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.

Friday, May 27, 2005

The Conflagration

Yesterday was the IA's crucible. We started at 0530 and ended around 2230. They had to do a lot of running around and perform mock combat missions. We continuously harassed them with stun grenades, flash bangs, trip flares and grenade launchers (smoke). They performed flawlessly. It really feels great to see all the result of training, especially when you begin with men you couldn't imagine ever being soldiers, much less Infantry. During their night fire, we were shooting parachute flares and illumination. There is a field full of tall dry grass just behind the range. A flare landed in it and there was a huge fire. In the midst of trying to put it out I saw a little puppy probably about 2 or 3 weeks old stumbling around. It disappeared into the underbrush, and a few minutes later, Tubby came out with it in his arms. It now sleeps with him, and I gave him a syringe to feed it with. We took it to training with us today to keep an eye on it. I am considering starting a paypal account for donations to finance paying quarantine fees and vet bills so we can take this dog back to America with us. Would you donate?

The Conflagration Posted by Hello

Tubby and Friend In The Gunner's Hatch Posted by Hello

US Issue Pet Carrier Posted by Hello

In my new home Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

A Return To The Mean Streets

It has been quite a while since I went on any real operations outside the FOB. The past 6 weeks have been so filled with intense training of the Iraqi Army recruits that I haven't even had time to go to the green zone to restock medical supplies. The time is drawing nigh my friends. I remember a Sgt Schultz ( telling me that his stay here consisted of 4 months of relative peace, followed by 4 months of intense fighting and bombing. It seems as if that cycle is perpetuating. All things considered, we had relatively little enemy contact our first four months, the past couple of weeks, bombings and ambushes have become much more frequent. The insurgents know they hold a strong hand with their car bombs and hidden explosives. I don't know a soldier here who is scared of a firefight, but isn't petrified of a bomb. I was talking tonight with some of my friends about the upcoming assignment, and we each expressed nearly identical feelings of impending danger. I do think the Iraqi Army will be much more professional than the ING. Although they are effective as a fighting force, the ING are too much like cowboys for continued use. The country needs a professional soldier who is civic minded and posseses a unique desire to aid in the protection of their community and expansion of personal freedoms. The problem is going to lie in convincing their officers that the common soldier deserves to be treated well, because as it is now, the enlisted men get next to nothing, while their officers live the easy life. Even such things as basic sustenence and and hygeine are denied these men.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Girl Scouts and Youth Groups

My cousin is the youth group director at our church. They got together and sent my unit some cards. On the very same day, my daughter's Girl Scout troop made us cards as well. My team got together and took a photo with all the cards today at the end of training.

Cards from the Girl Scouts Posted by Hello

Cards from the church youth group. Posted by Hello

Never Heard of the Stones?

I guess in my naivety I thought American culture circled the globe. I now abnegate any responsibility for such narrow mindedness. I was hanging out with our interpreter "Bob" today, he is a fairly cultured fellow. He speaks Arabic, English and French. I was singing the Rolling Stones song "Angie". He had never heard of it, nor had he heard of the band. He also had no concept of what surfing is. I mean, who's never heard of surfing? So weird. I have a Surfing magazine I am going to bring him tomorrow. The Iraqi guys do like American music, most of the guys tell me they like Celine Dion, Michael Bolton, Kenny G, and Kenny Loggins. I ordered them a bunch of CD's from Amazon for like 99 cents each. It has been a bad week, the enemy has decided to let us know they are still around. Americans have been hit hard, and close to home.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Shooting House...Luckily Not Shooting Me

Today we shot house with the recruits. They did very well. It seems that since we have started doing some high speed Infantry training they have stepped up to the challenge and are listening and executing. If you aren't familiar with the term "shooting house", you take a team of 4 soldiers into a house and clear rooms, they assume their points of domination in the room, and commence firing on the enemy (targets). It is nerveracking, and a high tension activity because there is a high chance for fratricide. After shooting house, they had to bound by twos for about 50 meters, covering each other with suppressive fire. Running and shooting is also dangerous; especially for me, because I have to run behind one of the teams and be sort a safety monitor. That means there are other recruits firing behind me, maybe 3 or 4 meters to either side. You have to have a lot of trust that they aren't going to put one in your back. The batallion commander came out to watch, and gave compliments. I hope they can remember their training though. We take them on operations soon. Talk about getting thrown to the sharks. This is either where all of our hard work and sweat either pay off, or let us know it was for naught. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

First Patrol

We took the IA out for their first patrol today. We took them to the green zone, so that they could actually experience what it felt like to be on patrol without having to worry about getting into a fire fight every second. I would have to say the most exciting thing that happened was the demonstration we saw as we were headed back to camp. There was about 40 Iraqis standing on the red zone side of a checkpoint holding up signs and shouting. They said "Mr Bush do something" as we passed. The interpreter said the painting on the signs read, "We, the people of Iraq will be vigilant with our eyes to prevent terrorist acts." Of course I bet none of you have heard about those types of protests back home. The guys actually did a pretty good job. I was proud of them, and felt like I had actually taught them something. Tomorrow we are going to let them shoot house. That's when they do room clearing and urban tactics type stuff with live rounds. It will be a good test of their discipline and team cohesiveness.

Monday, May 16, 2005

I have always loved this mural. Posted by Hello

The demonstration. Didn't have time to get a better pic.  Posted by Hello

HA HA HA, yeah right...maybe for the pogues. Posted by Hello

3 little roust-abouts, the kids in the green zone are much more aggressive than in the slums. I guess they're spoiled or something. Posted by Hello

exhibiting knowledge of how to cross a danger area. Posted by Hello

interesting mosque Posted by Hello

Disney really is world wide Posted by Hello

The babies first patrol Posted by Hello

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Thoughts on War

I have been hearing many negative things from back home about what is going on in Iraq right now. I thought a little insight into the nature of America's past war efforts was in order. Perspective is Reality Until Changed. Did you know that on D-Day, the invasion of Normandy, there were 6,603 casualties, 1,465 of them fatal? That is just one day. Since March, 2003 there have been about 11,888 casualties, 1,616 of them fatal. Just something to think about.

Who is the National Guard Guarding Anyway?

Or "When I Stopped Caring And Learned To Love The Gun"

One of the little shops on our base has pellet guns for sale. Since the National Guard has gotten here, they love to go in there and play with them. I have no idea why. Anyway, yesterday, one of them was in there, and some how unknown to me, the shopkeeper gets shot in the head. These things break at the breach and are single shot. It's pretty easy to know if you are handling a loaded weapon or not. I always heard the jokes about the National Guard, and just figured it was alpha male posturing, but this little incident was one of several such similar retarded instances of below average decision making by the Nasty Girls. When the shopkeeper comes back (if he comes back) I'll try to get a pic of what I'm sure is going to become his million dollar wound. Until next time, watch your melon around your friendly bumbling National Guardsmen!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The Magic Bullet

So no sh@#, there we were on patrol with the new recruits when I hear a PKC rip off a belt of 7.62 mm death nuggets. One of my guys goes down and I immediately knew what I had to do. I ran out into the alley, tracers all around, and drug him behind a dumpster. He had taken a slug in the thigh, his precious bodily fluids flowing out into the sewer that serves as a street in this cesspool called Baghdad. I clamped the artery with a pair of hemostats and whipped out my trusty LeatherMan pliers pulling the spent round out in one deft motion. We destroyed all enemy, and had our guy in surgery within the hour. The bullet is pictured below.

In reality, I dug this particular bullet out of the ground today. One of the other Americans and I were standing around talking, and there was a ZIP, THWACK, and a neat little hole appeared in the dirt right between us. I dug the bullet out with a bayonet, it had traveled about a foot down into hard clay. I have no doubt if had been just a foot or so to either side, one of us would be dead right now. It made for a neat story though didn't it? On another note, I can't disregard OPSEC, but terrorist acts are escalating here, and it gets pretty hairy at times. People are getting hurt every day. Keep us in your prayers.

THE MAGIC BULLET Posted by Hello

Monday, May 09, 2005

Our little puppy

We recently got a new puppy. She is a cute thing, and since she has been here a few days, she has quit shaking and being so scared of everything. I can't figure out what breed she is, I'm sure she is a mutt, but she has to be close to something or another. We are the only permanent unit at this camp, but lots of other units drift through. There was another dog we had for a month or so, but as soon as another unit showed up, he disappeared...fishy business there. One of our guys takes good care of this one though, and he keeps an eye on her, so hopefully she won't disappear without a fight. Sorry to stray from my training and war stories, but I wanted you to see a little of other stuff on Mother's Day! Pic of puppy to follow.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

The scorcher

Man it was hot today. I gave out 6L of IV fluids. 1 grand mal seizure, and 4 heat exhaustions. The Iraqi recruits have plenty of water, but they refuse to drink it. Starting tomorrow I will introduce a US Army favorite, forced hydration. Should work splendidly. I don't have much to over analyze tonight, so I figure I will do a little photo show, and introduce you to some people I have daily interaction with. Don't forget to tell your Mom you love her tonight!

Our new puppy, what is she? I don't know. Posted by Hello

Santos, the Puerto Rican Super Scout Posted by Hello

Tepera (Scout) and Gay Steve, one of our interpreters Posted by Hello

One of our recruits...this dude is huge! Posted by Hello

SSGT Verbowski Mortar Section Posted by Hello

Lucas, the FNG Posted by Hello

George, one of our fine Mortarmen Posted by Hello

Ree, my interpreter Posted by Hello

Adams and Huskey Posted by Hello

Sgt Hottell Posted by Hello