Tuesday, February 28, 2006


That’s what we yell out when we’re called to start a mission after waiting around for a while. Where did we get the name Irene? Well, if you’ve seen Blackhawk Down then you’d understand. In the movie the codeword to begin the mission was Irene. So when we’re sitting, waiting to begin a mission, we listen for someone to start yelling Irene.

It’s pretty hard for me to post pictures online. It takes forever for some reason. Maybe it’s because I have a 5 mega-pixel camera now. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to add photos to this post tonight. I don’t have a lot of time since tomorrow is going to be another long day. Today was a long day and it looks like things are starting to look the way they were before I left.

The weather is starting to warm up over here. Now it’s as hot as Phoenix when I left. I’m pretty sure it was in the 80s today. It was warm but not hot. Actually, today the weather was perfect, although it did get a little warm in the afternoon. It’s definitely a change from when I left. It has been raining very lightly from time to time but only at night. It adds a nice refreshing sprinkle to end the warm days.

I finally finished the book Rainbow Six. Actually I finished it on the plane flight to the states before my leave. It was really good. I really enjoyed it with the exception of having to go through 900 pages of text. That’s why it took me so long to finish it. It seemed to never end but I didn’t seem to mind. I was totally getting into the story. It’s a good read for whoever is a fan of Tom Clancy, counter-terrorism, and the action. I thought the characters were pretty cool and that John Clark was a real big bad ass.

I started reading the book my Mom had sent me for Christmas, Splinter Cell: Operation Barracuda. It’s been sitting around, waiting for me to read once I finished Rainbow Six. Tom Clancy also created it although not written by him. I finished that book in about four days. It didn’t take me that long. I guess it’s a brand new book because I’ve seen it in the book section of the PX. It was pretty good too. I enjoyed it but I don’t think it was as good as Rainbow Six was. I’ve since donated the book to the little library that we have here.

I’m not really a novel reader. I never have been but my attitude towards books has been changed, especially novels. I’m starting to grow a love for them. I’m starting to wonder how many books I’ll end up reading by the end of my tour. It helps to kill time and it keeps me entertained when we’re just sitting around in the Humvee at times. I think my next book is going to be Red Wind by R. Karl Largent. We’ll see. I might just grab another Clancy book.

Monday, February 27, 2006

I got a few things that I desperately needed on leave,

like an MP3 player and a digital camera. I’ve been taking pictures with my camera left and right. The only problem is for some reason I’m having problems uploading the photos to my website. The Fubi (Hadji) Internet that works wirelessly around here isn’t working for some reason. That’s the internet service that costs $10 for 5 hours of use. The good thing is that it’s wireless. The bad thing is that it doesn’t work that great in my room anymore since they’ve moved the antenna.

The other internet option is the free internet that is provided in the internet trailer. It’s alright but it’s not that fast. It’s slow and I’d rather use my own computer instead. I usually type up my posts and e-mails offline and then post and send when I hook up my laptop on the Fubi Internet. I can’t do that with the free internet. There is a company that is starting to lay the groundwork for internet service in our trailers. I’m going to get hooked up as soon it’s available on my Pad. Some of the guys have bought satellites to access the internet but I hear that they’re having some problems getting the systems set up.
I had a good time on leave. The days seemed to drag by but that’s not a bad thing. I’m hoping the days fly by while I finish my tour here in Iraq. Well, I’ll try to post some photos if I can but I don’t know if the problem is with the internet service here or the host computer that I’m uploading the photos to. I don’t think I’d have this problem at home so I believe that it’s this slow internet service that we have here.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

They’re putting me back to work.

I’m getting right back into the mix of things. I had problems adjusting yesterday but now I’m starting to do just fine. It was almost like taking baby steps all over again but this time it didn’t take as long. A few things have changed since I’ve left, but not much. It seems like a lot has happened since I’ve left. There’s a curfew in effect so I’ve seen much less traffic. That’s a good thing. I like it when the roads are empty. I wish they could put a curfew on for the rest of my tour here.

Some of the kids have started throwing rocks. They’re mainly the older kids, not the little kids we throw candy to. They also flip us off as well. Oh well, no candy for them then. I wonder if they’ll begin to wonder why they aren’t getting any treats. Hopefully they’ll figure it out. That little village of theirs is a future hotspot for insurgents. I’m sure they’ll grow up to be future combatants.

The weather here is warmer then when I left. When I left here it was cold and wet, now it’s warm and dry. At least the mud had all dried up. It did begin to sprinkle a little this evening and the weather cooled down just a little bit. It’s getting about as hot as Phoenix now. It was colder and wetter than Phoenix was. When I left Phoenix it hadn’t rained there in like 125 days, a new record. It’s been October since the last time it rained in Phoenix. I don’t mind the dry weather here but the problem here is the dirt is almost like dust around here. I could easily see how there could be so many dust storms.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Dallas USO has done it again.

When I arrived in Dallas the other day I was greeted to the warm welcome of the Dallas USO volunteers. They gave us all a warm welcome. The provided us with phones to call home, food to eat, and entertainment to watch. There was a place to stay and get some rest, free wireless Internet provided by T-Mobile Hotspot, and friendly smiling people.

The guys were watching Pirates of the Caribbean on a big screen TV. I was watching the Winter Olympics and news on the television at the bar. They have a family room for families that are traveling with children, a library, private computer booths, and a rest area. I also found out that they have another a television set up with and X-Box and PS2. Most of the guys were lounging around the television, checking out the movies or getting some food.

I had some coffee and some other snacks. Later when we were checking in our baggage they were providing a table full of goodies and they had singers singing to us while we waited in line.

The people in the Dallas Airport were great. I heard stories of people buying guys lunch in the airport restaurants. I was getting thanked for my service over and over again. They were all really nice and they give Texans a good impression. The really welcomed us all and hoped and prayed for us to make it back home soon.

Friday, February 24, 2006

I’ve felt an aura for some reason.

I don’t know why that is. It all started when I left Phoenix. In Dallas people would tell me thank you and shake my hand. For some reason, people would touch me but I noticed that they wouldn’t touch anyone else. I don’t know why but for some reason I felt as if they felt warmth around me. Crazy it sounds. I was one of the few soldiers out of hundreds that got my hand shook but the Sergeant Major of the Army. That’s the highest-ranking enlisted member of the armed services.

I didn’t just recognize it with civilians; I also recognized it with other soldiers as well. I was being greeted everywhere I went. Some would greet not higher-ranking soldiers and me that I’d be with. I don’t know but I sensed something. Was it because the way I looked? Was it because of my posture? Is it my facial expression perhaps? I seemed to get more respect as well from other soldiers. I feel like more of a leader. Maybe it’s because I’ve aged. I’m always being asked for advice. What do I look like, an oracle?

I just got back to Baghdad a few hours ago. I have lots to post but I’m too tired to do anything right now. I’ll post some more tomorrow. I also have to get settled and I still have a shower to take. I have a new digital camera now so I’ll be posting a lot more photos from now on.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

I didn’t think it was going to be this sad.

I really enjoyed my R&R. I spent my time with my family as best as I could. I’m glad the days seemed to drag by. The days don’t drag by that bad in Iraq, which is a good thing. I’m glad the days go by fast over there. It was sad leaving Phoenix this morning. I tried not to make it a long departure. I hate goodbyes. It was sad. I had the feeling that I get when a family member passes away. The good thing is I’m sort of used to this thing now, after going through the motions. It’s hard but I’m sure it’s harder on my boys than anyone else. They would always tell me, “I missed you DAD.” They would tell me over and over during my stay home. When Peter knew I’d be leaving he would change it to, “I’m going to miss you DAD.” “Me too.” I would tell him.

Well, I have to go now. I’ll be posting some more once I get to my next destination.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Well I’m home now,

for the time being. I can’t say how long I’ll be home but just to say that I’m happy to be home. I didn’t expect to be home this soon in my deployment but I guess it beats being here during the summer. It’s hot here in Phoenix. The weather has been in the upper 70s lower 80s since I’ve got here. I also heard that it hasn’t rained since October 15th, 2005. So it’s been over 100 days since it’s rained here. It is definitely dryer here than it is in Baghdad, and hotter. I haven’t seen how hot Baghdad gets during the summer but I’m soon to find out. I’m sure Phoenix will beat it.

I’d like to post a little bit about my flight over here. It was a long flight, about 20 hours of flying. So it’s almost like a days worth. I suppose it’s much better than being on a boat for like 30 days. What’s one day of flying? I’m just glad I don’t get jet lag. My clock is a little messed up and I’ve had some problems sleeping but I’m sure that will go away pretty soon.

I was surprised and delighted when we arrived in Maine to the greetings of the Maine Troop Greeters. It’s the first time I’ve met this group of fine volunteers. They are so wonderful. After getting off the plane I heard the sounds of greetings while approaching the concourse. When I turned the corner I found a group of people welcoming us all home. They were on both sides of the line, shaking our hands and giving us hugs. How wonderful, especially the hugs from the grandmas. They are so special. There were some Moms there and I kind of wish there were some more young women there too! I’m sure the female soldiers were pleased with all the men, even though few of them were young. Doesn’t matter for the female soldiers anyway, they have plenty of young male soldiers to keep them company.

The Maine Troop Greeters provided us with cookies, muffins, doughnuts and all sorts of other goodies. They had a shrine of military memorabilia hung on the walls and in cases on display. They had a memorial to all the servicemen who have lots their lives during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. They welcomed us to use their mobile phones to call home or where ever we wanted. And the only thing they wanted was for us to sign a shirt that would be displayed for everyone to see. “Thank You for Everything, SGT Puebla” is what I wrote on the shirt. Everything was greatly appreciated. It was so wonderful to see how these people could give up their time to express their thanks and gratitude to our service. Whatever their political position was, they could put that aside to show their appreciation.

We were met to the same welcome in Texas as we were again greeted off the plane. Again, I got off the plane to sounds and cheers of people clapping their hands and yelling cheers of “Yeah!!!” These Texans, like the Mainers, were a great group of people. I could easily see that they appreciated everything we do. While the plane was taxiing into the terminal we were blessed by the Fire Department as they showered the plane from both sides as we passed through.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Well, now that I have a little more time I’ll go ahead and post another blog.

I would have blogged about my activities yesterday but I was a little tired. I can’t believe that I got up yesterday at 0530 hours to leave on a flight that left at 1730 hours. I had to wait around all day before my plane even left Baghdad International Airport. So I spent yesterday mostly waiting at the airport hanger, trying to finish my book Rainbow Six. I wasn’t able to get any sleep because it was pretty sunny outside and I have a hard time falling asleep under bright light.

Yesterday morning I had a cup of coffee and a hot dog for breakfast. I kind of wish I had went to the chow hall for some good breakfast before I left. We were finally called to start boarding around 1600 hours. I was lucky because there were other guys that were stranded there for a day because of the bad weather the day prior. I had even caught up with buddies from my unit that had left a day before me.

When we got here last night we had briefings after briefings after briefings. Mostly on what to do in case our tickets become lost during R&R and if we need to contact travel. We also had to fill out some other documents and let them know where we would be going.

So here I am now, stuck here waiting for the next plane to leave out. I can’t say when we are leaving or when I’ll be getting home or where I am for that matter. All I will say is that I have some more waiting to do before I leave. It’s a long process and I haven’t got that far. I wish the plane could’ve just left from BIAP and started going west instead of wasting time here.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

I tired to get online and post but the website was down for a while. I wasn't able to post what I had typed up on my laptop before I left. I am no longer in Iraq, so don't worry. I'm fine. I'm on R&R. It's pretty early, I know. I didn't ask for it but that's what I get for saying that I didn't have a preference when requesting leave dates. I'll post those blogs from the past two days when I have the chance. I have them on my flash disk but this computer here doesn't have a USB port for me to plug it in. I'm perfectly fine and out of the country of Iraq. I should be pretty safe now, being outside the country. Well, it's late and I might be up all night. It's time for me to go. I would post about how long and what I did this day but I'm too tired. I'm going to get what little sleep I can for now. I'm about to go on autopilot. Well, thanks everyone for viewing my blog and I may or may not be posting in the next couple of days. I definitely get back in the routine of posting daily when I return. Sergeant Puebla OUT.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Well the time has come.

The big surprise is here. I’m going on leave starting tomorrow. I can’t say for how long or where I’m going. I didn’t request leave this early in my deployment. You could just say that it was given to me and I had to take it. So, I may or may not be posting on this blog until I come back. I’ll have to see how things go. I’d like to take the time to enjoy my vacation. The good thing about leaving this early is that I could buy the stuff I want that I can’t get over here. Well, not without shipping it anyways.

Maybe it’s good that I’m leaving so soon. I think this is the perfect time to leave. The weather seems real gloomy and I think it may be their rainy season here. It’s been raining on and off for days, weeks almost. At least I’ll be getting away from the rain for a while. It never rains like this in Phoenix. Maybe that’s why Phoenix is dryer than it is here. Anyways, here I go, on another adventure. Then soon, real soon, I’ll be back to Iraq to finish this one.

As far as the book I was reading, Rainbow Six, I’m about 2/3rds of the way through. I’ve loved it a lot so far. I’m so intrigued by the events in the story, one right after another. I’m at the part in the book where the PIRA have taken over the hospital in Hereford and have held hostage Dr. Chavez and Nurse Clark. I can’t wait to see what Rainbow Six does next. It’s not the only thing that’s going on in the story and all the past terrorists events are tied to something big that’s supposed to be coming up.

So here I go, from one adventure to another. At least back home I won’t have to worry about getting hit by IEDs. I’ll be thinking about the guys while I’m gone and I hope to see them all when I return. I hope they all do ok and that we all come home at the end of this mission. This is Sergeant Puebla signing off for now. ROUGHNECK GOLF OUT.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

This is the way it works with the new Active Duty unit that came in.

When we first got here everything was pretty peaceful. The unit that was already here, a National Guard unit, welcomed us right it. It helped being from a neighboring state. Everything was great. They invited us to use the MWR tent, which had exercise equipment, a big screen satellite television, and computers with internet access. There was also another big screen television for video games as well. The tent had all the entertainment we would need in the field.

Well, this new active duty unit got here and what do you know? Things were going to change. Maybe it was because of the stigma that the National Guard has. The way I see it is if the Regular Army doesn’t want us, then that’s fine with me. They could ship the 60% of the Reserve and Guard units that are in Iraq and send us all home. Then the Regular Army could go ahead and finish fighting this war. So a note to the Secretary of Defense and the President of the United States, the Active Duty Army doesn’t need our services so you could go ahead and send all of the Reservist and National Guardsmen home.

The point I’m trying to make is that this Active Duty unit just came in here and I’ve heard that they’ve said that we’re not doing our jobs right. They had just got here!!! How would they know how we’re doing our jobs? As far as I see it, no one has died yet. That’s a good thing!!! Sure we’ve had our mishaps but that’s normal. So, in that case they have restricted our unit from using the exercise equipment in the facility. They’ve also said that the internet access is a privilege for us to use. They’ve come into our pad and assumed ownership of the MWR tent. I’m sure pretty soon we’ll be outright banned from entering the tent. For that reason, they feel it is theirs and we are privileged to use anything inside.

They seem like little selfish children that don’t want to share their toys. I can’t believe that we would have these problems when we are all on the same team. What gives with these people??? It sure is creating a lot of anmonisity in the company against this new unit. I know that there are a lot of guys in my platoon and probably the company as well that already have a bad impression of this new unit. I’m starting to wish things were the way they were before. It was a lot better then. Too bad that unit wasn’t staying until we left. I miss them already. Thanks for being there New Mexico National Guard. You guys will surely be missed.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Don’t ask. Don’t tell.

I’ve made a minor mistake. It’s nothing really and I won’t be to blame if I don’t open my mouth. It’s nothing big really, well not to me. Maybe it’s just better that I don’t say anything that puts me at blame. What they don’t know won’t hurt them. Oh well. I guess I should pay more attention to detail next time. I really didn’t want to do that task anyway so that may have been part of the reason.

I finally got my ammo finished yesterday. Cleaning the ammo went a lot smoother once I acquired a larger wire brush. I tried to clean the ammo with sand paper but all that did was scratch up the brass. The wire brush seemed to get all the rust and dirt off a lot easier without scratching the brass. So now I have a shiny set of ammo to put up on the Humvee. The wire brush that I got is also good on cleaning the .50 cal. I had no problem brushing all the rust and dirt off that thing. It was starting to look clean again.

I’m starting to become overwhelmed with anticipation. I noticed because T-Rex says I’m talking in my sleep. That goes to show how excited I am about what’s upcoming. I won’t mention what’s going to happen yet, but I will soon. All I’ll say for now is that with each passing day, the more excited I become.

I love to humor T-Rex. It gives me a little inner joy. I do the same thing with my wife. She says I’m a clown. I don’t mind being considered a clown. I also kid around with my son too. I love to make him laugh. I’ll act goofy just to make him smile. I like certain comedy and I really enjoy making others laugh. I think it’s an art. It’s something that has to be mastered. I’m not really good at impersonations so I’m usually coming up with one-liners. At least they work.
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