Well, it has been a few weeks since we left the US, and until yesterday the only internet access I’ve had was short blocks of time at a kiosk at the USO. So, here’s a little update:
Our flight left Indianapolis just after midnight on Wednesday, June 3. After 8 1/2 hours we had a layover in Leipzig, Germany for about an hour. I slept for about half of that first leg; Quantum of Solace was the in-flight movie, but I’d already seen it so I nodded off not long after it started. After the layover it was another 5 hour flight to Kuwait City. In-flight movies for that leg were Inkheart and some Jet Li movie. I didn’t have any interest in the Jet Li one, but Inkheart was ok.
When we landed it was 9:30 pm local time (our bodies still thought it was 1:30 pm) and a nice brisk 97 degrees outside. It took a little while to unload the airplane, then there was a long bus ride to the post. We got to Buehring sometime after 2am, and then we had a couple of hours of briefings. By the time we had finished all of that, found our tent, and unloaded all our stuff, and ate breakfast, it was 7am local time Thursday morning.
At that point we had been awake (other than airplane sleep, which doesn’t really count) since 8am Tuesday morning, or about 47 hours. We slept from 7 until about noon, then got up for the afternoon so we’d be able to go to sleep at the normal time that night.
Have I mentioned that Kuwait sucks? We were only there a week, but I don’t think the temperature ever got below 120. It looked and felt just like Tattooine; I kept expecting to see stormtroopers show up asking me if I’d seen two droids.
After a week there, we flew north to Iraq courtesy of the US Air Force. It is still extremely hot here, but it is generally 10-15 degrees cooler than it was in Kuwait. The quarters here are much nicer, too. In Kuwait we had 4 giant tents; 1 for E-6 and above, 1 for E-5s, 1 for E-4 and below, and 1 for females. I am enjoying my 2-man room in Iraq much more than the 50-man tent in Kuwait.
We have been here for a week now, and are starting to feel settled in. The layout of our company area is pretty nice; the operations center (where I work) is right next to the CHUs, and the motor pool is on the other side of that. The dining facility, PX, laundry, etc. is all about a mile away, so we get plenty of walking whenever we need anything like that. The laundry service is excellent–drop off your stuff and pick it up the next day cleaned and folded, and it is all free.
I have more pictures up on my Facebook page. Send me a friend request if you want to see them; it is more convenient for me to upload them there than to put them up here.
My mailing address is:
APO AE 09351
Several people have asked me for a “wish list” of things we’d like to get in care packages. I’ll ask around and post something here in the next day or so.
Yesterday we (finally) had a block of training that was both fun and potentially useful: Army Combatives. I learned several different methods for choking people and breaking their arms. The army benefits are obvious, but there are also a lot of civilian applications for it. For example, it will come in handy the next time William tries to ditch the Movie Ministry, when someone calls in a computer problem without having tried to reboot first, or when the Newsomes start talking politics.
Thought I’d put in a little plug for Skype. I’ve been using it to make video calls home to Kathy and the kids; it works great as long as you have a decent internet connection. Making calls between computers with other Skype users is free, but you can also pay a fee (about $3 a month) for unlimited calls from your computer to regular telephones. I did that because the cell service here is not very good, and the cell phone won’t have service at all once I get overseas.
Not much new to report, unless you count my trip to the emergency room yesterday. Nothing to worry about, though. It turns out that the medication I was taking for high blood pressure contains a diuretic; when you combine that with a substantial increase in physical exertion, it results in dehydration. They have switched me to a new medicine that does not have the diuretic component, so everything should be fine now.
Next week we’ll be doing more hands-on stuff out in the field, so hopefully I’ll have some good pictures to post at the end of it.
Here’s a look at where I’m living for the next few weeks. Living in a large room full of dudes is not a preference, but it is a little better here as we were able to construct “cubicles” out of the wall lockers. Here’s my bunk (I don’t have anyone sleeping above me, which is also nice):
Here’s a longer view down the hall; my bunk is the first on the left:
And here’s the best part–most open barracks that I’ve lived in in the Guard have had extremely crappy shower setups. It is usually one shower pod with four spouts at the top, so you get to take a shower with three sets of junk in your face. But here, we actually have shower stalls with curtains. Luxury.
Finally, here’s me wearing my new 60 lbs of crap:
Historically, I’m crappy at maintaining a blog. I have brief spurts of bloggy goodness that usually only occur when something substantial is happening in my life, such as trips to Poland or the birth of my children. I’m thinking that being deployed to Iraq will fall into that category.
We’ve been at Camp Atterbury for 5 days now, and most of our time has been spent going through various inprocessing stations (medical, dental, finance, etc.). More accurately, most of our time has been spent waiting in line for various inprocessing stations. Our actual training starts tomorrow. I’m not sure yet how specific I can be about any of this, but I think the major focus of all of our classes will be in tactical line-standing.
My intent was to post some pictures today, but I just realized my camera battery is dead. I’ll recharge it tonight and hopefully post some pictures tomorrow of the barracks and the company area.
Here’s a Master Class in how to properly tell “The Wide-Mouth Frog” by Professor Ski:
Forget my last post. If McCain is planning to vote for the Senate version of the Bailout/Rescue bill tonight as Michelle Malkin is reporting he is, he just lost my vote.
This is such a golden opportunity for him. If calls to the Capitol are any indication, the vast majority of the public is against this bill. His opponent is going to vote for it. Voting against it would not only be the right thing to do, but it would distinguish him in a very clear way from Obama and win a ton of votes at the same time.
After spending so much of last week’s debate railing against earmarks and saying that as President he’d veto any bill that came to him with them in it, how can he vote for this crap sandwich? Here’s a list of the earmarks in the current version (quoted from Malkin’s post):
- Film and Television Productions (Sec. 502)
- Wooden Arrows designed for use by children (Sec. 503)
- 6 page package of earmarks for litigants in the 1989 Exxon Valdez incident, Alaska (Sec. 504)
Tax earmark â€œextendersâ€ in the bailout bill.
- Virgin Island and Puerto Rican Rum (Section 308)
- American Samoa (Sec. 309)
- Mine Rescue Teams (Sec. 310)
- Mine Safety Equipment (Sec. 311)
- Domestic Production Activities in Puerto Rico (Sec. 312)
- Indian Tribes (Sec. 314, 315)
- Railroads (Sec. 316)
- Auto Racing Tracks (317)
- District of Columbia (Sec. 322)
- Wool Research (Sec. 325)
I’d never vote for BRCK BM; but if McCain votes for this bill, I’ll either be voting for Bob Barr or staying home on November 4.
Call your Senators and your regional McCain campaign headquarters and tell them to take a note from the House Republicans and grow a pair.