Baghdad Band-Aid

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Location: Ewa Beach, HI, United States

I got out of the Army in October 2007, and went back to being a Paramedic. I am now working as an RN in Case Management.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

You very rarely see babies out on the street Posted by Hello

Friday, April 29, 2005

Haaji lazy Haaji

The weekend is Friday and Saturday. We are supposed to have these days off to rest and rearm/maintenance. Today is Friday. I had guard from 0500-0700. Went to sleep until 0830. Took dunnage (spent rounds) from the week to the AHA (Ammo holding Area). Maintenanced the truck, restocked my medical gear, went to lunch, went on a foot patrol. Sat around for an hour, then the higher ups decided the bathrooms/showers needed to be cleaned. We actually contract this job out, but they were so nasty you couldn't stand to go in there. So, 10 of us spent 2 more hours of our day off to clean it properly. I imagine the cleaning dude is going to have a bad week. He'll probably get his bell rung by at least 4 of us. That is if it isn't anticipated and they fire him before anyone sees him.

That reminds me, remember when I wrote about the ING kidnapping the food contractor? Well, it turns out the IA uses the same guy, and he has been treating them very poorly. Yesterday he didn't show up with their lunch until 1430, and everyone was getting madder by the hour. Upon his arrival, a fellow cadre member mentioned that he should be beaten for doing such a bad job. A split second later, the IA platoon Sgt peelayed the dude right in the jaw. Although they had to go another hour without food because the contractor ran away. It is to our advantage though, we now know that the IA needs training in apprehending a suspect operating a vehicle. They should have drug him out of the truck, not only to prevent his retrograde, but to allow everyone to get his fair share of food, and the contractor fun time beating. I can tell they haven't fought much.

In comparison, the Scouts went on a foot patrol today, and the ING shot a guy because as they were walking by, he ran away and wouldn't stop. Oh yeah, they don't take nothing off nobody.

why? This man was caught by the ING with a few small arms and some old Iraqi Army uniforms. They treated him as a traitor. I feel sorry for this man. He probably wasn't a terrorist...But, I suppose better safe than sorry. copyright Johan Spanner Posted by Hello

SSGT Stotko's shrapnel injury and ruined shirt. Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 28, 2005

we end up with a strong Iraqi soldier.copyright Johan Spanner Posted by Hello

then we have corrective training until we cool down!copyright Johan Spanner Posted by Hello

Frustration gets us all sometimes. copyright Johan Spanner Posted by Hello

teaching trigger pull and proper breathing techniques. copyright Johan Spanner Posted by Hello

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Tales of the ING

When we first started patrolling with the ING (not the new recruits, they are IA), they had really itchy trigger fingers, and were scared at the same time which isn't a very good combination in a person that engages in combat every day...unless it's Mortal Kombat, and itchy trigger fingers might get you a few bonus points if you're lucky. In our case it was tense, and almost ended up in tragedy. So no shit there we were (all Army storys have to start this way), when an ING jundi (private) starts singing on full auto with his boom stick. Wer're all wondering what the hell he's shooting at, when we start hearing "FRIENDLY! FRIENDLY, GOD DAMN IT!!!" Turns out one of our snipers was moving behind some cover, when the private saw some movement through the window of a steel door, he just lets go with a magazine of 7.62. The sniper took some shrapnel from the door, but was otherwise unharmed. I'll post a neat picture I took when we got back to base and I pulled that crap out of his arm. It's so dirty here that I immediately put him on antibiotics, but he started showing signs of infection and cellulitis within 24 hours. I was pretty amazed by this, as that must be some pretty mean bacteria. Fortunately I just upped his dosage and all was well, plus the sniper got a star for his CIB (Combat Infantryman Badge). I will be getting the CIB as well, since my primary job title in the Army is Infantryman, and I am with an Infantry platoon, and have taken fire. I would be getting the CMB (Combat Medical Badge), but even though I am serving a dual role as shooter, and medic (and am a Nationally Registered Paramedic with 7 years experience and a degree in the field, the Army doesn't consider me a medic because I didn't go to their 4 month course. I would rather have the CIB anyway, it's a much cooler award to have. OK, back on subject. We took our old ING platoon out for a recon patrol of a new sector...and they got into a firefight! The funny thing is, it was with the Iraqi Police. I would say this is a huge mistake, firing on friendly forces again, but the IP are as corrupt as they come, and the ING hates them. So, I have my suspicions on just how much we (the Americans) knew about what was going on. I do know the ING don't take shit off anybody. For example, they had a contractor who was bringing their food, and he was really ripping them off, bringing substandard fare, and sometimes not showing up at all. So...they kidnapped him! For about three days, all we knew was that the ING weren't getting food, and somehow they knew he had been kidnapped. So we supplied them with 3,000 MREs per day and suddenly the contractor shows up again! Performing flawlessly I might add. MREs do suck. I don't blame them for not having the temerity to hold out for an entire week. I guess back home I would think this was crazy talk and not funny at all, but here, it's freaking hilarious! I really miss working with those guys. We went from doing missions with them 24/7 to maybe two missions a week. This basic training really sucks up all our resources and time. We are trying to train the new guys to shoot right now, but between the language barrier, and their insistence on jerking the trigger and not breathing correctly...and etc. etc. they can't hit crapola. Someone kept shooting at us today while we were training, but it was sporadic, and very minimal, so we didn't investigate. I've heard some fishy stories, and there is a new unit at our base scared to death. I wish I could get one of the spent rounds to see if it was American or not. So until something fun to write about happens, Ma'a'salama.

Monday, April 25, 2005

The Press, and other random thoughts

I made a topic on a website I tend to frequent about this blog. I basically did it to get some exposure, and see what people thought of it. Was funny, one guy seemed angry that I only showed smiling faces in my pictures, and tried to say that I distort the way things are here. #1. I am not going to disrespect the dignity of other human beings by showing their charred, or bloodied remains. #2. I am not going to put pictures of terrorists that get the life kicked out of them on the web. Yes, it happens, and everyday. But I promise you, I see a hundred more smiling faces than those of despair. A German photographer is living here with us right now, he has been in Baghdad since 1 year before the war. He had a lot to say about it. He mentioned that once when Saddam was still in power, he (the photographer) took a picture of a man riding a donkey. The man chased him down, crying uncontrollably, and begging him not to publish the picture, because if Saddam saw it, the man's entire family would be killed. Saddam didn't like seeing anything in the press that made the country look third worldish, or non-modern. He said this was just one example of the tyranny that was Saddam's rule. He also said that he has been in every war-torn country on the planet, and that Iraq before the war was truly horrific. He said it was absolutely insane, the things that Saddam's men would do. In any case, this is my story about my experiences and thoughts while spending a year of my life here. I am in week two of basic training for my company of new Iraqi Army recruits. Life is really difficult for them, they don't get enough to eat, without us, they would perish of dehydration, and even those men I try to get treatment for in the hospital are turned away by their chain of command. Yet still this group of filthy, hungry, thirsty, and sick (We've had 2 cases of typhoid already) men are determined and motivated to become soldiers, and defend the newfound freedom of their homeland. I greatly admire them, and wonder what it would be like if we could get them medical, nutrition, and housing needs the basic trainees of the American Military recieve. Of course, don't think we treat them like a Drill Sgt. treats a new recruit, we handle them fairly gently, all things considered. I had wondered how many of them were possibly like terrorist spies or something, but unless they're damn good at faking, I don't think any of them are. You can tell when someone is familiar with a weapon, and these guys are about as awkward as a five year old on a bicycle. We taught some search and takedown tactics today, I'm going to put some pics of it up. They really enjoyed it, especially learning a little hand to hand combat. I just hope we aren't going to have to fight these guys in ten years, because we are doing a really good job training them!!

The Doma. Really good food!!!! Posted by Hello

more takedown training Posted by Hello

Training non-lethal takedown to IA. Posted by Hello

so does Regan Posted by Hello

Sgt Hottel likes burning stuff. Posted by Hello

Sgt Frodge pulling some security Posted by Hello

A collage of me, Sgt Cotton, and all of our ING medic friends. Posted by Hello

a group of Iraqis reading a wanted poster we put up for al- Zar'qawi. Posted by Hello

Sunday, April 24, 2005

If you like the photos...

There are lots more @
photogallery one
and at
photogallery two

Another day at the office

What a wonderful day. I only got 3 hours of sleep last night, and thought today would be horrible, but I couldn't be more wrong if I had called Angelina Jolie Jack Nicholson. Went to sleep last night around 2330, guard from 0400 to 0530, did some pushups and ran 2 miles at 0600, linked up with the P.A. and hung out at the ING Aid station until around 1400, went on a foot patrol, came back to camp around 1730, and the Iraqi medics had a "Doma" for us. Basically a potluck where each brings his favorite food, and everyone eats from the same dishes. Islam believes that if everyone eats from the same dish, arms must cross, and this makes the food better. A lot of their culture is based upon brotherhood, and trying to make your friends happy, and becoming closer. To most westerners of my generation, it is a clash, because they think this behavior is kind of "dudeki" (Arabic for gay) when it is not at all. It is entirely possible this comes from one of two root causes in my belief: 1. Our countrys' violent history, thus causing people to inherently not want to get too close to one another for fear of physical harm, or, it is all John Wayne, and Arnold Schwarzenegger's fault. Actually homosexuality is despised in this country. But...friends greet each other with a kiss on the cheek and a hug if they don't see each other for several days, a handshake if they see each other everyday; and it is not uncommon to see two men walking down the street holding hands. I'm not keen on the holding hands thing, but I do greet my best Iraqi friends in the traditional manner.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

just thought this one was cool Posted by Hello

better view of the swords Posted by Hello

My little friends Posted by Hello

Saddam's Family Palace Posted by Hello

The P.A. (Lt. Muniz) and I. Posted by Hello

Under the swords Posted by Hello

Mountains, Molehills, and desecrated Muslims

OK, so the whole combat stress thing was retarded. I met with a rep. of the stress team, and it was your run-of-the-mill tell me your life story meeting. I kind of like talking about myself anyway. Sometimes I linger by pools of water, staring at my reflection for hours. So to cut to the chase, he blesses me sane enough to kill and heal again without therapy, the Doc said I did the right thing for broken finger boy, and I am happy because I don't have to go to retard camp. We went on a foot patrol with our buddies from 302nd Btn ING tonight. Those poor Muslim boys are gonna have some prayin' to do. We ended up patrolling through a 3,000 year old cemetary that we believe the enemy has been setting up mortar positions in. Those poor soldiers were praying the whole time. I think it must be really bad for a Muslim to trample all over the graves of their ancestors at night. But, all in a day's work fighting for their freedom. So, all is well, I am off to 4 hours of blissful respite, and then to PT and training of more courageous young freedom fighters. A Good Night to you all, my one reader, me.

my buddy Regan in his sniper hide Posted by Hello

the view from a sniper's roost Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 21, 2005

So I finally get the low down

I went to the Doc about 2 weeks ago and told him I was having a lot of anxiety and stress because as I was trying to evac Iraqi civilians to the US, they were dying before I could get through the politics and red tape authorizing me to actually send them to US medical treatment facilities. So, at that point he already had planned to send me to the combat stress team, he just finally made the call. I can't decide if I want to play the game, and act like I have issues, or just tell them I don't need to be there and get the hell out. I guess it depends on what kind of atmosphere it is. A friend of mine went a couple of weeks ago, and he said it was gravy, so who knows? Maybe it will be a positive experience. I just don't like the stigma of having been sent there. It makes you appear weak.

Home, I want to go Home. Posted by Hello

treating an Iraqi Civilian Posted by Hello