Sunday, August 21, 2005

Team update - 21 Aug 05

Dogs, Shoes, and “Nothing New Here”

A quick update. It’s just after 1200, and most of the team is just getting up. We had an op last night which didn’t step off until 0200, and most everyone didn’t get to bed until about 0430 or 0500. A pretty good op, though. Mostly Iraqi, with everyone out but Master Guns Traylor and myself at Drifter Base (Drifter is our radio call sign, inherited from the old team). Along with our team and the Iraqis, about eight SEALs joined the party. Netted three by-name targets, which sounds small, but by the today’s standards, for this size op, that is a pretty good night’s work.

A couple of observations that keep crossing my mind while out on patrol. First, dogs. This place is overrun with stray, feral dogs. Packs of them. Look for the most part like any mutt you’d see back home, but all are strays. I am a dog guy and it really drives me crazy. The Iraqis do not like dogs at all, and will refuse to allow one into their homes (which is actually quite funny considering that their sense of cleanliness is not so great (ref. my pictures of a couple of weeks ago)). While I have seen some cats, it seems to be mostly dogs. Some are pets (I guess), which makes life entertaining when you are doing a cordon and search in a neighborhood, knocking on doors and searching houses, but most run free in acks, even here on base. Top Radke and I were on a patrol yesterday and we were stopped on one street / alley while the Iraqis spoke to some locals. One street up, there was a puppy, maybe a year old, and that was HIS STREET. Three Iraqi girls, probably teenagers, come walking towards us from a couple of blocks away. This dog was OK with us (we weren’t trying to go down his street, but they were). The girls got about halfway and that dog just lit after them, barking his head off. The girls all screamed and ran – and I mean full on ran – back down away from us. Top and I thought this was hilarious; this puppy was clearly all bark no bite, but the girls didn’t seem to know that. I hope that he had a home on that street; he looked like a good dog.

Shoes. There is so much trash and debris just covering this country, but what amazes me is the discarded shoes. Everywhere. I think I see them because they aren’t something you usually see, like water bottles or kitchen food containers or any one of the innumerable trash items I’ve seen just thrown into the street here. Shoes stand out (no pun intended), maybe because they are more personal than just everyday trash, but they are just everywhere. Most are worn out sandals, with some old kids shoes in for good measure. Very strange.

“Nothing New Here.” This may sound strange, but everything here – even new things – look weathered and old. Everything. A new car will have dent in it; a new A/C will look like it was dropped a few times. New clothes look dirty; a new house will look shoddy and poorly built (even the nicer ones). You’ll see a “new” house going up next to a cinderblock and mud house with barnyard animals grazing the front yard. There is no such thing as central air conditioning, and all electrical work looks like a fire hazard from installation. It is truly a phenomenon: everything is old, right out of the box.

Well, my time is up. Gotta go get ready for the rest of the day. I will start working on a glossary of sorts, but some words or phrases may be so second nature to me that I don’t think of it, so let me know if there is anything in specific you need defined. Mrs. Radke (I think) mentioned that other folks could help out if I am too slow on this end, which I think is great. Community involvement on the blog would be a fine thing indeed. Means I can spend more time typing away about dogs and shoes.
Talk to you all soon.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fine points is what makes good literature, Your discriptions help us understand what your doing and seeing. I know your busy, but keep up the great blog.
L. Crum (Dad of a soldier)

21 August, 2005 15:46  
Blogger radkesintx said...

Maj P!!! I did not point it out bc I thought you were too slow!!!!!!!! I DO NOT think that! I said it bc we have many Marines/Veterans reading this and by sharing their knowledge, your list could potentially be shorter and perhaps more specific to this mission.

Like others, I greatly appreciate your time and efforts!


21 August, 2005 18:54  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dogs and shoes wow, very interesting EP, not sure what that says about you or the country you are seeing. As always, we greatly appreciate the very descriptive entries in your blog. I cannot speak for everyone but it definitely makes me feel like you are not so far away. I really do appreciate your time and effort. I gave the blog address to a friend who has a son that is a Marine serving in Iraq. He is most anxious to read your blog. I know that it will be a comfort to him. His last name is Roberts. I can't remember what unit the boy is in. Stay safe and as always we are all thinking about you.
Old Teach

21 August, 2005 23:15  
Blogger Wild Bill said...

Talkin bout the wore-out shoes makes me think of Chief Wiggles and Sgt. Hook.. Three less bad guys, is still three less bad guys.. Specially if they are on the "list" .. The more the gooder.. All the best to ya'll from here in Texas..

22 August, 2005 05:51  
Blogger GormanJ said...

Good blog entries! I've given this address to several people and they also enjoy. I wonder what your water supply is like. Do you have to use your own filtration system?

22 August, 2005 20:49  

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