Monday, July 30, 2007

Cheers and Jeers

Sorry it's been a week since my last post...I've been a bit busy with the job. We've been busy beating the bad guys down as part of the President's Surge Plan.

Cheers:
This week my group received a package of over 90 different DVD's and Music CD's from OPERATION DVD sponsored by AMVETS. What a great organization. The folks I work with have been enjoying these DVD's thanks to the kindness of the folks at AMVETS.

Last night I went to bed about the same time the sun was rising so I took this picture. I hope you enoy it. It's surreal that this beautiful calm sunrise was just another day in the war zone. A place where lives are lost everyday fighting for the ideals of freedom.

Jeers:
There was an article in the July 21st edition of the Stars & Stripes about how over 580,000 servicemembers had their personal information disclosed to include names, social security numbers, addresses and medical files. First off, why does some no-named company, called SAIC, have my personal information? "Oh, were really sorry about that." In the last 4 years, I've have my PERSONAL security information disclosed by Defense Department sub-contractors knuckleheads at least THREE TIMES. What about the Privacy Act of 1974? Thanks Mr. Kenneth C. Dahlberg for safe-guarding my information entrusted to your company! I am over here defending freedom and you just made my life harder. It takes a lot to recover from Identity Theft. The DOD/Government needs to take action to ensure this doesn't happen again; how about not using my Social Security Number! By the way, my wife received a nice form letter from SAIC and YES my information was disclosed. Great! And to think, the DOD trusts these guys with NATIONAL SECURITY and INTEL information.

Other than the above rant, I am in great health, I've been exercising everyday, and I've been getting enough sleep to keep me going....oh, yeah, I also have plenty of great tasting coffee to keep me happy too! The last few days I've been enjoying Starbucks Italian Roast. I don't need anything at this time....thanks for all the offers.

K, J & C, I miss you and know that we'll be back together soon. All my love.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Cammoflage

One of the things that I have been involved with, from GeoCaching to this assignment, is camouflage. While I was home on R&R, I saw that US companies are using camouflage to hide things in plain sight. See for yourself, The picture below has something camouflaged...let see if you can spot it. (We were Geocaching near this site by our home). My uniform is camouflage, so that if need be, I can blend into the environment over here. Can you imagine if eyesores all over the US started using camouflage?

Well, another Flightsuit Friday down and only about 21 more to go before I am outta of here. I have re-synced back into my groove and things are well. Until next time....

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

R&R & My Return to Iraq

R&R
My R&R was great. I got to spend some quality time with my family. We went to SeaWorld, hit the Beach, rode our bikes, slept in, did some "honey-do" items, did some GeoCaching, ate some good food at some good restaurants and watched a few movies on the Big Screen. We even had a big Birthday BBQ with cake and homemade Ice Cream. We celebrated all of our B-Days because I'll be gone for all of them during the remainder of my deployment.

It was a very fast and an extremely enjoyable two weeks; I am very appreciative of the time we had together (Thanks Army). Saying goodbye again was even harder, but I know the next time I see them I will be able to stay home for a lot longer. Hopefully I'll be home before Christmas. Now I have my head down and I am holding on for the rest of this deployment.


Return to Iraq
I have a couple of things I'd like to share about my travels back to Iraq. First off, I'd like to thank the USO at Dallas-Fort Worth airport for making our 5-6 hours of waiting less painful. They took care of about 500 of us soldiers, airmen, marines, and sailors retuning from R&R....and they do this everyday!! They fed us, filled us up with good coffee, sodas, water and fresh sticky buns!! They had free phones and internet....they were showing movies, and they really made the time pass quickly. USO DFW also supports the United Through Reading program. They had a very nice setup which allowed military members the opportunity to read to our children which they record and burn to a DVD and send it to the family....all for free, thanks to the donations of many sponsors. How cool is that? The USO in Dallas-Fort Worth in the B-terminal is one of the best I've EVER come across. What truly great Americans....supporting our troops!! One of the other cool things was the Huggin’ and Kissin’ Grandmas. They were there to send us off in style. They hugged and kissed us and gave us all kinds of snacks & water for the long journey back to Iraq.

So we loaded up on the airplane and flew to Kuwait via Budapest, Hungary. All in all it was 17 hours of flying to get to Kuwait. Kuwait....there's really nothing good to say about Kuwait....it seems to be a big suck hole. I think Kuwait sucks the life out of you. There's nothing to do there except wait for your flight out. Sure there's a PX, Chow hall, various fast foods & Green Bean coffee, a USO lounge and a Gym. Besides the Air Terminal and the tents, that about all there is there. This time I only had to wait about 24 hours before I flew out to Baghdad. I flew to Baghdad on a very comfy C-17 (pic below). After I got back to my FOB, I've been resuming my job and trying to get back into my groove.

When I got back to work, a GeoCaching friend sent me some homemade chocolate-chip cookies and some GeoCaching trackables. Thanks Jodi! Everyone LOVED your cookies!!

One last thing, while I was at home, I stopped at Starbucks to buy a pound of coffee for one of my fellow coffee snobs (We both grind and press coffee each day). I went in and grabbed a pound of Italian Roast Whole bean and while I was checking out the cashier asked if I wanted to have the coffee ground and I politely said no, that I was taking it back to Iraq for a buddy. She then proceeded to donate 5 more 1 pound bags to me and my friends here in my group. Thank you Dawn at the Starbucks in Chula Vista (I-805 & Main in the Wal-Mart Plaza). I will send you some pictures and a letter soon.

As always, I love you K, J & C!! I miss you so much already! To everyone else, thanks for your support!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Back in Baghdad

I am back in Baghdad after a VERY enjoyable two weeks at home with the wife and kids. I am currently trying to get back into my regular sleep and work cycle, so this is a short post. More to follow on my next post.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

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