Friday, April 23, 2010

quick update

So two weeks? It all runs together, sorry. Here goes. Work with the MiTT team is complete, our transition to the STT is in full swing. I've effectively taken over the responsibilities of 4 captains and two majors, although I'm not sure if I will be as effective as al of them together. I'm sure we'll get by though, we'll get the work done and thats all that matters. I think I'll be working a little harder than usual though. We still haven't moved yet, its a couple days away and I'm still trying to figure out how we're going to accomplish the move with everything going on as well. There is an Iraqi Squad Competition that we've planned for a few days from now, which should be lots of fun and a very unique experience. It will last four days and cover everything from sector sketches and marksmanship to individual movement techniques and battle drills. Its a challenge, and its the first time most of my guys have had an opportunity to teach these things. Most of them have only been in the army a couple of years, if that long. Still, I am proud of them for what they are doing and the efficient manner in which they do it. I couldn't ask for a better platoon. We've also got our patrols, KLEs, and other tasks, and then I've got my meetings, then more meetings, then additional reports, etc. Its a busy schedule. I love it though, it actually feels like we're doing something worthwhile out here. It has really helped the morale of the guys doing this, even though we're working more than we were before. In other notes, I've started planning for redeployment. The date of my return is screaming closer a mile a minute. With days running together like this, it will be over before I know it. I can't be unprepared. Working on budgeting, trying to find a house, all the little things that have to be set up when I get back. I want to get my plan in order now so that when my guys have problems I can help them without having to worry about my own. I'm looking for another 3 bed 2 bath to settle into when I get back. I realize rent will be higher but I'm not too worried about it. I like having some space, especially if I'm going to have visitors. All for now, got work to do!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Another week down

I think I can probably manage at least one post a week now. Things are going well, I'm enjoying the new job and working with my Iraqi counterparts. Outside the wire every day, working with the Iraqi Army. There's a lot going on here in Iraq, but I'll stay out of the details as much as I can. Just know I'm busy working, doing what I do day in and day out, and I love my job. I've started running again, and believe me its been a rough start. I hate running. I'll find excuses not to run. I'm good and fast if its a short distance, but I hope I never HAVE to run very far. I'm not so good at distance. The army still uses a 2 mile PT test, so I guess I'll conform to the masses and just deal with it until they come up with a sprint test or something. Or until I'm old enough all I have to do is show up to pass. Still, I've started running again. Someone once told me the only way to get better at running is to run more, so I've started. Besides, its probably good for me anyway. Still working on the diet, no results thus far. No progress. I've got more time in the evenings now, so its easier to get to the gym. About the beginning of May or so I'll start a P90X program, and try to maintain it for the full 90 days. We'll see how that goes. It will be right after we move to the new complex, so I'm hoping the location change will be what I need to amp up the schedule. Got my sister a birthday present today, hopefully I'll get it in the mail and shipped home before she leaves for Georgia. Got a little something for my mom as well. I miss being at home. Looking forward to the day I get out of here and get to go home for a while. Thats all for now, back to work.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter in Iraq

Happy Easter to all those at home! I'm really missing home today. Wish I could be with my family. I just got back from my Easter dinner here in Kirkuk... a square fish patty, broccoli, a dinner roll and grape juice. Not exactly the best but at least edible. I broke down and had a mountain dew as well. Church was nice, but a very short service. Overall its been a busy day today. Everyone in squadron had a holiday, but my day was filled with all the things I've been neglecting to do the rest of the week. Got most everything done early; haircut, laundry, cleaned my room, took out the trash, sent some documents to the burn pit, and started packing for my move to the complex. After that I took some time to relax, sit back and read a couple magazines, dream about hot rods, and make a couple phone calls. My room mate took the day to catch up on the sleep he's missed out on the past couple weeks. I don't blame him... his schedule has been pretty hectic here lately, especially post-election. For once I'm much more relaxed. Its simple really, I know I'll go out every day in the morning, and I'll come back sometime later that afternoon or evening. Going out every day is much better and much more manageable than the possibility of going out every day at a moments notice. In the end it means more time outside the wire and on the road than before, but at the same time its better because I can plan it, and plan around it. Tomorrow's back to work, business as usual.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


We are a full week into transitioning from the Mobility Platoon to the STT/MiTT, and I have to say its going pretty well. Looks like we'll move to the new complex in less than a month from now. We're calling it Ligerville. There's a big back porch and a common room, with personal and shared rooms inside. Must say I'm looking forward to that. Far better than the shipping container I'm in now. So far we've been to the Brigade headquarters and each Battalion in Kirkuk, and its been interesting getting to know my new Iraqi counterparts. I have a feeling I've got my work cut out for me, and I know it will be overwhelming at times, but I'm pretty sure we'll do fine. Its a lot of responsibility. With the current drawdown and withdrawal plan, I may be the last American these Iraqi Officers have the opportunity to work with. That in itself is a huge burden, as we are the example that the future of Iraq will follow. At the same time its like being a part of living history, a legacy unlike any other. Not many officers, much less Lieutenants, get the opportunity to do something like this. Positions such as these are usually reserved for senior Captains and above. I am embracing the assignment though, and will work my hardest to do it right. In the end I know it will pay off. Its not the cool, kick down doors blow stuff up shoot shoot shoot assignment from the movies, but its effects will long outlast the tracer burnout of offensive operations. Right now its what the country needs to be able to pull out of a more stable Iraq, and I aim to see that when we leave, the country of Iraq can be self sufficient. Despite what you hear on the news, they are well on their way. Sure they have a few kinks to work out.... We as the United States took over 100 years to work out our differences, I don't expect Iraq to be any different. The Iraqi Officers and NCOs I'm working with now are very professional and welcoming. I've only been here for a week and already I feel welcomed as I walk in. They all know me by name already. You wouldn't believe where I work now. Its one of Chemical Ali's homes. When you walk in there is a spiraling marble staircase atop three arabian arches, all marble floor and tin ceilings. It is in disrepair, but I'll bet it was a sight back in its prime. In front of the building are ancient sumerian ruins, just south of Kirkuk city. Thats all for now, more later.