News from Baghdad

A small spot to describe to a certain extent what it is like for the soldiers here in Iraq. I must remain anonymous as there may be some who would view this as an "official" posting, however, it is not. Just some personal views on the politics and public views in this war that has been to oftentimes tainted by the sensationalism of the media.

Location: Home, United States

I enjoy my job to the fullest, regardless of the political climate at any particular time. My family and my soldiers are the central focal point of my existence as well as my religious viewpoints.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

11 December 2004

To all of my faithful readers, my thoughts go out to everyone this evening as I being to prepare for another long week ahead. Days seem to run together anymore and I didn't realize that it had been so long since I had posted. My apologies. I can keep track of the dates, it seems, however the DAYS are what get me. Sunday, Monday, etc., they are all the same. This past nine months has seemed like one long day. The weekend cannot seem to come soon enough.
As it draws to the time where I will soon leave here. My thoughts focus on what life will be like away from here. I will miss certain people, certain places (although not many), and the times that I have shared with the men of my platoon. The leadership, comraderie, morale, friendship and togetherness is almost familial in nature. I cannot say enough about the leadership that we have in this command. As I believe I have stated before, yes, there are those who you would just love to see leave, however, overall, the men we have commanding, leading and directing this unit are some of the best I have ever had the pleasure and opportunity to serve with. When we re-deploy, I am sure that many of these men will go on to different things, different duties and postings, however, they will always remain with me as being some of the best officers and Non-Commissioned Officers that the Army has to offer. Many of them have common sense and the ability to lead men in battle, with the technical and tactical knowledge needed for the fight. The comraderie amongst my fellow bretheren in arms in this platoon, is something that I really did not expect. I knew that we would be closer than we were before we deployed, however, I did not expect the brotherly bonds which has been eveident in many of my young men in this squad and in this platoon. The respect, discipline and dedication to one another is a beautiful sight to behold. When these men are doing their jobs, or just taking a load off in the barracks, they are always together, watching each other, talking with one another. I have seen very few arguments and fights among these fine young soldiers, which is surprising to say the least. Yes there is the odd disagreement, however, it is not to such a scale as to hamper operations here in Baghdad.

I wish to thank some of the American public who have dedicated some of their time and resources to ensure that the men here feel that they are thought about during the holidays. There have been many packages sent from places like Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Missouri, and Texas, with candy, cookies and other things for the soldiers here. Everything is greatly appreciated and my personal thanks goes out to those who have had a hand in any of it. Even the cards and letters showing support and holiday wishes to the men who are so far away from their loved ones, gives us the feeling that we know that someone is thinking about us this season.
Everyone is doing well here. I have a few men on leave, which is great. I was looking forward to having at least one or two of them at home to spend Christmas with their families. One of them has a young daughter that he has seen very little of before we came here. I am happy that he was able to go home to see her.

I often think about what I would like to do for my men this Christmas. I often wonder what I give them. I have come to the realization that there is not much that I can give to them, so therefore, I have decided that the best thing that I can do for them is bring them all home safe. That is all I ask for. I don't ask for anything else this year except to have my men safe, at home with their loved ones, their wives, mothers, fathers, children, brothers and sisters when we leave this country. Anything else is extra. Just bring them home.

God bless each and every one of you. Until next time.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

05 December 2004

Hello to all of Jay's readers and those who support him and the troops in Iraq. The "Wife Waiting At Home" Is At It Again. As I read Jay's last blog it brought tears to my eyes! I sometimes forget how hard it is on him to be away from us on special occasions, especially this time of year, with some of the kids and grandkids getting ready to make the journey home for Christmas, the decorating and planning. He's so busy it sometimes seems if there is just no time for us in his world. This was just a reminder to me that no matter where he is or what he's doing, when he has the time he's thinking of us.


Here's to my soldier who's so far away....I love you more and more with each and every passing day. Stay Safe And Come Home To Us Soon!

My Special Soldier

The world may look upon him as just being a man.
Who'll never do anything, but the best he can.
To look at him through my eyes, you'd see,
Someone truly "GREAT!"
Someone to admire, to trust and appreciate.
He's someone to reach out to, whenever there's a need.
Someone who gives so much more,
More than he will ever receive.
He's someone who can make you feel happy,
even when you're blue.
Someone who can make you feel like you are very special too!
He's someone with reassuring words, whenever there's a doubt.
Whenever you're in trouble, he'll be there to help you out.
He's someone who can put all your faults aside.
And always look at you, with eyes so full of pride.
He's someone who will cheer you, whenever things go bad,
And even dry your tears when you're sad.
He's the love of my life,
And I'm his military wife.
Here is a small look into one military family's life.
This is not the first Thanksgiving or Christmas we have been or will be separated.
We as a military career family don't dwell on this, we just make the ones when we are together as special as possible. Twenty-five years in the Army, we have had Christmas around the world, let me give you a glance into the "Weirdest", "Worst" and the "Wackiest" Christmases we have had.
The "Weirdest" was spending Christmas in Panama, I'm a country girl from NC and we don't go Christmas shopping in shorts, t-shirts and sandals (well, I guess there maybe some people from my home town that may try it!) And never to the beach swimming for the day, however the kids respectively ages 10, 8, 5 and 1 loved it. So.... hot, humid and palm trees was the weirdest.
The "worst" was the Christmas when Jay was in Macedonia and the 3 kids left at home with me defected back to the US from Germany at the last minute to spend the holidays with their dad (also military). I was all alone, this was the worst Christmas in my life!
The "Wackiest" was the Christmas of 2002 Jay asked me what I wanted and I told him "I want all the kids and grand kids with me this year." It had been about 5 years since we were all together, with us being in Germany for 3 years, then being stationed at Ft. Hood, the girls getting married and moving to different states, one in NC at Ft Bragg, one in VA and my oldest son living with his Dad and about to join the Army I knew this would be the last Christmas for a long time we would all be together.
So we packed up the van with all the presents, luggage, the dog and he human garbage disposal and off to my daughters in NC we went, for 2 weeks! Now mind you I like my son-in-law, but he and I clash like the Titans, they were living in a 2 bedroom condo, a tree that was about as big as the living room, a kitchen the size of a hallway and a "dining room" where the table was the center point and when I say this the "table" was the room..LOL..
Well, needless to say we were packed in this condo like sardines in a can. Nine of us and this included a 3 yr old a 5 yr old and 2 dogs, all one big happy family! OH YEAH..right! One TV, one PS2, and ONE REMOTE to which my son-in-law kept really close. The only thing not being fought over was the bathroom, since there were two of these.
Sleeping was the funniest, the boys sleeping on the couches and Jay and I on an air mattress in the living room. NO sleeping here, the boys were up half the night watching movies or playing PS2 (since my son-in-law was asleep) and the rest of the family was up at what seemed the crack of dawn, (before 8 am).
Christmas Day was a blast! There was so much wrapping paper, ribbon and boxes, you could hardly find a present...
So this was the "wackiest, warmest and best Christmas" Needless to say from now on, we will be having Family Christmases at "My" house where there is plenty of room and more than 1 TV!
Sorry this was so long, so thank you for reading about our little part of military Christmas life.
If you would like to read more about us and our daily life, back here at home "Waiting For News From Baghdad" here is my Blog spot.. . I will be posting pics of the family and keeping the family up to date on things going on here at home.
May God Bless You All..

Saturday, December 04, 2004

04 December 2004

Thus begins another posting, nearing the end of a very busy week. We have, on top of our patrols, been bringing in a few bad guys, which is good. Always good to get another one off the streets.

I have had a few e-mails from readers who show their support not only for me, but all the soldiers here. I can tell you that every bit of it means a great deal to me. There have been packages that have come in from Operation Gratitude and Operation Air Conditioner, that has made each and every one of us smile. We have soldiers in this platoon with friends and families back in the States who not only send things for their loved ones, but there have been several who have included the entire platoon as well. Each and every one of these selfless acts warms our hearts and gives us a little piece of home. Every piece of mail, every package, every card that I receive, whether it is from my family, my friends, or some anonymous stranger, lets me know that there are those who have not forgotten.

During this holiday season, remember those who are serving. I remember an article I read a few years back about this lady who was upset that the US Military was overpaid. A soldier’s answer was along these lines; “When you work all night, on weekends, spend birthdays and holidays away from your family, freeze in a damp foxhole, or melt in the middle of the desert, stay away from home for months on end, all to defend and support your country, then you can tell ME that the military is overpaid”. It is not only the soldiers who sacrifice; it is the families as well. There have been a couple of Thanksgivings and a couple of Christmases where I have either sat in a gaudily decorated dining facility in a foreign country, or sat down to one of the world famous and fine military entrees, i.e. the MRE, and thought to myself how good it would be to be home eating the meal that my wife was making. Then I come to the realization that that meal either is not made at all, or severely shortened due to the fact that I am not there. Christmas is lonely for my family when I am not home. Birthdays and anniversaries are not the same. Valentine’s Day seems to be just another day. Even just those special moments that are shared when I am at home are gone until my return. Families, wives, mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers all sacrifice when their soldier is not with them. So don’t forget them either. While the soldier is on the front-line, the family keeps the home fires burning.

I had a reader ask me about day to day life and how to stay alive. He seems to be concerned for his son who is on his way over here. Day to day life seems to a certain extent to be non-existent. I say this for the simple fact that every time we leave this camp, anything can happen, and on more than one occasion, the totally unexpected has happened. I can say that everyone here should hope for the best, but prepare and expect the worst. Staying alive is something that only training and preparation, both physically and mentally can prepare you for. If a soldier has a care-less attitude, well, there is a good chance he will buy the proverbial farm. However, the soldier who makes himself a “hard” target will most likely have a good chance for survival. Listening to your leadership is key. Listen to the Sergeants and the officers who have been here, or have been in this situation before. Take everything they say to heart. Learn it, live it, love it. Don’t ever relax your guard. The majority of people hurt or killed here resulted from the most likely cause of doing something they weren’t supposed to do, or not doing something they were supposed to do. Adhere to the standards set forth by your chain of command. They are there for a reason and they will stand you in good stead.

I will close this long winded posting for now and thank each and every one of you for what you do. America truly is great because most of her people still care and stand for what is right. Continue to stand for the hard right, rather than the easy wrong. God bless each and every one of you. Till next time.

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