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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 16, 2005

my trip to baghdad

St Patrick's Day, 2005
Well, I've always wanted to keep a journal, and since I am on the grand adventure of my generation here in Baghdad, I suppose my life is sufficiently interesting to merit a little diarrhea of the keyboard. I must give you the reader a word of caution in advance, I am certainly not an author by any stretch of the imagination. So bear with me as we dive into the life of a combat medic fighting a war with no frontlines, and no clear definition of who his enemy is.
The weeks leading up to our deployment were a whirlwind of training, and preparing gear... wait, let us start on an honest note shall we? The weeks leading up to our deployment were a booze addled miasma of trying to have fun and formulating any plausible excuse to avoid reporting in to work. So we finally manifest on the 17th of January around 5pm. We flew out around 10 pm that night with layovers in Maine and Germany. The stops were brief, but there was enough time for us to take at least 100 years off of our collective life spans. The Philip Morris coffers tripled that night I'm sure. So, around 20 hours after lift off, we arrived at Camp New York, Kuwait. It was like a scene from Dune...maybe Luke Skywalker was born here, but I do know that it is one desolate, dry and dusty desert. I would find more adjectives starting with the letter D, but I think that my readers can peruse Dr. Seuss on their own, without my help.
We stayed at Camp New York for 2 of the most boring weeks of my life. I don't really remember what I did there, other than it involved alot of unpacking, sorting and repacking various odds and ends they decided were important to our war effort. I think most everyone packed stuff like extra hats...uniforms, all the usual gear a soldier needs. I packed books, DVDs, CDs, laptops, electronics, and backup electronics. You know, what I need to survive in combat. Although, I did bring alot of socks. So, we left Kuwait one cold and windy day to convoy the 350 or so miles to Baghdad. What a freaking nightmare. The powers that be in all their short bus wisdom would never let us see the upper limits of 25 mph. Try riding in a windowless vehicle in 38 degree weather during a windstorm for three sleepless days straight and you will get a pretty good idea of what that stroll through the wasteland was like. Nevertheless, we reached Baghdad with smiles on our faces and flowers in our hair....no, that was the trip to San Francisco. We arrived in Baghdad dirty and exhausted, and I need to say here that my Degree was neither body heat activated, nor did it work hard so that I could have a shower clean scent. What was cool though is that we are now using Saddam's old military parade field, the representation of his might, as a parking lot; right under the famous arched swords!
So we moved into Saddam's family palace, which may I add was hit with 7 JDAM bombs and 2 cruise missiles and is still in pretty good shape all things considered. The first day I went to chow was kind of a let down. I had always heard that you get fed really well in theatre, but we had cold cereal for breakfast, if you weren't first in line you got no milk to go with your bran either, and the fare at lunch was even less appetizing, so I had cereal again. Cereal with water sucks, take it from me, so now you don't have to try it to find out. The guys we were taking over from said they had been eating this shit for a year. Well, my friends, the very next day KBR (Brown and Root) began running the chow hall, and I'm here to tell you, that was some good eatin' boys. In the first week we had steak, lobster, dungeoness crab legs, and shrimp. I shit you not, it was class A dining. The guys going home were not pleased to say the least. Unfortunately our stay here was to be incredibly brief. I did get a souvenir for my future Grandchildren here, a marble plaque bearing Saddam Hussein's name.
We left the green zone and the palace headed for Camp Independence in the red zone. Orders came down from higher that we would be taking over a mission from the Arkansas National Guard training Iraqi National Guard (now the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps). One of the Sgts that oriented me to the sector was an aspiring musician, he wrote a song named the Patriot that I have no doubt will be nationally known pretty soon. I think his name was Sgt Schultz. The ING are certainly an eclectic group of people. You see, during Saddam's reign of power, it didn't matter what skills or education you had, you did whatever job he told you to do. So we have everything from previous special forces to agricultural engineers in our army. Truly citizen soldiers if there ever were such a thing. The great majority of the ING joined so that they could help Iraq become a free and democratic state, keep their communities safe, and to kill the insurgents

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