Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Team update - 25 Oct 05

Hi, all. Sorry for being off the net so long. While true that we’ve been very busy, I must admit that finding something nice to say about Ramadi has been hard, and Mom used to say, “If you can’t find something nice to say,…”

Ramadi is a no-kidding, full up city of about 400,000. The Army battalion that we are partnered with - 2-69 AR - has the eastern part while a Marine battalion has the western part. We live right about where the city limits on the eastern side would be. May have been a decent place at one time, but this place looks like Beirut circa-1982. Take a city, run it through years of war, bomb/burn/gut some large buildings downtown, stop all construction in mid-stride, cease all road maintenance, machine gun / RPG the sides of half the buildings, toss in some destroyed cars (some recent, some old), put some checkpoints with concrete barriers and concertina and soldiers backed up by tanks on the main road into town, then you have the backdrop. That is just the backdrop. Add the smell of pulverized dust and diesel, stale sweat, and a million other horrible odors that make up this place, and there you have Ramadi. The homes around here seem to imply more money than back in Habbaniyah, but it is still a dump. The local event lately has been harvesting dates, which have been ripening by the bushel on all of the palm trees. Just tons of the things. The locals near our bases are careful to contact 2-69 to let us know when they are climbing the trees to harvest them; if they don’t, they could be mistaken for snipers and shot. Welcome to Ramadi!

The elections went off fairly smoothly for us around here on 15 October. Not perfect, but not as bad as we had been expecting. We are still currently in a very strange lull, giving us a chance to get some rest and catch up on things that needed being done around here. But operationally, the enemy is being rather quiet lately and we, suspicious types all, are still being very alert and very cautious. We are in the middle of Ramadan right now, 4 Oct – 1 Nov, based on the lunar calendar. 4 Oct was no moon, and we will come around to no moon again on 1 Nov, I think. We expected some fireworks during Ramadan, but so far so good, for the most part. The engineers are making a lot of improvements around Camp Tiger (the name of our little slice of heaven); within a week, we hope that the Iraqis will be able to use brand new shower trailers (to date, they use one water pipe jerry-rigged out of the side of the building, and one broken water main), and hopefully we will have a five-lane, 100 meter rifle range. We would like that for the Iraqis, but we the Marines would also really like to be able to shoot more often. I personally haven’t fired a round since we BZO-ed (Battlesight Zeroed) our rifles when we first got here. Marksmanship is a perishable skill, and a Marine is never happier than when he is on the range. (As I write this, I realize that this is a telling fact about our lives, that we can be excited about having our own rifle range! Boy, out here, it is indeed the simple things.)

Let’s see, what other news… The CO is finishing up fitness reports, we pushed a leave convoy out this morning for the Iraqis (a story for another time), two platoon-size patrols went out with Capt Rush, Gy Roche, Gy Ellis, Master Guns Traylor, and the new Army medic we have assigned to us now, Specialist Hert (yeah, pretty funny name for a medic), and this was all by 0700! Forgot to mention the Doc (if a Nvy Corpsman or Army medic assigned to a Marine unit is worth his salt, he is bestowed the title of “Doc”). Great guy, due to rotate out in a month or so, but volunteered to come over to us for a month. Has been the difference between night and day for us medically. He has been a godsend, and a very welcome addition to the team.

Sorry again for the disjointedness of this belated post. Started it about three times, but couldn’t find much to write about. I will do better, and will have some good pictured for y’all in a few days. Again, if anyone has any requests picture-wise, let me know.

Drifter 5 sends…


Blogger radkesintx said...

Here's one:

The monster football...ask Alex, he knows which one we are talking about...

tee hee

27 October, 2005 18:18  
Blogger Kelly'sEffeminateAngel said...

Hello, was just taking a look-see at your blog. Sorry to hear that you are surrounded by the most unpleasing sights and smells imaginable. Hopefully you guys won't have to endure that for much longer. Was good to read that you had some good things to report. I look forward t future posts. Stay safe and may your dreams be filled with the sights and smells of home.

01 November, 2005 01:19  

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