Wednesday, January 31, 2007

1 KIA

  We just came out of “Minimized” a few hours ago.  LCpl Emul from Lima Company was killed in the IED blast that I wrote about.  I don’t have much information about it.  It didn’t happen in our area.  They have been attached to a Battalion to our East since December.

  My Marines are writing Valentine Cards to all the kids in Linda’s class.  I’m going to try and put them in the mail tomorrow.  Hopefully they will get there by Valentines Day.

  We had some problems with are crypto rollover today.  We still have a site that’s down.  We still have radio and regular network connectivity with them but the secret network is down.  We use the SIPR (secret network) to send operational things so it’s important to get it up.  We downloaded a 700 page Technical Manual to help us out.  SSgt Schneider is doing a lot of reading right now.  The piece of gear we are working on uses radio waves to transmit the data to a battle position.  We sent another Marine out to the battle position to troubleshoot it from that end.  Captain Bair is going to COP North tomorrow on a convoy to get accountability for some gear out there.  I got to get off of this camp and find some work.  There’s been talk of a new battle position being made.  I want to go out and help establish all the communications gear for it.  I don’t know if it’ll be ready before we leave though.  I’m going to try to get on with the jump platoon in the next few days if everything here is slow.

  Well, what do you know?  As I was sitting here getting ready to send this, the other battle position came on line.  SSgt Schneider must found what he was looking for in that manual.  Either that or maybe they just decided to plug it in.  hahahaha.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

No TV

  The MWR satellite went down while I was gone so the only thing anyone could watch in the gym was DVD movies.  I went to the gym to work out and the guy that works there ask me of I could take a look at it.  I got one of my Staff Sergeants and we started tracing the wires and cables and got it working.  I don’t know if it will stay up.  We really just gave it a quick fix for now.  I think someone took some cables and a few parts from it.  We are trying to scrounge up some extra gear to make it more permanent.  I have to make sure its going to be up for the Super Bowl next week.  That would be terrible if we couldn’t see it.

  After we fixed it, I did a light workout.  This was my first workout with weights and I felt fine.  I didn’t push myself or anything but I’m pretty sure I’m at 100%.  I just need to start lifting and get back to where I was before I got sick.  I’ve got about 100 days so I have plenty of time.

  January is almost done.  Captain Bair is ready to go home.  He’s walked in about four times today and said, “That’s it. I quit.”  He’s just joking but I know he’s ready to get out of here.  Just last month he was saying how great the extension would be and how it would give us more time to do more things out here.  He was acting all happy when we got extended.  Now he’s ready to go home.

  I told him that I blame the extension on him.  He’s going to be the last man out of Al Qaim when the Battalion leaves.  He is the junior Captain in the Battalion so that means he will be the “Plane Captain” when we go back.  A plane captain is responsible for manifesting all personnel.  He will be in charge of all the paperwork to get everyone back to the states and he has to keep taking accountability until we step off of the busses at 29 Palms.  He hates doing stuff like that.  Of course the Staff NCO’s will actually do most of the work and hold all the formations and do all the head counts but he will be ultimately responsible for the movement of the Battalion.  He will have to break everyone down in sticks for every movement on busses, helicopters, planes, and billeting requirements.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Clean Cafe

  I spent the entire day rewiring and remodeling the internet café.  It doesn’t matter how many times you sweep and mop that place – it always looks dirty.  We actually used soap and water on everything and cleaned it up real good.  We made some magazine racks and put all the magazines from Linda that we had finished looking through on the racks for people to look at while they wait.  It took all day.  Tonight we will start painting the room.  After we cleaned it all up, it still looked dirty so I told the Marines we were going to paint the walls.  They thought I was joking until the Company Gunny showed up with paint cans and rollers.

  I did my final exam this morning and got a 96%.  I missed an easy question that I should have gotten right but I guessed on two of the questions so I guess it worked out.  I got a %100 on my research paper.  I was going to be happy with a B but it looks like I should have a 97% or 98% for my final grade.  I’ve decided not to take another class.  They are still not sure exactly when we are leaving but the dates are getting closer all the time.  The date I heard today was May 5.  So, I don’t want to be on my way home for the last two weeks of a class.  I don’t want to study for a test or do any homework when I get back.

  Nothing much is going on.  All the companies except Lima (they are still gone until the deployment is over) are back from their big missions and they are doing their normal patrols.

  One of my Marines found out yesterday that his Step-Mom died fourteen days ago.  His family didn’t have his SSN and they didn’t remember what unit he was with so we never got a Red Cross message.  He logged on to “My Space” and read it.  I would have never guessed something like that could happen with all the technology we have available.  We can’t get to most sites from our computers.  You have to go to the café.  Since I had most of the computers in Balad getting fixed, most Marines didn’t bother going to the café because they knew that there would be a long wait to use the one computer that was online.  

  I got an e-mail from Missy yesterday and it said that mom (Bonnie) had a splint put in her heart.  So I called her last night.  I always feel stupid writing my mothers names after I say mom but if I don’t someone will think I’m talking about the other one.  She is feeling much better.  She sounded really good when I called.  I used our Sat Phone.  We get to use it for morale calls but I don’t like to use it.  I don’t want my men thinking that I use it more than them.  I want to make sure that I use it the least.  I have only used it four times since we got here.  Sometimes it will work fine and other times it will cut off every two minutes.  Last night, it kept cutting off.  It was nice to hear Mom, Shelton, and Dads voice.  I always think about what it must have been like for my dad in Vietnam.  No e-mail, internet, or sat phones.  Just writing letters and then getting responses back about two or three weeks later.  I would have already forgotten what I asked about when I got the response.  I think I would be terrible at corresponding via letter mail.  We’ve got it so good.  Technology has come a long way in such a short time.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

I'm back

  I’m back from my trip.  It was more like a vacation.  It is amazing how the Air Force lives.  Balad (Camp Anaconda) was an Iraqi Air Force Base.  So they have a lot of stuff there that you don’t find at an old train station.  They had a real movie theater, outdoor and indoor pool, four huge gymnasiums, Thirty-two internet cafes (The internet café technicians told me this), two PX’s with DVD players, televisions, computers, CD’s, DVD’s, and all kinds of food.  They also had an Bizarre (Flea Market for all you Arkansans reading this), Burger King, Pizza Hut, Subway, a coffee shop called “Mr. Beans”, and Taco Bell.  I couldn’t believe it.  If they had base housing there, I would ask to do three years.  They had more stuff going on than 29 Palms does.  They had a flag football league, two basketball leagues (men and women), and a floor hockey league.  They were having dance lessons at one of the gyms.

  I read an article in the Stars & Stripes about two months ago where some Air Force lady complained about getting care packages with hygiene gear in them and my Marines and I couldn’t understand what the problem was and we thought we were reading it wrong.  Now I know.

  I felt bad about being there and having all that stuff knowing that my Marines were not going to get to experience any of it.  Sgt Bostick and I only saw three other Marines on the whole base the entire time we were there.  Two of them worked at the hospital.  They were the Marine Liaisons that I had talked to when I got sick.  The other Marine was there because he was injured and was going back to his unit the next day.  It was cool to be the only Marines.  There were a lot of civilians on the base and they were all saying, “Hey Marine”, “Semper Fi”, “Ooh-Rah”, “I used to be a Marine”, “Hey, what are you guys doing down here?”.  So we met a bunch of really nice people that are over here doing contracting work.

  I ate at Taco Bell one time for lunch.  I couldn’t believe I was actually going to pay $7 for food when I could eat for free at the chow hall.  I’m the cheapest person you will ever know.  I wouldn’t have done it accept Sgt Bostick wanted to have it.  I blame him.  hahaha.

  I also saw one of my old MSG Marines.  Sgt Kohler was one of my guards at the Embassy in Kiev, Ukraine.  He got out of the Marine Corps and I heard from him twice in the first two years and then I lost track of him.  I was sitting at a bus stop and he walks up to me in an Army uniform.  He joined the National Guard in Colorado and his unit got deployed to Al Asad.  He got promoted to Staff Sergeant and works in admin.  Small world.

  So, all the computer were fixed.  So now the internet café will be fully stocked.  I’m hoping that there won’t be any more long waits to use a computer.

  I gotta go with Peyton Manning and the Colts for the Super Bowl.  He deserves to win it.  I usually always root for the underdog since I don’t actually have a favorite Pro team but in this case, Manning is not full of himself like most superstars these days.  I like watching the good guys win.  I was just happy to see the Patriots get beat out.  I don’t like seeing the same team make it year after year.  Hopefully the Saints can keep up what they’ve started.  Now if only the Cardinals and Lions could put something together.  I will never root for the Raiders (kind of like USC) – I enjoy seeing them at the bottom of the rankings.

 

Friday, January 19, 2007

Visit

  Gen Zilmer came by for a visit today.  We gave him a two hour brief on our area of operation (AO) and what we have been doing.  He said he was impressed with what 3/4 has accomplished.  Since we have been here the Iraqi Forces are now conducting more patrols than we are.  Our area has been extremely quite in the past eight weeks.  He wanted to take what we have done and use it as a model for the battalions to our East.  He said that we are the example for how the war should be fought.  He’s going to bring out some other generals within the next month to show them what we have done.  He also said 3/4 will probably not have to be here as long as we first thought.  He said he thought that we would only end up being extended for about 45 – 60 days instead of 90.  Nothing is set in stone yet.  We will see what happens in the next few weeks.

  I will be going to Al Asad tomorrow and then to Balad the next day.  I am taking 30 laptops to get repaired.  So I will be in Balad for two or three days and then fly back.  I don’t know if I’ll be able to post to my blog for those few days.  I will definitely post when I return.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Cobra Down

This was supposed to be sent yesterday but it didn’t get through…

  One of our fiber optic lines got cut about four days ago.  It’s a special kind of fiber that we don’t have the tools to fix so we are dependant upon other units at other basses for support.  It took 20 hours to get the techs in with their gear to start working on it.  They worked on it for about three hours and decided it was beyond repair.  So we had a role of this type of fiber that had been sitting outside for about two years.  We ran a new line and it came up just fine….for about four hours.  It went down and no one really knows why.  I’m guessing that it was left out in the elements for too long and once it got all stretched out it started cracking.  The length of the run is about 2,200 meters.  Only one end of the line had all the breaks.  I’m guessing that the outer layers of the fiber from the spool insulated the other inner layers.  Which, I’m hoping, is the reason there are no breaks at the other end.  We don’t have enough cable to make another run.  The techs have one splicing kit.  So we are running the back end of the wire again and the techs are going to splice into it.  Let’s hope they get it right the first time and my theory is correct.  We never suffered a network outage because we have another path that we use when one goes down.  However, that path is very slow and limits our capabilities.

 

This is today’s…

  The splice worked and everything is running at full speed.  A plane came in today with two more reels of fiber and we are going to run it a different route so we will have another backup just in case it ever breaks again.

  A Cobra helicopter went down in our area this morning.  No one was hurt.  It had some hydraulic problems and the pilot set it down on a road.  The jump went out to set up security around it.  The SgtMaj went with them.  The worst job is to get stuck on a team that goes out to set up security.  All you do is sit there and wait for someone to fix whatever is broken.  Usually you’re sitting in the desert for five to eight hours keeping the perimeter secure while a wrecker comes by and hooks it up or repairs the vehicle.  The SgtMaj was stuck out there for nine hours today.  When we first got here, the young Marines were thinking it was like “Black Hawk Down” and they would be setting up a perimeter and getting trigger time.  They found out pretty quickly that they were wrong.  They got the cobra fixed – kind of.  It could only fly about 15 feet off the ground.  So, the pilot flew it along the road while the vehicles drove in front of it.  I can’t imagine what the Iraqi’s thought when they saw it.  That may have been worth the wait.

 

Monday, January 15, 2007

Sheppard Boy

  A few of the Weapons Company personnel have started making their way back.  They are finishing up their month long series of raids that they’ve been doing through all the towns the boarder the river.  They got a lot of intel and snatched up a lot of bad guys.  The First Sergeant was telling me that almost every home they went to did not have a heater or A/C but they all had satellite TV.  He said almost every house would have a 15” TV in one corner of the room and everyone would be all bundled up in another corner.

  The Marines would set up a small first aid station in each town after they cleared it.  One little kid showed up with a bruise on his face and asked for medicine to make it go away.  The Doc looked in the kids mouth and he had two teeth that were rotten.  He got a pair of pliers and pulled the first tooth and the kid (probably 7 years old) didn’t scream or anything.  So he pulled another one and told the kid to come back the next day.  The kid came back and was all smiles.  He told them that his teeth had been hurting for as long as he could remember and he didn’t know what it was like to feel no pain.

  At another village, they passed out some Frisbees to the kids and the 1stSgt would play with one of the “rich” kids every day before and after school.  A Sheppard boy showed up one day with a swollen hand that was four times bigger than what it should be.  It looked like a big club.  He was 8 years old and worked for the rich kid’s father.  The Sheppard boy’s father received six sheep a year for the work of his son.  This kid was eight and would get up every day at 0400 and feed all the sheep.  Then he would take them out into the dessert and return around 1800 and put them all back into a cage.  He did this every day.

  The Jump platoon was out with the IED Roller again yesterday.  The lead vehicle with the roller spotted something in the road and stopped about five feet short of it.  They got out and it was a pressure plate IED.  They just happened to have an EOD Marine (bomb guy) with them.  They blew the IED in place and carried on with their mission saving the roller and the Marines.

Sheppard Boy

  A few of the Weapons Company personnel have started making their way back.  They are finishing up their month long series of raids that they’ve been doing through all the towns the boarder the river.  They got a lot of intel and snatched up a lot of bad guys.  The First Sergeant was telling me that almost every home they went to did not have a heater or A/C but they all had satellite TV.  He said almost every house would have a 15” TV in one corner of the room and everyone would be all bundled up in another corner.

  The Marines would set up a small first aid station in each town after they cleared it.  One little kid showed up with a bruise on his face and asked for medicine to make it go away.  The Doc looked in the kids mouth and he had two teeth that were rotten.  He got a pair of pliers and pulled the first tooth and the kid (probably 7 years old) didn’t scream or anything.  So he pulled another one and told the kid to come back the next day.  The kid came back and was all smiles.  He told them that his teeth had been hurting for as long as he could remember and he didn’t know what it was like to feel no pain.

  At another village, they passed out some Frisbees to the kids and the 1stSgt would play with one of the “rich” kids every day before and after school.  A Sheppard boy showed up one day with a swollen hand that was four times bigger than what it should be.  It looked like a big club.  He was 8 years old and worked for the rich kid’s father.  The Sheppard boy’s father received six sheep a year for the work of his son.  This kid was eight and would get up every day at 0400 and feed all the sheep.  Then he would take them out into the dessert and return around 1800 and put them all back into a cage.  He did this every day.

  The Jump platoon was out with the IED Roller again yesterday.  The lead vehicle with the roller spotted something in the road and stopped about five feet short of it.  They got out and it was a pressure plate IED.  They just happened to have an EOD Marine (bomb guy) with them.  They blew the IED in place and carried on with their mission saving the roller and the Marines.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Football

  Talk of next years football team has already started with the Marines that have plenty of time left with the battalion.  I’ve had eight Marines approach me in the past two days and ask, “Are we still going to have a team?”, “How much leave is the team going to get when we get back?”, “When are we going to start practice?”  Those of you who know me should know that I already have the answers to all those questions.  I’ve had it planned out from the day we left.  I’ve already had talks with other senior Marines about being on the coaching staff.  I’ve already talked to the Colonel about the design of our uniforms.  I’ve also been working on another playbook.  When you coach in the Corps you always have to play against people who once played for you.  So you always have to change the passing tree, audibles, and terminology or they will pick up on what you’re doing.  Especially when you move to a different team on the same base like I just did.  It’s great to know that these guys are thinking of stuff other than home.  The honest truth is that anytime someone is preparing for the future, it’s a good sign.  That means they are not thinking about dying in combat.

  Once we get back, we have two weeks of what I call “Don’t beat your wife training”.  Hahaha.  It’s a bunch of classes on how your wife and kids are all independent people and have adjusted to you not being around so both of you will need time to adjust.  They give those classes after every deployment.  It’s a good thing.  Some guys don’t realize the changes that have to happen when they’re gone.  Then we will all get some leave.  Once we get back….it’ll be football season!

  I haven’t done any Chuck Training since I had surgery.  I’m only doing cardio and sit ups.  Today I skipped the situps and did a few dips and pull ups.  I’m going to stick with this for another week and then start lifting.  After about a week of that, I’ll get back into the Chuck Training again.

 

Friday, January 12, 2007

Questions

  There is a lot of uncertainty right now for some of our Marines.  I have six Marines that have orders to report to a different duty station, and six Marines that are supposed to be getting out of the Corps between April and July.  Now we don’t know if they are still going or not.

  You can imagine a young wife at home getting all worked up because she has no idea if she is still moving, or if her husband is going to get to come home as scheduled, or if he is extended like everyone else.  If he is extended with everyone else; they may lose the duty station they want and be forced to pick another base.

  The battalion has about 130 Marines that are supposed to get out of the Corps within that three month time period.  So if they all leave, we are in trouble.  There won’t be any replacements coming in for them.  There isn’t going to be any additional troops sent to our area from another unit either.  Lots of questions and no answers.  It’s tuff for these guys.  I really do feel bad for these young men that have families with questions.  This kind of things happens all the time.  I remember what my seniors used to say when things like this happened, “Suck it up.  You’re in the Corps.  This is the only family you’ll ever need.  If the Corps wanted you to have a wife, it would have issued one to you.”  That was the ‘Old Corps’.  I will never say that to one of my Marines.  I’m glad I don’t have to explain all these things to my wife.  That’s one great thing about being married to another Marine.  She already knows the drill and understands what’s going on.  I just keep telling the Marines that I haven’t forgotten about them and I will tell them as soon as I find anything out.  They aren’t really bugging me but I know that they’re getting blasted by everyone at home.  They will do whatever is required of them without hesitation.  They just want to be able to put their family’s minds at rest.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

New things

  I got up this morning to watch the presidents speech before I went to the gym.  I knew right after he mentioned the Anbar Province that we would be extended.  I went to the gym, did some cardio, and some sit ups (only 75), then showered up and went to chow.  I was about to leave the chow hall when the SgtMaj and 1stSgt walked in and told me that we were going to be here for an extra 90 days.  I figured it was coming.  No big deal.  The Marines all took the news pretty well.  First Battalion Second Marines out of Camp Lejuene will not be replacing us now.  They are going to go somewhere else.  Third Battalion, Seventh Marines from Twentynine Palms got the word that they will deploy early and will replace us in Al Qaim in about five months.

  My wife bought a brand new van yesterday.  I am so glad she finally went and got it.  We have been looking at minivans (test driving, comparing prices, haggling, sending e-mails, researching crash tests and reliability scores) since September.  The biggest problem is; I’m cheap.  The best vans that we found are not the cheap ones.  So, she splurged a little and got a really good one.  I’m happy that she’s happy.  It should make her life much easier.  That little 96 Neon is way to small for three kids and one or two adults.

  I also got to see my new foster baby this morning.  Schellee held him up to the camera and let me look at him.  This is the first time we’ve had two boys.

 

OK, I’m saying this with humor…..  Don’t take this out of context…It’s meant to be FUNNY.  It’s always a bad idea to try to use emotion or humor in writing but here it goes anyway.

 

My Day went like this…

First, I woke up in Iraq.  Not good.  Then, the President made me believe that I might have to stay in Iraq longer than planned.  Still not good but it’s OK.  Next, I found out that my fears were true and we were extended – I went from 63% done with my tour to 44%.  This day can’t get any worse.  Then, while talking to my wife I learned that she wrote a check for $26,700.  WHAT??  Probably a good thing I got extended so I can make some more tax free money.  Then she holds up our new baby boy to the camera – yep, you guessed it; he’s black as the night.  Great!  That’ll be a wonderful picture in the base newspaper when I get off the bus run up to my wife to see our newborn son for the first time.  The photographers stick to everyone with a newborn baby to catch those precious moments.  How funny it will be to see the photographers face when he sees that I’m white.  I may even act startled and start yelling or something just to make it seem more real.  Hahahaha.

 

  The truth is.  I don’t mind being extended.  I’m glad we got a new van.  $26,700 out the door is a steal for what we got.  I don’t care what color the baby is or the looks we get.  We’ve had all kinds of races – you get used to it.  He needs a good home and he will get it at my house.  We love taking care of them.

  Hope everyone else is having a better day.  Hahaha.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Telephones are up

  The telephone switches are online and operational.  Everything went well.  A few people’s phones went down but we got them up pretty quick.  Not much else is going on around the camp.  It’s still pretty empty.  All three operations are still going on as planned and everyone is doing a great job.

  Hey Missy, Popular Mechanics Magazine is not “Shade Tree Mechanics”.  Hahaha.  Everyone knows I don’t work on cars.  I do like to looks at them.  Popular Mechanics is more of a scientific magazine about how and why things work.

  Some of my favorite shows are on Discovery Channel.  I like the shows about how they build big dams, bridges, and sky scrapers.  I think it’s cool.  I don’t ever want to do anything like that but it’s neat to know how it’s done.  I’d like to know how they change stadium events from a concert, to a football game, to a rodeo, and all that kind of stuff.  My other favorite shows are on Home and Garden Channel.  I like to watch Landscapers Challenge, Design on a Dime, and Gardening by the Yard.  My wife hates those shows, so I have to watch them on whenever she’s not around.  Hahaha.  I actually flip back and forth between those shows and football on Saturdays and Sundays.  Schellee doesn’t like videos either.  I think the only shows we both like are the reality shows and Everybody Loves Raymond.

  The show I’m most embarrassed about watching is “The Flavor of Love” with Flavor Flave.  Hahaha.  Schellee, Britni, and I all watched that show and then we watched it the second season too.  I didn’t even know who Flavor Flave was until I saw it.  It was pretty funny.  It was like “The Bachelor” but it had a lot of trashy women trying to date an old rapper and he would give them clocks to wear around there necks instead of roses.

  I’m done with one of my classes.  I got a 99% in my Advanced Computer Applications class.  I’ve got two more weeks left in my Software Design class.  I think I’ll be able to pull out a 92 – 95 in that class.  I’ve already got all of my weekly assignments done.  I’m just working on my papers now and of course I’ll be taking the final in two weeks.

  Rumors abound about getting extended.  No official word has been released.  Rumors of extension fly around for every deployment.  If it happens, it happens.  Semper Gumby.  I guess if we get extended I’ll register for another class.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Break Down

  My Marines got two of the telephone switches fixed about two days ago.  They took them apart and used the parts of one to repair the other two.  They will try to cut everything over again tonight.  Hopefully they won’t blow anything up.

 The Jump platoon rolled out today to go on a very long convoy.  They went out to check on Weapons Company.  They’re in the middle of a 25 day mission.  The jump attached IED Rollers to their lead vehicle.  The IED roller is big metal arm with wheels on the end that extends out in front of the vehicle.  The wheels roll along the ground in front of the hummer and will hopefully detonate any pressure plate IED that it drives over.  The arm extends about 30 feet in front of the truck so hopefully the blast will not hurt anyone in the vehicle.  It’s pretty cool looking.  It even has regular headlights and infrared lights on the front of it.  A Marine sits in the passenger seat and controls a little joystick to steer the wheels.  The first few versions of the arm didn’t have steering capabilities.  So when the vehicles would turn, the wheels didn’t actually drive over the same spot as the hummer.  Now they do.  They just got back about an hour ago.  They got about eight miles from the link-up point with Weapons Company and a vehicle broke down.  By the time they got everything fixed they didn’t have time to get there so they turned around and drove.  They are pretty upset.  They drove all day long and didn’t actually get anything accomplished.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Metal Box

  The Marines that had their rooms burned up in the fire have all moved down to the tin cans.  While they were sifting through the ashes they found a locked metal box.  Someone shouted, “Hey, whose box is this?”, and another Marine came running over with a key.  It was a fireproof box that he had gotten just a week prior.  His roommates had been making fun of him saying that he wasted his money.  He opened it and pulled out his brand new laptop.  No one is making fun of him now.

  I got a box from my Mom and Melanie today.  They sent me Dove chocolate and Sheridan Headlights.  I love reading the hometown newspaper.  Of course, I also love eating Dove chocolate.  It’s the smoothest chocolate you can get in the U.S.  I think it beats most European chocolates too.  I also got some more boxes from Mrs. Reimel.  She sent a lot of really great books and magazines.  The Marines snatched them all up pretty quickly.  I grabbed a Far Side book and a Popular Mechanics Magazine.  They grabbed the novels and the gun magazines.  I guess my sophisticated tastes aren’t shared by everyone.  Hahaha.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Fire

  The hits keep rolling in for 3/4 as we go through 2007.  This morning, I got up and went to the gym, did some cardio, and then went back to my tin can to shower up.  When I stepped outside, I saw smoke billowing out of Motor – T’s building.  Motor – T is located in a huge railway repair facility.  The Marines had built little wooden rooms all along one interior wall for all the Marines to live in.  This morning, around 0630, something shorted out and caught their living quarters on fire.  It burned everyone’s living spaces to the ground.  All the Marines got out and no one got hurt.  We don’t have “Fire Trucks”.  We used Crash, Fire, and Rescue vehicles from the helo pad.  They are limited on their capabilities to fight a building fire.  The actual railroad building is made of concrete and steel so the crash fire and rescue Marines basically controlled the fire to keep it from spreading until all of the wooden living quarters inside were burned up.  The Marines that lived there lost everything.  The sad part is a lot of them lost their personal laptops and PSP’s.  They will be reimbursed through the Marine Corps so eventually they’ll get the money that they lost but it should make for some pretty boring nights in Motor – T until we leave.  All the units are putting together whatever they have to give to them.  We’ve got enough uniforms, PT gear, jackets, etc. in supply for them so don’t worry about sending things.  Many of the sections in Al Qaim had received some stuff for Christmas, like socks (Motor-T says thank you Mrs. Reimel) and other things that have already been given to them.  They will be fine.  I will let you know if they need anything special.  I took a few pictures and will send them to Schellee, Missy, Linda, and my Moms.  So if you want to take a look then they can e-mail them to you.

  We thought we were good.  No comm wires in Motor – T were burned.  But suddenly Marines, Soldiers and Sailors started coming over to our shop to complain about comm problems.  The roof of Motor – T is a tin roof and we had about 20 telephone lines and 6 computer lines running over the top.  Well, it melted all of them.  So now my guys are out running telephone and data lines.  So far, 2007 has been a lot of work but I’d rather be very busy than very bored.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Everything is Breaking

  1stSgt Mimms is doing a lot better today.  He says he’s back to normal.  Some people have asked about the reaction of the Iraqi’s about the execution of Saddam.  I know they are having some issues in other parts of the country but there was really no reaction at all in our area.  There were no big celebrations, although the people said they were happy, and there hasn’t been any violence or threats because of it.

  2007 didn’t start off so well for my shop.  We lost three telephone switches at about 0100 on New Years Day.  We had five total and we need two on line at all times.  So, we don’t have any backup now.  The Marines had just finished programming one and was ready to hook it up to the network and it blew a fuse and caught two of them on fire.  Then it short circuited four terminals from another good one and blew its cards out.  They were doing this so they could move into the building that they’ve been remodeling.  Now it looks like the move will be on hold for another three to four weeks.  It short circuited about six field phones too.  Our satellite shot went down and we lost comm with higher headquarters.  When we tried to relocate the satellite our tracker system stopped working so we couldn’t find it.  Then one of our other shots (we call it a MUX shot) went down and we lost comm with four of our battle positions.  Then two hours later the Bn’s main communication channel went down.  We got that up about 15 minutes later by taking down a different channel.  We were running around like crazy.  Everything went wrong, but most of it is back up now.  The Captain labeled the slides for his brief “Bad”, “Worse”, “The Worst”.  He said, “We have to think of something good that happened today so I can put it in my brief.”  I told him that one of our LCpl’s installed a DVD reader on the SgtMaj’s computer and now he can watch movies on it.  So, he put that in there.

  Cpl Bostick got promoted to Sergeant yesterday.  Linda, I’ll try to get you some pictures for your students.  Sgt Mora was taking pictures with his camera and the camera just froze up and stopped working on him.  It was pretty expensive.  It had touch screen and edit features on it.  He’s trying everything to get it to work again.  It seems like everything is breaking out here.  I’m guessing that by tomorrow morning we will have everything up to normal.

  Hope everyone had a happy new year.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Cards and Boxes

  Today I got about 10 more boxes from Mrs. Means and Mrs. Reimel.  The mail only comes twice a week but because there is so much mail and only two postal clerks it takes them three to four days to sort through all of it.  So we get mail almost every day.  I also got a box from my sister.  She sent me My Name is Earl – Season One.  Everyone was pretty happy that I got that.  There were also cards from CalArk Trucking.  Thanks Missy and thanks to all the Ladies and Men at Cal Ark.  It was very nice of you to think of me.  I appreciate the support.  I noticed a name on one of the cards of a guy I went to high school with.  Sean, I’ll see you when I get back buddy.

  Today was pretty slow.  I’ve got a great picture from yesterday to send out to my Moms (both of them), Missy, Schellee, and Linda.  They can forward to anyone else. The Col and SgtMaj visited one of the local sheiks for lunch to celebrate Eid-Uladha.  While the Marine were outside securing the area, they noticed a kid was sneaking around looking at the hummers.  They saw him jump underneath one of the hummers and they grabbed him by the ankles and pulled him out.  I have a picture of them holding the kid by his ankles up in the air.  It’s pretty funny.  You’ll notice that the kid is dressed really well.  He’s got on blue jeans, a nice shirt, cap, and shoes.  You have to keep in mind that it’s one of the sheiks grandsons.  So they’re living much better than anyone else.

  Eid means festival in Arabic.  Eid Ul-Adha is celebrated by Muslims to commemorate Abrahams willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac.  It is also marks the end of the pilgrimage to Mecca.

  1stSgt Mimms has been sick for the past week.  Nothing major, he just hasn’t felt like eating and his stomach has been upset.  He looks like he’s doing better today but he’s 5”5’ to begin with and he only weighs about 105 lb’s.  So I tell him he looks sick all the time.  Last month I told the SgtMaj to tell him that he had to be an elf for Christmas.  The 1stSgt didn’t think that was too funny.  We started laughing so hard when he got mad.  We were in the chow hall and everyone started asking what was so funny and he was saying “You better not say a word”.  When we first got here, someone started a rumor that he had a negligent discharge in the shooting barrel.  That’s when someone is clearing their weapon (taking all the bullets out) and the weapon goes off on accident.  He hated that.  He was going around making sure everyone knew it was a rumor.  We always have fun at the 1stSgts expense - even when he’s sick.  Of course, it’s only because we love him so much.

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!