Saturday, December 17, 2005
Team Update - 17 Dec 05
A quick entry, and then to bed for me. I was up until 0330 this morning while some of our guys were out, moving one of the Iraqi companies downtown. Don’t worry; Marines travel in packs.
First off, the move went fine. Well, as “fine” as anything in the Al Anbar province. Our move here went in two elements, the first the Iraqis, and the second, our team and all of our (Marine and Iraqi Army) equipment. The IA s got off OK, but our movement was stopped, so for the first time since we got here, our battalion was left without “adult supervision” here at Camp Ramadi. The good news: they did fine, the place was NOT on fire when we got here, everything was in good order, and the Iraqis had started to get things organized without us. This is HUGE; we knew they were capable of it, but we had always had to drag them there. Since we arrived here, something has fundamentally changed, and they are starting to play ball. We are cautiously optimistic, and are all trying to coax this spark into a full blown flame. Details at 11.
Camp Ramadi (and our slice of it, Camp Blackwater) is better than Camp Tiger had been. First, it is a MUCH bigger camp, and has a full-blown chow hall, PX, post office, etc. The IA s are happy with it, since there is better Iraqi chow and their leave route is shorter. We don’t have to wear our flaks and helmets wherever we go like we did at Camp Corregidor. We are just starting to integrate into ops with 3/7, though, so the period of “R & R” may be over soon. Goodbye OP Hotel, hello OP Hureeya! (Inside joke.)
Top Radke, SSgt Decamillo, and Gy Ellis have been focused on their respective companies. Gy Greene has been the man of the hour, being the logistical focus on main effort in both getting us here as well as the unnumbered details of getting the battalion set up in a camp where there WAS no camp. SSgt Walsh has stepped into Master Guns Kistler’s boots and is taking charge of helping the mechanics set up the motor pool and assisting Gy Greene. Our new Army medic – Sgt Magers (I am not making that up) – has been doing a great job working in with the IA medical guys. In all, while the move has resulted in a lower level of operational activity, the IA s have turned a corner.
Hey, another big milestone today (Dec 12): they voted! While the election in October was for the ratification of a constitution, this was for the election of members of the government itself. Big big big. The general election goes on the 15th, so cross you fingers. The only way out of this place is for these people to take charge of their own destiny.
Hmmm, what else… Tracked down a friend of mine serving as the Team Leader for the 3-1-7 MTT team, Maj Mike Veseley. He is here at Camp Ramadi as well; had not seen him since 1999, when we were both battery commanders with 3rd Bn 10th Mar at Camp Lejeune; he had Kilo Battery while I had India Battery. He had been an instructor at Ft Sill while Master Guns Traylor had been a cannoneer instructor, so they knew each other as well. It is a small, small Marine Corps, people.
Gotta go. Will throw some pictures up and will get more with a better posting up this week. In-sha’allah.