Monday, December 31, 2007

Christmas and New years

holidays were rough for me this year, i was the only person in my office that did not go on vacation, so i had to pick up the slack from everyone being gone. my work day was extended from 8 to working nearly 12 hours every day...but i have gained the knowledge that i need to really do my job well.
i was able to fly home to CO for the christmas weekend. the holiday was fun and was a nice escape from the daily grind. it is kind of nice to have a 9-5 job. much less stressful. while i was home i got to see my nephew cody. he is getting so big and is walking all by himself. look away for 3 seconds and he is nowhere to be seen.
when i got back to virginia, my sister leah called and dropped in for a suprise health and welfare inspection. she was impressed that i was living clean, i just told her not to open the closet. (just kidding)
Work starts in full days on the 2nd and i am happier than a pig in s---. everyone will be back from vacation and the highway of my responsibility goes from a 12 lane superhighway to a two lane country road.
more later

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Hey are some photos of your first born so that you can enjoy them... i got jack a carhart jacket for his christmas present...ill put some video next time i get a chance.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

i cannot wait for QTB to be over...

i have been working some long hours, and really havent accomplished much. change this one day, change it back the next...could we all get on the same page?

Monday, December 03, 2007

busy day...

my credit card was stolen...not happy, but glad that USAA caught it. i certainly had not yet. my finances are frozen right now, but it should be cleared up by the end of the week-i hope. good thing i have two banks and enough money to get through the freeze.
in class most of the week learning the new training database for the army. boring. at least this will get me out of fall cleanup. classroom beats rake anyday. ily imy -ticket and itinerary is on hold, ill let you know.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Looks like somebody has a case of the mondays!!!

our battalion commander was more than gracious on wednesday of last week when he let us go home at noon, but he elevated himself even further when he said that first formation on monday was not until 1200. i think that every monday should start at noon. it would make the work week so much more bearable.
busy week, i have group this afternoon, and, boy, do i have plenty to talk about. ill let you know how it went.
i almost cried yesterday because i went on a walk with jack and he would not poop. that is not normal.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

back in the saddle, however uncomfortable that may be...

we are most definately back from iraq, and have already begun to prepare for major changes at Ft Lee. our unit was annexed by 101 airborne, and by the first of the year, we will have all the associated flair of the 101-including the screaming eagles patch, and the rapid deployment schedule.
since my return, i have taken up a desk job and started pushing papers. i like the new job, and i have found that the work is right up my alley. i work in training, and i am now responsible for the training management of the entire company. i get to work all day long, with very little down time, and that suits me just fine.
Jack moved to the south with me for the winter. it is very theraputic for me to have a dog right now. he is always willing to listen to my problems, no matter what time of day, he doesn't force his opinions on me, and gives me all the attention i need. in return, all he asks for is that i walk him 2 times a day, and keep his food and water bowls full. its just the right amount of responsibility.
living off post has proved to be the best thing for me right now. it has given me time away from the army, and i think that is what i need. we have a nice little 3 bedroom house with a huge back yard, and really nice owners. it is an oasis that is only ten minutes away from work.
i have resumed full time therapy and attend group sessions with other soldiers diagnosed with PTSD. i, like denny crane, have no problem telling people that i am crazy, and my straight forward attitude towards my mental illness has already helped 3 people who would not have gone to get help. so in a way, i am crazy to help crazy people get help.
all for now.
more to come.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Oh, the Beauty....

I have returned to terra americana...or something like that. I arrived back into the continental US monday morning, and, boy, does it feel good to be back...things have been non-stop action, and i have been slowly getting everything back online for myself.
Every morning i have been awakened to the same blaring alarm clock, but for some reason it sounds so much better now that it is in America. I really forgot how fast internet is here in America, and for some reason it still amazes me that i dont have to wait for thirty minutes to have a page load...
I am still getting back in touch with everyone, but i have the same phone number that i had before i left, leave a comment if you need the phone number.
all for now

Friday, September 14, 2007

Free at last....

Today i would like to write a tribute to my Father....
The more time that i spend in this crazy world, the more i realize what a great father i really have. He has always been there for me, and he has always listened to my problems-no matter how trivial they actually are-and he has always worked very hard to provide a better life for me. Sometimes it amazes me to see how many people have absent fathers, or fathers that really don't care for them the way that my father does. He has been an excellent example for me to follow. He is a good Christian man, and he is one that is more of a man than anyone that i have ever met. My greatest hope is that when i grow up, that i am just like my father.
Happy Birthday Dad...

I forgot-over the last year-how much i really hate the sand in Kuwait, but i won't have to suffer through it very long.
I love you all and miss you soooooo much.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

I need a let me know you're here.

I need a sign, to let me know you're here.
All of these lines are being crossed over the atmosphere.
I need to know that things are gonna look up...
'cause i feel us drowning in a sea spilled from a cup.
And there is no place safe, and no safe place to put my head.
when you can feel the world shake from the things i've said,
and im calling on angels. i wont give up if you dont give up.
I need a sign to let me know you're here.
'cause my tv set just keeps it all from being clear.
I want a reason for the way things have to be,
i need a hand to help build up some kind of hope inside of me.
and im calling on angels,
when children have to play inside so they dont disappear,
while crowded aisles see marrige lies, 'cause we dont talk for years,
and football teams are kissing queens and loosing sight of having dreams,
in a world where what we want is only what we want until its ours
and im calling on angels. i wont give up if you dont give up.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Questions make me tired...

I know that i need to go on vacation, because my job is to answer questions, but i get annoyed at people when they ask me questions. is it bad to have nightmares about your job when there is nothing that you do at work that should make you have nightmares. take for example-i had a dream the other night, that i needed to accomplish a task at work, and no matter what i did, i could not get it done. everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. i felt overpressured, and really stressed out-then i woke up and realized i was in my bed. i need a vacation.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

I hate schedules.....

I dont know quite why anyone makes schedules. everything should be run by a shoot from the hip kinda thing...i mean, the schedule doesnt really mean anything. its all just a waste of time, effort, and natural resources. I think i get a new schedule everyday, but the schedule is made out for a week, sometimes two, and i have never seen the end of one schedule. the new one comes out the next day and leaves me sitting there wondering why it was changed. its all kinda pointless.
anyway, things out here are pretty much the same. i have been sweating it out on the day shift again, and things couldnt be hotter. I think that the mornings are staying cool, but the afternoons are so friggin hot that i have to keep moving from shadow to shadow to avoid melting. Death by powerpoint is getting in to full swing, and i dont know what Bill Gates was thinking when he gifted the world with that cursed piece of software. I dont think that the Army is capable of doing anything, anymore, without having a powerpoint presentation to explain how to do it. I have seen powerpoints on how to flush a toilet, how to use a skillcraft pen, how to get a Humvee airborne, and how to punish soldiers who get Humvees airborne. Need to get something from supply? Here, watch this powerpoint. aaaaggghhhh! I am losing my mind slowly but surely. i need to get out of the army before they sucessfully reprogram me.

I am very much looking forward to enjoying fall in the southern united states. it will be the first time that i will have been able to enjoy watching the leaves change in VA, i think that i will also go up and see the district, besides i need a passport anyway-might as well kill two birds with one stone. all for now

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

plenty of time to sleep when you're dead...

I love this time of year...especially being on the graveyard right now...who needs sleep? appearently not me. i have surveys to fill out about my health during the deployment, room inspections to take part in, and a whole smorgisbord of usless activities to participate in with all the 9-5 crowd-not like i just finished a shift or anything...I LOVE MY JOB!!!!!!
cant wait to see American soil again....

Monday, August 20, 2007

living the dream...

i just started working the graveyard shift, and i never fully appreciated the toil that it puts on the human body. i think that i am more tired right now than i have been in quite some time. unfortunately, the sun is up and my body is awake, so here i am writing to you.
sorry it has been so long since i posted. things have been a little busy here at work, and we have had a few bad days. it amazes me that despite the emotional drain of a bad day at work, i am still able to wake up and do it all again. i try to get excited about the little things more often. like today for example, we are already planning-16 hours before shift begins-to get really excited about reviewing the 50 cal clearing procedures. like stupid excited. its the little things that really make the day go by.
just had breakfast at the dining facility for the first time in almost 3 months. the rest of the time i have a to-go plate delivered to my workplace...ah the luxury. of course, nothing in the plate is really edible by the time that the plate arrives, because it took an hour to drive the food from the DFAC (dining facility) to the ECP. thank you to whatever Colonel decided to reduce the speed limit even lower. 25 mph is a little rediculous, but 10mph is an all new low.
moving day is approaching and i find myself learning to live a little more like LJ. If i am not going to use it in the next 3 months, throw it away. however, there was just some stuff that i could not live without. 160 dollars in postage to mail it all back.
nough for now

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Golden Slumbers...

sometimes i wish that i was peter pan. i wish that i had never grown up to find that the world was such a mess. i really miss that one thing from my childhood, naivety. i really would rather not have ever seen the third world, but now the images of starving children are forever engrained in my mind. it shouldn't be that way.

once there was a way to get back homeward,
once there was a way to get back home...
sleep pretty darling, do not cry, and i will sing a lullaby.
golden slumbers fill your eye,
smile I'll wake you when you rise.
sleep pretty darling, do not cry, and i'll will sing a lullaby.
once there was a way to get back homeward.
once there was a way to get back home.
sleep pretty darling, do not cry, and i will sing a lullaby.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Don't tread on me...

As we celebrate as a nation, our independance, we are offered a moment to reflect on our past, our present, and the direction of our future. I think then, that it is appropriate to consider our past and the images that have formed our perception of national pride. I

think that although it was never officially adopted as a national flag, the Culpepper flag is demonstrative of the colonists attitude at the inception of our nation. a rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike is a very appropriate image to communicate the righteous anger of the colonist on their violated human rights. they had rights as Englishmen that were violated in such a way that the colonists challanged the greatest military, the largest empire, and the king himself in such a way that the world still has not recovered from the shock wave that it generated.

We hold these truths to be self-evident.

it is not surprising that an untrained Army mounted a campaign against their parent nation. a group of farmer colonists rose up against a monarchy that had oppressed them from 3000 miles away, but what is surprising is that they won.

That all men are created equal.

we have endured many struggles to establish freedom for all men, but have only recently been able to rise above the challenges presented by racial, ethnic, and religious bias.

That they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights.

it is by no product of american ingenuity, or economic prowess that we have the rights and freedoms provided by our constitution. these rights are part of a natural law written by our creator, and not subject to interpretation and limitation imposed by the law of man.

that, among these, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Our rights are not limited to those that are listed, but we have rights beyond what is covered. we have a right to enjoy life, exist with liberty, and pursue our happiness in whatever form that may take.

our rights cannot be abridged, cannot be denied, and must be defended. just like colonial america, we stand ready to pursue, engage, and destroy the enemies of freedom, justice, and equality wherever they may present themselves. crouched like a rattlesnake in the bushes, we are prepared to administer justice on this global platform.

Although, we as Americans come preprogrammed with the justice of our forming documents in the very material of our construction, i think that it is occationally necessary for us to remind ourselves of what it is we stand for, what it is that we believe, and what it is that we fight for...

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

I, Andrew John Haberer, do solemnly swear that i will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foriegn and domestic; that i will bear true faith and allegience to the same; and that i will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

Monday, July 02, 2007

I just got around to reading about the one campaign, and i think that it is a worthy objective and have attached my name to the list. i would like to see my legislators take action to end extreme global poverty and disease, and we have the ability, more so now than ever before. I would encourage you to log on to the website and see if it is something that you would like to see accomplished in your life time. the time is now. ACT.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

the love of first world ammenities...

I got up really early this morning. some friends stopped by and woke me up for breakfast. its been a long time since i was up this early. and it has been a long time since i was away from work to eat breakfast.
i am really tired, but thought that since i was up, i would put down a post. things here are as crazy as ever. the showers are back on, but who knows how long that will last...we take pleasure in the simple things in life out here, like running water.
thats all for now...ill put some more up later...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

the pain of technology gaps

i just want everyone to know that i have tried to log on to post several times in the past week, and this is the first time that i have logged in successfully. I am trying to post more often, but keep in mind that i live in a third world country and we are in the 120 degree range right now. I have been cutting out a lot of sleep lately to avoid moving around outside of my CHU during anytime that the sun is up. unfortunately i work during the day so that is putting a cramp in my style. the "state of the art" body armor is once again a large george foreman grill and i find that spending more than five minutes in indirect sunlight is getting unbearable. we still arent to the hottest days of the summer. water conservation has reached a peak, and the showers have been shut off for 3 days now. let me tell you about that. first of all, i work around people that smell like they havent showered since bible times, but, then, to have myself and co-workers join in on the whole chirade, its almost more than my worn phyche can handle.
i am wholly exhausted. this is my least favorite time of the deployment. it never changes, and never fails. i am so tired that it hurts. sometimes i try to sleep, but no matter how long i sleep i still wake up tired. i wonder to myself what we are doing here, sometimes its clear, other times it is shrouded in the haze that blankets this country. indisciminate options rise from the desert floor and then shimmer and fade like the heat baking this war to an unfavorable end. I wish that i could look into the future and see if the work we are putting in here will eventually pay off, or if it is just futile investment in an unstable and shaky future.
i love you all and hope that somehow i find the motivation to keep going in this heat. Dad, i still have a bunch of otter-pops, and those really help give me a momentary burst of motivation...make me feel like a kid again.


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

the harsh reality of war...

I thought that going to funerals was the hard part of war, but i had an experience this week that made me question this war. I was at a formation on the airfield to load caskets on a plane, and when the flag drapped caskets passed, i found myself wondering what we were doing here. it is always hard when it hits home. I was really depressed about the whole ordeal, but my friend lewis put it into perspective for me.
she told me about the first time that she had to load bodies for the trip home. she knew the soldiers who died, and was standing in the formation. she saw the bodies pass her and began to question the war. but then she looked left, and right. she saw strangers all around her. strangers that had become her family. people that live and die for each other. not politcians, preachers, or family. but for one another. Two heros started their trip home. I found a family in the process.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

how do you tell someone they dont know how to do their job?

another long week. trouble on the home front. I got an email from one of my friends back at ft lee. she rescued my promotion packet from the shedder pile, found my award from pakistan, and in three days completed a tasked that my personnel NCO could not complete in 8 months. frustration. i love you, miss you, and cannot wait to see you. maybe the lake will work out, no word yet. ill call you later.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Will the war in Iraq be successful?

Many people are now asking if the war in iraq is going to be a success, and if not when should we cut our losses and move on. I do not profess to know the answer to that question, nor the patience to continue answering the question. I will, therefore, let someone else answer for me.
we have an interpreter that works on our installation that left iraq about ten years ago. he has been living in detroit since then, and he has been working for the US army here in iraq for about 2 years. He came to work in this country, despite living comfortably in america, because he believes in the freedom of the Iraqi people. it is his desire, as is the desire of many toiling on a daily basis here in this country, to see this war be successful. even amidst the violence of late, he is convinced that it is working.
The american people have been betrayed by the press since the beginning of the war. The American and International press outlets are only concerned with ratings and have sacrificed the true story of iraq to the neilson families across america. The press never tells about the public works projects like the water project in Jedallah, that has put pure water in the tap for the first time in history of this tribe. the press never tells about the power project at the Haiditha dam, they never tell about the rail project that is bringing the iraq railroad back on line for the first time in half a century, and they surely never speak of the phenomenal success of the Oil Protection Institute in protecting the oil assets of this country.
For your own sake, and that of the citizens of this country, write your congressman and tell them that we need two more years to teach the people of this country how to life free, and whatever you do, do not watch the news, they are only lying to you.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I think i am tired...not like road kill, but tired.

i had a day off the other day and slept for almost 22hrs. it seems to me that the first six months is the easy part, but now the days are dragging. i am involved in a lot of projects to keep me busy, but this makes me more tired. i just cannot wait to be back in the states. i am tired of being out of the country. i like being an American, and everything that comes with it. i miss being home.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

the eyes are the window to the soul...

sometimes i look into the eyes of the local nationals that come into the FOB, and sometimes i feel as though I am looking into the windows of their souls. sometimes inside i see true horrors looking back at me, and other times i see dreams unfulfilled. a while ago i was providing medical treatment to an injured local. part of me was trying to stay detatched due to the severity of the wound, and the other part of me was curious about the person that i was treating. I was very impressed by the mechanical attention that the other Specialist, that was working with me, was paying to me.
This was not my first time treating a severe injury, and, as a result, i was calm and effective in my actions. the thing that amazes me about a soldier is that they will feed upon the strongest person in the situation. if there is someone in panic, they will panic. if someone is calm, cool, and collected, they will be the same.
the local was in pain, but that was not his fear. it was the first time that he had been shot at, and you could feel the fear in his voice. he was petrified. my iterpretor was thorough, a rock in a storm, a liason between two soldiers unable to communicate.
The one thing that i have learned from injuries i have recieved, is that seeing it makes it worse. just trying to protect the eyes makes treating the victim that much easier.

I see pain in my interpretors eyes. not the kind of pain that results from an injury, but more from the pain caused by fear of the unknown. sometimes he confides his fears in me, and i try my best to reassure him that we will not abandon this experiment. I dont know much, but i know that this will work. we just need time. time to foster the growth of a nation that will be a shining example to the arab world, and one that will not be a puppet of the american government but will be a government of the people, for the people, and by the people.

there is little trust in this part of the world. years of tyranny have tainted the people. America was there once, and we have moved on to become the beacon of freedom. I just hope that the fears of the american people will not prevent us from completing the good that we have started here in this little corner of the world.

pray for peace, pray for victory, pray for wisdom in the leadership of this country and our own.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Death to the IPOD!

I have recently joined the revolution to abandon the Ipod's domination of the MP3 player market. I am now the proud owner of a Zune. and i love it. many of the features are a lot of fun and convenient.
Another day goes by and here i am sitting on the internet writing to home, wondering who reads this, and wondering why i write...
I am sick of this country, i am sick of this war, and most of all i am sick of the US press covering it. the lies told in the press amaze me. where is the acountability? what happened to the jounalists telling the story, and when did all news become op-ed?
things continue as normal here. the workers come, the workers work, the workers leave. and i am still here

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Daily grind...

Bob-I just want to give you a special shout out to thank you for the Starbucks mug and the starbucks coffee. the kenya blend may just be my new favorite. I have thoroughly delved into the depths of the coffee bag and do not have much remaining, but it was well worth the binge into the "good" side of coffee verses the "army" side of coffee. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. (P.S. I think you have made me a target amongst my peers, they all eyeball the coffee mug with great interest....look but dont touch-thats my philosophy.)
MO I am staying put for the time being, there are no interesting missions for me to take, so i have begun to occupy my time by remodeling the office. I have started painting the walls and ordering new furniture to be made by the locals working on the FOB. Things are starting to look a little more "High Class" than they were before, and i am no longer embarassed to entertain the brass as they often come and check on our operations.
I, along with my co-workers, continue to refine the systems that we have in place to make them more efficient and effective and things are running smoother than ever before. I miss you and i pray for you everyday. Write me an email and let me know how everything went in LA.

I love and miss you all-
Patricia thank you for the pictures of Cody-
Leah thank you for the pictures of Noah and the package-i dominated the nutter butters with great vengance and furious anger-
MO the flag is in the mail-please let chris know that Nichole's class can expect their's soon as well-better yet keep it a secret.
Nicole, i have one on the way to your class as keep your eyes peeled for it.

From Iraq with love-

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

My Grandfather passed away earlier this week, please pray that God would be there for the comfort needs of our family.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on that sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas

Saturday, February 24, 2007

yet another day ticks by...

I dont know how much longer i can stand being on this one day cycle. everyday is monday, groundhogs day...I am just looking for a little adventure to fall into my lap and maybe provide a little excitement.
Things here are pretty much the same. miss you all

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The IQ test...

You know what i learned about the IQ test...The us military started testing iq for entrance exams during WWII. I took another iq test to check the results on the last one i did earlier this year, and i found that the results were the exact same. I have a 135 IQ confirmed by two different mensa approved tests. I thought that it was cool, and thought that i would share it with all of you.
Kinda busy round here, dont be suprised if i dont post for a while.

Friday, February 16, 2007

When i find myself in Times of Trouble.

Five miles outside of vegas when we broke down,
threw my keys inside the window and we never looked back.
Got all drunk and sloppy on a Greyhound bus,
we passed out all them loosers they were laughing at us.
I will never let them break your heart.
No i will never let them break me.
we got lost in phoenix seemed like such a long time,
seven months of living sweaty on those thin white lines.
did some time for selling acid to the wrong guy.
life just keeps on getting smaller and we never as why,
why there is no perfect place yes i know this is true,
im just learning how to smile and thats not easy to do.
i know there will come a day when we can leave and just go running away
we was broke outside of LA when the storms came.
i was working in New Jersey had to run in the rain,
we was happy talking dirty at that phone sex place.
life just keeps on getting better for us everyday.
you say there is no perfect place,
i say i know this is true.
we're just learning how to smile, and thats not easy to do
we both live for the day when we can run away
oh baby we can run away.
we can leave it all behind like we do everytime.
we both live for the day when we can run away.
no i will never let them break your heart.
no i will never let it break me.
five miles outside of vegas five years down the line.
we got married in the desert in the sunshine.
i can handle all the hell it happens everyday,
when you smile and touch my face
you make it all just go away.
yes i know there is no bigger pond,
i know theres never air.
we are just learning how to fall and climb back up again.
i know there's nothing perfect, i know there's nothing to loose
we are just learning how to live together me and you.
you know i live for the day when we you say baby lets just run away.
yes we can leave this place and run away.

its been a tough couple of weeks. Sometimes i feel myself being antisocial and finding solace in my ipod. its amazing to me how much of an impact music is in the life of humans. Music is affected by the social atmosphere, and the social atmosphere is affected by music. a symbiotic relationship that is so important. I know that my posts have seemed a little dark lately, but i have been hurting emotionally lately. I m just learning how to fall and climb back up again. It is difficult to loose a friend. its strange how it impacts you in so many different ways.
somtimes i sit back and i really wonder "what are we doing here?"
It always makes me think of a story from my first tour in iraq. We had been working a tough week in August. The Brigade commander had driven up to the Balad bridge for some reason, and he decided that the Hesco Bastions that were emplaced for force protection purposes were not pretty enough and wanted them replaced with concrete barriers. This meant that Support Platoon would have the wonderful task of doing the actual work. 18 hour days in 140 degree weather is not pretty. on the third day of barrier emplacement, we had been out for 14 hours in full battle rattle, sweating our asses off, when i lost it. I couldnt do it any more. I sat down on a jersey barrier to take a little break and drink some hot water (i had no other options).
There is something universal about the spirit of a child. they will do anything to make a few dollars, and usually this means a lemonade stand. At the Balad Bridge there was a small "haji" mart, a lemonade stand of sorts. The little kids at the bridge would sell dvds, sodas, and other small trinkets to passing convoys all day long. for the whole week that we were working at the bridge, these kids were trying to sell stuff to us all day. Well, this particular day i was fed up. the heat had gotten to me, the work had gotten to me, and I was just overwhelmed.
I sat down on the barrier and was taking a break. one of the kids just sat down next to me, and I expected to have him ask me for money or try to sell me some piece of crap made in china. I was about to tell him to buzz off, when he said, "thank you." I was stunned into silence. Thank god i was unable to speak, because it gave this young man a chance to continue speaking. "Thank you for coming here and removing Sadaam Hussein. My whole family loves America. My village loves Americans. Sadaam Hussein was a Bad man. Now that he is gone my family has hope for a better life." This hit me like a train wreck. Here i was just about to tell this kid to beat it, and He was an angel that just communicated a message to me from God. Stay the course. Finish what you have started. When I was ready to quit, when i had lost all hope, when I was down in the dumps, this kid reached out and communicated a message of hope for me. Every time i think about that story, it gives me the energy to finish what i have started. That day at the bridge every sacrifice that i, and my comrades in arms, had made was worth the blood, sweat, toil, and tears. We made a difference in that one child's life.

As The debate over this war continues, Just keep in mind that we made a difference. Regardless of what is being said on the television, in the halls of congress, and in the fierce protests against this war-Know that we made a difference in one child's life, and we gave his entire family the hope for a brighter future.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The wonderful beauty of balance.

I think that its kind of funny that we live in a world today where there is a pill for everything. Sad? Here have some happy pills! Angry? theres a pill for that, too! and need i mention Bob Dole???
We have stopped asking questions and just started throwing chemicals at the problem hoping to find an answer. When to we hit the point where there will not be a solution to the ever growing problem in america. we do not take time out of our incredibly busy lives to take interest in another human being. the nuclear family melted down somewhere in the sixties, and since then divorce is more common than marriage, depression is at an all time high, interest in other people is in the tank, and we wonder what is wrong with america.
When was the last time you did something for your neighbor? Who was the last person you gave a helping hand to? How can you better your own community?
these are the questions we need to ask ourselves, but they are not the ones we are asking. the more common questions involve a nice tall fence between us and our neighbor, the war on terror, and whether or not you have liquids in your carryons. What happened to america?
When will we get the picture, and will it be too late?

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The little engine that could...

sometimes a children's story is all that you really need to find direction in your adult life. No matter what was happening around that little engine, he just kept trucking on down the tracks. Sometimes you just have to picture the finishline, no matter how far away it is, and set your focus on the pomp and circumstance that surrounds the finish and let that be the driving force.
SMSGT Duncan told me that i would never amount to anything-whether he said that with sincerity, or said it to be the catylist for change, it challenged me. Tell me i can't do something and i will find every possible way to get that something done.
Today i recieved a coin from a full bird COL. He said that initiative, dedication, and performance were attributes that he looks for in every soldier. If the army was full of soldiers like me the world would be a better place. The little engine that could.
To the naysayers in my midst, I say Can and Will!

NMMI look at me now!

though sad...I am still trucking on down the tracks...

Thursday, February 08, 2007

When good news doesnt arrive...

have you ever had one of those weeks where it seems like the good news will never come? that has been my week...we had a memorial service at the beginning of the week, and i was extremely difficult to try and do such for someone at such a young age. The good die young? all i know is I do not want to attend another funeral in my life. i hurts too much. ive been very quiet lately. nothing to say really. I have lost interest in a lot of activities. I started taking my medication again and started journaling. writing down the stuff that i cant put here. the stuff that scares even me. i miss being home.
sometimes i wish that i never joined the army. it would have saved me a lot of heartache. now i find myself in a position where i would rather volunteer to put myself in those gruesome situations to protect someone else from losing their innosence. I am already messed up, why should someone else suffer, when i already do.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

You are now entering the Tail Spin Zone!!

we are currently restructuring in my office, and as a result, i am working fewer hours. what a deal. usually the boss is always looking for more ways to get a few more hours out of you, but in this case, the boss is trying to send me home early-Nice!!
I have heard the latest report from my mother-my nephews are doing great, cody is gaining weight and looking downright pudgy. Noah is exploring more and more-leah please send more pictures...
things are busy and uncertain here in iraq-we are all trying to complete our mission-all we need now is the cooperation of a congress seeking to prove itself. politics are a part of daily life out here, and yet they seem so distant. Washington has never seemed so far away.
Anyway-i have to go get ready to go to work and fight the good fight.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I'm an Infantryman trapped in a Fueler's body...

Sorry its been so long, i have been having some difficulty accessing this site. its strange to me sometimes when i sit back and realize that i am still in the third world.

a lot of stress lately. i am finally back to normal hours. i dont think that i should have taken R&R so early in the rotation. now i have nothing to look forward to. watched a few movies today. i was really irritated by a movie about iraq. sometimes its the small details that really get to me. like how the soldiers were wearing their uniforms, the names of cities mispronounced, the way that they talked about war.

I dont think ill ever be able to forget the first time that i saw a dead body, or the first time that i smelled burning flesh, or the first time that i heard incoming fire, but i do know that i dont want someone to pretend that they know the emotions that are attached to such events. I always used to watch war movies and think that it was cool. Sometimes i wish that i could go back to january 2003 and talk myself out of joining the army, and then other times i think that i should reenlist-sometimes it seems like there is no other job out there that i want to do.

theres been a knot in my stomach for about 2 weeks now. this is how i always felt before something bad happened, but i know that my senses arent as keen as they were the last time i was out here. i need to get back out on the road. that is where i belong, not trapped here on the FOB turning into a pog and looking and sounding more like a fobbit as the days pass.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

sometimes the weekend never comes.

so, have you ever had co-workers complain so much that your boss took away your weekends? just let me tell you how horrible it is to have that happen. I am now working about 80 hour weeks, so if my posts are a little sparce it is because i am exhausted.

the good news is that-well i dont really think that i have any good news.

i do have news, but not good new. speaking of news, i was watching Lou Dobbs on CNN-i know, but i have no other options-and it was so plainly obvious that CNN has gone to the far left, i dont know if they will ever be able to pull out of their dive into liberal bias. ever. He was blatantly criticizing President Bush, in many cases for things that he doesnt even control, and was trying to get the people that were on his show to change their opinions to mirror his-clearly goading them into his liberal cesspool. Unbelievable.

foxnews upsets me lately too. ok we get it. fair and balanced-do you have to tell us ever time you speak????

at least bill o'reily can still be depended on, but i never get to watch because i am at work.

ill keep you posted.


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The more things change the more they stay the same. Job stress is at an all time high-for no reason. lots of in-fighting, complaining, and lack of communication. it is really stressing me out, and starting to affect my sleep patterns. I am not sleeping through the night and usually wake up 2 or 3 times. this job is not that difficult, why do we need to find things to stress over?

otherwise things are well-still no mail...but the connex should arrive soon. I look forward to recieving my package MO.


Saturday, January 06, 2007

The School of Rock...

I think that rock is...predictable. I think that unlike any other form of communication, the ability of rock to react to stimulus and produce the desired result of "sticking it to the man" is unmatched in a world so unbelievably connected. When the "man" reaches a point where the world of rock can no longer tolerate his infringment on their daily life, they respond in suit with music designed to "bring it all down."
Take Green day for example. Self-proclaimed bush haters. Social and political liberals to the core. Individuals? or pre-programed robots of a liberal media?
Green Day was involved in the 924 gillman st punk project until the day they sold out to a major label-sold out or bought in? its a question many fans have asked since Dookie, and one that has renewed its intensity since the huge success of American Idiot. The question that i ask was when did they sell out to political parties and partisan politics? I think that I will eventually find my answer, but until that point i will continue to ponder-I hope you will join me on this adventure.
a small bit of lyrics from the title track of their album American Idiot-
Dont want to be an american idiot,
one nation controlled by the media.
information age of hysteria-
is calling out to idiot america.

controlled by the media? who's controlled by the media? I dont recall Green Day ever making a trip to iraq, but they are sure taking the time to engage in political mud slinging contests against the current administration based on information that they have not collected themselves-information they have gathered from the media. i guess the question that i really have is does it make you an "american idiot", in this "information age of hysteria", to allow yourself to be "controlled by the media" and not formulate your own opinions based on fact instead of assumtions?

I will let you know the details of what is going on with me when i have more time.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Boots on the Ground: a soldiers story of Iraq (part 6)

I guess the trip down to An Najaf was when I really fell in love with the army. That trip was when Basic Training ended, and it was when my life became a war movie. "Haji" was in the bushes, helocopters were running constant sorties into the city, and we were building a new camp. FOB Duke may not have been more than a patch of sand at the time, but it was home. I was a PFC (Private First Class-dont forget that there were two rank levels below me now), and I was in charge of all the Class I supplies for the entire company. 150 soldiers depended on me to have water and chow available at every meal, and the company first seargeant was depending on me to maintain a three day supply.
This was a lot of responsibility for a private, but i was first class at it. I was making deals, bartering fuel, and, on some occasions, stealing when necessary, but we never ran out of food or water. I had enough of a stockpile at one point that soldiers were getting 2 MRE's(the army calls them Meals Ready to Eat, but soldiers fondly refer to them as Meals Rejected by Etheopians). This becomes very important after eating MRE's for two or more weeks because the meals, as arranged, become boring. allowing each soldier 2 MRE's, allows the soldier to pick and choose what they want to eat, and, in some cases, build their own meal using what was supplied. This increases the morale of soldiers who are already fed up with the army, and increases in overall mission accomplishment.
The typical day in An Najaf was almost always the same. The sun would wake me up-we did not like sleeping in the tents, too hot and stuffy-and i would slowly climb out of my hammock. I had "Built" quite the living space between two of our trucks, and with the tarp over the top i had an excellent living space. We never wore our body armor, there was no need that prompted such measures. in fact, we never really wore the tops to our uniforms. just a brown t-shirt and sunglasses. I liked that a lot. After i got out of bed and put my pants on, i would walk over to the mechanics trailer and get a cup of coffee. we were only allowed to get coffee after first sergeant got his first cup, and there was only enough for each of us to get one cup. but if you needed more, there was always coffee crystals in the MRE that you ate for breakfast. Nothing like a boneless porkchop, chunked and formed, for breakfast. I usually had a bean and rice burrito for lunch, but that would make for a rough afternoon. You see-when you dont even have laundry service, that means that you dont really have bathrooms either. our "Toilet" was a 2 foot by 4 foot trench that was 4 feet deep. Not exactly luxury, but who really cares. when you can literally scrape the dirt off of any part of your body, it doesnt really matter that you are sitting on a tank road wheel, taking a crap in a trench, and not looking forward to a shower at night, or anytime in the near future. eventually you just let go.
It seemed like the political battle was the war we were really fighting in Najaf. You see, we were sent down to An Najaf with the orders that we were going to destroy the city-something along the lines of the Roman Army vs. Jeruselem. This was the image always conjured in my mind. I would be in Downtown An Najaf, refueling and rearming an Abrams tank, while death and destruction was raining down all around me. this was not quite the case. instead we mostly played spades. not joking. from the time we finished breakfast until the time the sun went down, we played spades. In Fact, I played the hell out of spades. my partner and I were untouchable. people came into our house and thought they could play. They were sent back to their tank with an MRE and the shame of defeat. I love my job.
the downside of Najaf was the fact that there was an army-well a malitia, supporters of Muqtada al Sadr, that wanted us dead. we had more than one run-in with these SOB's. My TC, Sgt Long, almost died one night in a traffic circle. their tank was hit with 6 RPG's(rocket propelled grenades) in rapid succession. the fuel can in the bustle rack caught on fire and spilled down into the engine. the tank commander did not want to extinguish the fire for fear that the engine would not restart, and made a decision to drive balls to the wall trying to put the fire out. the RPG's did not stop coming, and small arms fire joined in. a mission that was started as a raid, turned, rapidly, into a mission to save a tank. Just so you know, an Abrams tank is so fast it can out run fire. 22 or more rpgs hit the tank, and the crew lived to tell the tale. the tank was badly damaged, and the maintenance team quickly recovered, repaired, and returned the tank to the battle. I love my job. i would gladly give my life for the men that I served with in Najaf. They are my hero's.
Col. Dana J. H. Pittard, commander of the 3rd BDE, 1st Infantry Division, had been working with the local national government, the President of the United States, and Muqtada Al Sadr-a rouge terrorist who, i believe to this day, should have been killed in that battle for the hundreds of marines killed at his commands. a truce was reached after Sadr's hideout was hit with a deadly barage of artillery, and he suddenly changed his mind about the war for Najaf. It was a great day as we prepared to leave the camp we built. the Alabama national guard arrived the day we left. they brought showers, phones, laundry, and a world class dining facility with them. Man i love my job.
We pulled out of the gate of FOB Duke and headed for Highway one-Northbound, back to FOB Scunion where my bed, showers, and real toilet waited for me. 45 days of hell-45 days of filth-45 days that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

i love my job.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Work Sucks, i think ill retire early-

I just thought that it was a waste of my better years in life to be trapped in a job, and i dont think that i am really using my time as good as i could if i were retired.
I hereby tender my resignation, pending approval by the pentagon, which could take years-you know how the military is with paperwork-and effective, upon approval of my resignation, i will assume duties sipping margarita's and other cocktails out of coconut halves on some warm sandy beach in some foreign country in the south pacific, or gulf region, until i reach an age where i feel like i am too old to sit on a beach. at which point i will then get a job.


Monday, January 01, 2007

Things are more of the same...

yeah-thats not photoshoped! thats the real deal...
miss you already.

it is good to be back here in iraq. I missed the stress, and the friends that i have out here. the execution of sadam went largely unnoticed. no suprise there. life as usual. we are eager for the coming new year and another year of work towards peace. my mother just sent me this picture of me in pakistan meeting Pres. Bush. just thought i would share it with you.