Monday, December 31, 2007
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.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Saturday, December 08, 2007
Monday, December 03, 2007
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
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
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
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
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
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
Saturday, September 01, 2007
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
cant wait to see American soil again....
Monday, August 20, 2007
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
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
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
Saturday, June 30, 2007
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
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
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
Monday, April 30, 2007
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
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
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
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
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 well...so keep your eyes peeled for it.
From Iraq with love-
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Monday, February 26, 2007
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.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Things here are pretty much the same. miss you all
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Kinda busy round here, dont be suprised if i dont post for a while.
Friday, February 16, 2007
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.