Monday, December 11, 2006

Back To Work

I've enjoyed the past month off taking my leave. It ended yesterday and today was my first day back to work. I wasn't in the mood to go back to work. I had so much time off that I got used to hanging around the house all day. I was starting to enjoy it. We did go to California for a short vacation and I took the kids to Magic Mountain.
For some reason or another I had to go back to orientation. That's ok because I had to complete some electronic quizzes that were due anyway. Every was happy to see me and I felt like the most popular guy at work today. I'm sure the buzz is going around the hospital that I'm back now. It's ok but for some reason, I wanted to avoid people. I get tired of saying hello to everyone. I don't mind doing it but not all the time. Perhaps I'd hate being a celebrity.

I'm leaving this blog and moving on with my life. I just don't have the time anymore and the purpose of it was just to give everyone a glimpse of a soldier's daily life in Iraq. I'll be focusing on my MySpace website I have a blog there that I'll be updating from time to time.

My laptop crashed a few weeks ago. It was the computer that I took with me to Iraq. Unfortunately I lost all my photos. Luckily, I had backed up most of them but I also had a list of names that I wanted to mention. I had a list of names of the people that would send me letters, stuff for kids, snacks, and other such things. I apologize to all of you that I haven't mentioned by name.



I'm proud to be home, back in America.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Well, I’ve been home for a week now. As everyone may be able to notice, I haven’t blogged much. That’s because my wife wants me to spend more time with her and less with the computer. It’s either her or the computer so I chose her. I won’t be blogging any much anymore either, maybe once in a while.

I’ve spent the last week eating out almost daily. I knew I would when I got home. The weather here in Phoenix has been absolutely beautiful. It’s been in the upper 70’s, lower 80’s all week. The skies have been clear and it’s been mostly sunny. I haven’t spoke too much of my buddies since we’ve all finished our post deployment. Most of the guys are planning on going on vacations and spending some time at home with their families.

One of my buddies was throwing a party last night. My wife and me were going to go but I changed my mind at the last minute. I didn’t feel like driving all the way to the west side of town to drop off the boys with Grandma and then drive all the way to Mesa. It was just too much driving and I didn’t feel like driving all over town.

Right now I’m trying to get readjusted. I just bought a cell phone this week and I’m still trying to learn how to use it. I also have some other things to do like call Tricare, visit the VA medical center, and enroll in the spring semester at Gateway Community College.

As far as everything right now I’d say it’s going pretty good. I’ve been spending lots of time with my boys and my young one is always telling me that he loves me. They both missed me and I missed them too. We have a bunch of catching up to do. When I left John hardly spoke and now he’s talking all the time. He’s also very, very into his Nintendo Gameboy. I have to find out how I’m going to get him to put it down and give it a break.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Welcome Home

We’ve finally made it. 100%. We all came back home. It was an exhilarating feeling yesterday. We stayed up most of the night, Saturday night. We were told that we were moving out of the barracks at 0230 hours. We cleaned the barracks the night prior and put all of our linen away. We slept on the bare bunks without any linen at all but most of us didn’t mind. Some of us, like myself, ended up sleeping on the floor.

We left on the busses around 0300 hours on our way to the airport. We had to hang out in the hanger until 0700 hours for our plane to depart. So, it was a long night and most of us didn’t sleep at all. I tried to get some rest wherever I could but it was hard since we were always having a roll call or something.

We all walked out to our Southwest Airlines plane out in the rain. It was raining just as it had every day since we’ve been there. I figured the weather in Phoenix would be a beautiful 76 degrees with clear, sunny skies. I was looking forward to enjoying the nice Arizona weather. Sure enough, once we were in the air, headed south, the sky began to clear up.

Everyone on the plane began to get excited once we approached Phoenix. We came in from the north and then went east towards Scottsdale. At first I saw the Phoenix Mountains. Then I saw Piestewa Peak and Camelback Mountain. Then, that’s when I began to realize, that we were coming home. We were coming home and our mission was complete. We were finished. I left more then a year ago, unsure whether I’d be coming back and I was coming home now.

The plane landed at Sky Harbor Airport and taxied over to the hanger where a group of motorcycles, media, and family awaited. Flags were being hung and waived everywhere and the crowds were cheering. The plane stopped and the door opened. We began to exit and depart down the steps to the sound of revving motorcycles and marching band music. I was home. We all felt proud as we went to drop off our bags and get into formation. We would be marching into the hanger where the crowds of families awaited.

We marched our way into the hanger and the 1st Sergeant put us to attention. He called the commander, who said just a few words. He mentioned to the crowd the number of combat missions we’ve accomplished and that the unit had come home 100%. He kept it short and dismissed us. We all rushed to our families and I rushed to see mine. The sense of happiness had overwhelmed me at the beginning. I had made it back home alive and from now on, I could get on with the rest of my life.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


I was hoping that I didn't get stuck in medical holdover. I was forced to see behavioral health yesterday. That's because I stated on a questioniare that I may have concerns dealing with my relationship. I'm just a little concerned that's all and I care. I have to readjust back to life over here. I've been away from my wife and kids for such a long time and we've all changed a little. There will be stress because of the change we go through. It's expected.

Luckily I cleared behavioral health and medical so I'm almost cleared to go home. I'm hoping that nothing else happens so I could go on that first plane flight back home. Others that are not so lucky will be stuck here while the doctors do more examinations and whatever assesments they need to do. I never had any medical issues while I was gone, except for the toothache that occured in June.

Yesterday I finished clearing central issue. That means that all the equipment they've issued me is turned back in. Some of the guys were missing equipment which the commander when ahead and wrote off as a field loss. I'm glad I didn't miss anything. I'd hate to pay for equipment that I've lost. I have better ways to spend my money like on a little vacation with my family.

Today I get my TB skin test read and complete the demobilization outprocess. I'm almost finished and I can't wait. This process is so tedious and time consuming. Our command has discussed granting us an off post pass so we could go into town. I'd probably only end up going into some mall in Lakewood. I'm not interested in going all the way to Seattle. There's not to much to see there after I spent five days there last year. I think I've seen almost everything there is to see.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Back In America

Wow does the weather feel nice here. I never thought the cold, wet, weather would feel so good. We arrived yesterday morning here in Washington State. The flight was long but I'm glad we only had one stop. We stopped in Germany to refuel before we left on final trip here to start our demobilization process. Of course we had the rest of yesterday off to recover from the jet lag on the plane. Most of the guys slept since 1600 hours and woke up pretty early. I tried not to sleep but got tired around 1500 hours. I took a nap and woke up around 1900 hours. After that I decided to get up and wash some of my equipment to get it ready for turn in. I went back to sleep around 2330 hours and woke up around 0600 hours this morning.

The plane flight was long, like always. They played around 8 movies from our trip from the Middle East all the way over here. I slept through some of the movies and watched others. Most of the guys slept right after take off. I could tell that our clocks were all messed up when everyone started waking up on the plane around the same time.

I'm glad we only had one stop. That was in Germany. I heard that other flights that are leaving after us will be stopping in several different places on their way over here. We had a big plane so it was prepared for those long trips.

Well, it feels really nice to be back in the states. We haven't been granted the freedom of leaving the post. We're confined and our command won't let us leave. I understand and it doesn't bother me much. They try to keep control of all the guys and they want to make sure that we all make it back home to Arizona safe.

We started our outprocessing today. We had a few briefings from several different agencies like the chaplain, finance, VA, legal, and medical outprocessing. Tomorrow we start turning in our equipment. I can't wait to get rid of that stuff. Some of the guys have lost equipment and I hope that I'm not one of them. If so they'll be taking that money out of my pocket.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Boring Kuwait

Well, now that I'm here I'm bored. There's not much for us to do here but wait. It wouldn't be so bad if our command didn't place restrictions on us like having a battle buddy everywhere we go. They do have a few amenities here like a PX, McDonald's, Pizza Hut, library, bazaar, and gym. Well, I don't have much time since my battle buddy is waiting outside for me. So I'll just leave this post short.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Way Home

We had to get up early this morning. I didn't know how much a trip out of Iraq could turn into such a long day. We got up early this morning and started packing our bags. We all knew we were leaving Baghdad today for the last time. We cleared out the tents and cleaned them up. We waited outside for our busses to arrive to take us to the airport.Being at the airport is like being at any other airport. We waiting around forever for our flight. I spent my time playing Spades with some of the guys. It was a good way to pass the time really quick and have some fun at it too. We all missed breakfast this morning so we ate whatever snacks we could find. I walked over to Green Beans Coffee to get a mocha frappe. We ended up waiting about five hours before we boarded our plan for the flight out of Iraq.
We're all in Kuwait now and it finally seems like we're heading home. It's starting to feel pretty good and liberating. The trip here has been long and I'm tired. We ate dinner chow as soon as we got settled into our tents. The Big Man and me walked around a little bit just to get oriented with the place. It's only a matter of days before we're on another flight back to the states.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


There was a lot of animosity today in the company today. I felt it as well. I thought I deserved better when what I got. I tried not to dwell on it too much, so I wouldn't be bothered by it. It’s mainly because of the award ceremony we had today.This morning we had a transfer of authority formation followed by an awards formation. A few bronze stars were awarded and I myself have trouble with the credibility of those that were awarded. Bronze Stars? I guess it’s ok if it’s honorable. But then they awarded the rest of us with medals, and what did they give us? They gave the rest of us Army Commendation Medals. Well, that might be ok too but they also gave it to some people that weren’t worthy of that award. So, that just puts us on the same level as that Joe that wasn’t worth a damn.

For a year in Iraq, and being recognized as the role model for organization and teamwork, I think they could’ve awarded us better. We’d hear praise about how great we were and how we were the best unit in the Brigade. They always said that they weren’t blowing smoke up our ass. Well, the least they could’ve done is shown that praise by maybe awarding us Meritorious Service Medals. And what about the appreciation from the Army for what my kids and wife has had to go through for the past year? At least some honorable recognition would be nice. ARCOMs are nice but for what we’ve done here in Iraq? After being told that we are the model for

Another thing is the coin awards. I like getting awarded the coins and they never have enough for everyone. Only a few guys in the unit got coins. I thought that maybe I’d be considered since I was chosen to manage the physical fitness for the platoon. It was an extra duty that I never volunteered for. I wasn’t happy about it when they told me back in Ft. Lewis but I did the job. While others were out messing around, I was busy making up the PT training schedule and managing the PT scores for the platoon. I received no recognition for that. Well, I see how they appreciate me now. And that’s why guys like me build a lot of animosity toward the unit.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Halo Forever

I was getting a little wet last night. My cot is right next to the door of the tent. It’s a door that’s been ripped off by the platoon sergeant. He got mad one night and took his frustration out on the door to the tent. Now I’m the one that must suffer. A thunderstorm rolled in last night and the wind blew some of the rain right into the tent. I felt the mist that came in until the storm past. I just prayed that it would either stop raining or that the storm would go by.

I wasted most of my day playing video games. It wasn’t intended. I did plan on going the gym but I put that off to play a little Halo this morning. Then lunchtime came around so I at lunch. After that I went back to play Halo for about an hour. Well, an hour turned into a few and by the time I knew it, it was dinnertime. I played Halo from about 0900 hours until about 1600 hours with a lunch break in between. A true gamer may not say it but I think it was a waste of a day. At least I got some other things done like shower, clean my body armor, and buy some souvenirs at the PX.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


I better get all the souvenirs I could get before I leave. We’re just hanging around now. We’ve pretty much turned the missions over to the new unit. Now we’re pretty much sitting around, waiting for the day when we fly out. They’re may be a little bit of a lag while I’m in my travels but I’ll try to post when I can.

I heard that when we get back to the States, we’d be on lockdown. I was told that we wouldn’t be able to leave the Fort or our area. I also heard that they’d have a no drinking policy. I could live with it but it still sucks.

This wasted my afternoon playing Halo in the Scorpion MWR. It’s not the same MWR that I was used to going into. This once is closer to the tents and further from our trailers. I got caught up playing Halo because this other guy from the platoon talked me into it. I’m not sure what we’re doing tomorrow, probably nothing. It’ll be another day for me to workout, watch a movie, and maybe visit the PX for the last time.

Monday, October 30, 2006

I will take it slow

That’s the motto of the day. It’s the phrase that the chaplain came up with. We went through some of our demobilization briefings today. There was also a liaison from legal and finance. They explained to us how our earnings would change and what we would receive. Legal told us about any legal issues that may arise such as court subpeona while we were overseas.

I thought the chaplain was the best of the three. He entertained us with humor and gave us the pleasure of only viewing a few slides on his power-point presentation. The first slide was a picture of a stack of books. He explained how he had read all those books to try and get into a soldiers mind but none of them really helped. Then he turned to the next slide that had a picture of a Maxim magazine, The Cat in The Hat, and a few other simple books. That’s when he said that he had found a way into the mind of a solider. His next slide had the simple phrase "I will take it slow." He had us repeat it a few times and then he told us about issues that would arise when we arrived home. After every issue, such as drinking and intimacy, we would all repeat, "I will take it slow." That was about it. The chaplain discussed suicide prevention as well.

Today was the last day to turn in our laundry. We also got dates for the rest of our demobilization until we arrive home.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Over Yet?

I wanted to spread the good news but we’re not entirely finished yet. I may never leave the wire again but there are a few of us that still have to. So I’ll hold off for now. We had a day off today. I was glad since it gave me a chance to do some of the things I needed to do. I still need to go to he post office to mail a few more packages before we leave.

I got up this morning around 0700 hours. I got dressed and walked over to the chow hall. Since we don’t have our trucks anymore we have to walk everywhere we go. It doesn’t bother me too much since I like walking. There were rainstorms this morning, which made it hard for me to walk to chow. When I thought it was going to come down hard I’d start running for time and possible shelter. The Army PT jacket didn’t help keeping me dry. My back still felt a little wet. I made it to the chow hall in about 15 minutes and ate breakfast. Afterwards I went next door to the phone center to call home and talk with the wife and kids. They’re all expecting me and can’t wait for me to arrive home.

I had my morning planned out before I left the tents and I was sticking to that plan. After calling home on the phone I went over to the MWR to check my e-mail. The internet was a little sluggish mainly because of all the rainstorms. I spent about an hour on the internet before I went to the gym. It’s been a while since I’ve worked out and since I’ve finally had some time off I wanted to take advantage of it. I was almost done with my workout when one of the guys from headquarters platoon showed up. He got an extra to-go meal at the mess hall and offered it to me. I accepted and we walked back to the tents.

This afternoon I turned in my laundry for the last time. I also got my last haircut in Iraq as well. I had to go out of my way to go to my favorite barber but it was worth it. I have a few more things to do but hopefully I’ll have enough time to do them.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Changeover is Hell

I had to smoke a cigarette today. They’re not hard to find. There are a lot of guys that smoke in the Army. Maybe it’s an Army thing. I don’t smoke but today I decided to smoke one. We’ve had a hell of a week and after it was all done with today, it felt relieving.

We were told last night that we were meeting up this morning in the motor pool at 0945. I decided to get up early to chat with the wife and eat some breakfast before the day started. I arrived at the motor pool at 0930 just to be on the safe side and found that I was the first one there. I wondered where everyone else was for a while. The next person on the scene was one of the squad leaders from the new unit. He’s a pretty good guy, tall, brown hair, and resembles Mel Gibson. He asked me where everyone else was. I told him I didn’t know, I was just told to be there at 0945. A few minutes later a few more of his guys started arriving. Only a few of the guys from my platoon arrived a while later. Some of the guys were already going AWOL and I was pissed cause leadership was doing nothing about it.

This afternoon we were having the change over. We were turning over our trucks and all the equipment. It wasn’t too bad. We had to wait forever because the supply sergeant from the new unit had to go through all the serial numbers on all the equipment for each vehicle. I grabbed whatever I had left and said goodbye to my truck. It was being turned over to a new team.
Another milestone happened today. We also turned in most of our body armor and ammo. That brought to me the realization of something else; I may never go outside the wire again. It’s still possible, but unlikely. I heard the guys are going back to Ramadi pretty soon. I’m hoping I don’t have to go with them. Not because I hate going outside the wire, I don’t, I just don’t feel like going through all the motions. After the day was done and the headaches were over with, I decided to have a cigarette.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Return To Ramadi

For a while I thought I’d seen my last day as a .50 cal gunner. We left to Ramadi yesterday and I sat in the back seat. I thought I was just going along for the ride. There wasn’t much else I could show the new gunner since he had already been trained. To me, I was basically coaching and orientating him a little bit. I’d help out with the other guys where needed as well. Most of the problems were with our radio communications and not our weapons systems.

When we got to Ramadi I thought I’d be done for the day. I thought I was finished and we’d go hang out at the MWR and find a place to sleep in the homeless shelter. Hopefully it’s the last night I’ll ever spend in Ramadi. It didn’t go as planned though. The PL wanted me to go with him to the range. The Hoosiers were going to go to the range to test out their weapon systems and troubleshoot any problems that arise. Our platoon wanted an NCO and I guess I was the best person he could find. Why me, I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I didn’t do shit but sit in the back seat of the Humvee.

Luckily the PL and me left the range before the guys were done. They were able to take care of themselves and their 1st Sergeant was there to oversee all the testing. We went back to AR Ramadi and ate chow. I knew our day was over with. Afterwards we went to the MWR to hang out for the rest of the night. I picked up another book in the library there. I wasn’t in the mood for watching a movie or television, or playing video games. It’s too noisy in that place and all I wanted to do was spend some quiet time reading a book. I’ve been reading a Star Wars novel but I dumped it. It wasn’t enjoyable at all and I got tired of reading it. I found this other book in the library there titled, “Second Sunrise”. It’s about this Navajo State Police officer turned vampire. So far it’s very entertaining.

Free Web Counter
Free Hit Counter