Wednesday, November 26, 2003

I've Seen Better Days

It has been another not so good day. It was raining all day yesterday and all day today. I guess you got to be careful and what you ask for. The mud clings to your boots until you feel like you have weights on your ancles. The sky is finally starting to show the Sun.

After a few weeks, we got attacked again. At about 10pm at night. It was raining fairly good, so you couldn't see far out with night vision. Then, I heard a loud explosion. Quickly, I looked all around for the flash from the explosion or it's origin. We got hit with 6 mortars or rockets in less than 10 seconds and it was done. Luckily, the rounds blew harmlessly in the fields outside our perimeter.

Saturday, November 22, 2003

A Fallen Comrade

Two more car bombings, at least 14 IPs killed. It is obvious the insurgents are now just targeting IPs for the most part. It is really sad that these people are being bombed just because they are doing their job. Which is to protect the Iraqi people. I hope they start laying down the hammer on these nut cases.

Today, we had a ceremony for one of our fallen comrade. He passed away in June in a town called Al Fallujah. He was regretabilyregrettably our first loss and luckily our only loss. Finally, we had time apart from our busy job to pay our respects to him. He was a great soldiers, I trusted him with my life. We all will never forget him.

After the memorial, I came back to our guard post. I asked my friend who was guarding in full battle rattle if anything interesting had happened. He replied, saying this morning he saw a commercial airliner pass over with its wing on fire. He told me a guy ran to him and asked if he had seen it. The guy mentioned it might have been an RPG attack. Anyway, over the radio net that all guard posts are on said the plane had hydraulic problems and had to make an emergency landing at the airport about 3 or 4 miles away. My friend said the airport became invisible after it had landed. He said it was obscured by what he described as a massive dust cloud that it created. We are in a 3 story tower, so he got a good view and said you couldn't see the airport which is 3 or 4 miles away. Which on a clear day is clearly visible. I thought the plane probably did just have hydraulic failure. Until, I was listening over the AFN radio station and it mentioned a plane had been hit by a missile and had to make an emergency landing. I am just glad no one got hurt. I doubt very much it was a RPG attack. It was probably hit by a SA-7. Which is a Russian made shoulder fired surface-to-air missile. It is alotikealoetic the stinger missile the US uses. Passenger aircraft don't even have counter-measures against surface-to-air missiles. I just knew one of these days they were eventually going to hit one. Luckily no one got hurt.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

My Life Lately

Since I last blogged, I have been for the most part completely cut off from the outside world. So, I am going to talk about what it is like over here.

At this new post, our living our living conditions are pretty good. With the exception that you have to walk alittle ways to a shower. It is starting to get pretty cold again, so taking a shower can make you pretty cold on the way back to the living quarters.

For the first week we were here, we got attacked almost daily. Once, 3 days in a roll from 120mm mortars. That is something I will never forget, the loud bang you hear in the background followed by a indescribable whooshing sound followed by a loud boom. Where we are, there is alot of open space between buildings. So, most rounds don't hit anything. The Iraqis aren't good with mortars or rifles or any weapon. Usually they just fire a single mortar or rocket and run off before our QRF (quick reaction force) can catch them. Though, one night we were attacked with 6 consecutive mortar rounds. That night, we sent out all the QRF and anyone else to find those responsible. Maybe after all the guys we had looking for them, Bradleys, M1s and Hmmwvs driving all over the the outer fields. The bastards probably decided it is getting to risky for them to attack us and have almost completely stopped all attacks. It has been about 6 or 7 days since we have been attacked, which seems like a long time.

The other day, we had a Colonel come and talk to us. First, to talk about our mission. Then to kind of give us a pep talk. Obviously, I can't talk about our mission, except that we are perimeter guard. He seemed really strange in that he was trying to tell us how important we are for operations and then he would tell us in a kinda of pessimistic way about how the enemy is operating and attacking us. Now, we all know what we are facing out here. All of us have been out in the city, been shot at or have shot at attacks or been in a potentially hostile situation. We are all aware of what it is like out there. I don't know about the new cherries (AKA FNGs or New guys) who just arrived in our unit in Baghdad a few weeks ago. We know the risks, we just keep that thought locked away in the back of our head. We don't need to be reminded of what is going on by some paper pushing Colonel. And they just love reminding us how we are the tip of the spear, and on the front lines in this war. Yeah, whatever sir.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Back in Buisness

Finally I have been able to get on the computer. I can finally start writing blogs again. So start expecting another blog from me within the next day or so. Thank you for still visiting.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Possabily Last Post

Since I am leaving soon, and uncertain if I'll be able to write again. I figured I would go out with a bang and put up a big post for people to read. So, I just thought I would write about what I think of Iraq and some of my experiences I would like to share.

First, I would like to state, though I'm sure you can already tell. That I have a optimistic view of Iraq. I think Iraq has the potential to be a really great nation in the middle east. They were before, such as before Saddam, when the Dinar used to equal 3 US dollars. Iraqis have told me Saddam didn't care at all for the Iraqi people, and only cared about his family. I have even been told of a really horrific event that happened after the first Gulf War. Saddam had some 200,000 people killed. Those are the resistance fighters and all their families that got cleaned out too. However, some 5000 children somehow survived this onslaught. Saddam figured 5000 children would cost too much money to feed them. So, his solution was to have them all buried alive. 5000 children were buried alive because he cared more about his income than of these poor children. I not only hear this from one Iraqi, but from many many Iraqis that I have talked to.

On a lighter note, before the regime fell. There was a particular road and river that the regime stated was for regime personal only. If you were an Iraqi caught anywhere near these places, you would be shot and killed. After the regime fell, you could spot Iraqis down by the shore of this river and just staring for a long time. Just because they were never able to before. Also, many Iraqis would drive up and down this road because they never could. We told a few Iraqis about what it was like in America. They were awe struck at what we told them about our government. That you could actually go into the White House and tour around and see where the President actually lives. Not only that, what really made their jaws drop was that you could go to the US Capital or any Capital and talk to the elected officials. They were so amazed by the fact that we had the freedom to do this, even if we had to be checked for weapons. They just couldn't believe stuff like that was possible. At that moment, I really felt proud to be an American and proud to have liberated Iraq.

Just about every night, you can hear gun shots and see tracers flying in the air or hear faint explosions. But lately, we've had a bunch of attacks in the last few weeks. The other day there was a little gun fight between Iraqis. It was probably a thief though. Mortars have hit different position occupied by Americans. However, the Iraqis are terrible shots and terrible with any kind of weapon, so mortars are usually off target and don't hurt anyone. Same with many ambushes on Americans where they managed to hit everything expect for their intended targets. Alot of the times Americans kill or capture the attackers. You wont ever hear about this stuff in the news, probably because they think the world ought to know just about how big of a failure Iraq is and how we are losing the hearts of Iraqis. Plus, we are FLOWING with Iraqis coming up to us and giving us information on these resistance groups. Alot of these people are being arrested. Though, with all these big successes we've had, there is still much more to do. I don't see Iraq becoming stable for awhile now. I think eventually it will get there, most Iraqis are getting sick of the attackers. And talking to humanitarian aid workers, we've been told that Iraqis are upset that they are seeing less and less American patrols going through town. It is a relief for some of them to see that we are still here.

I have made many Iraqi friends and I even have given a few of them my mailing address so they could still talk to me. For the most part, they are good people and like America and appreciate us getting rid of Saddam and bringing them democracy and a chance for a much better future. However, I do feel doubt sometimes if this place will get better. I wont sit here and pretend that this is a really great place. It still has ALOT more to go before it can be a great nation. I wonder to myself sometimes if we did the right thing. I constantly am in a battle with myself on many of these issues. Wether it be, will Iraq get better or do the Iraqis really appreciate this. I have even sometimes felt hate for the Iraqi people after hearing a friend got injured or hearing about other times when Americans have died. I sometimes think we should just leave these people and worry about our own country. But, we can't do that now, that is just what the enemy want us to do. We can't leave now, and in these times where I doubt myself I think of all the people here who need us to stay and be strong. I am always able to see many rays of hope. I think Iraq can be a great nation and it probably will, but it's hard to believe that sometimes.

I enjoy doing this job, I actually feel like i'm making a real difference. Though, sometimes it's not always like that. However, for the most part, I am optimistic and think Iraq will become a better place. It is just a small group that don't want it and hate being out of power. I hope you all enjoy reading my blog. I just wanted to let people see what it was like through my eyes. I hope you all have learned alittle more about yourself, me, and Iraq because of it. God Bless you all, America and a free Iraq.

Saturday, November 01, 2003

Leaving Soon

Regrettably, I and my buddies will be leaving this position and moving to another. What this means, it is likely, I may not be able to write in my blog anymore. This I am really sorry for all those people who depend on my blog for news they don't hear about in Baghdad that goes on. However, there is also a chance that I will have access to computers there and will continue to be able to blog. So, if after awhile I don't blog, I probably wont be able to after that. I'm sorry if this disappoints alot of you, but orders are orders. However, it is a good chance I will still be able to blog. Thanks for all the support everyone.