Archive for the ‘Iraq’ Category

Al Asad, Iraq

Author: Jon

We’ve arrived in Al Asad, Iraq, a US base in the western part of Iraq.  This is our last stop in Iraq until we fly back to the states.

Till then, we’re just trying to find stuff to do to eat up the time.  Everyone just wants to get away from one another as living on top of each other for the past year will make  you hate even your best friend.  They do have a movie theater and indoor swimming pool, so our transition to the states won’t be a total shock.  Other than that, it’s hurry up and wait as usual.

Palace Tours

Author: Jon

Yesterday, I was able to meet up with an old friend from home, 1LT Tom Race, and go on a tour held on VBC (Victory Base Complex).  We went to Saddam’s ‘Victory Over America’ Palace which was still under construction during the initial invasion back in 2003.  Needless to say, it still  needs some work.

After that, we toured the former Bath Party Headquarters.  This was one of the first building his during the Shock & Awe campaign before the invasion.  Saddam was suppose to be at a meeting with 250+ Bath Party members when a Tomahawk missile stuck the conference room.   Unfortunately, Saddam was running late and we missed him, though over 200 of the Bath Party members are still entombed in the building.  For $1 million, a Tomahawk cruise missile better deal out some damage.

Lastly, we went to the Al Faw Palace, which is used as a HQs building by the US Forces.  This one was completed well before the invasion, and as far as I know is undamaged.  Grand and regal are the best way to describe it.  Though, I can’t help wonder how the money spent on it could have been better used for the country…

Wrapping Things Up

Author: Jon

With our replacements now in theatre, we start the fun process of RIPing (Relief In Place). Theoretically, this means we continue missions while we train the new guys what we learned until they are ready to take the reins and do everything themselves.  In reality the process involves so much equipment, items, knowledge and plain Ole Army Bureaucracy to hand over, missions cease until the new unit starts them back up again.  With hope, this will be relatively soon, as we’re setting them up to succeed unlike what our predecessors did for us; namely leaving 90% of the Engineer equipment broken and none of the tactical vehicles set up for missions.

For now, we’ve moved into another tent city, where we’ll wait out the last days in Iraq; although that may sound soon, it isn’t…   Time has seemed to slow to a crawl as everyone is now talking about what they’re going to do when the return home.  Some are looking at buying a house or a car, some just want to see their family, while some go home to nothing: no job, no home besides their parent’s, no education, and no plan.  While the Army does offer many tools to help start one’s civilian life back up, times (as I’m sure we’re all aware of) are tough.  Though for me, I plan to return to my parent’s house until OSU’s fall quarter where I have only two quarters left for my B.S. in Electrical Engineering.  The Army may have turn a 5 year plan into 9, but they did pay for it and have given me a priceless experience in leadership and life.  Until school starts up I plan to visit friends and family as well as take a few vacations that are already scheduled.  Oh, and an Army leadership course, FUN!

I don’t have any pictures this time, sorry.

Back to Work

Author: Jon

It didn’t take long and they sent me right back to work.  I’m at a base called FOB Kalsu, doing similar stuff as before.   The difference being I’m in charge here.  My platoon has been tasked with a few different missions, so I have my squad and a few others from another squad.  To be honest, I love it.  I’ve always been a good follower but truly feel at home being the one in charge.  What can I say, it’s in the genes.

Back in Iraq

Author: Jon

I made it back to Camp Styker late last night and am ready to finish this deployment.  We have just a couple of months left which brings me to a point:  The last day to send me mail will be 15 Feb 2010.  I really appreciate everything everyone has sent me but to be honest, I probably won’t need anything other than letters from here on out.  Again, thank you for everything to everyone who’s sent me anything!

Heading back to Iraq

Author: Jon

Now that my leave is over, I’m heading back.  Luckily I only have a couple of months left, though I don’t have any exact dates.

Leave was great, I was able to see a lot of family in Las Vegas as well as help stimulate the economy there.  (Luck didn’t find me)  I also got to see many friends in Dayton, Columbus and Northern Kentucky.  I just want to say thanks to everyone for their hospitality and good times!

Back in Baghdad

Author: Jon

We’ve finally finished up at FOB Delta and our platoon is now back in Baghdad.  I’ll be heading home for leave while the future plans for the platoon are not quite clear.  There are rumors of several different missions from heading to a different FOB to staying here on VBC.  Now that I have Internet in my CHU I’ll be able to post some pictures on this site, so watch for those…

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!   I got the one present I wanted more than all; my leave dates.  I’ll be home on the 17th of January till the 1st of Feb.

I’ll be taking a vacation with the family on the 19th -22nd but other than that I don’t have any plans, so if you want to get together and have a beer (or 3), let me know!  It’ll just be nice to get away from all the sand and back home with family and friends.
Can’t really say we’ve had a normal Christmas (besides the obvious).  We had a tournament on the Xbox (I got second) and cooked cans of Skyline chili.  Honestly, wouldn’t have had it any other way (except for not being here).

Still no word on how long we’ll be here at FOB Delta or what we’ll be doing next, but I imagine I’ll be on leave when the change occurs.

Merry Christmas!

Happy Thanksgiving

Author: Jon

I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday.  Things are well here in FOB Delta, Iraq.  We had the day off and went to eat as a platoon.  The turkey was dry, the beans rubbery, the dressing was awful and the gravy was made with salt water, but it was a great day!  I have a lot to be thankful for, all my soldiers are still safe and we’re almost  complete with this perimeter road mission.  Don’t know when we’ll be heading back to Baghdad but I’d imagine by next year we’ll be there.

SNAFU

Author: Jon

Same old same old here at FOB Delta.  We’re about 97% done with the 24+ km perimeter road.  Next is either the perimeter berm (wall-o-dirt) or move back to VBC (Baghdad).  Not really sure what the future holds which is par for the course…

Our platoon is doing outstanding though, we get along as well as any 40 dudes confined to two rooms where you get to smell, hear, see and deal with each other 24/7.  We are getting all our work done and staying a cohesive unit which apparently is a hard thing to accomplish.  I give all credit to the fact we are away from the flag pole (HQ).  {No offense, sir} Out here we are allowed to use our own discretion and control to get done that which we are ordered to.  No prying eyes over our shoulders and no sharp-shooting of our plans.  No sergeants major, with nothing better to do, stalking around looking for some ass to chew.  Only ~40 soldiers and a LT who listens and makes decisions based on reason and help from experienced sergeants.

I’m sure the tone of this post is far different from previous ones, which is mostly due to the fact I’ve already vented this evening, but I’m sure a ranting, bitching one will come later.  The new active duty unit that arrived here is already started to get under my skin and it will only be a matter of time till I come to the Internets to blow off steam.
I’d post more pictures but (1) the internet is infernally slow (2) see the pictures from the previous post, add new, witty comentary and that’s what’d they be (3) the past four months could be summed up by watching Ground Hog’s Day with Bill Murray.  Good movie, horrible life.