Sunday, April 30, 2006

Century Mark

Well it’s official. Today was the first day of the year that it hit 100 degrees. It didn’t seem like it. Sure it was hot but the breeze kept it feeling cool again. I was hoping that we wouldn’t hit the century mark this month. I kind of expected it in May. It almost didn’t happen his month. Overall, April to me was considered warm but not hot. I’m glad it wasn’t hot. I was clearly able to deal with it. Yesterday on the other hand had me going. I did start to feel it. I had to put a wet cravat around my neck to help keep myself cool. I’m going to put a pack in my helmet pretty soon too.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

For Life

It’s the patch that I will wear for the rest of my life when in uniform. Today we were awarded the 11th ACR Combat Patch. That means, wherever I go, that patch will always be on my right shoulder. No matter what unit I am in. We had a ceremony today and everyone in the unit was awarded the right to forever wear the 11th ACR patch on their uniform. It signifies that we have been in a combat operation serving under the 11th ACR.

I’m glad it’s the 11th ACR patch. I’ve always liked it. I also liked my 101st Airborne patch I used to wear during active duty at Ft. Campbell. I think we’re fortunate for a National Guard unit to be wearing an active duty patch. Sure, I take pride in the National Guard and all of the states have given up their men and woman. It’s just that I think active duty patches look better than Guard patches.

I’ll probably be getting the Combat Action Badge as well. Not now but I’m sure it’ll be pretty soon. My team will be awarded the badge for that IED we took back in February. Not everyone is awarded that badge. It is given to those who have been engaged or come in contact with enemy combatants during combat operations. For me it’s recognition that I have been evolved in direct combat.

Friday, April 28, 2006


That’s what he says. He says he’s bored. I was a little worried about him yesterday because he was sleeping a lot. He had yesterday off. He slept through the morning and the afternoon. After I had come back from mission last night he was still asleep. This was after I already had dinner. He did wake up for a few hours during the mid-day but he slept most of the day. I’m talking about my roommate, the Big Man.

“Are you tired?” I asked. “No, I’m just bored.” He says. I don’t see why, I always have something to do. If not, I’m finding stuff to do. I’m never just bored.

Today was a maintenance day. It was a day for me to work on my .50 cal although I never touched it. Maintenance on my .50 cal entails making sure it’s clean and lightly lubed. It never got done. That’s alright, I’ll work on it tomorrow while waiting in our staging area.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Little Kid

That’s what I had to deal with today. He’s a young punk. I’m talking about Private Pennis. I’ll refer to him as ‘The Kid’ from now on. The reason I say that is because he’s worse than my kid brother. I take that back. My brothers were never as bad at his age. He’s worse. He’s the same kid that’s always playing the guitar in his room. Today while I was walking outside I saw him hitting rocks at his door with a baseball bat. “What are you doing Pennis?” “I’m trying to get on Sesis nerves.”

I had the unfortunate circumstance of having him assigned to me today. I didn’t think it was bad at first. That was until he started playing with the siren in our truck. He’s honk as we were passing people by on the FOB just to scare the shit out of them. Then later today while going to chow he was told about his hat. He was wearing it up like a ball cap. I didn’t notice it, someone else in front of the chow hall told him. It was embarrassing for me because I should’ve seen his uniform.

Well, the kid was my gunner today. I’m sure he’s not a bad gunner. He just acts like a kid. I have to remind myself to watch him. I don’t want him getting any of us into trouble. I’m sure he wouldn’t shoot any innocent people but it wouldn’t surprise me if he shot some sheep or cows. That’s all I’d need to hear about.

As for everything else, I’m starting to get more responsibility. I wouldn’t doubt if pretty soon they made me commander on our missions. I’m already giving mission briefs. I don’t mind. I’m not as embarrassed as the other guys to get up in front of a crowd and give them directions. At first I didn’t feel empowered. But now, I’m starting to feel it and I like it. It gives me a sense of leadership or authority. It also helps me build confidence and self esteem. For that reason, I’m not giving excuses when given the chance to step up. I’m going to take charge and lead the way.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


I can’t stand them. I guess I should like them because it means that we’ve found an IED. The reason I hate them is because we have to ensure the safety of everyone else. That means that we have to secure the area and make sure that Iraqi civilians and other coalition forces doesn’t enter the danger area. Well, we ran into one today. It wasn’t our cordon but we still had to wait. It’s worse than waiting for a train to cross an intersection.

We stood by for just over an hour. It sucks because we can’t do anything else but wait. I can’t read a book or listen to my Zen Micro. I can’t do anything else but make sure the area is secure. So we were succumbed to having conversations. I didn’t say much because I was busy watching other Hadjis. I was very surprised when I saw a couple of the ladies making tortillas. I couldn’t believe it. I haven’t seen anyone make tortillas since I was a little boy when my Mom used to make them.

We expected a big explosion when the IED was detonated. I barely heard it. Maybe that’s because we were so far from it when it was detonated. There also was a big plume of smoke too but again, it didn’t look too impressive from where we were. I didn’t even leave a crater like some IEDs do.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Early Finish

I love it when we finish our missions early. We got back to the trailers today around 1400 hours. That’s a lot better then arriving after dinner chow. We went to the IZ again today. I found out what those explosions I heard yesterday were. Yesterday someone had said that they are mortar attacks. I saw the news this morning and found out that there were a bunch of car bombs in the city. That’s what those sounds were yesterday. I heard one more this morning with police sirens right afterwards. There weren't as many as yesterday.

Today was a lot more peaceful than yesterday, weather wise. This huge dust storm came in yesterday but didn’t bring much rain. Thank God. It rained just enough to settle the dust and not create any mud. That’s a good thing. Today the sky is clear, partly cloudy, and the sun is out. It was really nice earlier but now it’s starting to warm up. The breeze is keeping the heat at bay. That doesn’t keep us from finding some shade whenever we can. Reminds me of Phoenix.

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Mean Streets

The IZ, formally known as the Green Zone, is pretty peaceful compared to other parts of Baghdad. Today we decided to go through the nasty parts of the city to find some excitement. It’s thrilling because of the tons of traffic and the numbers of people. It’s also parts of Baghdad we don’t get to see every day. We came up with excuses to take the scenic route. Either I primary route was full of IEDs, closed, or taking small arms fire. Traffic was everywhere and a lot of the roads were blocked with cars. For some reason, there are no traffic lights over here. The city is full of traffic circles with Iraqi Police directing traffic.

Was I scared? Maybe just a little. It’s a big change from the countryside we usually operate in. I guess it’s because there was so much more to look at. There was so much more to see. Baghdad is like a lot of cities in Mexico. A lot of store fronts with low quality products. Sheep hang skinned from outdoor meat markets. Sidewalks are crowded with pedestrians shopping or browsing.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


I don’t know why or who came up with this idea. I think it’s a waste of money myself. I heard a rumor that they are going to get us cavalry hats and spurs to go with our boots. I guess it’s to fit our parent unit of the 11th ACR. I think it’s stupid and we’ll all look silly but I’ll go along with it. They can’t get us enough supplies but they could get us hats and spurs. We’re going to look like a bunch of cowboys walking around here. It’s already bad enough I walk like a cowboy already with my pistol at my side. We’ll see what happens. Maybe they’ll get us some horses to ride on too. I’ll believe it when I see it.

I was in for a couple of big surprises today. First off I was told that I was going to be vehicle commander. It’s not a hard feat. It’s pretty simple really. There’s not much too it and I’ve been out so much I pretty much know what to do. The other surprise was they told me that I was going to give the mission briefing too. That sucked. Not that it was bad. I did a pretty good job for my first time. It’s just the fact that it’s not something I’d like to be doing. I had to get up in front of a crowd of strangers and explain the mission and execution. There’s a whole lot to go over and I had to use some notes to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

I was surprised I wasn’t nervous. I guess those days are long gone. I displayed a lot of confidence and was very outspoken. I wasn’t bad for a new guy. I did a lot better than others did their first time. The notes helped out and I’m sure after time I won’t need them anymore. Still, I don’t feel like giving those briefs. But I’m sure that now that I’ve done some, they’ll be calling me to do some more. I understand why they’re doing all of this. They want to make sure that we’re all cross-trained and capable of handling other positions. It’s no problem for me. I’m flexible.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Barbeque Time

The whole company had the day off today. It was a day for us to all gather together and socialize. We had a barbeque today. I didn’t enjoy the barbeque too much. I don’t know what it was. I guess I just didn’t feel like socializing. It didn’t feel like it was any fun. They had all kinds of food, mainly burgers and hot dogs. I ended up eating a hamburger with chips and a soda. The only thing missing was the beer.

Some of the guys brought a football and began to play catch. There really isn’t anywhere around here to play football though. There’s no grass. Our trailers are surrounded by gravel and where there’s no gravel, there’s dirt.

After I ate and stood around a while talking to the guys I started to make my way back to my trailer. I noticed that some of the guys were on the volleyball court. I wasn’t wearing my PT uniform or a t-shirt and shorts. I figured I’d play in my uniform, what the heck. I played volleyballs for a couple of hours. We all had fun. I had a good time playing. I didn’t do too badly. I scored a couple of points and had a few assists. I was far from the worse guy playing out there today. That was Sergeant Sting.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Down Time

I’ve had the past couple of days off. I can’t believe it but I’m thankful for the rest. It’s also a chance for me to escape from the heat. It’s been warm every day. It’s usually in the 90’s. Gone are the days of cool, nice weather. It was nice while it lasted. It’s not too bad right now.

Well since I’ve had down time I’ve been putting it to use. I’ve been going to the gym to do a little work out every day. I’ve also taken the time to clean my weapons. I still have my pistol to clean and I still have to clean and change out my mags.

My roommate is funny. He went out to the gym last night. He said he was only going to be out for an hour. So, an hour passed by and he didn’t return. I started to wonder where he might be. What’s funny is what he said when he came back. Three hours had past when he walked into the room. I had already taken a shower and was already in bed. “Where did you go?” I asked. “Oh, I’m sorry honey. I was out drinking with the guys.” I started cracking up. Did I really sound like his woman??? I guess it’s what a girl would’ve asked if her man was out for a while. I didn’t think about it when I said it but his response was funny. I know it’s gay but the other day I called him sexy. Where the hell did that come from? I had opened the door from lunch and there he was standing in his briefs. I hate it when he does that. I think he’s just looking for some girl to walk buy and catch him undressed. I just crack up because he’s crazy like that.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Karaoke Night

Last night after going to the phone center to make a call and stopping at the PX to pick up a few things I stopped at the MWR Recreation Center. I was walking back to the trailer when I heard the music at the intersection. Every Wednesday night is Karaoke night at the MWR. I was a little bored and figured that I’d check it out. I’ve wanted to pay a visit and see if there’s any talent.I heard that we have a few Joes in the platoon that go every Wednesday night and sing a few tunes. Double D is one of those guys and Sess is another. Double D is more into hard rock and heavy metal and likes to sing that type of music. Sess is more of the rapper in our platoon. We actually have a lot of talent in our platoon. Pennis is the guitar player. We might have our own band if a couple of these guys put they’re talents together.

So I stopped by to listen to the music and find a little entertainment. It was nice. There are some really good singers in the Army. Double D was pressuring me to get up on the stage and sing a song. After most of the people left I figured what the heck, I’ll give it a shot. I got up on the stage and sang, “Come What May” from Moulin Rouge. It actually came out pretty good. Double D said it was good. When I left outside afterwards to go to the port-a-jon another dude outside said that it was good. I was impressed. A complement. I didn’t expect that from someone else. It’s really nothing I’m looking into. I just went to have some fun and find some good American Idol entertainment.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Well, we got some bad news yesterday. I guess its bad news because our living conditions will change. This is all hearsay and nothing is certain yet. They’re talking about moving us pretty soon. I don’t mean out of Iraq either. I heard that there are some Marines that are leaving and we will be replacing them. We’ll see what happens.

Some of the guys I’ve spoken with don’t care and others are ok with it. Myself, I’m ok with it. I don’t mind too much. I heard that the living conditions there are a lot worse than they are here. I heard it’s like comparing it from living in a mansion right now to moving into a trailer. Now I wouldn’t say that we’re living in a mansion right now. I compare my trailer more to a house. I guess my opinions will change once I see what we’re moving into. Maybe I will take it for a mansion once I see what we’re moving into. I’ve gotten info from some of the other guys that have been there.

Some of the guys in the platoon had some action today. I guess they got shot at. Nothing bad really happened and no one got hurt, Thank God. The knife stab to my finger was a lot worse than anything that happened to them. Still, I wouldn’t want to be shot at either. It’s a dangerous world out here and it may not seem like that every day. We just have to keep our guard up and be ready for anything.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Hail Storm.

It came down hard yesterday, the hail that is. It was bad. These thunderstorms came out of nowhere yesterday afternoon and brought dark clouds and lighting with them. The whole place was flooded in minutes. There was marble size hail everywhere. The good thing about it is it brought the temperatures back down. At least today was pretty nice and this morning was pleasant.

Today Dave Price from CBS’s The Early Show came down. The Charles Daniels Band is also here. Dave Price came down to do an episode of CBS The Early Show that was probably broadcast this morning in the US. The Charles Daniels Band is having a concert later tonight but I have other things to do like clean my weapon after yesterdays hail storm.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter Sunday

Happy Easter Sunday! The celebration of the resurrection of Christ! Unfortunately I was unable to attend Easter Sunday Mass. I wish I ‘d had the chance to go to the chapel. Mission first as the Army brakes for no one and nothing. Doesn’t matter if it’s raining, snowing, hot, or cold. Mission first.The mess hall went all out to treat us this Easter Sunday. They had a wonderful lunch and a live band for entertainment. They baked cakes and put them on display for show of this Easter holiday celebration.

I finished another book today, The Closers by Michael Connelly. It was pretty good. I reading enjoyed it. It's a must read for anyone interested in crime dramas or anyone interested in television dramas like CSI. It’s about a crime detective that comes out of retirement and joins the new open-unsolved unit of the LAPD. He tries to solve an unsolved murder case of a 16-year-old girl seventeen years ago.

I’m going to start on another book tomorrow, Hostile Waters by Peter Huchthausen, Igor Kurdin, and R. Alan White.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

It's getting hot in here!

It was around 97 degrees today although it didn’t feel too much like it. I’m used to this heat anyway. I’m pretty sure it’s the same temperature in Phoenix right now.

I finished my CLS (Combat Lifesaver) re-certification today. The last thing I had to do was administer an IV and get stuck myself. It wasn’t too bad. I got a vein on my first stick. Actually, we all did. We have to re-certify every six months to a year. The last time I certified was last May back in Arizona so it’s been almost a year now.

I had a chance to go to the ‘Blackhawk Store’ today. It’s just a bunch of little Hadji shops that mainly sell DVDs on another camp. It’s only open on Saturdays. I was planning on buying some pirated DVDs but I found out they’re cheaper in the IZ. Last week I bought seasons 1-4 of Smallville for like $20!!! I plan on getting all the episodes of The Soprano’s next.

Gay photo isn't it? I took it by surprise while in my CLS course. I thought it was a Kodak moment and I had to capture it.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Met Stew.

SGT Stew stopped by today while I was in the motor pool. It was kind of a surprise. I had heard that he had been seen around here on the camp. I wasn’t sure where he was located. I should’ve e-mailed him earlier to find out where he was. It was really cool seeing him and different at the same time. It was different because he was in a different uniform, ACUs. He’s doing alright. I invited him along to ride if he ever wanted to go on some missions with us. They may be dangerous but I’m pretty sure it’ll give him a chance to go to places he hasn’t been before.

I had to go to the range today to qualify on my M-4 carbine. It’s about time. I missed qualifying at the range last time because I was on leave. It took me a while to get my weapon zeroed. I had a little bit of a problem adjusting from an M-16 to the repositioning of the trigger on the M-4. I worked a little on my fundamentals while zeroing and finally starting getting tighter shot groups.

Once I had my shot groups down and I was zeroed, I was ready to qualify. I shot a 37 out of 40. Not too bad. I needed a 26 out of 40 to qualify. I qualified as a sharpshooter. One more shot and I would’ve qualified as an expert. That would’ve been good for promotion points but I’m not up for promotion anyway. Not yet. I was close but not close enough. It might have been the rocks that were jamming into my elbows. Or maybe it was the heat that threw me off. I wish I had taken my elbow pads with me. I can’t believe I forgot them.I also had a chance to shoot a vintage Sterling Sub-Machine Gun, an H&K MP-5, and an AK-47 just for kicks. It was cool shooting the MP-5 and Sterling. I had lots of fun doing it. The AK-47 had a kick and was cool too.
One last thing. Today's Good Friday and we can't forget the crucifixion of Jesus. He died for our sins so that we may all be saved.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

It’s starting to warm up.

It’s been getting warmer every day. The other day when it rained it cooled off a little but not enough to keep the heat away. It’s not bad in the morning or in at night. During the afternoon it starts to warm up. I think the past couple of days have been either in the 80s or 90s. I’m sure it’ll be hitting 100 degrees next month or late this month. I’m hoping that it’s later next month.

Here’s some vital info for those insurgents that read my blog. Our platoon sergeant can’t drive. Yesterday he ran into a barrier. That’s the second time he’s run into a barrier in the past two weeks! I thought it was funny. It’s nothing serious and the damage to the Humvee is unnoticeable. The damage he did to my Humvee on the other hand is clearly obvious.

We were in a tight driveway and he turned the Humvee too wide. He went right into the thing. He wasn’t going fast at the time. The Humvee just stopped and he had to back up and cut it harder. Last week he made a right turn that was too sharp and hit a barrier on the right side of the Humvee. I’ll have to get a photo of the damage done to post online.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

It rained again.

It started last night. I noticed when I went outside this morning to go to the latrine. It was pouring. It all died down by this afternoon. It rained just enough to make some mud. I don’t know what it is about this place. It rains just a little bit and there will be mud for days. We thought we just got over our last mud episode. I don’t know what it is. As soon as everything starts to dry back up it rains all over again. I have a hard enough time keeping my equipment clean as it is.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Today was a day for Al-Qaida to hit us. Things weren’t going too good this morning. In fact, there were a lot of speed bumps. It was going slow, real slow. For some reason, nothing was working right this morning. We weren’t in our groove. We were moving slow this morning, we were behind our timeline, and things were going wrong. It would’ve been a perfect day for insurgents to hit us. We definitely weren’t in our game and we would’ve got our butts kicked.

Maybe it was because the teams were mixed around a little bit. I wasn’t with my usually team this morning. I was on a different truck and I felt uncomfortable about it. I don’t know what it was. It just wasn’t my truck. Little things were different like the way things were set up, the way it handled. I wasn’t the only one who felt like things were not going right.

Mongo, the driver, is another story. He doesn’t know how to drive. We were parking in the IZ when I told him to park under some shade. Sure he parked in the shade but it was light shade. Within 30 minutes the sun was cooking our truck. So I had a chance to sunbathe and warm up. He’s definitely not the driver that T-Rex is. I also didn’t like the way he drove around traffic and around the IZ. It’s definitely a difference from riding with T-Rex.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Ghost Town. It’s weird when there’s a full combat gear exercise on the camp. Everything is closed. The gym is closed, the PX is closed, everything. During this exercise we have to wear full combat gear wherever we go. The dining area in the chow hall is closed so we’re only allowed to get take out.

The reason I say it’s weird is because the place seems deserted. It’s like the place is a ghost town. I went outside to walk to the gym, which I found was closed, and noticed that hardly anyone was out. I don’t know why really. My roommate mentioned that he wasn’t going to go anywhere. I guess everyone else felt the same way. Why bother? What’s there to do if your stuck on the camp and everything is closed? You have to suit up if you want to go anywhere and doing that is a hassle in itself. Another thing, I don’t think anyone like wearing all that body armor, especially when it’s not needed.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

I sliced my finger last night and now I could barely type. The Benchmade knife they issued me is sharp and really works. I was trying to open a package last night. I was using my knife to open the plastic packaging when it slipped from the edge of the package. My hand slipped and the knife stabbed my left index finger. The knife went right in and made a sharp cut. Blood started gushing out immediately. “Ouch!” I screamed! I immediately dropped the knife and went to look for something to stop the blood. It was running out and I had to stop it fast before I made a mess everywhere. I opened up my wall locker and was about to go for my CLS bag when I noticed my t-shirts on a shelf. I just grabbed the top shirt and wrapped it around my finger, holding it with pressure. I held my hand up in the hopes that it might stop the bleeding.

My second thought was to see Doc. I knew this was more than a minor cut. I had to have him look at it. So I ran out my door, leaving it open, and ran over to his room. I didn’t even knock on the door when I got there. I knew he was awake when I heard the noise of Joes playing video games. “Doc I got cut!” “How did you do that?” “I was opening a package with my knife,” I said. He wanted to check it out there on the spot. “If I take this shirt off blood is going to run everywhere.” “Let’s go to the latrine.”

We went over to the sink in the latrine to observe the cut. The bleeding had stopped when he unwrapped the shirt. I felt a throbbing pain in my finger. It still hurt. The cut didn’t look too bad. “Will I need stitches?” “No, you shouldn’t need any.” He cleaned it up before he put some alcohol on it. Boy did the alcohol burn. It caused some pain but it wasn’t as bad as the throbbing pain that was pulsating from my finger.

He wrapped it up and told me to keep it dry. I took some aspirin to help numb the pain. My finger has felt numb all day today and I’m starting to wonder if I cut a nerve. I hope it heals quickly.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Health and Welfare inspection.

That’s what they call it. It’s really a fancy way of saying room inspection. That’s right, we have no privacy rights here. It doesn’t bother me too much. I have nothing to hide. It’s just one of the things that goes along with being in the Army. Nothing is kept private.

Supposedly it was done while I was on leave. I wasn’t present when they went through my room and they still went through my stuff. They’re mostly looking for things like alcohol, pornography, unauthorized weapons and ammunition. The room inspection was surprised and unannounced like it usually is. They usually do the same things with a drug test too. They never give us advance notice.

One of the units on the next pad was having a yard sale today. I guess they’re getting ready to leave home pretty soon. I’m really not interested in buying anything. My roommate has a fridge and a TV, which I share. I was in the market for some drawers and a chair but I bought them at the PX the other day. I’d like to buy some movies but I’m sure there are none for sale. Most of the guys that are leaving sell things like TVs, microwaves, refrigerators, mobile phones, and satellite dishes. It’s basically the stuff that they can’t take home with them. My roommate is looking for a satellite dish right now. I wouldn’t mind having one myself. I’m going to help him find one.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Winning the War Chocolates.

A fellow blogger Rico wanted to help me out. He wanted to send me some Hershey bars to give out to kids that I meet on my routes and on my missions. I told him sure, go ahead and send me some. So he got together with one of his buddies, Rich, a former Marine, and sends me like 40 lbs/324 Hershey’s chocolate bars!!! I couldn’t believe it when I saw the box. Most of the guys would ask me where I got all the chocolate. I’d tell them this guy I met on the internet sent them to me. Isn’t that cool? So I ended up giving out the chocolates to all the guys and told them it’s for the kids.

We’re all trying to win the hearts and minds of the children here and Rico has sure helped out. I want to thank him and his buddy Rich for their support. It’s nice to know there are people like him back home that are willing to lend their hand.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

That could’ve been

one of us in the picture. Luckily it wasn’t. It was a Hadji truck, the unlucky guy. Oh well. Maybe he should tell his buddies to stop planting IEDs. Then his truck won’t get blown up.

I wasn’t sure what it was this morning when we were on the road. I saw the smoke from the fire from miles away. I thought it might be a house. As we approached I noticed that it was on the roadway, burning. It was a sort of semi-truck used to haul stuff. Oh well, I guess that guy’s out of a truck now.

I heard we’re supposed to be getting a new high-speed Internet service in about two weeks. I was skeptical at first but I also heard that guys that already have it on their pads say that it’s really fast and reliable. So I guess that’s good news. The only bad news is that it’ll cost $60 a month. I guess it’s worth it when compared to the Internet service we’re paying for now. The owners of this business are going to make bank! I wish I had money to invest here.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

It’s been a long and exhausting day.

The company commander rode with us today. He’s very detail oriented and we have to make sure that we look sharp in every way. It was a long day because it is now 2036 hours and I barely got back to my trailer. My day started at 0630 this morning when I woke up this morning. So, I’d say that it makes for a long day.

So, now I think I may be getting into trouble. It’s nothing serious. We’re not allowed to put any gear on top of our vehicles. If we do we automatically get written up. Doc was riding with us today in place of T-Rex who is on extra duty. Well, while I was loading my gun Doc threw my body armor on top of the vehicle. The Captain saw that it was up there and told The Colonel about it. So The Colonel walks up to the vehicle and calls my name, “Sergeant Puebla!” I responded and he asked if that was my IBA on top of the vehicle. I told him that it was and he told me about leaving it up on top of the vehicle.

The reason the Captain doesn’t allow us to leave any equipment is because stuff kept getting left up there. Joes were losing weapons and equipment when they left it on top of the vehicles. So the commander finally got fed up with it and made it so anyone who leaves their weapons or equipment on top of vehicles will automatically get written up and counseled.

Later The Colonel told me that they were talking about writing me up. “For what?” I asked. They wanted to write me up for putting my body armor on top of the Humvee. “Well, I didn’t put it up there. Doc did.” I haven’t put any of my weapons or equipment on top of the roof since they said that we’re not allowed to.

So, I told The Colonel if they want to write me up that’s fine. It’s not going to do any good though because it doesn’t solve the problem. I wasn’t the one that did it and everyone knows. Doc will never learn if he doesn’t get approached about the problem. So this may happen again if they don’t go to the problem. I’m not worried about it. I told Doc about it and he knew that he wasn’t supposed to put any equipment on top of the vehicle.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Alright I’m getting burned out.

No, it’s not because I’ve been here for months already. It’s mainly because I haven’t had a day off yet. Well, I guess I shouldn’t complain since the last time I had a day off is Friday. I mean it’s only been like four days worth of missions. The thing is they’ve been keeping us busy for the past couple of days. We’re on the move before the sun even gets up. I would say that we’re busy until past dawn too but that has all changed.

We had a daylight savings change the other day. So, now when I get up in the morning it’s still dark. I guess the evenings are nicer now since there’s still daylight after we’re done for the day. I’m just starting to wonder what it’s going to be like when the summer comes and it doesn’t get dark until 2000 hours. It’s 1915 hours right now and the sun just set.

We had to set our clocks one our ahead so that also means that there is now an 11 hour difference between here and Arizona. Arizona doesn’t have daylight savings time, which I’m happy about. Well, now instead of a 10-hour difference there’s an 11-hour difference. It’s worse than it was before. Now when I call home it’ll be either early in the morning or late at night.

Monday, April 03, 2006

I’ve set up outside. I bought a folding chair at the PX the other day. They had a good deal, only $5. That’s not bad when a chair like this might have cost me anywhere from $10 to $15 dollars back in the states. So now, since the weather is nice, I’ve been setting my seat outside when I type up my blogs. I’m trying to enjoy the weather while I can. I know it’ll be getting hot pretty soon.

The thunderstorms have started to go away. It was partly cloudy today with some slight rain but not much to bother me. I’m glad the rain has gone away because I can’t stand it when it gets muddy here. The good thing about it is the weather cooled off a little bit. I guess that buys us some more time from the hot weather to come.

We had a photographer riding with us today. She’s an Airman in the Air Force. I asked her if she was journalist too. She told me she doesn’t do any journalism, only photography. For some strange reason I was hoping that we would see something today. That way she could get some good photos. I guess if we really wanted to see some action we could’ve drove in the worst part of Baghdad. Than maybe we’d find ourselves in a firefight or something.

The Airman never had the opportunity to photograph any combat but we did give her the opportunity to photography the Iraqi children and the countryside. She also got some photos of us and I forgot to ask here if they might be published in the Stars and Stripes or some other publication.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

It has rained again. We had thunderstorms all day but for some all reason they’ve all stopped. It’s still cloudy but the there is no rain and no thunder. The winds have died down and the weather outside is actually pretty nice. So, I took the opportunity to place my new folding chair outside to enjoy the evening breeze and finish my book. I just finished reading Velocity by Dean Koontz. I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to finish it. I had planned on finishing it this past Friday.

The book is good if you’re into thrillers. I didn’t go out and purchase the book myself. I borrowed it from a buddy of mine. I’m not really into thrillers but this one was pretty good. It had a surprise twist at the end like most thrillers do. I don’t want to give away too much since there may be some that haven’t read the book. It did have me wanting more and I was craving to get back into it.

I didn’t have time to post yesterday. It was a long day and we finished up our mission pretty late. Today wasn’t bad. Actually I liked it because on our travels we took an alternate route back to camp which was shorter than our usually route. I was happy about that. That just meant that our mission time would be cut down and we’d be able to get to camp back in time for us to at least enjoy some leisure time.

The only thing about our alternate route is that it takes us through parts of town I rather not be in. I guess it’s a sacrifice. Do we take the short route and go through town or the long route and go through the countryside. It doesn’t really matter to me anyways. Both routes are just as dangerous. Actually, I think our countryside route is more dangerous than going through the city. It’s just that a lot of these people give me the evil eye and others, mostly children smile and wave.

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