I was able to catch a ride back to base today. I will leave tomorrow to
return to the field. The Company tries to rotate everyone through the rear.
Today was my turn. I have not had a shower (other than baby wipes) for
the past two weeks. This is a new record for me. So, one of the first things
I did was take a shower and drop of my clothes at the laundry. They will be
ready in 2 days so I will need someone else to pick them up. Hopefully that
will work out OK. My utilities were quite dirty. There was quite a salt
build up in several places.
The company is doing well so far. We have done several patrols and searches
during the first few weeks in the field. We hit our first landmine today. No
one was seriously injured. One of the wheels will need some work, but the
LAV drove back to the rear to be fixed. It is a very durable and so far,
safe vehicle to drive in. The land mine was probably placed many weeks ago.
The company had hit another mine in the same area before I joined them.
My back is almost back to normal. Occasionally it feels sore, but it does
not affect my mobility. It was not fun while at it's peak.
I have been in the field for less than 2 weeks and it feels like much
longer. It's now hard to imagine many months of this. It will be a long hot
summer. The nights are actually quite nice here. In the morning it can
actually be cold. Several nights ago I went out on a patrol and one of our
vehicles broke. Instead of moving to the where the rest of the company was,
we went half way to a safe area and waited until morning to link up with
everyone else. I did this patrol with another vehicle and did not have my
sleeping bag and ISO mat. I borrowed the thin bag from a Marine and tried to
sleep. I woke up freezing. I was surprised. I had not had a problem yet. But
without the ISO mat and my gortex bivy sack, I was quite cold. Most days so
far have been spent waiting for the temp to go down before we do anything.
We set up shade and sleep and sit around. Early evening and nights are prime
times for patrols.
We received hundreds of soccer balls and other stuff to give out. We drove
through several towns and gave the balls to the kids. There is an incredible
amount of kids here. The women are literally baby machines. One Iraqi told
me that he and his only wife have 15 kids. Some have more than one wife
though. Anyway, when we drive though towns now of patrols, all the kids run
to the road and beg for soccer balls. I'm not sure if that is good or bad.
The ones who received the balls are happy though.