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.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Unnamed officer shooting HellRaiser Posted by Hello

HellRaiser's Dead

Today, an unnamed officer shot and killed our puppy. He always plays around and puts his pistol to her head and pulls the trigger on an empty chamber. Today was different. Someone was petting the dog, and he (the unnamed officer), pulled the trigger on a live round. Needless to say, she is history. Since I was unable to get a photo of this event, I decided to create a reenactment for you.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Me and Mr. Car Bomb Posted by Hello


On Haifa St. you can pretty much guarantee you'll make contact on any given patrol (or at least while we were there, I hear it's a preschool now). In Karrada however, you may not get attacked for weeks, but when you do, it's big, and it is a casualty producer. There have been many bombs since patrolling this sector, but there is one that cut way too close to the quick for me, most skosh. We were entering our sector to set up a cordon and search, and a car bomb went off about 2 blocks away, we continued mission without any other difficulty. I heard later that there were 2 kids in the vicinity of said boom boom, and they ran and hid behind another car, which was about 100 meters away. They saw it was full of explosives and ran 2 miles to checkpoint 11. They got the GI's to defuse it without a problem. Scary because we would have been greased otherwise.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Children of the Sun

It has been awhile since I have updated you about my progress here, and for that I apologize. Time is fleeting, its fluttering wings whisper, "you've got one foot in the past, one in the future, and you're pissing all over today." Yet I can't pull myself from the bed for even one moment I have to myself. You see, our Commander is leaving in September, and I think he has dedicated himself to either killing us with work, or driving each and every soldier here stark raving mad. Whichever is easier. We have shifted schedules, we work 14 days straight, then get 4 days "off". Since there is no such thing as time off, our days away from our Iraqi soldiers are filled with cleaning our weapons and vehicles, making maps, and other maintenance type activities. Today is Thursday, I have had about 9 hours sleep since Monday morning, and we have 10 days of this left. Almost got my silly butt blown up yesterday. A huge car bomb exploded about 75-100 meters from me, it's a miracle my gunner didn't get hurt. We had to kill the puppy, Grace. She had a terrible skin disorder and was miserable, so we gave her relief. Too bad, I liked her even if she did think my room was a poop receptacle. Anyway, enough explanation for my absence. What I wanted to tell you about today struck me in a way I can't put into words. We were on patrol this morning and I was speaking with a local woman. She said, "I am sorry for the rubbish here in my neighborhood, I called the city about it, but no one came." There is automatic rifle fire all around us, 4 bombs went off in the area this morning, and I am talking to a person that finds it important to tell me of her efforts to clean up her neighborhood. I was speechless. How do you reply to that? You may not understand, but trust me, it was really touching.

left to right: Bottom: Daniel Lucas, Kenton George, Top: Francis Regan, Dave Hottell, Mustafa, Chad Benson  Posted by Hello

Friday, June 17, 2005

The IA are happy. We gave them a 4 day weekend. Posted by Hello

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Karrada Home Posted by Hello

Karrada Mansion Posted by Hello

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

peppermint smiles and ice cream dreams

Our new sector is in Karrada. It is a peninsula in west Baghdad. Very nice homes and businesses. We call it candyland. The soldiers are doing very well on their patrols, and appear to be applying most of the skills we have taught them. It will eventually prove difficult to keep discipline if we can't get them into a firefight pretty soon. they need their baptism in blood so that they will realize just how important it is to follow orders, and apply proper tactics. There are some houses in the sector that would go for millions in the US. I'll try to get some pictures, but my camera is broken, and doesn't work very well.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Don't Let Your Love Become Lost in the Great Divide

To realize the value of:
Ten years: Ask someone dying of AIDS
Four years: Ask someone dying of Heart Failure.
One year: Ask someone dying of Cancer .
Nine months: Ask a mother who gave birth to a still born.
One month: Ask a mother who has given birth to a premature baby.
One week: Ask someone who is out of the country when a damily member dies.
One hour: Ask the Paramedic enroute to the ER with a dying patient.
One minute: Ask the soldier that fell asleep for "just a minute" on guard duty.
One-second: Ask a soldier who has survived a firefight.
One millisecond: If you could, I would tell you to ask the soldier that didn't survive a firefight.
To realize the value of a loved one: Lose one.
For whom the bell tolls; Time waits for no man.
When times get hard here, I remember the smiles on my wife and children's faces when we were having good times, and I look foward to the time we will have good times again. Cherish those closest to you, and do not speak ill to them or of them to others. Consider yourself lucky you have those you love nearby.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Rekindling Old Flames

So we put out the fire, and returned to our rooms. About 10pm, everyone was rallied once again because of the raging inferno just outside our wall. We finally finished around 0400, and one of our guys ran over a huge pile of concertina (razor wire). So, we worked until 0700 cutting all that off the axles. Thanks for the party! It was great fun. Enjoy some pics.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Doc on the riverfront Posted by Hello

The beautiful Tigris river.  Posted by Hello

This is one of the most aesthetically appealing pics I have taken  Posted by Hello

I like this pic. Posted by Hello

Ammo Commander doing what he does best.  Posted by Hello

Fire!!!! Posted by Hello

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Party Over Here

We had a going away party for one of our Platoon Leaders tonight. He is moving to a staff position. First of all, you know you're asking for trouble when you are in a Muslim country and you decide to have a cookout featuring pigs! Sgt Cotton, who is an excellent chef, dug the pits, and stuffed the pigs with onions, garlic, and apples. He cooked them for about 12 hours. It was the most succulent pork I think I have ever eaten! The party went well, and at the end, we had cake and fireworks (parachute flares). Remember the big fire last week? Well, we had another one tonight. The problem was that it was in a palm grove outside our base. So, everyone went to put it out, I think after about 3.5 hours they finally got the last flame doused. To add to the bad luck, a high ranking NCO lost a very expensive radio while he was out there. Supposedly tomorrow morning at first light, everyone in the company is going out there to look for it. Here is the only pic I got. Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

An Avaricious Day

I have made a wish list for myself on Amazon. If you feel like adopting a soldier, head over and burn some cash!

Doggy Fund

I have found that there is an organization dedicated to collecting funds for soldiers' mascots to be sent to the US. I am currently trying to get our story published on their website. I will keep you updated on the details as they progress.

Prisoners For Freedom

Being deployed to Baghdad has made me appreciate America more than I ever could have even imagined before. I'll be the first to punch you in the face if you put my country down, but there are many disparities in the US that are disturbing on a fundamental level. Basketball players making millions, and firemen, EMS, police, and soldiers on welfare. That doesn't bother me as much as what motivated me to write this article.
In the United States a man can be convicted of maliciously murdering an innocent citizen, and is sentenced to 20 years in a penitentary. He gets free cable television, heating and air conditioning, clothing, shelter, a nutritious diet, conjugal visits with his wife and visits from family on a regular basis, is given the opportunity to pursue his education for free and has well equipped gyms, also, in some prisons, the inmates have internet access. If he beats a guard, or another inmate, he gets solitary confinement for a set period of time...not too long though, that would be inhumane. I have read that in some prisons, the taxpayers' money is being spent to pay for breast augmentation and hormone therapy for those who wish to change their sex.
A soldier in the United States Army stationed at Camp Independence, Baghdad, gets no cable TV, has to either buy a cell phone and pay 40 cents a minute to call home, or use the Iraqi ran phone center at 25 cents per minute. He works 15 hour days in the brutal sun in long sleeves and pants, wearing a minimum of 50 pounds of gear, all the while on full alert expecting to be mortared, sniped, or bombed. For breakfast there is always eggs, sometimes there are biscuits, bacon, or ham. For lunch he has a choice between salami, bologna, or sliced turkey with stale frozen bread. For dinner there is usually mystery meat. He can either go to the Iraqi ran internet center for 2 bucks an hour, or pay 75 dollars a month to have a line in his room for a connection slower than dial-up. He better have a good supply of socks and undershirts, because laundry turn around is averaging 6 days. Or, he can wash his personal items by hand. By the way, he is issued 4 sets of uniforms, so they get worn multiple days before a fresh set is put on because of the laundry situation. For spending one full year in country he can expect to go home to see his wife and children for 15 days. He can absolutely forget trying to get any school done during this time. The gym is a few free weights and a cardio bike in a non-air conditioned tent. Right now the temperature is 107 degrees F, and will reach 128 before summer is out. If he makes a mistake such as drinking alcohol, or striking another soldier, he can expect to be sent to a Kuwait hard labor camp for a time period of the commander's discretion. The current deployment rotation is one year deployed, one year home. I personally know many paratroopers with blown out knees and ankles that get nothing more than ibuprofen and the oh so positive phrase, "suck it up and drive on, we don't have the resources for your surgery."