Saturday, May 29, 2010

Memoral Day

"We sleep soundly in our beds at night because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm." -George Orwell (I've also seen it attributed to Winston Churchill)

Memorial Day will be celebrated across the United States tomorrow, and in a subdued fashion, on our bases all over the world, in honor of those who have died defending freedom. Your freedom. My freedom. Your neighbors, and your child's freedom. In many cases, the United States has fought for the freedom of another country's citizens as well. We joined the effort in WWI to turn the tide of the war in Europe. We stepped in again during WWII to liberate the French and allow the British to keep on fighting the good fight. We once again headed to war in Korea, and in Vietnam-to stop the spread of Communism, and to keep the people in those places from having to live under misery and oppression. And today, regardless of your politics, we once again fight for freedom.

It doesn't much matter to me what the "behind the scenes" reasons were for coming to Iraq. We released the Iraqi people from a horrible dictator. We have built schools, roads, hospitals. We've trained them so that they can keep order. We've given them the power of a vote-and even in the oppressive Middle Eastern climate, even women now have a say in who their leaders will be.

Our troops in Afghanistan have done the same, and soldiers, sailors, marines, and airman are fighting the good fight in two theaters of operations now to keep the enemy from our back door.

And yet, so many people seem to forget the significance of this day. So many see it as the start of summer, the opening of the pool. Or just another day off work, to throw some burgers on the grill and drink beer. By all means, enjoy yourself on this day-but just don't forget the hundreds of thousands of men and women who have given their lives up in the course of our nations short history, so that your could enjoy that burger, and drink that beer.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Settling in...

Well, I'm slowly settling in here in Iraq. I don't think that I will ever be used to this heat, and the doxycycline is doing some interesting things to my skins tolerance for sun, but I only have another ten days worth. I still haven't gotten a burn, but it feels as though I am, every time I'm out in the sun.

Contrary to what many believe about the draw-down in Iraq, that all the troops are sitting around with nothing to do, it looks like some units like mine have their work cut out for them. We'll be very busy, and potentially even jumping FOB's, so I'm not counting on being in the same place all that long. I won't give too much more detail than that.

Everyone is asking what I need, so I figured I could post a tentative list here-obviously things will come up that I haven't foreseen yet-I still may need my aid bag for instance, if things continue on their current track.

Weapons Cleaning Patches
Gunpowder solvent/lubricant
A scraper tool(like a dental pick) for hard to reach carbon deposits in my rifle
Keychain lights(like the $1.99 LED's)
Alarm Clock
AA batteries
Q tips
Whitening Strips
Body wash(I've been using Irish Springs hair and body-that way I dont carry two bottles to the shower)
My multi tool(should be with my other knives)
Small bottles of hot sauce(Franks Red Hot is the best!)
Anti-itch cream for bug bites
Gold Bond
Protein powder

I don't have a whole lot of room here, but letters are ALWAYS appreciated, and it'll help me get a list of addresses together so I can write back. That was a major omission of mine, coming out here without those.

More later, and if you have any questions, message me!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Boots on the Ground

Before today, I had never left the United States, but today I've stepped foot on the soil of three different countries. I'll be here in Kuwait for just a few days, than off to Iraq for the real fun part.

The flight was long and cramped, it's 0140 hrs here, and nearly 1940 where I'm used to, so I need to turn in for the night. With any luck I'll have some great photos and a humorous incident involving a scorpion or camel-spider to write about within the week.