Monday, November 26, 2007

Finally Home!!

Well folks, this is my last post for this blog. I thank you for following me during my travels and Iraq experiences. My trip home was much longer than when I came home during during R&R. I got home after midnight on the 20th.

For Thanksgiving, I am thankful that I am home safe with my family and I was able to share a delicious Thanksgiving meal with my family. Unfortunately many of my brothers in arms are still in Iraq fighting the good fight. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

Tomorrow it's back to work in a Navy uniform on a Navy ship. I would take leave, but we are planning a Hawaiian Vacation in March, so I need to save my leave.

Thanks again for everything!

Picture: Poster that my youngest drew & colored of my three girls for my welcome home (L: C [youngest daughter]; C: K [wife]; R: J [oldest daughter])

Monday, November 19, 2007

Customs & Milk

Today we had our Customs inspection on EVERYTHING we own.  Nothing like carefully packing your bags then have a customs representative empty out all your stuff onto a table and then touch, feel and inspect everything with a fine tooth comb.  That was just for our checked baggage.....Tonight we get to do it again for our carry-on items. 
Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, is much nicer than the other two Camps I've previously visited.  The facilities here are first rate including the Gym and Pool.  My Warrior Trasition Program is complete and now it's time to travel for over 40+ hours on various planes, through various airports in order to get home.
Milk: One thing that I'm not sure if I mentioned was the fact that in Iraq they only have Ultra-High Temp (UHT) milk....YUK!!!  I can't stand the stuff and I WILL NOT DRINK IT.  If I eat cereal, I usually have Yogurt on top instead of UHT milk.  In Kuwait they have FRESH MILK!....I've enjoyed it with every meal since I have been here.  Sometimes it's the little things that count.
I may have a few more blogs before I close this one out and start another.  Before I forget, I'd like to thank all of my loyal readers and supporters out there.  I have enjoyed writing about my experiences in Iraq and receiving emails, care packages, letters, and blog comments from my supporters.  Your support helped to make this deployment go by a bit quicker. THANK YOU!! 
While I was not excited about being away from my family for so long, I do know that the job I did in Iraq mattered and I personally saved lives and helped my Army Battalion to capture a mess load of bad guys.  We lost a few soldiers along the way so please keep those families in your prayers.  We have recently turned the corner on violence in Iraq and life for all Iraqis is getting better by the day.  Keep all of our forward deployed soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen in your hearts and prayers.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

One Step Closer...

Well Folks,
     I'm in Kuwait (out of harm's way) attending the Warrior Transition Program.  Flew to Kuwait on a crowded C-130 and then we were bussed over to another base.

Day 1 was weapons turn in.  We showed up and cleaned our weapons for turn in.  They were meticulous during the inspection so most of us had to "re-clean" our weapons.  Once the weapons were turned in, we had the rest of the day to relax.  I went to the pool, hung out at the MWR tent playing Halo3.  The rest of the day was spent Geocaching.  The decompression time is definately needed.

Day 2 was gear turn in.  The process is very quick and smooth.  We were done in less than an hour.  The rest of the day will be spent doing much of what I did on day 1...decompressing and relaxing.

Day 3 will be death by briefs (PowerPoint).  Oh, joy!

Be home soon.  I love you K, J & C!! See you soon.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bird, Bats & Boats...

1: An Iraqi bird I see every time I run around the Lake.
2: Bat house on Camp Victory.
3: Boats in a boat house on Al Faw Lake.
My time continues to count down.....until my next post!
Happy Birthday C!!  I love you K, J & C...see you soon!

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Saturday, November 10, 2007

The few, the proud...

Happy 232nd Birthday to the United States Marine Corps
I've worked with many Marines throughout the course of my career.  I've come to understand them; I admire them; I love their work ethos; and their esprit de corps.  Here are three specific things I've learned about Marines from Marines:
   1) Marines live by the "rule of threes"
   2) Marines have better situational awareness (SA) than most Army Soldiers because of the OODA Loop
   3) Marines are the most disciplined service in the DoD

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The light is getting brighter!

I've turned over my job completely to my relief and he is doing well.  Now I just sit back and answer any questions he might have from time to time. Now it's time to start packing my junk and mailing some of it home. Did a little GEOCACHING near where I work.....Gonna try to log a few more before I leave.  That's about all for now....More later!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

As promised

Moon Rise over a man-made lake at a military installation in Baghdad.
The crescent moon is on the bottom of the moon....which until I came to Iraq was new to me.  Count-down is clicking.....
Thanks for stoping by for a visit! :)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

5K T-Shirt

Here's my Halloween present....Hope you all had a bunch of treat-or-treaters!
K, J & C...I love you and I will be home before we know it!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

More Tour Pics

Pic1: Ooops, I think a bomb hit this place!
Pic2: Scary Stairs
Pic3: Houseboat for sale :)
Pic4: Fun on a AAA gun! Wheeeee!
Pic5: Why is the roof on the floor?

Monday, October 29, 2007

5K, Tourism & Mice!

First pic of of me after the Halloween 5K near a place called 'Z' lake (Because of it's shape)
Next three pictures are from Victory Over America Palace
Last two pictures are from the Ba'ath Party Conference Palace
Let see...where to begin?  On Sunday I participated in another 5K run.  This time the run was on Liberty around Z Lake.  I invited some fellow Narmy sailors and they showed up.  Instead of running as fast as I could, I took it easy and ran with a shipmate.  The run was actually fun...we kept each other motivated throughout the run.
After the run we had breakfast and then a little re-rack time (NORP: Naval Officer Rest Period).  Then we met up in the afternoon for some lunch and then a guided tour of Victory Over America Palace and the Ba'ath Party Conference Center (See previous post of outside pics).  The tour was very informative and we were able to see much more than we had seen from the outside. 
The Victory Over America Palace was close to being completed but in 2003, the Coalition Forces stopped production.  Parts of the palace are beautiful and other parts are not even close to being to finished.  We were able to go up on the roof and look around.....nice view.
After the VOA Palace tour, we mad our way over to the Ba'ath Party Conference Center.  This building is WAY messed up!  My goodness, we sure did do some serious damage to that building! Most of the rooms are intact except for the one demolished corner.  We did get to go into that room.  It was a stadium conference room, but instead of seating 250 people, it now only seats 10.
The 5K and Tours were a nice change of pace. 
Last part: Mouse.  There is a mouse in our office and he's been partaking of PowerBars out of my desk I've had to empty my drawers to keep the mouse out......
That's all for now....more pics later!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

More Al Faw Pics

Top picture is of the Main Ball Room in Al Faw and the other two pictures are of one of the main spiral staircases in the palace.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

More Palace Pics

These pics are from inside the Al Faw Palace Main Ballroom.
Last week I spent quite a bit of time in the Al Faw palace and took some more pictures of various things.  I'll post more pics in the coming week.  My relief is on-board and I am training him up on the job I am doing.  The job is ever changing and it will take him a little while to get up to speed.  Because my relief is now sitting next to me, I should be home by Thanksgiving.  Things have quieted down in the past few weeks, but the job keeps me busy.  That's all for now...more soon.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Computer Fixed

Winged Man Statue of Abbas Ibn Firnas (Arabic: العباس بن فرناس) near BIAP 
My Apple MacBook is back on-line. Woo Hoo! Funny that I couldn't find any resolution on the Apple website.  After a quick Google search, I found this article which fixed my problem.  I think my DVD Super Drive is going bad.  I'll have to get it looked at when I get home, but at least now I have music back my life in my room.  I just figured out that I have less than SIX Flight Suit Friday's left.  Can you believe it?  I won't believe it until I'm on the plane leaving Kuwait!
I'm tired...I had a long day and it's time for bed.  Caio!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Cool Planes

Cool sunrise over one of the man-made lakes in Baghdad
Hello...I was at the airport tonight dropping off one of my co-workers and I got to see two MV-22 Ospreys roll into the airport.  Boy are they L O U D ! but really cool looking....too bad it wasn't during the day, I could have taken a picture.
My laptop is on the fritz...I am in the process of troubleshooting it. Hopefully, I'll get it back running soon. We'll see. Arg!!  Things are moving along.  Thanks to all that sent me Birthday wishes and gifts.  I failed to mention it during my last posts, but I do apprciate it!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Busy Running Around

T-Shirt from 5K "fun" run on 13 OCT 07 (Happy Birthday Navy!)
I've been busy this week.  My boss and several of my co-workers were out on theater travel to give some training so I was running OPS.  Oh, my!  I told my boss that I was steering the ship and we might run aground.  For one week, I was responsible for the care and feeding of one O-6, two O-5's and one O-3 in addition to attending a boat-load of meetings.  I was busier than a one legged man at a butt kicking contest. 
My boss finally returned yesterday (YEAH!) and my life instantly became 100% better.  So last night we relaxed by playing some poker and we all had a good time.  During the poker game, one of my fellow NARMY Sailors told me about a 5K run.  Remember when I said I would not run 10 Miles, but I would run a 5K?  Well this morning at 7am, in honor of the Navy's 232nd Birthday, I ran a 5K around the lake near Victory over America Palace.  My finishing time was 25 min 56 sec, which comes out to a 8 minute and 23 second mile pace.  The last time I ran a 5K was in Pennsylvania back in 2004 and I think I ran an 8 min 28 second mile pace.  I've actually improved my time. For my efforts, I was awarded the T-Shirt pictured above.
Things continue to move along and I'm doing okay.  Thanks for checking on me.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Signs...and Runners

Here are few of the signs around the base.  The last pic is of a recent 10 Mile run sponsored by the base.  We had a bunch that work with us doing the run so my roommate and I woke up at 6:00 AM to cheer them on, take some pics and then went right back to bed.  I had no desire to torture my body by running 10 one time.  I'll run a 5 or 10 K, but not 10 miles. I'm built for comfort not speed.  Our friends appreciated the support.  The weather here is cooling down.  The highs are in the 90's and it's feeling pretty nice.  Next up is the RAIN and MUD. 
That's all from Iraq.  Thanks for visiting.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Plane-ly Stated, Tanks some more

On top of the world ma!  That's me standing on-top of a ka-put tank. Here are some reminants of the Iraqi firepower.  I don't know the type of Tank, but the planes are MiG-23's...or what is left of them.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Golf in Baghdad

Yep, they have a driving range in Baghdad.  You show up and they provide balls and clubs.  This range is run by one of the units here, not the base.  I'm told that the driving range was sponsored by some stateside golf courses.  Kinda nice to whack a few balls now and then.  Every so many days they go out and pick up all the balls.  Too bad they don't have one of those high-speed golf ball picker-uppers! Pretty cool, huh?  Who'd thought they'd have a driving range in a war zone.
Funny thing happened the other night. A friend and I were driving back from the Airport over here and I heard a bunch of loud noise.  I initially thought it was a low flying helicopter, but to my suprise it was about 6 tanks rolling up the road coming straight for me.  It was dark and I didn't see them until they were very close.....Talk about power projection, whoa!  Doin' ok in Baghdad.  Thanks for peeking in to my world today. More pics soon.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Breakin' the Law

The base I'm on has so many rules, I sometimes wonder how we can win a war when the Army is so wrapped around the axle with administrative rules.  For example, you cannot run (or walk) with your headphones on, you must run (or walk) against the traffic (I agree with that one) and you must wear a REFLECTIVE Belt. I call it a Flourecent And Green belt....Gotta love the Army and Air Force for this one.  Anyway, here's a picture of another rule....Now while I took a picture of the sign, does that mean I just broke the Law?  Ha, good luck catching me.
Last night a bunch of us got together and played some Texas Hold'em Poker.....I hadn't played since I was in Pennsylvania.  It was good to sit around, drink sodas, eat some pizza and tell jokes & lies.  It was a much needed break from the routine.  I may have to do it again next week.  That's all for today....I'm doing fine as my 42nd BIRTHDAY looms in the very near future.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Nighttime Pic

Here's a pic that I took at night....Pretty cool sight for a "prison" wall.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Getting Old

Our oldest turned Sweet Sixteen they other day.  We are getting old.  They grow up so fast. 
Things are moving along here and another Flight Suit Friday complete.  I'm finally getting into a rythym with my new job.  I think I figured out where I need to be and what meeting I need to attend.
More of my "shipmates" or other NArmy compatriots are getting ready to leave....which means that my time will be coming soon.  My relief is in Iraq, but he first needs some field experience before he takes over my job.  He'll be heading out soon to gain that valuable field experience and when I see him again, I'll be packing my bags to come home.  There is a DIM light at the end of the tunnel at this point.
I've been taking some pictures around the base....The No Parking sign is a joke...of sorts....If you don't know what it means please click here or look up the acronym on google.  More pictures to come.  Thanks for checking up on me.....Later!
K, J & C I love you!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Small World

Today as we were heading into the DFAC (Dining Facility) on FOB Liberty, I spotted this sign posted outside of the DFAC and thought what a SMALL WORLD.  My mother, brother and sister all live in an around Medford, Oregon.  It put a smile on my face and put me in a good mood for the rest of the day.  I told my co-worker that I needed to bring my camera back for a picture and he instead pulled out his micro-sized camera and took this pic.  It was really bright outside and he couldn't get the flash to work, so I'm a little washed out but it is me in my Flight Suit (Flight suit Friday).
Yesterday I helped a buddy move from Liberty to Slayer.  He had to move because he was asked to make room for some other folks.  He was pretty good about the whole situation, so I helped him out.  It took us about 45 minutes to load the vehicle with all his stuff.  He had the same realization that I had when I moved: "Look how much junk I have."  We both agreed we'd need to get rid of some stuff before we re-deploy home.
That's all I have from Baghdad....Another post soon.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


I am still adjusting to the new job. Today, I went for a run around a place called Lost Lake. I was told that's where Uday and Kusay used to live.

The weather in the mornings is very nice for jogging...around 85 degrees F or so. I also cleaned up our deck was coated with about a quarter of an inch of sand and dirt. I rinsed all the dirt off with a hose. I still need to vaccum my room, but I have found it very liveable.

The picture to the right is of me and a couple of buddies. They have been here as long as I have because we all went through training together back in the states (See Blogs from FEB07). We should all be leaving about the same time and then we'll all head our separate ways. Mike (L) is a Prowler NFO like me and Jim (C) is a Helo Pilot. It's good to be back around my own type (Navy that is). Us Navy types go to chow together and tell sea storys or just laugh and joke about silly things that go on over here.

I am looking forward to getting home and back to civilization as you all know it. It's a different world over here....that's for sure.

K, J, & C I miss you and love you.....

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Pics of my new Abode

As you can see, it's not the palacial lifestyle I was living, but I do have a fridge, a closet and a small desk. No internet yet. The room is very small, but it's private. There are two rooms in this Cargo container along with a bathroom. (It's no kidding a cargo container that you'd see in the shipyards).

We had a BBQ last night at HQ and it was really nice to hang out, BS, eat some food and relax for a bit. We had grilled steaks, ribs, chicken, salad, chips, sodas, and desserts. We also had some fireworks thanks to our friends from Baghdad. :)

I'm still adjusting to my new job and I am starting to build my situational awareness of what the job entails. It's a much different job that what I was doing before and I almost have my biological clock turned around. The job basically entails being a jack of all trades revolving around operations.

This post looks a lot different than most of my other posts because the Army's FUN police have blocked any commercial website that would bring happiness or joy to a soldier's life (to include all blogs, you-tube, etc.). I have figured out another way to post. Don't you just love the resourceful military? That's about all from Baghdad.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

HQ Sweet HQ

I made the move today and I'm already busy. Now I just need to re-adjust my sleeping hours. My new room is very small and I have yet to unpack my things. I need to clean first. Good news is that I now have full size bed. So I moved from a big room with a small bed to a small room with a big bed. I'll post pics when I get a chance. That's all for now.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Air Force Fun

What Air Force dudes do when they are bored. :)

Friday, September 7, 2007


My daughter's JV Field Hockey team won their first game yesterday 1-0. My daughter was very excited to experience the team win. Her eye has gotten better and she had the stitches removed last week. My younger daughter is having fun at school and is entering a contest with one of her works of art. Both of my daughter are very artistic.

I pick up my newly trained relief tomorrow and by mid-week I'll be parking my hat at a different location. I will be sharing a "wet" trailer with my boss so it can't be all bad. I'll miss having internet in my room and all the good folks I've worked with over the past 6-months.

The time here should pass a little faster now that FOOTBALL season has started!! Whoo Hooo!!

The picture to the right is of a mural on one of the palaces in Baghdad. It represents the former Iraqi solders of the Republican Guard.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Getting Ready

My relief showed up yesterday and is going through some specific in-theater training before I pick him up on Saturday.  My turnover for my new job is complete and I still have some hands on learning to do in order to become proficient at the job.  It looks like I'll be moving over there either Wednesday or Thursday after I train up my relief. Things are still clipping along here and I'm in good spirits.

Auntie Em, I saw the cat today o the base...he is living near our empty lake and when I saw him he was chasing a rabbit.  He is but a shadow of his former self.  He's all grown up and I believe he is a "WILD" cat living off the land.  I called for him, but when he saw me, he ran off.  At least it's good to know he's still alive and doing well. :)

As I've said in my previous posts, I do not have my own vehicle and I have to beg, borrow or steal a vehicle to get around.  When I am driving around and I see someone walking, I always stop and offer a ride.  Most of the Army soldiers I pick up assume I am an Army Major. I usually ask what they do for the Army and they reply with some random letter and numbers ("I'm an 11B") so I have to tell them that I am in the Navy and I really don't understand their Military Occupation Specialties (MOS).  So they will tell me what they actually do (11B is an Infantryman).  It's neat being able to learn what most of these kids do....from driving trucks, repairing tanks to shooting.  I will continue to give rides to walking soldiers as long as I have a set of wheel to borrow.  I have another story, but I'll save that for another entry.

By the way, I've changed my blog so that ANYONE can post a comment.  Please keep it tasteful and I have the right to delete wayward comments.  That's all for now from Baghdad.  Thanks for checking on me!!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Another test

via email with pic

Friday, August 31, 2007


Well folks, I've started turning over with the guy at HQ. I've got big shoes to fill. My replacement doesn't show up until Sunday or Monday....we'll see. So probably another week before I move.

Another week down (that's 16 more Flight Suit Friday's remaining if you are counting) and my buddy up North leaves Iraq tomorrow....I'm so happy and excited for him. Within a week he'll be home with his family, but first he has to go through the Warrior Transition Program in Kuwait. This is where all the Navy guys must go to turn in all that "loaner" Army gear, get some re-socialization and learn how to re-kindle those special relationships and also go through a few screening. Namely Physical and Mental to make sure we are all ok. It's not much fun in Kuwait, like I've said before, because you are waiting for one reason or another to go somewhere else. Like a connecting flight at any US airport.

In my last post was an edited picture of me standing on the roof of the Palace. Great view up can see for miles. I'll post the picture next time.

The pic to the right is of hundreds of T-Walls. They make short ones, tall ones and skinny ones. They are made here in Baghdad and waiting to be shipped all over Iraq. They are concrete barriers used to protect our servicemen from bullets, bombs and mortars. The work very well and we have them everywhere. Some places have taken up to painting them so they are not so much of an eyesore. A few months back, some artists in Baghdad painted many meters of these walls to beautify the city. You can see an article here and here.

That's about all for now. All my love to my supportive family! Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Alright, I said I'd tell you all about it and here it goes:
As part of my job, I teach some of the new guys about what I do for the Army. The training department has expanded the role of the those of us who teach to mentoring as well. This week I took some of the new guys and showed them what I do through on-the-job-training....or as the Navy calls it OJT. What better way to learn then by doing it. So I had two groups of four people I had to shuttle back and forth on two different days and they got some good hands-on training out of it.

Well, while I was over at the Head Quarters building, I was grabbed by the big boss and his assistant. They told me that I was coming back to Head Quarters to replace a guy that will be leaving shortly. So within a week or so, I will move across the base and move into a trailer and work back at HQ. I will miss working, living & playing with the Army guys I've come to know over the past six months. My replacement will be here shortly and after about 3-4 days of training and turnover, I will get some training and turnover of my own for the job I am about to take.

As part of doing all this training, I've been driving back and forth from my FOB to the other FOB and I've seen a few interesting things crossing the road this week:
1) field mouse
2) mongoose
3) coyote

I didn't know that Iraq had mongoose running wild. At first, I thought it was a ferret, but after asking around, Iraq apparently has these little furry creatures. News to me. Oh yeah, because it's cooling down a bit, the bats have returned....They are flying around everywhere. GO BATS! I like them because they eat the mosquitoes.

Now I have to pack all my stuff and move. I am somewhat bummed about moving all my junk. Oh well, I gotta do what I gotta do.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Well folks, I just learned that I am changing jobs within the next couple of weeks. This means that my palatial lifestyle has come to an end. I will be moving across the base to a new location and I will be learning and working an entirely new job. I think of it as a promotion of sorts. I have been really busy this week and I haven't had time to post updates. More on this later.

In other news, my eldest daughter tried to stop a field hockey stick with her face and her face lost. Just kidding, she has been trying out for the HS Girls Field Hockey team and she was trying to make a shot and missed...when she ran up to the ball, the goalie hit the ball an accidentally whacked her in the face. She has 6 new "battle" stitches in the same location as the youngest daughter. Now they will look like twins even though they are 3 years apart! She's ok and starting he healing process.

That's all for now....I'll post again real soon.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Another Poster :)

Here's the next poster in the long line of "caveman" posters. Wait until the next one....I'm sure most of you will get a laugh out of it.

It's the weekend here and another flight suit Friday down.

A SUPER BIG shout out to my sister for sending me a huge box of GEEDUNK to include a 4 pound bag of pistachios and a huge box of granola bars. I am a nice guy and I share my stuff....although my life was threatened over the Pistachios. The Army guy was just kidding. He said if I didn't give him any, he'd have to break out his knife and take me out. I told him that I carry four knives and my pistol. (I really do carry four knives: Leatherman, Lock-blade, Swiss-Army pocket knife and a small survival kit knife). Why? Because I can. I do use them all except for the survival one. Anyway, I did share the nuts with him and we had a laugh about it. Alright....Time to hit the hay! Thanks for your support and for seeing what I had to say.

K, J & C, I love you dearly and miss you.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Nut'in but the same-ol stuff

Hello everyone,
Not much to report. Another day closer to going home. Another day of doing what I do to help the Army in the fight against the bad guys.

Unlike conventional warfare, urban warfare is a much more difficult task. In addition to fighting in the streets, our enemy does not wear a uniform, so easily distinguishing the enemy from the population makes the fight more difficult, but we have our ways of telling the difference. Although we take small losses every month, we are either capturing or killing bad guys everyday. We are making a difference and our technology, from up-armored vehicles to better radios, is helping to save lives.

Every military member over here is required to carry a weapon. I'm lucky because I qualified on both the M-16 and the M-9, so I can carry my M-9 sidearm everywhere I go. Some people aren't so lucky because they either didn't qualify or weren't allowed to qualify on the M-9 pistol so they have to carry a bulky M-16 or M-4 rifle EVERYWHERE they go. Chow hall, latrine, gym, etc....I think you get my point. We must be ready to defend ourselves in case the enemy suddenly appears. It'll be strange to get home and not have a pistol on my hip all the time.

For my Auntie-Em, we haven't seen the cat forever and at this point we don't think he is coming back.

Here's an interesting article from CNN.

That's all from Iraq....I still have plenty of coffee. I am currently enjoying either Espresso or Italian Roast....Later!!