Thursday, July 28, 2005

Typical day on the ground


We’ve been busy, busy, busy. Early mornings, long days, and hot weather (135F on Sunday) were my companions these past few days. We are now going on missions with the IA. They do raids with coalition forces help, and we watch them to make sure they don’t mess up. Our goal is to approve them as “ready to go on their own” so that coalition forces can leave the country to the Iraqi security forces. We performed around 4 raids these past few days, back to back. We searched around 12 villages, some as large as 8,000 people. We cordoned them off and searched each and every house. We found LOTS of stuff. I’m sure we have prevented countless deaths throughout the country. We blew up a cache of weapons the first day that consisted of a dozen RPG’s, over 200 mortar and rocket rounds, 3 AK47’s, thousands of rounds of ammo, Motorola radios for detonating IED’s, spools of wire, and other IED making materials. The next couple days were more of the same. I’m not sure how many people we detained, but it should have been a lot more. It’s tough with the IA because they will tell their buddies we are coming, and we find that a lot of terrorists are long gone by the time we get there. You know how quickly word spreads in small towns. We are working to rectify the situation though, so it won’t be a problem for long.

I’m still uninjured and our battery has faired extremely well. Not a single injury yet. We have had some close calls, but so far, your prayers and well wishes have done us good. Keep them coming please, I’d like to see us end our deployment just like we got here.

That’s really about it. It’s been quite boring besides the weekly action of a planned raid, or cordon. Most of us enjoy the action, but we all are just anxious to get home. Our primary mission is finished. We have trained and equipped an entire battalion of Iraqi soldiers. I can attest to the fact that the 4th Iraqi Army Battalion is the best trained battalion in the Iraqi Army. They are doing well, have lost no one, and have a couple kills and many arrests. Let’s hope they can keep this country like it is, and finish off the rest of the crazy terrorists.

One more plug before I finish. Things are good here. Regardless of what you hear on the news. The terrorists are losing, and losing bad. If you can’t see that, you need to open your eyes. They have resorted to such cowardly tactics as suicide bombers targeting civilians. Civilians! What did the civilians ever do to the terrorists? Nothing. But it doesn’t matter. The terrorists are only here (from other countries mind you) to create havoc. It’s not working too well. For every huge explosion you see on CNN, there were probably two dozen that were prevented by quick thinking, hard working soldiers. You don’t hear about that on the news though. You don’t hear about the 18 year old machine gunner who shot a suspicious vehicle trying to enter their convoy which turned out to be an attempted suicide bomber. This hero is not on CNN for saving the lives of fellow soldiers and Iraqi civilians alike. You don’t hear about how many lives were saved when the Iraqi army raided a small village and destroyed hundreds of would be IED’s. No, that is not news my friends. But when some pus nuts friggin terrorist blows up innocent people in the middle of a market, you are told by the media that we are losing the war and that we shouldn’t be here. Well, we should. When you work with these people daily, you see what the hard work is doing. When the kids are anxious to go to school to learn about the world around them, you realize that we should be here. I hope the trend continues, and that the terrorists run out of cowardly suicide volunteers. Can there be that many stupid people around? Iraq doesn’t have any left. Neither does Iran. These terrorists are from Syria, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, ect. I hope the people fight back. They are starting to, believe me. Yesterday we were tipped off by a man in the village about a house that had already been searched. When soldiers went back inside to search more carefully a cleverly hidden sniper rifle was found. How many people had this terrorist killed? How many would he have killed had we not been tipped off? A big thanks goes out to that civilian. That Arab wants to see his country make something of it’s self. I do too. And you know what, I think it will.

I hope those of you that disagree with me take a moment to realize how right I am. If you still don’t agree, I’ve got a spot here for you. You can be an E-4 in the US Army. You can work with these people every day. You can drive around and fire my machine gun. Please do. I’d like to go home and see my family.

"Look what we found!"

"A shot through my NVG's (night vision goggles)"

"Iraqi Army soldiers"

"Myself on the right with two of my good buddies"

UPDATE: One more time...

Well, time for another update.

Well, I'm doing good and time is running down. It's now time to start thinking about packing and making plans for next year and such. Only a couple months left. It's quite awhile actually, but for what we've been through already, nothing will stop us from making it home.

I'm not very religious, but I did see a neat bible verse that I liked from the book of Isaiah that I'd like to share. It kind of defines my personality. The whole "I don't want to do it, but I don't see anyone volunteering for it" mentality.

“And I heard the voice of the Lord saying
“Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”
Then I said “Here am I! Send me.”

-Isaiah 6:8

I really like that. I hope you do to.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Oh yeah.... It's my birthday!

What a birthday present, my internet is back in action. It had been MIA the last week for various reasons. Well, happy birthday to me.
This is the third year in a row that I've "missed" a birthday because of the military. I'm sure there will be many more, so i'm not too concerned. Great memories though...
My 21st was probably the most fun. My guard unit got the opportunity to train with some british soldiers in Scotland. We spent around two weeks there. We did about a week of training and a week of absolute, crazy, Scottish style drinking. It was a blast. Unfortunately my 21st fell in the middle of our 4 day FTX (field training exercise). At midnight when I turned the big 21, I was sitting in an LP/OP (listening post/observation post) waiting for the always possible enemy ambush. Oh what fun. Ever seen midges? Imagine mosquitos the size of nats. Yeah, they suck. Anywhoo, good memories. Christmas of this year, I spent half of my day burning poo. I swear to God. We were living with some Iraqi Army soldiers in a small town and had a "homemade" toilet. We pooped in a cut off barrel. Yep, we burnt it. Just like in the old days. Man, I've already got good stories, and I'm still a young pup. Imagine what it'll be like 15 years from now. I can't wait.

Here's a picture of the pooper. Yep, that's me with flaming poo. (25Dec2004)

Posted by Picasa

Detroit Pistons new coach?

I'm excited.
Speculation mounts as the Detroit Pistons have "bought out" or "fired" Larry Brown. However you want to look at it, he is no longer the head coach of the Pistons. The lone candidate for Brown's replacement is Flip Saunders, the 50 year old from Ohio. He was Mr. Basketball in Ohio, and played for the Minnesota Golden Gophers in college. He spent 9 solid seasons as the coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves. He is a proven winner, yet his team lost in the 1st round of the playoffs 7 straight years. That's tough. The reason I am most excited about this possible transaction is Flip's work with a skinny 6'11" center/power forward named Kevin Garnett. Flip made him an all-star. Can he do the same with Darko Milicic, the Pistons #2 overall pick from three years ago? Joe Dumars is going to make the call... and he's not wrong very often.
Go Pistons!

Saturday, July 16, 2005


Hey all... My internet has been down lately. I'm trying to rectify the situation, then I'll start posting regularily again. I'm still waiting approval for my stories, and i'm in the process of writing two more. Be patient and you will be rewarded.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Check out this post at the Belmont Club

This is a great post (titled "Two points of view") which links to another great writing at the State Of Flux.
They both have some great views on the terror attacks in London. Also linked to at the Belmont Club is Michael Ledeen at the NRO. He thinks we need to look at the big picture when exploring terrorism. I agree with him and am guilty of microanalyzing the situation myself. It's something I'll think about in the future.
Great reading though if you have the time.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Read this poem

I recieved this email today and I had to share it. It's old, but I've never read it.

This is a poem being sent from a marine to his Dad. For those who take the time to read it you'll see a letter from him to his Dad at the bottom. It makes you truly thankful for not only the Marines, but ALL of our troops.


We all came together,
Both young and old
To fight for our freedom,
To stand and be bold.

In the midst of all evil,
We stand our ground,
And we protect our country
From all terror around.

Peace and not war,
Is what some people say.
But I'll give my life,
So you can live the American way.

I give you the right
To talk of your peace.
To stand in your groups,
And protest in our streets.

But still I fight on,
I don't bitch, I don't whine.
I'm just one of the people
Who is doing your time.

I'm harder than nails,
Stronger than any machine.
I'm the immortal soldier,
I'm a U.S. MARINE!

So stand in my shoes,
And leave from your home.
Fight for the people who hate you,
With the protests they've shown.

Fight for the stranger,
Fight for the young.
So they all may have,
The greatest freedom you've won.

Fight for the sick,
Fight for the poor,
Fight for the cripple,
Who lives next door.

But when your time comes,
Do what I've done.
For if you stand up for freedom,
You'll stand when the fight's done.

By: Corporal Aaron M. Gilbert, US Marine Corps

Here is the email:

March 23, 2003

Hey Dad,

Do me a favor and label this "The Marine" and send it to everybody on your email list. Even leave this letter in it. I want this rolling all over the US; I want every home reading it. Every eye seeing it. And every heart to feel it. So can you please send this for me? I would, but my email time isn't that long and I don't have much time anyway. You know what Dad? I wondered what it would be like to truly understand what JFK said in his inaugural speech.

"When the time comes to lay down my life for my country, I do not cower from this responsibiblity. I welcome it."

Well, now I know. And I do. Dad, I welcome the opportunity to do what I do. Even though I have left behind a beautiful wife, and I will miss the birth of our first born child, I would do it 70 times over to fight for the place that God has made my home. I love you all and I miss you very much. I wish I could be there when Sandi has our baby, but tell her that I love her, and Lord willing, I will be coming home soon. Give Mom a great big hug from me and give one to yourself too.

I don't think I'm going to buy an Apple

I've been back and forth a million times on what computer to buy when I return stateside. The laptop I currently own is a piece of you know what. It's a pretty basic model Toshiba. I didn't want all the bells and whistles, so I went with the lower model. Well, now my screen is cracked, my wireless switch is broken, my power cord input is messed up (i have to keep pressure via duct tape on the cord for my 'puter to charge), and some of the keys are sticking. I've taken good care of it too. It's always clean and dusted. Oh well.

Anyways, I was thinking of replacing it with an Apple G5 desktop. This year Apple will be using the Intel processors. That will be kick ass.

Here's my problem. I have an Ipod (doesn't everybody?). My click wheel started acting up on me about 6 months after I bought it. It was progressively getting worse. I would have to turn the lock on, and then off, for the wheel to work. That was fine for awhile. Then it started freezing. I would have to plug it into my computer or a charger for it to turn on. Then I lost all my files... twice. Then when things couldn't get any worse I went on my leave to Germany. Somewhere along the way, with my Ipod in my front pocket (in it's Apple brand hard case), the screen got cracked in the corner. WTF!?!? It was in a case. I didn't sit on it. It was okay though, because I could still see the letters on the screen. Then to top it off the click wheel quit working in it's entirety. No click wheel. I could select, music, playlists, and then my first playlist. My 400 dollar MP3 player was reduced to a 100 song shuffle player. When I returned to Iraq, I sent it home to my father to take care of. My good friend is a real Apple man (and the reason I'm considering an apple) and he said he'd help my dad with it.

That was in March. After 100 phone calls, 50 emails, and my father sending the Ipod in (only to be returned untouched) we got the final news today. (it really took 5 months...i'm not kidding you)

Apple says they won't cover it under warranty because whatever damaged the screen probably damaged the click wheel, and they don't cover LCD damage. (why not? Is it that bad?) Okay. That's fine with me for a number of reasons. But so what? It's a 400 dollar hard drive for pete's sake. You'd think something so expensive would have a little quality in it. How about a stronger screen? (I swear it was in the case, I have witnesses) How about a click wheel that works!!! I'd still be using it now. I give a poo about the stupid screen. The damn Ipod doesn't even work right. And to top it off, now I have to find a 3rd party to fix it. That's another thing that bothers me... Apple will do warranty work. Actually I doubt they cover anything anyway, but why can't they just fix it and send me the bill?! That would be convenience, and good service. But no... They just send it back without a word. (my dad had to plug it in to find out if it was fixed or not) They sent it back with no letter, no email, no phone call. Now, maybe I'm missing something from my end, but that sucks.

Does anyone know of any place that fixes Ipods? I could find one online, but if someone has experience somewhere, that would be good for me. Also, is this reason enough to just buy a Sony? Or should I give Apple another shot. (sans the whole software, compatibility, ease of use argument.... I can handle an Apple)

Let me know what you all think. I'm too angry/disappointed right now to make a decision.

Saturday, July 09, 2005


I've gotten approval from my chain of command to post all of my military stories and pictures. The catch is it has to run through the public affairs office, which is fine by me. That way there will be no OPSEC violations. I've got a couple stories and plenty of pictures just waiting approval that I'll post.

Just letting you all know what's to come.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Someone you should know, from Blackfive

My oh my. This is what being a soldier is all about. Especially in the Special Operations field. What a great story of determination and will power.

London is attacked... Who is next?

The link to the story is here, but I recommend reading the post on The Belmont Club. There is some very good insight and comments.

Check out these eye witness accounts from people who were there.

Will this help stifle the whines of the anti-war weenies? If someone doesn't take out these Jihadist whackos, who will? The more we arrest, or terminate, the less there are to recruit and train new terrorists to infiltrate our country. That, my friends, is why I'm here.

Great Keychain

I recieved this keychain from a friend who got it sent to him. I think it's great. I checked out their website, but I was rerouted to a "domain for sale" site. Anybody know what happened to the website? I love the keychain slogan! I'd like to see a t-shirt made like that. I'm sure that would ruffle some feathers when I get home.
Here are the pictures of it:

This is the front

This is the back Posted by Picasa

 Posted by Picasa

Operation Beanie Baby

A month or so ago, I saw a link on the Clear Channel website for "Operation Beanie Baby". Clear Channel had a ton of beanie babies to give away to the Iraqi children but not enough soldiers to do the handout. I immediately decided that I would be able to help out.

Well, I recieved my "package" today. I think there are about 50 beanie babies in it. Holy cow! There are gonna be alot of happy kids around Kirkuk these next couple of days. Enclosed was a letter about the operation. I'd like to share it with you.

850 KOA News Radio
"Operation Beanie Baby"

These beanie babies are a gift for you to give as a gift to the Iraqi children. Beanie babies were deployed from Denver, Colorado from Newsradio 850 KOA. More than 40,000 beanie babies were donated to Operation Beanie Baby.

These donated beanie babies come from a story about a member of a patrol who gave a Beanie Baby to a little Iraqi girl. A few days later, a patrol was coming by the little girl's home again and she was standing in the road. She refused to get out of their way. A soldier approached her and asked her why she was in the road. Clutching her Beanie Baby, she turned and pointed at an improvised explosive device (IED) she had seen terrorists plant along the patrol's intended route. This courageous little girl may have saved some American lives because an American military man had given her a Beanie Baby.

Thank you for our freedom and helping give a toy to a child in hopes of brightening their day.


Newsradio 850KOA

What a good deal for myself and the Iraqi kids. You won't understand how gratifying it is to make a childs day here. You see how they live, with their mud huts and no shoes, and to be able to make them smile makes this whole deployment worth it for me. These kids are the future of Iraq. Let's hope they can make the best of what we are trying to do for them. This country can be great. It's all about the kids.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

CIA leak case

Check out this breaking story from Fox News...

Reporter takes a stand

Note to self, don't tell Matt Cooper a secret. Sounds to me like as soon as jail time was mentioned he opened right up. He says his source gave him a "waiver".

Should reporters be afforded protection while covering for their sources? Does freedom of speech come into play? I don't think it does when you are covering for a criminal. I thought it was illegal to aid criminals. If you cover for one, then you are aiding them. Right? You are helping them stay innocent after giving away a CIA employees identity. I think that is a crime. And as crazy as it sounds, not even reporters are above the law.

Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald told a judge that "Journalists are not entitled to promise complete confidentiality,— no one in America is,"

That sounds to me like these reporters committed a crime then.

From the article:
"Fitzgerald's ultimate goal, ostensibly, is not to punish the reporters for protecting their source, but to find and prosecute the source for unveiling a CIA operative's identity."

I think they are both guilty, but i'm no law student.

Here's the kicker:
"It is believed the leak can be traced back to within the Bush administration. Opponents of the Iraq war charge that the source leaked Plame's name in retaliation for Wilson's editorial."

Is this going to open up a debate? I'm sure there will be some name calling. The anti-war crowd will use anything to their advantage. I read about a group that blamed the war on homosexuals. Somewhere in Massechussetts. Some people....

Anywhoo, this should be a good one to keep an eye on.

Working hard?

Pic of the day: One of our high speed Combat Life Savers administers an IV.

-Textbook stick- Posted by Picasa

A quick thanks

I'd just like to thank everyone who has already been so helpful and encouraging. I figured I would have little if any impact in anybody's life. I was toying with the idea of a blog so that my friends and family back home would have a place to get current information on me, and see what kinds of crazy things are going on in my head. This is turning out to be much bigger than I ever expected.

So thank you. And a special thanks to those of you who have blogrolled me.

If you have any suggestions, or comments. Please, feel free to let me know. I'm new at this.


If you want news from Iraq, look no further...

There are some great pictures, and tons of news. Don't miss Pam's comments on one of Fred Kaplans rants.

I really wonder where this guy get's his info... "but the chiefs know..." Do they Fred? He must have interviewed them all in between Bush bashings.

Some people....

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Anybody like science?

I really enjoy science. I like it because it gives me explanations to questions I have. One important question would be: How did life arrive on earth? Well, some of the most brilliant minds in the world might find the answer with this new data stemming from the successful "impactor" mission by NASA. Once the outgassing stops, the scientists will be able to collect all of the data.

"Comets are made of gas, dust, organic material and ice from the solar system's farthest regions. Because they were not heated by the Sun during the formation of the solar system, comets retain the original chemical mixture from which the planets formed 4.6 billion years ago."

Sound interesting to you? Probably not. Alright, no more science posts.

You just watch though. This will turn out to be quite significant. You read it here first! Well, actually Reuters. I tried.

It's getting hot in here....

The temperature was high the other day during a raid. You can see the temp there of 135F. The barometric pressure was 980 mbar. The time was 13:04. I set my watch on my 240B. I'm suprised it didn't melt. Posted by Picasa

An unidentified soldier sits outside with the Flag in the foreground. Posted by Picasa

I don't hate Canada but....

Sounds like she slipped through the system. I can't make personal comments on this case because I don't know her, but according to the evidence she should be picking up rocks in a Montreal prison still. I hope that nothing bad comes of this because that would cause quite an uproar of the Canadian judicial system, and I could see quite a reaction in the US as well.

Personally, I think our court system is inadequate and could use a good revamping anyway.

Defense official confirms: two US Soldiers found dead

This is very sad news for the Special Operations community. My prayers go out to the families and friends of all these fine soldiers.

Just remember:

"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died, rather
we should thank God that such men lived."

-General Patton

We will see how this all develops in the near future. We are also waiting for further news about the bombing of a suspected terrorist hideout near Kabul where it is reported civilians have been killed.

This is me with a young Iraqi girl who is quite fond of M&M's. Posted by Picasa

Just getting started

This is the first post.

Will it be the last post? Or will it be the first of many? As of right now, this is just a whim, but it might be the start of something big. Wait around and find out if you'd like.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]