Sunday, April 27, 2008 4:13 AM
just another day like any other. HOT. not too windy, so the air's
breathable. havn't seen rain since i got here. i havn't spent my
birthday in the same place since i was seventeen, mostly by chance but
sometimes on purpose, but i never thought iraq was much of a
destination location. at least i have the day off- been relaxin'
i've spent the last three nights out under the stars at the mortar
point, just sleeping beside the truck. i don't think i've slept with
my boots on since that week i mistook Boston Common's park benches for
the local motel when i was nineteen, but you gotta stay 'ready.' this
time i at least have a cot, even if it is a whole foot too short it's
still better than being stuck inside the stryker.
last night was the first time we almost got to do something. battalion
fires called for us to plot a fire mission just in case... we had
already heard them call over to the artillery guys about twenty
minutes prior w/ the same mission. we did all the prep work and got
the gun set up etc.. they ended up giving the mission to artillery.
oh well. i'd be lying if i said i wasn't a little amped up. this would
have been the closest thing to 'exciting' that i'd seen. i'd been
doing a slow scury around getting things ready, -none of us believed
we were actually gonna fire- just hangin' out in my t-shirt (noone
important around to hastle us about proper uniforms). what kind of guy
has 'sergeant, please let me blow something up' on his birthday list?
well, there are a lot of them over here.
-the artillery cannons shake the ground even though i'm all the way
across the fob. to give you some idea of distance, from the time i see
the muzzle flash it takes a full five seconds for the sound of the
shot to reach me. it's kinda cool to be able to hear the radio
traffic between battalion command, the gunner and the forward observer
out in the field while you watch the rounds go out. no, you can't
actually see them-
this was the second letdown this week. the morning i woke up out at
the COP, shortly after i crawled out the back of the 'gunslinger'
stryker, i heard BOOMboom off in the distance. (it turned out a
civilian vehicle had hit an IED) the commander wanted to go check it
out and secure the route until 3rd platoon arrived. we loaded up in
the back of the gunslinger truck but then sgt jenkins decided we
should be the airguards in the commander's truck so we ran over
there-- but the commander rolls w/ the snipers so the hatches were
again, from inside the truck you have no idea what's
going on outside, and now i don't even have a headset. there's a good
chance we'll have to dismount when we get to where the 'boom' was and
i'm set to be the first one out the ramp. we rolled around for a
while.. the guy next to me looks ready to go. oh, no. he's asleep.
-not too worried- we eventually stopped. ok? maybe? one of the
snipers leaned down from the hatch and says "hey! we're back at the
COP. get out and go back to [the mortar truck you originally came here
in]." -maybe one day.
the best thing that happened to me today was running in to my buddy
alfred outside the chow hall. i havn't seen him since we split in
kuwait. he's been at another base further north since then and i've
had no way to get in touch w/ him... so this was no small consolation.
it's always good to see a friend, especially in a place like this. i
don't mean to sound like i'm having a tough time. everything i've had
to do here has been easy to do, handle and comprehend (besides the
fact that we're still here). but certain things gain a different
meaning when you're... here.
thank you all for writing. it means a lot to stay in touch.