Saturday, September 09, 2006

How I live

The living conditions on Al Qaim are far better than we were told. There have been many improvements in the past three months. I guess when you expect the worst and get anything better it makes you happy. My living conditions are first class. I have my own little trailer with air conditioner/heater. It’s about seven feet wide and 15 feet long. I have a wooden bunk bed with a skinny mattress, a wooden bench, a small gym locker, and a sink with a mirror. It is connected to a small stand up shower with a toilet that I share with the MSgt who lives next to me.
My office is located inside a small Iraqi train station. It’s pretty neat. The Lieutenant and I share the office and it’s bigger than what I had in Twentynine Palms. They have constructed a chow hall by putting together about eight “Arkansas Size” trailers. Hahaha! I’m sleeping and eating in a trailer – Feels like home.
The chow hall is staffed with civilians. Most of them are Pakistani. Today we had lasagna and it was really good. These guys must think all Americans are pigs. They pile so much food on your plate. The joke is that every meal could be your last - so they make sure we get what we want. In truth, I feel very safe where we are located.
The camp is actually bigger than expected and the wire (actually, it's a berm and a fence) has been pushed out about 200 meters beyond any building. We have our own guard force. Their posts are located in fifteen foot towers and we also have Marines roving around the edges of camp. We can see for miles in all directions. I don’t think anyone will be able to sneak up on us.
The people, in general, have turned for the better. 1st Battalion 7th Marines (The 29 Palms unit that we are replacing) finished building a soccer stadium about a month ago for one of the towns and they had 1700 people show up to watch a game between two local teams. There have been a lot of good things going on out here and the people seem to be helping us out. Since we have been here, we have only found two IED’s on the roads and just a handful of shots have been directed at one of our battle positions that is located a few miles from here. No one even got excited, the shots were way high.
Some knucklehead already wrote home to his young wife and told her it was like the Wild West out here with people shooting at us constantly with AK’s and Mortar fire. He told her we had already found 21 IED’s. We don’t know who it was because we found out through an e-mail from a wife that knows the young lady. It was probably one of my guys trying to make it sound tougher than what it really is. I don’t want to downplay the dangers of Iraq but every base we went to seemed extremely safe compared to what the media would have you believe.
It looks like I’ll be going out about once every other week. Sometimes it will be for four to eight hours and sometimes it will be for three or four days. It depends on who I go with and what the mission is. I don’t have to go near as much as the other Marines because either the lieutenant or I have to be here. My lieutenant is going out tonight.
My new e-mail address for Iraq is Drop me a line and I will get back to you. I have a feeling my work load is going to slow down in another week or so.


At 6:30 PM, Blogger gloria said...

yep,sounds like you are home with the exception of trees!!ha ha stay safe and we love you glomom

At 4:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 5:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Michael

You don't know me, but I'm a friend of your mothers. We will be praying for you. Hope everything continues to go as well as they have gone so far. Stay safe!
Melanie B.

At 6:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Michael, stay safe over there and you're in my prayers. I'll be watching for new updates.

Missy's Friend Tiffany


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