion was a small camp; you had to run twice around the wire just to make two miles. We had names for some of the buildings; the headquarters building was called the Taj Mahal because it was a tiered building that the leadership thought looked like a temple. We had the North Forty, which was a wide open space north of the North gate but still inside the wire. then there was the trash pile. There was literally a half-football field full of scrap metal, concrete, and trash that was piled up in the center of the camp. 4th Infantry division had done the impossible by making the other buildings on the FOB livable, but it was at the cost of a gigantic trash pile that now belonged to us. The battalion Sergeant Major did not like trash. I did not like the prospect of having to clean up the trash...but there were still a few aces up the sleeves. The hearts and minds campaign was about to begin and all of our lives were about to change.
The first week in Iraq was spent in a RIP (relief in place). This meant that our leadership was sitting in the right seat while the people we were replacing were driving...this is a way the army uses to actively train the newbie’s. I spent the first week mostly doing nothing. as I was a private, I had no responsibility and, until my leaders were finished training, I was without a job. So I did what I do best-I went trash digging. The saying is right-one mans trash is another mans treasure. I found so much stuff in the junk yard that I was ready to move into my quarters and start living the good life. There were wood boxes to stack as a dresser, ammo cans to store my personal hygiene items, wood to make a permanent bed-I hate sleeping on cots, paint, and many other smaller more useless items that I felt like I absolutely needed them.
As soon as the RIP was complete, the day came to bring the trail party of 4th ID to Balad Airbase. This would be my first time driving in our sector, and, although I did not know the route yet, in the coming months I would become very familiar with the trip to Balad. I was the driver of a 5 ton truck, loaded to the max with soldiers ready to go home. I was terrified of what was out there, and this fear was beginning to affect my better judgment. The road to Balad was a dangerous route, but I was more dangerous to the soldiers in back than the route could have ever been. This trip was where it stopped being a game and started to get real. The road up to Balad is full of potholes and dips. If you have ever traveled by 5 ton you would understand how this is not a good way to travel. The suspension is very stiff, and the vehicles don’t handle bumps and dips very well. I was too scared to fall back from the vehicle in front of me, I was not making wise decisions, and I almost launched a soldier out of the vehicle because I was taking the dips too fast. I almost killed another soldier because I was too scared to risk my own for their safety.
This attitude would change, but experience was all that I needed to change. During the first few weeks in Iraq, the chaplain passed out ID tags that had a bible verse on them that quickly became my favorite. Joshua 1:9, “I will be strong and courageous, I will not be terrified or discouraged for the Lord my God is with me wherever I go.” I would always say a quiet prayer before we rolled out the gate, and this particular verse was incredibly reassuring to me. The more that I prayed, the more I accepted the fact that I had no control over my fate, and this led to the calm resulting from accepting your death. I was ready to die each time that I left FOB Scunion, and I was thankful for each day that I came back. Every day was my last. I would call home infrequently. Each time I talked to my family it was painful. I didn’t want to admit that they could lose me at any time. It was easier not to hear their voices; email is much more impersonal. I almost killed a soldier, and now I was ready to die myself.
The trip to Balad became a bi-weekly occurrence. I made the trip so often that it haunted me in my dreams. The first month flew by, and there was so much going on that it was impossible to keep track of the day of the week. An Najaf had become a problem, and we became part of the solution. A team of soldiers from 3rd Brigade, 1ID were sent down to An Najaf to assist the marines in clearing out the city. I was a member of the team.
My supervisor came to me one night in early April and informed me that I would be going to Najaf for sixty to ninety days. This trip was going to change my life. This would be the beginning of a journey that I did not know I was embarking on, and this trip would have far reaching effects to my life and my future. This would be the trip that would make me a combat veteran. This was the day I thought that I was going to die, the day that I first saw death, and the day that I began to have unwavering trust for the soldier to my right and left.

Boots on the Ground: A Soldiers story of the war in Iraq (part 3)

Kuwait was full of broken promises for the 1st Infantry Division. While we awaited our turn to depart north and join the battle, we were assured that none of our vehicles would go north of Kuwait without armor. At this point in the war, the insurgency was begining to use roadside bombs in their efforts to oppose the new order establishing itself in the Arab world. This was a deadly weapon, and this concerned a lot of troops and their families. Hearing the division commander assure us that we would not roll north without armor was calming but disconcerting. in the short amount of time that i had been in the army, i knew that this was just too good to be true. This convoy was perhaps the most frightened i had ever been for any trip in my life. I was headed into the valley of the shadow of death. I took a lot of time to pray. i was scared. its not like the kind of fear that you experience when watching a scary movie, this kind of fear is deep within your soul. it is almost painful where it touches you. i was scared for my life.
time passed, our training at the Udari Range Complex was completed and it was time. Our maintenance team had been working around the clock to fix as many of the problems with our vehicles before we hit the road. there were five serials in our convoy as we were trying to reduce the size of our convoy to a manageable amount. there were still more than forty vehicles per convoy and this is dangerous because you move too slow. I was in the last serial. we were the recovery group. if any vehicle broke down we were the ones that would pick them up. the first serials would not stop for any reason. we were briefed on the convoy two days before we rolled out. it was at this point in time that we were informed that there were not enough armor kits to accommodate all of our vehicles. we were instructed to put sandbags on the floorboards of our vehicles. all of these promises of world class equipment for our protection boiled down to a twenty-five cent sandbag. thanks a lot uncle sam...
0400 9 March 2004, we were awakened at an early hour to make the final preparations for our departure at 0700. This was it. months of preparation and training, classes, and exersizes and now we were actually going to cross the border into a combat zone. the chaplain gave us a prayer at 0600. it was still dark, so no one could see the fear on each others face. it was so palpable that you could taste it. no one was talking. we all had so much to say but no one was saying a thing. I climbed into my truck and waited. there would be a separation between each convoy, enough time for each convoy not to run up on the other. we weren't scheduled to leave until 0900, but we waited with engines running. the time flew by and we were on the road before too long. it was my first opportunity to see camels up close and not in a cage. it was like driving in america, but instead of cows you would see herds of camels. it was wierd, almost unnatural. we stopped at Norstar Convoy Support Center and fueled up two miles before the border crossing. this was the last chance to file for conscientious objector status. next stop, War.
There are signs painted on a concrete barriers just before the border, "Approaching the Iraqi border, Speedlimit, Drive it like you stole it!" This became our motto and practice, but not on this convoy. I think the fastest that we went on this trip was 35 miles per hour. the convoy was scheduled to take fourteen hours...but nothing in the army works quite as well as planned. Many of our vehicles were not as "battle ready" as they could have been and nearly forty vehicles in our battalion broke down along the trip. since we were the recovery element it was our job to pick them up. I was in a Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (or HEMTT, said hemit). The truck had just come back from a rebuild and was a "new" truck. all this meant was that it was not battle tested. any time i come to a military vehicle and it does not have at least two to three leaks on the underside, that is not a truck i will drive. this time i did not have that option. besides the fact that i was a private, i was just as much of a "cherry" as this vehicle. my vehicle broke down approximately eight miles into Iraq. Bad fuel was the cause, and the effect was having to stop in hostile territory and drain the 154 gallon fuel tank. we did not have the luxury of environmental friendly disposal, and all of us were nervous about being stopped on the side of an iraqi highway. i opened the drain plug on the tank and let it pour onto the highway. in a twisted way, i was just returning the fuel to the source...the whole operation took about 20 minutes, and then we were back on the road. this would be the last time my truck would be the cause of a stop, but this would not be the end of the nightmare on our hands.
by the time we reached the Scania CSC (convoy support center), half of the vehicles in our convoy were towing another vehicle behind them. we thought that this was the end of the breakdowns, but once again we were wrong. Scania was everything i thought a movie about a war should be. there were hundreds of trucks parked in the staging area and the living area looked like something off of the TV show MASH. there were helicopter overflights constantly and I thought any minute "charlie" was going to come out of the palm groves and ambush us. i felt like an actor in some great movie about modern warfare, but this was not a hollywood movie set, and there was an enemy out there observing me right now. sometimes i wonder what he saw. what i looked like in those early days. I must have looked like a young, scared, sub-urban kid who somehow got lost on his way to college and now was fighting a war in some country half a world least that is how I felt. we took some time to fuel up, rest up, and get ready for the next leg of the trip we were only halfway to our destination, and we were already hours behind schedule. This was turning into a fiasco, and the sun was getting ready to set.
as darkness crept up, I found myself pulling security as we recovered yet another broken down vehicle. as I gazed out on the landscape, everything looked so foreign. there were palm groves all over the place, and each town that we passed looked just like the drawings of villiges in bible stories of my youth...that is except for the occasional antennae for television or radio. i never thought that i would ever have been in the middle east as a tourist let alone as a member of a liberation army. what was i doing here? what did i do in my life that ended up with me in the driver seat of a fuel truck in the middle of a combat zone? what was i thinking? these questions haunted me as i sat there staring into the wide open spaces of this foreign land, and they would continue to haunt me for most of my tour. I was looking for answers, i was looking for direction, i was looking for the person who wanted me dead.
twenty-two hours after we left kuwait, we arrived at our designated rally point. we would sleep here for the night, and in the morning our comrades would pick us up and escort us to FOB Scunion. I dont think i have ever slept so rough in my life. it is impossible to fall asleep and be comfortable inside the cab of a HEMTT. somehow i got enough rest to function come wakeup, and i was never more alert than i was on the ride to Scunion. this would be my first experience driving in traffic. the escort told us that the only way you stay alive in this country is to "drive it like you stole it." he brifed us on the route, and told us to keep up-he had no intention of stopping. it is an incredible experience driving in rush hour traffic at 55 mph...especially when you dont have to pay for the damages you cause. I took my 10 ton truck over bombed out replacement bridges, through wall to wall traffic, and finally through the gate at FOB Scunion. I never felt so alive in my life. I was hooked. Adrenaline was my new drug, and I wanted more. My oportunity would come soon, but not soon enough. For now we rested.

Welcome to hell boys...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

and the beat goes on...

things are more of the same, my leave is soon, so i am excited. I really just want to see my nephews, but i guess others can be scheduled in during nap time...jk. MO you are right, but dont put anything on the web about it BBIW...B and L and N thanks for the birthday pics, he is adorable, but i am sure that cake was everywhere...cant wait to see you all.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The fun of story telling...

Thank you all for reading my story and giving me your kind comments, I have enjoyed writing it so much that i dont think i will stop at three-why put a number out there, ill just keep on writing until i get put in jail ;)
I have been busy, but not so much that i am getting worn out. R&R is coming soon, and i am keeping my eyes on the prize. I have a headache, so there wont be a long post today. I am still working on the next installment of "boots on the ground." I will post when i have enough to put up.
MO start thinking of a day which will live in infamy! ILYIMY ill see you soon.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

boots on the ground, a soldiers story of Iraq (part 2)

In February 2004, I arrived in Kuwait headed towards a yearlong rotation in Iraq. I deployed herre with a combat battalion heading to one of the worst provinces in the country. Insurgent violence was fracturing this once prosperous, largely Sunni Muslim province. The Province was crippled by war, fear of insurgency was holding the population captive. The community was crumbling around looting and sectarian violence. Citizens had been placed under a military imposed curfew, but many were still too afraid to leave their homes. Insurgent strongholds in Fallujah, An Najaf, and the small neighborhood outside the "Green Zone" in Bahgdad (dubbed Sadr City by the soldiers) were gaining strength and numbers, digging in for a long fight. Iraq was torn by violence and the people were weary of the promise of a bright future.the dust is the worst part of it all. Kuwait, a desolate, barren, sandy hell. the thing about the dust in kuwait is that it is a finer grade of sand than what you would find on a beach in America. It gets everywhere. you will open books and find dust. your crotch, ears, nose, eyes, nothing is safe from the dust. all of your electronics are trashed. flat, neverending desert is all that you see in kuwait.
the US Military made history in 2004. for the first time since WWII, Military Sealift Command and Air Mobility Command were put to the test with a massive troop and equipment rotation. 130,000 troops were rotated in and out of theater in a matter of months. Sealift command managed the rotation of nearly as many vehicles and other pieces of mission critical equipment. This troop rotation was done in conjunction with the R&R program, and other daily operations supplying troops at the front with supplies needed to fight the battle went on without pause. A Combined Forces effort resulted in a fresh force touching ground and taking the torch from a battle hardened but fatigued force. New camps were built all over the northern desert of Kuwait to support the influx of troops being trained at the Udari Range Complex. Large patches of Kuwait sand were groomed and prepared, tents were setup, dining facilities were built, and communications networks were established. The stage was set.
Enter 1st Infantry Division
February 14th, 2004-Valentines Day-an ideal day to separate husbands and wives, was the day chosen to deploy the 2nd battalion, 63rd Armor Regiment. Wakeup was 0300. First formation was at 0400 for weapons draw. that was the day that my relationship with Janet began-this is my rifle. although there are many others like it, this is my rifle-we moved our baggage to the hilltop gym for weigh in-478 lbs with me and all of my gear. around 0900 we loaded on the busses, said our last goodbyes, shed a few tears, and departed for the Nurnburg Airport where a plane was about to arrive to pick us up. the Flight to Kuwait takes about 14 hours from Germany. by the time we arrived in Kuwait it was dark, near midnight, and was cold. Winter in Kuwait is cold. It almost felt like the Germany that we just left. We inprocessed into theater which took about 2 hours, drank water, used the facilities, then boarded busses for the non-stop ride to Camp New York. Forced Hydration had been the policy since Germany (which meant that we had formations 5 times a day to drink water-kinda like a tea-party only not fun). About 3 hours into the drive i had to go to the bathroom so bad that it hurt. we had so much equipment on and with us that only my right butt-cheek could fit on the seat and that cheek was throbbing and numb by the time we pulled into the barren wasteland known as Camp New York. This was Home for the next three or so weeks.
The first few days at Camp New York were chaos. Lines everywhere. we would wake up at 0400 just to get in line for breakfast ( the doors didnt open until 0800), then after we got done with breakfast we would walk out the door and get in line for lunch (lunch started at 1200), then we would eat lunch and get in line for dinner around 1300 ( dinner didnt start until 1730), finally after dinner we would get in line to use the phones, internet, or Post Exchange. that was an average day at Camp New York until Halliburton built us a larger dining facility (one that could serve the entire camp in 1 hour was built in, literally, 2 days). Things changed after the DFAC was expanded, we now had nothing to do. we were so used to waiting in line that we were all confused when this fun game was over. Spades became a very popular game about that time. a lot of money was either won or lost while engaging in this Army wide pasttime.
Our boat was in an accident leaving the harbor in Antwerp, Belgium. This meant that we were on the extended stay of Kuwait. we had to wait another week for our vehicles to arrive before we could do the manditory Convoy Live Fire Excersize, which ended up being more redneck than any other training i have ever participated in since i joined the army. It consisted in driving down a dusty dirt road and shooting at 55 gallon drums and a couple burnt out cars. Ma and Pa Kettle would be proud...i certainly felt more ready to fight the insurgency because of this training. No seriously, you have no idea how dangerous 55 gallon drums are in Iraq, especially in large numbers. Dispite the lack of resources, the MPRI trainers in Kuwait were worth the time spent at the ranges. the training, although lacking in the reality department, was just what we needed to augment the excersizes and other activities conducted in Germany. We were prepared to fight an enemy that up to this point had been a paper target. Now it was real. from here on in we shoot without a script. The next step was the Convoy North.

and the land speed record goes to...

things out here remain the same. it seems to me that everytime i am out of the states, life just flies by at break neck speed. it seems like just yesterday that i left the states, but so much has happened since then. i am excited to get home and see my nephews for the first time. it will be fun too be an uncle. it almost feels unreal, like it isnt really happening. i miss you all very much.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

2 years, 5 months and 8 days...

I really need a new job. they told me when i took this job that there would be a lot of travel (they didnt say that it would be to the worst possible locations imaginable), great benefits (they didnt say that it would be like pulling teeth to use them), and i would get to meet new and exotic people (they didnt say that these people would be trying to kill me...). I'm looking for something less dangerous, maybe underwater welding or ocean floor pipeline maintenance. any thoughts.

I have not had a chance to view the results of the elections, but would welcome your input in comments. let me know how things went.


Monday, November 06, 2006

how sweet it is to be...

Q-west Idol went off without a hitch. we took second place as a company, meaning one of out people took second place. we also took second place in the dodgeball tournament. what a loss. things are good here on my end. I am still waiting for pictures of my new nephew, but i suppose mother and son are doing well. no news is good news...i am continuing to write my story and i will post chunks as they get finished. i miss you all and hope all is well with you. leah, brian and noah-keep the pictures coming-patricia, jason, and cody-get the cameras out, i want some photographic proof of life :)

Saturday, November 04, 2006

2 times in one year, can one uncle be so lucky?

I am a happy Uncle once again...congradulations Jason and Patricia...I love you a lot and cannot wait to see Cody!!!

Boots on the Ground...a soldiers story of the War in Iraq

In a generation of Americans fixated with instant gratification it is no wonder why the War in Iraq leaves such a bad taste in the average citizen’s mouth. Operation Desert Storm has given the American people a false sense of reality that war is easy. An Over-confidence in the Military might of the US, although not misplaced, has generated unreal expectations for the military as a whole. It is in this attitude of Supremacy that the short comings in the war for Iraq become sharply focused and plainly evident. Understand this, we are fighting an enemy who remains a phantom menace, and remains focused on the total destruction of the western way of life. This, however, is not the average Iraqi. This enemy is not representative of a large demographic of Iraqi society. In fact, this enemy is not usually even Iraqi. What follows is the story of the Iraqi people, the truth about the battle that continues to rage on in this country and the story of what it is like to be an American living and working in this war torn country.
The average Iraqi rises before the sun, commutes to work, provides for their family, and socializes with their neighbor. They shake hands, make deals, and conduct their day to day business while a war rages on around them. The average Iraqi has a cell phone, satellite television, and just installed air-conditioning in his home. This is not a terrorist, just like you and I, these Iraqis have dreams of a bright future, memories of good days, and hope for the future that lay before them. But unlike you and I, these Iraqis also have nightmares. Fears of a government that terrorized, raped, imprisoned and held them hostage for so many years. This dark past has given the people of Iraq a drive to succeed, and it has given them hope for better days. Unlike the grim forecasts of political and military analysts tucked safely away from danger in the comfort of their newsrooms, the future of Iraq looks bright. There are many reasons why success of this Arab nation is on the horizon.
Thanksgiving 2003 was my first holiday away from home, and I was spending it in Germany, training for a yearlong rotation in Iraq. At the time is was a young soldier fresh out of basic training, and though I had not tasted war yet, I was eager to prove myself. I in-processed into US Army Europe while the unit I was assigned to was finishing a 45 day rotation at the Combat Maneuver Training Center and a 30 day rotation at the training center and ranges in Grafenwoer Germany. I spent two months in Germany preparing to deploy, partying, drinking heavily completely unaware of what lay ahead of me. Its sort of weird when you sit down by yourself and try to accept the fact that you might die. When I first found out that I was bound for Iraq, I didn’t know how to tell my family. My mother cried. I hate when decisions I make bring my mother to tears. Although the reaction was the same, these were not tears of disappointment, these were tears of fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of death. Secretly, I was sharing those same tears, but on the outside I was strong. My father started giving me advise, "Stay away from the married women," "walk worthy," "don’t do anything you would be ashamed of." I felt like I was terminally ill. Everyone was saying their last words. Honestly, I was looking on the whole thing from the outside. A bird’s eye view of my life.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

back in the saddle...

well the punishment is complete and i am back on the net. i will be putting the first part of my story on the blog tonight so stay tuned. I am alive, well, and busy as ever. i love you all and look forward to hearing from you.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

[Website under review for OPSEC]

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Snitches get stitches...

well, it will have to wait for part one of the story. i was going to get it online tomorrow, but someone was complaining about having to work an eight hour day and our boss took away all days off. When will people in the army learn that complaining only makes it worse. Snitches get stitches...
anyways, today the enemy breached the FOB, and I was forced to take the boots on ground approach to solving the problem. about thirty insurgents were grazing inside the wire, and I was able to push them back into a full retreat. I have also added Shepard to my resume'. things today were chaotic. there is a new command in charge of us and as a result we are blessed with the opportunity of experiencing the learning curve once again.
ill try and get the first part posted asap.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

the daily show...only not the funny one on comedy central

tonight or somewhere close to tonight is the night of power-please pray that the iraqis dont get any ideas tonight...
we found a truck with 3 130mm rounds in it today at the entry control point. the gate was closed for hours while EOD (explosive ordainace disposal) removed the threat from the gate area. not fun.
Anyways-patricia, i got your package today and had a great laugh at the t-shirt. the candy was a big hit too. i cant wait for pictures of the nephew, so hurry up and have him already!!!


from Qayyarah west

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

the latest and the greatest...

things here in Qayyarrah west remain mostly the same...there have been the usual VBIED (Vehichle Born Improvised Explosive Device) threats, and the constant alert for direct attack on the FOB (Foward Operating Base). It was encouraging this week to see GEN Schoomaker flat out tell the press that troop levels would remain at 140,000 until 2010. it shows a significant change in press relations from the DA was also encouraging to hear the President say that he would be open to a change in direction if the commanders on the ground thought that it would be prudent. it allows that commanders on the ground to look in to a whole other series of options to counter this insurgency and make this a more lethal fighting force, and a more secure democracy.

i reached a new level of boredom today. i sat and redesigned the Entry control point on paper about 20 times because i was just trying to stay awake...anyway, its just a small portion of my day.

I got your package today leah, it was Awesome to have pictures of noah to put up all over the room...keep them coming.
PS i love the mohawk ;)

more to follow-i am almost finished with part one

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The days drag on, but the excitement builds...

well things at the North ECP are the same as usual, but there is more of a buzz of what is about to happen. there is a new unit in charge of us and they are determined to improve the entry control point to make it more efficient, and more secure...
things are busy-we are at the height of ramadan, so there are curfews and other "safety" restrictions in place. it is harder for me to post, so please bear with me during this period of heightened awareness. thank you all for your kind updates, and please be sure to keep commenting...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

As Much as I would like to believe you that the political ads will end in a couple of weeks-I think that you overlook the fact that Hillary is starting her presidential campaign shortly after the elections in November. I do hope that the Dems come up with a better candidate-like barak obama, but it is likely that the clintons have a chance of moving back to 1600 Pennsylvania.

stay posted-I will be publishing my Op-ed that i will be sending to several newspapers here first-look for the first in a three part series by this weekend.

And the Thunder rolls...

Things here in Iraq remain the same. today was my day off, and i caught up on a lot of sleep that i had been missing. the daily grind has set in and i am a little bored. part of me wishes that i was out on covoy, but then i remembered what happened on convoy. its a rough lifestyle. a soldier was killed in mosul the other day by sniper fire. he was out on convoy and they had stopped for some reason. i really dont understand the people of iraq some times. if they would stop fighting for one year, we would leave this country and they could have all the civil war they wanted.
i got some pictures of noah. they are in my "little green book." which is government worker code for the cheapest notebooks the government can find and issue out to the soldiers. i have it with me all the time and i have decided that he is the cutest thing on the face of the planet right now. L & B thank you for the package mailed on 28 sep. please thank nancy for the cookies. they were a big hit among the joes. i also liked the breathe right strips (so did my roommate) i was able to sleep in peace (so was he).
things continue to get more and more rediculous as my leadership tries their hardest to remain "off the radar". our shift is the only one that is not screwing up, and we are the only shift that has not had a negligent discharge of a weapon yet...and the stupid rules are the result. if i werent trying to get promoted before r&r i would just have the negligent discharge to get it over with. anyways, i continue to drive on and appreciate the comments on previous posts-grandfather, you can comment all you want you are hilarious...

I will write more later

from qwest

Monday, October 09, 2006

the moral majority

well, it is a little tougher to be doing shift work and still keep up with the blogging, but i think i have it figured out. today is my day off and i am sitting here typing this at 0430, because that is appearently when my body wakes up. oh well. things in iraq are just wonderful, it seems to me that they are a little bit more peaceful here than they are in the US-election years can be rough, but i am sure that we will pull through. I just pray that the GOP doesnt loose the majority because of this scandal...any thoughts?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

In the words of the Phantom of the Opera...

"Very well, then let it be war upon you both..."
I must say that nothern Iraq has posed much more dangerous than i had first assumed. today my tower came under attack from a sizeable insurgent group. The Sheep were able to mass at the one hundred meter firing line, and push the boundries distracting me and my tower partner. at the same time we were assaulted from the air by a large force of common house flies. in the ensuing battle, there were a number of casualties, but, thankfully, none of those were of the Coalition forces. My partner and I were, collectively, able to send 403 flies to meet their maker in about a six and a half hour battle. at the end we were both worn out...
Which brings up my second point. there are always these crazy aerobics workout schemes centered in obscure but common activities. Yoga, Pilates, Spinning. they are all hugely popular among the rich and famous, and the common folk alike. So my partner and I have decided to cash in on the fitness craze. we have developed a workplace workout program that benefits the entire office. it involves very little equipment that can all be purcheased at the local dollar store. it is pilates swatting. it involves a full body workout doing nothing but swatting flies. it was a huge success in tower alpha. i think it will be a success.
anyways that is all i have time for now.

from Quyarrah iraq

Monday, September 25, 2006

The mysterious anonymous titles

Well, i am encouraged to see that readership of my blog is on the rise, and many people from all walks of life are reading and leaving comments.

Grandfather-i too was a little testy by the end of the day, and was forced to take a nap right after work or would spend the rest of the afternoon snapping and griping. it was an educational experience on my part, and I have a new found respect for the manual laborers on our camp that do not eat during the day(although there is the occasional coke here as well). As for the non-existent posts that you referred to, my mother pens under a psuedo name that we assigned her in our younger years (MO).

Things here in northern iraq were interesting today. [Removed for OPSEC]
I took a nap after work. I was really tired, and the sun was not down yet, so I was unable to eat. I was rudly awakened by a furious pounding on my door...appearently Chow is serious business.

things are getting more normal, but the same transition nightmares of my last rotation in iraq are being visited this time around too. Lesson learned...we arent really learning much. Ill work on that.

lost a game of chess last night. the MWR (morale, welfare, and recreation) tent has a Giant chess board. I had my opponent on the run, and messed up-oh well...there will be a rematch.

all for now-
from Q-west (which ironically reminds me of denver and Qwest communications...dont know why i just thought of that, but i think its cool!)


Sunday, September 24, 2006

tick, tock...

tired today-didnt sleep well last night, well, couldnt fall asleep. work was long today. I have decided to participate in the ramadan fast tomorrow, just to see what it is like to work a full day with nothing crossing my lips from sunrise to sunset. it should be interesting. that means no caffeine gum-its gonna be rough.
100mg of zoom-zoom per piece. I am a little attached to it at the moment. I found it in Kuwait, and i have been chewing it ever since. of course, any gum that is accompanied by a sergeon generals warning is ok, right? besides, the Walter Reed Army Medical Research Center (WRAMRC) recommends it-and the army always has my best medical interests at heart anyway......i think (lets just forget about the whole anthrax vaccine lawsuit...).
happy surfing
From Q-west

Saturday, September 23, 2006

another day, another dollar twenty five...

things are getting busy here as the transfer of authority nears. we are taking over all of the tasks associated with our job here and things are picking up. I know that i told tom i would post a picture of my room on the page, but i am not completely moved in yet (it will be done soon) and I will put it on the blog.
I love some of the comments on the blog-i have to try not to interrupt the others here in the computer lab, but sometimes laughter is contagious, right?
MO I was only kidding about the phone thing, i will have plenty of time to call you as soon as things settle down. i just thought you would get a kick out of the joke...
L & B (B especially) the POA is just for esentials, so be sure to take that Vacation to Tahiti ASAP!! ILY, Very funny :) i almost wet my pants i was laughing so hard-BTW, thanks for the probiotics-BM's are alot more pleasant.

I miss you all Very Much! Grandfather-if you need some telephone tech support, call your daughter, she is a comment posting expert!!


Thursday, September 21, 2006


I love being here in Iraq-appearently i was at Abu Garib Prison and made a debit card purchease of 44 dollars...Thank goodness i am able to do online banking otherwise i would have to swallow that loss. I will be investigating that one...

I had the day off today-slept till noon. that was nice.

no real excitement here. i have 3 camels that wander outside of my guard tower. and a couple flocks of sheep that have attempted to storm the camp perimeter. it is quite dangerous up here in the north.
[Removed for OPSEC]...chock one up for the Quartermaster Corps. Now I am beginning to understand why everyone in the army hates us.

more tomorrow, maybe ill have something interesting to read about.


PS mom, it helps to communicate with you if you answer your phone...i thought that is why you guys switched to cellular ;) ILY IMY SWAK

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Here we go Again...

...Well I am Back in Iraq for real-for quite some time i was actually expecting Aston Kutcher to hop out and say," youve been Punked," but no such luck.
The Flight into iraq was pleasant, we were aboard a C-17 cargo transport...comfortable, but cost effective (read-we were treated the same as boxes of ammunition). the living conditions here in Q-west are incredible though. I am living in a CHU (containerized housing unit) which is about 6 by 14 feet, and this time i only have one roommate! (last time i had 3) The Dining Facility is the Largest in Iraq, Serves what is claimed to be the best chow in country, and I find myself eagerly awaiting the next meal. the Unit that we are replacing and kind, generous, and is always nice when you are welcomed with open arms (maybe they are just excited to be going home, anyway false kindness is better than no kindness ;)...we will adapt and overcome. we arrived in country to find that Haliburton (read Kellogg, Brown and Root) have taken over our original mission and made us we are now responsible for the force protection of the FOB (forward operating base). I am in a Guard tower overlooking the ECP (entry control point). I have a Thermal Imager, a fifty caliber machine gun, and a private (i am most happy about the private) that I am responsible for managing on the eight hour day that i work.

things are busy, but i find that I will get a decent amount of sleep, and plenty of relaxation time. I will be able to catch a few rounds of golf, and maybe a few Salsa lessons...who knows? I will let you know how things pan out.

well, all for now-

Sunday, September 17, 2006

the boredom is the real threat

well, time continues to drag on----i had Taco Bell to day and the cleaveland Cavaliers cheerleaders were here...kuwait sux.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

so my colorado upbringing brought some excitement to my otherwise boring life here in Kuwait. today when i was at the gym i saw that they had a rock climbing wall and wanted to use it...only i didnt know that they were having a climbing competition. needless to say i took the silver medal in my age group 25-32. Thank you, thank you...please standby after the interview for autographs. i will post some pictures later...when i get them.
not much else is new-
we move north soon.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

more of the same

Kuwait is the worst part of the deployment. Had pizza for dinner...that is about all that has happened. whats new in your world???

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Long Awaited....

Andrew Haberer
148th QM CO
FOB Q-West
APO AE 09351

Life looks different when you are upsidedown...

today was another day of excellent army training. we went to the HEAT (HMMWV Egress Reaction Trainer) and did rehearsals and training for vehicle rollovers. I was actually inside a Humvee when it rolled over (remain calm it was in a controlled environment so that injuries were completely avoidable), and was able to feel what the critical angle felt like and how to react in an acutual rollover. Man-the army is really spending some worthwile money out here in the desert to make sure that we are as prepared to aviod dissaster as possible.

September 11, 2006
Let us never forget those fallen comrades who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in Defense of Freedom and in the name of liberty.

More than 3000 people died in the attacks on September 11, 2001.

We declared war on terrorism.

2,666 Patriots have given their lives for their country...

Let them never be forgotten.


Sunday, September 10, 2006

the joy and sorrow of the desert

so here i am in probably the worst place in the world, and to top it all off i am now sick...what is my luck???
things in Kuwait are more of the same. however, they are certainly more developed that the first time around...the firing ranges in Kuwait are better than some, correction most, of the ranges i have been to in america...
I ran into my roommate from Germany last night at a concert here on Camp Buering. he is doing well and has a new son. his daughter is more grown up and speaking, and he was excited to hear that i was an uncle now.
things are boring and tedious as our departure for Iraq is waiting in the wings...i will let you know more later.

Mom and dad-I love you and miss you


p.s.-I was commended on my knowledge of convoy operations and put in for an award for my willingness to teach and patience even in the heat!! besides that I am the best damn HMMWV driver there is!!!!! (HMMWV reads Humvee!)

Sunday, September 03, 2006

so can i tell you how much i have missed the hot kuwait sun??? it almost feels like i am on another planet.
my how kuwait has changed since i was here last. on the bus ride to the nothern camps, i was one of the security members for the ride so I sat up front and was awake the whole ride. there are a lot of new housing developments in the suburbs and some new infrastructure projects underway. the water towers that were being built when i was out here last are now complete and surrounded by new homes. Kuwait city is a lot cleaner and the camps up north are alot more developed. most of the camps, including the one that i processed into theater from, have been closed, but there are still some open. we are in the midst of training and preparation for our movement north and are quite busy.
Ill post some more later. my time has run out.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Greetings from the sandbox

well i have officially arrived in the sandbox-
Kuwait is as dusty and sand soaked as ever, but the fun continues. we will be here for the next couple of weeks-although we know exact dates and times of our departure-loose lips sink ships...i am already excited to come home, and that wont be for a while....
i will post more later, but I have some sleep to catch up on-much love

Monday, August 07, 2006

Are you in good enough shape???

well im back on the road again after a poor first attempt. today things are running a lot smoother, I am checked in for my flight, and i have enough time to post on my blog. I stayed the night in Chicago, and that gave me an opportunity to see Leah and Brian's house all moved in and finished. the paint job that my parents helped the young's complete looked fabulous, and the Diningroom Table looked fabulous against the backdrop of the color blocking. Job well done for the Haberer design team!!
Things are going well on the Vaca-I am really excited to finally make it to colorado. I am excited to see my parents and have one last hurrah before deploying to Iraq for OIF V!!! we are halfway to the same amount of time spent in Kosovo-so all you bush haters out there cool your jets-we are still deployed to countries that Clinton sent us to.
Chicago O'hare is truly an impressive airport, there are thousands of people in this airport, but they could use a few more moving walkways. It seems to me that every plane change involves a dead sprint to the other side of the airport. Come on mayor Richard M. Daley!!!!

Ill post more later,
reporting from Chicago-

Sunday, August 06, 2006

in a world of JIT management, why are the airlines so dificult???

Just in time management is the way of the future, with product arriving just as it is needed for manufacturing, but I guess there are still areas of the world that dont grasp the concept. The Army, for one, is hell bent on keeping stocks of bleach and bulletts, for good reason. The Airline industry, on the otherhand, has found the opposite of JIT to be a cost saving venture-have any of you been just in time for a flight, just to find out that your booked seat has been given away? well, I have certainly learned my lesson...1 hour prior to all domestic flights from now on-thank goodness there are still more flights for today...TBC

reporting from terminal b, richmond international airport-


life on the road...

life on the road really stinks...litterally. am i the only one who showers before a plane flight??? I am on my way home and sit here dumbfounded at technology-surfing the web without wires....does it get any better??? it amazes me how far technology has come since i was in highschool...I thought it was amazing that i could even have the web in my room, now i can have it i the only one who thinks this is cool?

anyway-reporting from richmond, VA


Sunday, July 30, 2006

life of the party-

who knows where that phase was developed...i'm serious...cause I can speak from experience, that after the party there is certainly no life left.

there's always a calm before the storm. we are just under a month out from our deployment to Iraq, and things are calm and quiet here in VA. I sometimes find myself beginning to get a little nervous. I know what is ahead for me in the next year, and I know that it is going to be difficult to cope with. I know that I will be alright.


Saturday, July 29, 2006

A bad day golfing...

sometimes i find that a bad day golfing beats a good day working, oh who am i kidding i would take a bad day golfing anyday. but somebody has to work to keep social security alive. so i am doing my part. plans for Iraq continue to hit peak. we are just about to get released for a block leave period at which point we will be on lockdown until our departure.

Leah and Brian are thouroughly excited for the arrival of Noah-which could be any time now. (but I dont think that they are nearly as excited as I am!!!)

Patricia the workaholic(just like her father :) ) is on a reduced work schedule and is very much pregnant, but no jello and onion cravings yet-but im still holding out....

Mom and Dad-I love you and cannot wait to see you-

Monday, July 24, 2006

Do you ever have one of those days....

Well-there's good news and bad news, and based on the typical American response to the question, "which do you want first," I am going to give you the good news first-

I just saved a ton of money by switching to Geico!!!!

now for the bad news...

I am one of the soldiers who has been selected to join the 148th Quartermaster Company in their deployment downrange. The company was short about sixty soldiers to meet the requirements of their mission in Iraq, and were able to fill the ranks with soldiers from the 240th Quartermaster Battalion as well as elements of the 530th Combat Service Support Battalion that is in the process of building up here on Ft Lee.
so later this summer I will be headed to Iraq for my second tour there, and my third deployment of my career. We will be headed in the the Kurdish controlled northern part of the country. It will be a year long deployment, and at the conclusion of the tour I will be able to ride my time in the army without another deployment to Iraq (no guarantee on any other countries, but we have our fingers crossed ;) and hope for the best).
We are unsure of the exact mission that we will be responsible for, but, considering that Haliburton does my job of bulk petroleum distribution, we will most likely handle a convoy security mission or Forward Operation Base security. I am trained and prepared to learn from the soldiers that we replace, because they are the subject matter expert on the Battle for Iraq (one of the many battles in the war on terror. Just thought I would keep that in conversation...).

On a lighter note, I took an IQ test recently and scored a 133---so if anyone is headed to Who Wants to be a Millionaire, I will make myself available for your call a friend lifeline...

all for now,
much packing to do-


Sunday, July 23, 2006

Saturday, July 15, 2006

raise your hand if you're Sure!!

Hello to all-
Long time no update. Here is all of the news from my end…things in the army continue to slowly push me towards insanity…but I continue to force myself to do the right thing. It is kind of like when I was a kid, and mom would make brussel sprouts, I would force myself to eat-wait, I just hid them under the cushions until dinner was over, now I remember. At any rate, things are going well. I received significant recognition from my battalion commander for my work, and engineering skills during the field exercise last month. I continue wait for the glorious day when this is all over.

Things are well on the home front. Leah and Patricia are getting their homes prepared for the arrival of their sons, Noah and Kyle. All is very exciting on the home front as we prepare for a Christmas holiday together for the first time in a long while.

Things on the work front are uneasy. The units deploying to Iraq are in training and their mission continues to be uncertain, and there is still a 50-70 percent chance that I could get snatched up into one of the units that deploys later this year. I am praying that I do not get sent, but I will do my duty if I am called.

All for now.
Ill keep you posted with more news later.


Friday, June 02, 2006

the windy city???

why is it that whenever you go to a place that is everything youve ever heard about it is always the opposite???
Seattle---no rain, 5 days....whats with that??
Chicago---no wind?? thought this was the windy city?
Berlin---hangover??? well, that one was entirely my fault, I guess expectations dont always make for a liveable reality.....

Chicago was great, I was able to get some great quality time with my sister...and help her move in the process, but hanging out was more fun than anything else---well, almost anything. I did get a picture of Noah, and I fell in love :)

I was able to go to Wrigley Field and watch a Cubs game, who, by the way, have a worse curse than the Boston Red Sox....---no room for debate---

Brian and Leah's new house is Fabulous...
it is three stories in a great neighborhood. The live within 3 minutes walk of a beautiful lake, which will be a lot of fun for little Noah when he is old enough to swim, and during the three week summer;)
It was a lot of fun to help my parents, leah, and brian work through the rigors of moving in to a new home. lots of paint and crossed fingers. nervous glances were all eased away with time and the colors look fabulous and will make for a nice soothing atmosphere in the house. it should be a really nice place when all is said and done...

well all for now,

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

well, another opportunity has arisen for me to add another post the the page, so here it goes...
things here in VA are more of the same-hot, humid, and muggy...typical southern weather.
I Just recently returned from Chicago, it was a wonderful trip. I helped Leah and Brian move into their new house. it was a lot of fun, and hard work---my calves are still sore-there were 3 flights of stairs, and most of the stuff went to the 2nd and 3rd floor...but it was still worth it.

I am on duty tonight, so I will be up rather late-from 1600-0900. a long shift, but followed by a day off-so its worth it.

well, I have rounds to make, so I will update more later-

I wont be reachable for a while-we have a field excersize coming up, so I wont have access to email-or any internet for that matter. :(


Monday, April 24, 2006

technology-ain't it great

it just amazes me sometimes the abilities that we have in this day and age-GPS, biofuels, nuclear power, wireless internet...and that some people just dont appreciate these assets. I was watching CNN today, I had no choice-dont think that I have crossed over the bounds of the smart vs the liberals--it was all that they were showing at the dental clinic, and was amazed by the efforts some countries are going to eliminate an oil dependancy and that we americans are finding more ways that we can be dependant. bolivia will be completely free of oil in 7 years...wonder why our country isnt making the same leaps and bounds??
I recieved a comment from one of my friends that I met in Berlin the other day and in response to your question-yes I still do check your blog blake, and keep up the good fight-the liberals are running scared!!

For those who have not heard, there are some more travel plans for this summer-at government expense and request-I will either be headed for a training exersize in Honduras, practicing with the OPDS (Offshore petroleum discharge system) and the IPDS (inland petroleum distribution system)-or behind door number two, I will be headed back to the desert to perform two six month convoy security operations-thankfully there will be a 2 month break between the two. I will have more details in the coming months-

A couple of requests of my readers-
-If you come across any good books that you feel are worth reading, please forward the titles to me so that I can enjoy them as well-I just finished two great books, and would like to continue with that trend-for those interested they were To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane...both are well worth the time invested.
-second, continue to pray that God will continue to protect me from those that wish me harm, his blessings continue to unfold in my life and I would like to continue to see his plan for me unfold...

that is all the time that I have for now-look for more posts later this week
Andrew Haberer for President 2016


Friday, April 21, 2006

well, this weekend I will enjoy some r&r and relax on my days off monday and tuesday-then I will go to work on wednesday and be off on thursday and friday and monday of next week-then Tuesday it is back to work as usual and I assure you from what is on the calendar already you all will be getting your tax dollars worth out of me....:)
I have been anything but busy since we arrived back from pakistan and things are adjusting back to normal. it is funny how two months away from this country can really mess everything up-but not to worry, everything is back in order-all ducks in respective rows.
Gas stations here in VA are running out of everything but premium-the fuel companies say that it is due to the fact that it is time for a seasonal swap to cleaner-more expensive-fuels...those petroleum companies are just trying to get a few more dollars...makes you wonder if the oil crisis of the 70's is back???
well that is all for now-feel free to comment on the entries, would love to hear from you-leave an email address and I will write you back

Thursday, April 20, 2006

And the witchdoctor says....

for those of you who dont know I have been going to a psychologist for long term issues resulting from Iraq, but the head-shrinker and I have been making some progress-it all breaks down to what my drill sergeant said in basic training-put yourself in a California state of mind....warm sandy beaches is the key to not going crazy!! who knew...
I ll post more later, stay tuned...

Monday, April 17, 2006

Memoirs of a soldier losing his mind...

Its funny how the decisions that we make have lasting effects that we cannot foresee at the time the choice was made.
There are many things that I have done in the army that I would not have ever dreamed would happen when I singed up tree years ago. I have traveled to or through over thirteen countries, I have seen death, I have helped preserve life, and all of these things have happened because of a small choice to work a job.
Today is the official three year mark for me. 1095 days-26280hours-1576800 minutes-94608000 seconds. Three years is a long time, however it is measured. It flashed by. I can hardly remember any one specific moment. Maybe I will break it down by country-
FT Jackson, SC
The very first day of basic training. April 17, 2003
“Your mother lied to you-You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You are a cookie from a cookie cutter. You are merely a number, you are nothing special. you no longer have a name, you are the last four digits of your social security number.” Drill sergeants have a way of making you feel loved and accepted.
FT Lee, VA
I have been performing well in AIT(Advanced Individual Training- for those of my readers who are in the national guard!)and there was a fight in the barracks-my drill sergeant had just finished cussing out the soldiers involved, and it was past bed checks-what was about to happen would either be a really good thing, or I would find myself in that one creek without a paddle. My best friend in the army-and battle buddy in training, and I had just returned from an off post pass, and purchased matching sunglasses-you know the kind that state troopers wear. Well a consensus had been reached that the two of us looked like maverick and goose off of Top Gun. Well, we couldn’t disappoint!! For those of you who have seen the movie, you will remember the part in the movie where they sing you’ve lost that loving feeling- the mood was right, and it was now or never. So a small band of we soldiers planned the attack and swarmed our drill sergeant, serenaded her with the song and disappeared into the halls to avoid the cannon blast that was sure to come, however, it never came…the drill sergeant called us back in and, although did her best to convince us not to quit our day jobs, said it made her day.
64th replacement company, Frankfurt Germany-
being the private that I was, I lost my packet of papers that would allow for a seamless transfer into Germany. I lost the orders that brought me over to the country and as a result I could not enter through customs. Not a good start to a two year tour.
Cyprus, turkey-or Greece(aren’t they still fighting over this island??)
this was a beautiful stop on the way to Iraq-although short, it was still nice to escape Germany and enjoy a little nice weather in February.
Camp New York, Kuwait
Never in my life have I felt like all I do is eat and sleep, but this was it. The dining facility was too small, and the First Infantry Division arrives in force-large enough that we took a DIVISION photo-they had to use a helicopter to get high enough to get the hwhole division in-butwe would wake up a 0430 to get in line for breakfast, eat around 0900, leave the chow hall and get right back in line for lunch at 0930, eat lunch at 1100leave the chow hall and get in line for dinner around 1130, eat dinner around 1800, and leave to get in line to make a phone call around 1830 then go to sleep at 2100. NOT FUN-Waking up and seeing herds of camels just crossing the desert-FUN
FOB Scunion (don’t ask, I don’t know…)
Never thought that having mortar rounds impact all around you would be so routine. Its like that scene in Apocalypse now, when they are surfing on the beach and fighting a war at the tree line…there is so much that I could write about Iraq and the effects of living in a combat zone that I will leave that for another entry-besides my mental health visit is later this week, I don’t want to be bored there!!
The sound of music, beautiful hills…no wonder the Germans always vacation here---the beer is just as good, they accept Euro, and it is beautiful.
Ireland, England-heck the united kingdom
I Love the Pubs-‘nough said.
Madrid, Spain
It’s a shame that London beat Madrid for the Olympics bid, because spain is the place to be in Europe-the Euro is worth something-the women are beautiful, and there is a nap after lunch everyday-is this heaven on earth?
I hope that you have enjoyed my little walk down memory lane- I may write some other fun moments down.
In other news I intend to go into business for myself doing home remodeling, I need to come up with a name-any suggestions.
Until nextime…

Monday, April 10, 2006

The jetlag is the worst of it all!!!

I tell you the worst part of international travel is the Jet Lag...five countries and six states in the period of two months-my passport is full!!
The good news is that i have officially returned to the United States-all military fanfare included. the jouney was complicated and included a loit of time in airports waiting on flights, or trying to get on an earlier one. the good news is that i will not be working until wednesday-and we use that term "work" very loosely.
I have so much to write down, so many stories to tell, that I will have to post in pieces, so stay tuned...

Thursday, February 23, 2006

This is the life

I am here on the other side of the world doing what every Fuel dog is trained to do...we refuel birds all day long---there are helocopters from UN, Red Cross, Pakistan Military, US Military-enough to keep us busy from sunrise to sunset. I am trilled to have an oportunity to make a difference in other people's lives-what a blessing.Andrew

The power of perception

Well ladies and gentlemen, it has been some time since my last post and for that i do appoligize...however-here we go...we have begun to take over operations here in pakistan, and we have been rather busy--it is really fun to take part in a mission that is changing the perception of the american soldier, giving hopes to many, and helping a country recover from a horrible disaster. I really would like to write more , but i do not have the time now-I will give you more of the story later---Andrew

Sunday, January 08, 2006

A little more info...just a little.

well-it has been a little difficult to post lately because i have not been online since i moved to VA. But here it is-a lot is going on with me lately. I am on the verge of a promotion to SGT..hopefully within the next couple of months. I am also going to be deploying to Southwest Asia once again, this time to a non-combat situation-more humanitarian relief. Things are going well with the family-my father's business is going to start production soon, and that is a relief. Finally, Grow Anywhere will be growing somewhere...
I am not sure if there will be any resources in our base camp to contact anyone, but for sure i will update anytime that I can...
I will post some more later-