Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Summer has finally arrived to this great sand box. Our thermometer showed 127 a few minutes ago, it's in the 140's out on the flight line. For you folk back home, imagine a blow dryer turned over your whole body. At least it's not humid; you body sweats and the evaporation cools you off somewhat, that is if you're drinking enough water. I have no reason to complain, I'm not working on the flight line and my offices air conditioner hasn't even flinched yet. My first trip out here there were entire weeks where we were without power or running water. Camping in Iraq surviving off flashlights and bottled water was no fun!

Slowly but surely, you can see the changes taking place around here, specially if you've been here as many times as I have. All of the vehicles that go off base are now armored, new air conditioning units are hanging outside of all of the buildings and even the exchange has improved its inventory. Each group coming through has improved their spaces to suit their needs, after a couple of years of doing improvements, our work centers have taken on a personality of their own reflecting the people who have worked there. This is our home away from home, so we try to make it as comfortable as possible.

In most cases there is no one telling us how to decorate, we think of a good idea, pass that idea around and then run with it. Homemade benches under camo netting, bookshelves line the walls, lofts made out of 4X4's, we recycle anything that can be used and not much goes to waste. The quality of the projects depends on the talent of the builder. A good carpenter will leave his mark on a space for years to come and on the return trip, they can say, I built that and no one has thought of anything better. Having quality tools and knowing how to use them makes you a very popular guy.

The sand bags have been replaced by Hesco barriers, tall wide wire boxes lined with cloth that are filled with sand. Thicker and safer then sand bags and easier to use, we set them up where we want them and have someone with some kind of earth moving equipment come by and fill them up. No more filling sand bags! Yay! These form little mazes around all of the entrances to buildings and sometimes as fences around larger areas.

The bases are finally falling under a rule of law; there are a regulations and plans for just about any kind emergency. No running around like a headless chicken anymore when something goes boom. The MP's even have radar guns and hand out tickets. It's almost like being home other then the heat, lack of beer, not having your own vehicle and everyone wearing the same unstylish clothing.

Deploying to Iraq has become routine as far as being on base goes. But it's still a jungle outside of the gates; IED's are getting bigger to offset the new armored vehicles. With that the amount of explosives that is required to make it through our armor, the fragile humans inside aren't usually in good shape after getting caught in a blast. We're getting better though and we're far from being easy meat for the bad guys.

Medical work comes in waves, couple of weeks ago it was bike wrecks, last week, lacerations, this week, 5 people have fallen off of the aircraft, 3 today and all of todays people have banged up their wrists, nothing obviously broken but it is strange how certain types of injuries bunch up. No war wounds or anything you wouldn't expect back in the states. Suturing, splinting and wrapping up twisted ankles, nothing life threatening or serious which is good.

No comments: