Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Base D Philosophy

This week I am pulling Base Defense where I stare at a barren Iraqi landscape making sure insurgents don't try to infiltrate our FOB. An all out attack on our base cannot be ruled out as impossible, but the probability would be one-tenth of one percent. So our main purpose of sitting out in 114-degree weather is to keep an eye on the roads and villages close to out FOB. From our watch towers we can see out into the distance and spot insurgents trying to place roadside bombs. This is a good thing because roadside bombs are nobody's friends. I like to pass my time out on Base D talking with whomever I get paired up with for that shift. During those few hours we talk about everything under the sun. Family, religion, current events, politics, women, sports, high school memories and why we are in Iraq are all possible topics. Today I spent an hour debating with Specialist Mennor trying to help him understand that NASCAR is not a sport. In this picture I am sitting on the tower at one of the gates. You can see the cement barriers in the road, which were put in place to slowdown traffic and further out you can see what we call Back Gate Village. Back Gate Village probably has the fattest kids in Iraq living there because as we cruise through this village we usually throw out the remainder of our candy that we didn't hand out while on our mission. We are working with this village to improve their school and build a water treatment facility.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

And I Thought California Drivers Were Bad

The peace and quiet of Sunday morning was shattered with a monstrous explosion just outside our FOB (Forward Operating Base). G Troop was sent to investigate and find the cause of the explosion. As the convoy approached an Iraqi Police checkpoint in close proximity to our FOB the mystery of the explosion quickly vanished. It was obvious that a suicide car bomber had just attempted to kill off a few IP at the checkpoint. The Iraqi Police on the checkpoint said that the man driving the vehicle tried to takeout one of their police trucks but only managed to kill himself, wound three Iraqi civilians and do moderate damage to the police truck. This picture (courtesy of Staff Sergeant Mayo, 3rd Platoon, G Troop) shows what was left of the insurgent�s car. We refer to these car bombs as VBIEDs (Vehicle Bourne Improvised Explosive Devices) and they have become more and more popular during the past 60 days. They have driven VBIEDs into military convoys but their main targets have been Iraqi Police and Army checkpoints. Coalition Forces seem to have become secondary targets to Iraq�s own people. It is my hope that no more Iraqi police or soldiers will need to die for the Iraqi citizens to wake up and start reporting insurgent activity in their villages which will save the lives of their own people. We are here to help; all they have to do is ask.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

I Hate That Guy!

If not for the mortar attacks on our base this would have been a quiet, peaceful week. Heaven forbid that should ever happen. The retard that thinks it is cool to shoot 82mm mortars at us is really starting to upset me. Thankfully G Troop has not taken any casualties from his attacks, but I don't like being someone's target. Know what I mean? Today while we were out on a patrol we searched a little unoccupied shack and we found a bunch of little clay figurines and toys made out of mud. In this picture I am holding a little toy car. There were little people, bears, cows and even little cups and bowls. It reminded me of a little kids "hidden treasure". I am amazed at how simple life is to an Iraqi. It is good for me to think about this from time to time because it reminds me that the majority of the people here are not the ones trying to kill me. Most of them want peace and stability in their country and a better future for their kids. This is hard for me to keep in mind sometimes.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are!

One day back in Iraq and the insurgents were anxious to see me again. Qubbah is a large village in our area and the IA (Iraqi Army) reported that about thirty insurgents had ambushed them there. That kind of intel will get G Troop fired up and rolling out without argument. When we rolled into the village I was certain that a battle was afoot. Usually when we roll into a village I see people out and about walking places or working, and there are always a few curious individuals who come out to the street to look at the Americans. But when we pulled into Qubbah I didn't see a soul. I thought, "Everybody is indoors because they know something is about to go down." A truck with loud speakers started driving around telling all adult males to come to the center of the village. I said to the driver of our truck, "There's no way that they are going to just come walking out here." To my surprise and relief the men came out and we searched the village without incident. We didn't find any insurgents, but we found some evidence that they had been there. Our biggest obstacle in stabilizing Iraq is getting the people to trust and help us. Some people do help us out by giving us tips on insurgent activity, but most people do not. They are afraid of what the insurgents’ will do to them if they are discovered helping the Coalition Forces, or they are related to the insurgents and in Iraq family always comes first.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

I'm Back!

Well, R&R is over and I am glad to be back.

May 22nd thru June 6th were the best days of my life. I didn't do much other than hang out with Erika and the kids and visit with family and friends. I loved it, every minute of it.