Wednesday, March 31, 2004

a little post about my welcome out here, old news

I wrote this the morning after I arrived at this airbase a couple of weeks ago, so enough time has passed so that I'm not the one letting the cat out of the bag....

We have finally arrived, touched down at 10:00 they gave us the brief of the base, do's and don't and they told us, quote/unquote "we never get hit out here." We headed out and picked up our bags, go to our new hooches with padded bunks and start stowing our gear when the suddenly the there's booms all about and the duty rushes in and yells "GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER AND MEET AT THE COC!", so much for my warm welcome, within 10 minutes I was on a patrol to the flight line to find some AVI guys that were troubleshooting an aircraft when the action started. Maybe I'm bad luck, the base hasn't seen this much action since we took it over last year. We gathered back at the COC, the crew that we were sent to find had laid rubber making it back to the unit so our trip was just a patrol around the aircraft. Nice little rush to get the blood pumping and get everybody in the proper mindset of combat. Before I go on, other then a strained ankle and some of us new comers running into constantine wire (yes me), all of my guys are okay. This morning there was a fire fight somewhere off base and we had to go through another rude awakening, we gather our stuff and set up the perimeter and laid low looking in all directions. Dawn came and we relaxed a bit, now we're back down to a lower threat level. Hopefully I'll be able to make it to the internet soon to upload all of this. Take care I'm off to go catch a nape while it's quite.

On a side note, I received clearance to post my pictures on my fotopage, so family members out there, check em out. Peace!

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Over the last week

Sorry about the breaks in my posts, I'm trying to go the legal route by going through the base Public Affairs Office here before posting pictures and I want to clear up legal issues that could arise, so I haven't down to the internet cafe as much. I have the approval from my Old Man and my home base PAO (they use my pictures in the base paper), but out here it's an entirely different story. Actually the clearance is more towards my photo blog, this blog I'm not so worried about. It's better to take care of it now then have it come back and bite me. Also one of the rules is I can't tell you where I'm at exactly, sorry.

Anyhow, We arrived with a bit of action happening, first out here for a while I guess. I'll post about it later when it's been cleared but all of my guys are alright. Only medical problems with my guys are scratches from laying constina wire (sp?), blisters from new boots, this cold that is now dying down and one really sprained ankle. Second day here the mail guy finally caught up to me and said he had a huge stack of mail, so I'd like to give a Big thanks to everyone for the care packages, letters and post cards from all over.

Here's a list of some of the people, I'll be sending out emails soon and there's sure to be people missing but not forgotten.

Janie W. and the employees of Jane's Daycare in Seattle WA(yes I did email you!)
Kelly B. of Rhode Island
World Prep Inc. of Toledo
Kathleen A. of Davie Fl
Marge S. of Orland Park IL
Rebecca T. of Mesa AZ
Tracey R of Mary Ester, FL
Rachel W. of Mentague MI
Barbra S. of Buffton IN
Linda R. of Irwin PA
Jane G. of Overgaard AZ

It's amazing the amount of support I've been receiving from the home front. I've been sharing all the goodies with my Marines and they're all very thankful. And people that have been sending letters to Any Marine, I've passed those out too.

What can I tell you about the base? Can't complain about the food, it's great so far, everything is a bit of a walk but if anything I'm adaptable. I've been the night medical guy, a bit more laid back then the day crew. BX has a bunch of stuff, prices aren't bad. Our showers are usually out of water every other day and power is always an issue, the local grid is harsh to electrical appliances, could be because we buy the power converters from the locals. Their goods aren't the best. All and all it's better then I expected. Let me clear up legal issues with big brother and I'll be posting more. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

I'm in Iraq now, will be posting more about it soon

Forty of us have been hanging out in this hanger in Kuwait that was bombed out by the US in the first Gulf War for the last eight hours, it was announced last night that we were to have our bags staged at 730 and we would head over here to be flown out around noon, well noon came and went 5 hours and 15 minutes ago, guess the C130 got set back till 6:30 PM (1830 to you military folk). So what to do all day? Wandered around these hangers that as the story mill goes, was built by a French company for the Kuwaitis and supposed to be able to withstand 2000 pound bombs. All well and good, wish I had a house that was as stout as these hangers were, well the Iraqi's invaded in 1991 and we drove them back including evicting them from this base which these 2000 bomb proof hangers are built on. Somehow the Kuwaitis found out that we were blowing the hell out of their hangers that were guaranteed to 2000 pound bombs with 1000 pound bombs and there's a lawsuit in the works to sue the French company to rebuild these hangers and most of this air base. I've been checking out the damage and taking pictures, we ordered 20 pizzas from the local pizza shop and I'm just chilling back now, since I'm not doing anything of importance, might as well toss a blog entry in to go with the pictures taken. Should be out of here soon, by the time you read this I'll be in Iraq at the airbase that I can't announce without the skipper approval. Take care all.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Care package Ideas

Things we're short on up here.. Powered external speakers, we've become quite the movie watching bunch. It's impressive how many people brought laptops with them but no external speakers. There's been a number of people that have fried their electronic gear plugging it into the 220 volt/50 hz power supply, not so bright people thought powerstrips that we plug our computers into are also power converters (if you look on the cords of laptops it says input 100-240volts,50-60hz, output 16v 4.5 amps they're built to be plugged in anywhere), so far these not so bright young Marines (not me) have lost a number of speaker power supply's, battery chargers, clippers and power strips. I'm not sure how I became the expert on this, I'm the doc (but could be my electronics degree, the flight surgeon has a degree in electrical engineering, we're not your average medical folk). In the US the power is at 110-115 volts at 60hz. 60hz which for some reason isn't as harsh on the heart, out here we're using 220 volts at 50hz, half the time when you plug something in out here it kicks up sparks. These guys come to me saying their charger for their gameboy PS or battery charger hasn't worked since they brought it out here. And I say "hmm, you plugged in at the tent to charge it right?" and they say "yeah Doc", and my common response is you need to buy a new power supply and a power converter, that toast, you let the smoke out of the box. The power grid just doesn't seem stable. 50 Hz is one of the frequencies the heart is most sensitive to, so at anytime I expect to run to one of my guys that was fiddling with the plug and has knocked himself out. So things in care packages that would make our life extremely cool, external speakers, power converters, electronic gear that can run at different voltages, dvd movies, games, books (specially Robin Hobbs new book Fool's Fate or maybe The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger) drink mixes, beef jerky always goes well, flashlights, homebaked goods that will survive the trip, the BX out here isn't too bad but there's still big holes in the inventory. A projector that hooks up to a computer or dvd player would be way way cool but I'm trying to talk to O's into sponsoring that, I'd feel pretty guilty if I received one in the mail (Bill Gates if you're reading this, that's on my wish list, heh).

Kuwait, take one

I've begun distributing my "Kuwait Take One" windows media player slideshow/movie to the troops to send back home to the families, the reception has been great. The big release of the CD was yesterday afternoon and I've been hearing the soundtrack playing somewhere in the tent consistently since. It's a nice little job on the side since I'm the picture taking fool might as well put it all together in a good package. It has footage of packing up, our trip and what we've been doing since we've been out here overlaid with appropriate music. I think it will do what I want for the target audience back at home. I don't then many of them have followed my links from my fotopage to the blog but it should be in the mail soon, key wives get the tissues out (heh heh, evil laugh). Well I'm running into no shortage of anybody that wants their picture taken, just in how much time I have to upload the pictures.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004


One of the reasons that I'm excited about this trip is the Mystery. This is the cradle of civilization, Babylon one of the seven wonders of the world is out here. Flying CASEVAC and being with a unit that by nature will be all over the map could give me the chance to actually see some of these sights. So if there is any possible way, if I have to sacrifice my small ugly pinky toe, I'll find my way there. From what I've heard from other military people that came around on the first go, there were trips set up going out there. It's someplace that I've always wanted to see since I was a kid, Alexander the Great launched his empire out of this area. This area was referred to as the fertile crescent, there used to be farm land as far as eye could see, now it's just flat desert, what happened? Now's my chance to see it by a birds eye prospective and I take better pictures then the average bear, unlike the measly pictures that my friends took. Mark my words now, other then keeping my Marines and my self alive and keeping the home fires burning, Babylon here I come.

Monday, March 15, 2004

The Rise of Milblogs

Hat tip to Janie for pointing this my direction. Huge Hewitt from The Daily Standard does an excellent article on Milbloggers, troops like me on the ground that are telling it like it is. Some of my favorite milbloggers are mentioned there, Sgt Hook, Lt Smash, Chief Wiggles, Blackfive and Grayhawk. These are the father figures to the rest of us young buck milbloggers. We all had to start someplace, Lt Smash has always put a nice shiny spin on a dusty and dirty war, when he came back he had some of the best reporting on the southern California fires around and he's become good voice for the center. Just because you're in the military doesn't mean you're stuck on the Right side of the political spectrum. Chief Wiggles has shown us that one person can make a difference through his toy drive, after trying to keep his name low profile, the person that tells the world who he really is with words of praise is President Bush, how cool is that? Sgt Hook always gets down into the nitty gritty of the mundane aspects of Army life and I always enjoy his take on life, plus he sends a lot of traffic my way. Blackfive (the paratrooper of love) is no longer in the military but he's a great advocate and has quite the following, good stuff over there. Grayhawk is a great military writer out of Germany, he brings us all together through Milblogs. Milblogging is showing the world that we're human just like the rest of you, we have our fears, gripes about being stuck in a dust bowl, missing our families but without these blogs all we would be are faceless storm troopers. Blogging has become my big release, between my two sites and the feedback I've been receiving, I don't have time to feel lonely and depressed (I was never much into that anywhere). There's definitely an addictive aspect to all of this. Hopefully my writing will improve over time.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Didn't make it out (sigh)

Wow, that was a big jump in my paycheck! All of the combat pay for the entire month of February and the tax free status kicked in today. bills are going to be caught up quick. We tried heading north today but there was an electrical problem on one of the birds, 2/3's of the unit has already arrived and from what I hear they are sleeping at the work center because the Army hasn't moved out yet. Does't look like I'm missing that much. It would have been nice to be one of the first people on deck so I could set up all the contacts with the local medical department but instead I will sit here on my thumb. I'm easy, everything with come together. It's a problem that is out of my hands.

Life for this past week has consisted of waking up, taking a shower, chow, going to the hanger, sickcall of sorts, taking pictures, chow again, hanger, back to hooch. During this time I've been stopping by the internet cafe, posting pictures, MWR tent sometimes (found the audio unabrigded version of Robert Jordan's novel New Spring, I was just going to send out for the book!), BX, reading and trying to find anything of interest to do on this base. Thanks to the family members back at Edwards, my fotopage is now #1 at, hopefully I'll be out of here in a couple of days and start some real work, till then it's just fun in the sun.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Still in Kuwait

Most of the squadron is already in Iraq, one of our birds had a problem and I got picked for being on chase crew staying back with the bird. Hopefully the C130 farrying us up there is going to pick us up in a couple of days. Sorry for not posting more, for one thing nothing of interest has happened in the last few days and the internet cafe has been going through blackouts. Could say I was busy but have been mostly slacking off taking pictures and just hanging out. We're already starting to have people getting homesick, one of my Sgt's was talking to his four year old son last night and his son asked him to come home and he almost broke down. I'm not feeling it yet but then again I have a lot of things to fill my time with. Yeah I miss home but I'm able to keep those feelings at an arms distance and not let them become me. Walking around mopping only makes the time stretch. Trying to talk my Doc into starting a blog, he's a pretty good writer. If he does don't worry I'll put up a link. Peace out.

Monday, March 08, 2004

Packing up again

We're all getting ready to leave the lovely Kuwait, bags are packed and we're ready to go out and a small corner of the world. Getting over my cold, sorry I haven't been able to update in a few days. 1st CAV pulled into town and took over everything. 900 or so of them making the lines long and filling up the port-a-potties. I really don't mind all of this out here, it's better then the first wave had but it's going to be nice to have flushing toliets went we get to our final stop in a couple of days. Next time I'm on I'll probably be posting from there, take care.

Friday, March 05, 2004


Three quarters of us have the crud, me included. I got over the crud I had before we left and now I'm coming down with this, at least I brought a lot of cold meds. Other news we've got kicked out of our holding cell circus tent by an incoming Army unit that must stay close together (like it matters if my unit is close together or not?). Spent the morning putting on moleskin and sunblock, other then that and the crud everybody looks to be doing alright, have no depressed people about, sure they're out there but not in my unit, well yet that is. You know this is somewhat peaceful out here from my point of view. You know everybody is doing good when the doc's bored. This gives me a chance to catch my breath before we head into the real work. Take care.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

A letter from someone that's no longer there..

We had our formation this morning at 6 and were handed a piece of paper and an envelope and told to write a letter home incase something happens. I know this is a military tradition but what are you supposed to say? I know it's important and I did write mine, but it just doesn't have the same seriousness unless you actually think that you're going to die. I'm not planning dying right now but my job is by nature, even without people shooting at us is dangerous. Flying around in helicopters that came out during Vietnam era, kick em hard enough and the bondo falls off that covers the bullet holes. But this airframe has saved my bacon a time or two though, I've had a few really really close calls that I was sure when it was happening that my ticket was about to be punched. Alas I am still here with a few more sea stories. Now what to say on letters such as this? Have a good life? Don't forget me? If something that bad happens to me, I hope I'm remembered but everyone close to me just needs to move on with their lives. I've been around enough death to know it's never easy. It's even harder the closer you are to the center of that persons live.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Woke Jason out of his rack.

I woke up Jason from Just Another Soldier today, he gave me directions to his hooch and I stopped by on the way to work. The world is getting smaller each day, he's a national guardsman that was activated to support Operation Enduring Freedom. He used to be on the Milblogs roll list but had to shut his site down. I'll be posting the picture later.

Well this cold that was bothering me before I came and went away came back with a vengeance. I'm glad it's Belly's turn to man the hanger, I'm going to try to catch up on some sack time and try to fight this off. Things are getting more organized around here and we're starting to have a clue to what we're going to be doing. Thanks for the emails of support.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Good reading

Thank you BloodSpite for this, I'm just a guy that's doing his job, that's what most of us are doing that receive these types of awards, then we push on an hope we can live up to the name that award gave us.

Fun in the sun

Barren landscape as far as eye can see, every once in a while there's a few bits of grass, nothing more growing or living in the ground. I would like to say the base is an oasis in this wasteland but that would be a lie. There's no green here, all the buildings have a temporary look, like at anytime we could pack our bags, roll up the huge circus tents, load everything up and leave. There's always dust, a fine brown dust, some people might call it sand but it has the consistency of flour. We've put the blades on the birds and now testing all the systems. Still haven't moved anywhere since our arrival. This is a different ball game then they had in Vietnam, we've taken many of the comforts of home packaged up and ready to go. I hear the Burger King in Baghdad serves more Whoppers then any Burger King in the world. Goes to show you how much some of these people are missing home. Can't say the chow hall is the greatest but its way better then many I've experienced, people are comparing this to CAX (combined artillery exercise at 29 Palm's California) but this is way better, internet connection at CAX? Yeah right. I'm reading Peter Straub's Koko, the main character is reliving his days in Vietnam. A different story, a different life. I have no idea what it's going to be like when we get in-country (we're still in Kuwait). Me personally, I'll probably be doing a lot of flying.

I was reading somewhere that if something wasn't recorded then it didn't happen. We I'm putting this all down so I can come back and remember and if that something happens to be, maybe this will be my mark on the world. I'd like to stick around just to see my comments section.