Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Very interesting. In the near future, I will probably be able to explain why...

I might be out of the loop for a few days, traveling and all that. Hopefully I will have better luck than my last trip.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

Remember what it is all about

by Wm. F. Lang 9 x 10 photo owned by collector John Ertzgaard

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Thank you Pakistan.......

Seems our Friends in Islamabad have made another deal with the Taliban in the western wastelands. "We will leave you alone if you just play nice". I have always been convinced that Afghanistan's stability has never been the goal of her neighbors. Here is more proof. With the Pak Army backing off, the tribes are allowed to continue their fight across the border. Attacks are already up 300% in the eastern ISAF areas and so are casualties on both sides, and those caught in the middle. Negotiation without Strength = Appeasement. This has been proven again and again. Take notes Obama, lets see how this works out.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Ouch, that smarts.

I have a really good reason for not posting the past few days...

I was sitting on the elevated side. When my hand got smashed, I was fairly sure I had broken a finger. Once I got back to base I had it checked at the hospital and, yup, a small crack. Nothing terribly wrong, but I'm going to be a bit inconvenienced for a couple of weeks.
Of course, my colleagues have been every bit as funny about this as I expected... "sounds like someone needs a hug", or, "Hey, did you break your finger throwing yourself out of the back?"

So I will post more when this starts to get better. You should see me typing with the tip of just one finger on the hurt hand... I confess it does look fairly funny.

Friday, May 23, 2008


Remember those who sacrificed all for us. There is more to this weekend than sales and car races and the official beginning of Summer. Take time to reflect on the cost of all that we have and what others are trying to take away.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Getting a bit tired

I noticed yesterday that I had reached the point where a couple of good meals (at the British cookhouse at BAS) and a good night's sleep is not enough to put me back to 100%. I'm not exactly exhausted or burned out just yet - but I have been before (last deployment). So I know the warning signs. I am going to try to scale back a bit - which is difficult as I am just about to watch everyone else here leave and replacements come in...

Anyhoo - posting may be light for a little while. Unless events warrant otherwise.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Range Day

Some of the security in my area is not military. We spent some time on the range making sure that I could shoot their weapons and handle any basic problems like a jam or misfeed. I had not fired an MP-5 before, and it was a very interesting weapon. Very little recoil, and light.

The fellow who taught me to use it had me run through single shot, then automatic.

"Hey, did I hit anything?"

When I had finished that, he told me to run through the rest of a magazine from the hip. I felt like a 1920s gangster...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Low level flying and last departure

A couple of days back I got the Tour of All Southern Iraq, inadvertantly. I was flying what I thought was a quick trip back to my usual digs. Instead, I was asked where I was going, and more than once I was told "oh, you're last off" in a rather ominous manner. But hey, I had never seen Um Qasr, Camp Bucca, etc...

On the flight back I decided to pull out my obsolecent camera and flip it to movie mode and try to capture a bit of the feel of flying low over Southern Iraq. My first effort with Blogger's movie clip feature failed, so I embedded it from YouTube.

The only constant is change

Looks like I will have some changes, again, coming down the road. I'll be moving again, and working with different Iraqis. Somewhere in there I get a couple of weeks leave too. When I got to Iraq I thought I would be at one location, doing a fairly interesting, but stable job. Boy was I wrong. So I have learned that in Iraq, the only constant thing about your deploymkent is change.

But for now I will still be posting from the Basrah metro area.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Lest we forget....

I ran across these photos of the USS Arizona Memorial. The retired USS Missouri is on display next to her. The USS Arizona, which was lost on the first day of the war, lays next to the ship that entered Tokyo Bay to have the Japanese surrender on her deck on the last day. Over 1,000 of Arizona's shipmates rest within her. You can see that she is still leaking oil after all these years.

Violence up this week in the East

The 101st is making regular contact now, They have lost 4 warriors in the last week in Paktia and Kapisa.
Key al Qaeda members killed in Afghanistan after leaving Iraq. They went down fighting "Worshipers of the Cross". As the Coalition and Iraqi Forces drive them out of Iraq, they have to go somewhere else to die.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Camp Renamed

One of the locations I work is a camp used by the Iraqi 14th Division HQ. It is called Mahmud Al Kasim (or as the British call it "Camp MAK"). Or rather, I should say it was called Mahmud Al Kasim. It has now been renamed after the commander of the 51st Brigade, S/BG Wassem, who died of injuries sustained in an IED attack in Basrah.

Welcome, now, to Camp Al Shaheed Wessam ("The Martyr Wessam") or, Camp Wessam.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Back to Busy

I have had to switch from working on incorporating lessons learned from the battle for Basrah, back to current operations.

The bad guys are trying to harrass us outside of the city of Basrah, from which they have been chased. A place as important to the Jaish al Mahdi for revenue (smuggling, extorsion, theft and ransoms) and refuge won't be ignored by them - or us. If we can keep the malign Iranian influence out of the area, things will stay calm. When they manage to smuggle rockets or such into the area, we see innocents killed or wounded.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Iraqi Joke

An Iraqi Army captain told me a joke today:

"President Jalal Talibani summoned the leaders of the Iraqi parliament to his office for a meeting. In the middle of the meeting his wife calls him and says, 'Jalal, there is a thief in our house!' President Talibani replies, 'impossible, they are all here with me.'"

I guess we have some things in common with the Iraqis, yes?

Friday, May 02, 2008

A Tuskan Raider or an Iraqi Jundi with a Sense of Humor?

The jundi in the picture was putting on everything he could while his buddies laughed and egged him on. I simply couldn't not take a picture. He was good humored enough to pose for it too.
Note: Click on the photo to enlarge.
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