Friday, January 27, 2006

Another day gone, thank God. Beautiful from the horizon up, but the mud and puddled rainwater counterbalance it.
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The finished product. Do NOT come here unless you have a sense of humor (especially D and Drifter Ocho).
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Top being a smart-aleck, writing in the dirt on the back of the Mystery Machine.
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Thursday, January 26, 2006

This is pure mud. It is everywhere. EVERYWHERE.
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The CO, Capt Rush, Top Radke, and Master Guns on a dry day.
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Gy Ellis, thinking seriously about jundi-fying my camera. Was hoping to get a picture of him hanging with his peeps, but alas, was too slow.
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One last note. I would personally recommend that all mail - unless otherwise cleared with your favorite team member over here - be HELD. It generally takes 10-14 days for mail to get to us here. I think we will have left Ramadi by then (although not Iraq).

Drifter 5

Team update - 26 Jan 06

Hi, everyone out there in the World.

I have been sitting here knocking out fitness report evaluations of the team for the last four hours, and figured I would take a break and knock out an update. I am stunned that my last one was two weeks ago. Two weeks. Good Lord, you people should fire me.

If I had to use one word to describe what is going on with the team and the 3-2-1 battalion right now, it would be “transition”. We as a team are still feeling our way though what we need to control and what we can transition to the Iraqis. We are in fact preparing to begin transitioning our entire reason for being here, all of our equipment and responsilities, over to a new MTT team, one which will physically be here at Camp Ramadi in two days. We then will be all fully engaged with transitioning all of our knowledge, all of our experience here over to those guys (God bless them), and then beginning our personal transitions back to the World that you guys live in. A world without unexplained gunfire in the distance, without friendly artillery fire from only 1000 meters away waking you up, a world where everyone speaks your language. A world where you don’t carry a rifle or pistol (or both) wherever you go. A world where you can get a freakin’ BEER, for crying out loud. A world where the primary (and secondary and tertiary) color isn’t BROWN. It is going to be a little disorienting for about a day, I think. After Desert Storm, I flew from Saudi Arabia to my duty station in Hawaii. That was a study in extremes. This time, I am coming back with a few more stories, so I am sure the “extremes” will be even more noticeable. But enough about me.

Everyone is doing well. We have been trying to shift gears on this gig, and transition things with the Iraqis so that our replacements don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Our effort have been for the most part successful, but man oh man, can the Iraqis guys try your patience. We as a team and we as individuals have carried this baton about as far as we can, and our lap is about run. Time for the next guy to take it and pull out ahead.

It had just about dried up around here from that earlier rain, so yesterday and today, it has begun to rain again. Not so cold (thank God), but if you people think you have seen mud before, trust me, you have not. This tour would have been far, FAR worse if we had not been living inside buildings with electricity and even beds (thank you 1-110th and Gy Greene), but boy, do you get tired of this mud. This stuff is like glue, and everywhere, and on everything. EVERYTHING. I will post a couple of pictures, but they just don’t do it justice. (NOTE: After I wrote this and went to my jeep, I turned the lights on (it being nighttime) and... nothing. No light, at all. After wondering what I had done to God to make him so damn MAD, I got out to pop the hood and see if the wire was loose. Nope. The mud on the headlights - just from driving around - was so thick that no light was penetrating it. Had to wash them (and the windshield) off with rainwater from a mudpuddle to be able to drive home. I simply LOVE this place.)

We are currently waiting on the return of SSgt Walsh and Sgt Magers from TQ. They flew out there on the 20th – six days ago – to escort some IA-s to Habbaniyah for a medical course. They were all lined up to return on the 21st, but the flight (in fact, ALL the flights) got cancelled by that big dust storm. The next night, all the birds were full because of the previous night’s cancellations. The 23rd, I think we had fog, then rain, then more full flights. Last night, the 25th, it rained and visibility caused the flight to be cancelled before their next leg to here. They have been stuck at TQ for six days now, with nothing to do but try to get back here. Everything looks good for their return tonight; I hope so, before SSgt Walsh – away from our vehicles, tools, camp improvements, etc. – just decides to walk home. He is not the type to do well being stuck in a tent and told to wait for a week.

Well, y’all, I am going to run and get this posted, and then back home. I will post later in the week, when the new faces you see will be our replacements!

Monday, January 23, 2006

The wind is clearly up in this picture; the antenna on the right is supposed to be vertical. Palm trees, Marine Corps colors, and the Texas state flag. Who could ask for more?
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More pictures from the other day during the dust storm; this is of the Ramadi Glass Factory. It's about a quarter mile away. There was a significant "event" here about three weeks ago.
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