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.