My Weather

Sunday, December 31, 2006

It's all how you look at things...

When Braye and I found out that we were going to Japan, we came up with the motto of “plan for the worse and hope for the best”. That is pretty much how I viewed this tour in Iraq. When I fist got word that I was coming here, I had no idea what to expect. In fact, I went under the assumption that I would be in some remote FOB (forward Operating Base) with no running water and nothing but MREs to eat. With that assumption in mind, it is easy to see the bright side of things. All things considered, Baghdad isn’t that bad of a place to be and my job give me a lot more satisfaction that I thought it would. Sure, I miss Braye and the girls terribly, but at least I have access to phones and email (something else I wasn’t sure I would have).

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Execution of Saddam

Like many people back home. I was watching Fox news trying to learn of the fate of Saddam. After watching Hannity and Colmes, I gave up and drove to breakfast. It was in the DFAC (dining facility) that I saw on TV that he was executed. I saw a couple Iraqis that work in the kitchen peeking through the door, intently watching the TV. From what I’ve seen, the Iraqis are very stoic people—I couldn’t venture a guess what they were thinking. After breakfast, on my way to my truck, I heard the morning prayers way off in the distance and some gunfire (weather it was celebratory or something else, I have no idea). . Basically, it was your typical morning in Baghdad. Today should be interesting.

Friday, December 29, 2006

A bunch of foreigners around here...

In many respects, it is like the UN around here. Since Baghdad is the center of the collation (yes, there really is a collation here) I’ve run into all sorts of people. So far, I’ve either seen or met Japanese, Koreans, Poles, Latvians, Macedonians, Brits, Aussies, Bulgarians, Romanians and a few that I can’t figure out who there are. There are a lot of civilian contractors here as well. They are referred to as either TCNs (third country nationals) or LNs (local nationals). The TCNs are mainly from India, Philippines, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. With all those nationalities, communicating can be difficult at times. Most of the barbers understand “NOT MARINE” when you tell them how to cut your hair, so all is well.

Thursday, December 28, 2006


I think I mentioned this before, but the place I’m staying at used to join Sadam’s hunting preserve. After we invaded, the animals ran loose. Of course, the majority of those wound up in the local butcher shops. Still, I am amazed at all the various animals I have seen. So far, I have seen deer, diving ducks, coyotes, BIG fish, hyenas and a jackal. Of course, if it wasn’t for the Lion King, I would have had no idea what a hyenas look like. Speaking of local animals, I hear one will be assuming room temperature pretty soon. It should be interesting what happens in the neighborhood then.

Pink Flamingo

Yesterday, I received a pair of pink flamingos. Whoever sent them--thank you very much. It will make a fine addition to my trailer. Of course, someone had predicted the effect it would have. Strangely, the effect happened before I took it out of the box!
All is well out here--except it is cold, 40 degrees when I arrived at work.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Back to work

WIth the holidays over, we are back into full swing out here. As strange as it sounds, days off really drag on around here. Work days tend to fly by. The big news for me is that I now have TV in my .5 single wide. I was out in the dark of night splicing into cables. Now I get to watch the best of Armed Forces Television! Too bad they haven't updated the public service announcements (all the commercial are replaced with military PSAs) since we were in Japan. Braye should be in N.C. with my family by now. WIsh I was there, but a house full of screaming kids, I think it will be quieter in Baghdad.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


The Top 5 reasons why Baghdad would be a great place for a summer camp:

5. The fishing is great, and with a war going on—size doesn’t matter and forget the limit
4. Every truck, car and bus here has had the “Mad Max” makeover
3. Dirt is fun, but nothin’ beats playing in the mud
2. If your team wins playing soccer, you get to shoot in the air with your AK-47

And the number one reason why Baghdad would be a great place for a summer camp…

1. If your team loses playing soccer, you get to shoot the other team with your AK-47

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

I just called home a few minutes ago, poor MEG got a Christmas visit to the ER this morning. Apparently, she developed an allergic reaction (a rash) from some medicine she is taking. She is doing fine now, but Braye took her in just to be safe. I spoke with MEG a few minutes ago and she is in great spirits and is very excited about her presents.

Christmas was fine out here, although I miss all of you. I’m glad that this is the last Christmas I will be away from the family.


I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas day. As much as I crossed my fingers, it looks like it will be a brown Christmas here

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve

It is a quiet, beautiful day over here. I actually have the day off. Of course, I still woke up at 0500 and went for a run. I had a great workout—mainly because I had 10 pounds of mud on each shoe. After working out, I had a leisurely breakfast and then went to work to check email. Along the way, I dropped off my laundry and bought a TV that a KBR employee was selling—ok it was an impulse buy. Now I need to find out how to hook up cable (6 AFN channels only) and if the DVD player is compatible with US DVDs. Of course, I will have make an entertainment center today. I made a desk last night by stacking up several cases of water (the most common building material around here) and putting a board on top.

I look forward to talking to everyone either on Christmas Eve or Christmas day.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas is almost here

So far, I have been making out like a bandit this Christmas. I’ve gotten 2 care packages from Braye and another one from my Aunt and Uncle. I am so very grateful. To top things off, my other Uncle gave me a rifle, pistol, a HMMWV, and half a singlewide. Of course, I will have to re-gift all of those items next fall—but I do that with most of the gifts I get (except of course the ones from Braye). In all seriousness, I do appreciate all of the kindness all of you have shown my family and I.

Feels like snow...

Today is a cold and wet day here in Baghdad. If I were anywhere else in the would, I would say that it felt like it was going to snow. That would be something—a white Christmas! Things are still busy at work, but I enjoy it. I got back to my trailer around 2300 last night. I felt like a prisoner going into lock down—I sat on the bed and thought to myself “now what”—nothing but bare walls to look at. That has changed now, Braye sent be a calendar with pictures of the girls today, so my trailer feels less like a cell and a little more like home.

Friday, December 22, 2006

The fog of war

This morning, I can add another item to the “I never thought I would see that in Iraq” file—Fog. I woke up the morning and the visibility was about 1/8 of a mile. It took me twice as long to drive to work today. The next two days are going to be very busy for me, so I needed to get off to an early start
Braye and the girls drove to her parent’s house the other day. I know they are going to have a wonderful time for Christmas. I’m writing this from the internet cafe at work. Here, they play constant Christmas songs, so whenever I come here, I think of home.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

All is well

All is quiet out here in Iraq. I’m firmly established in my new job. It is a busy job, but interesting and rewarding. The only negative is that there is so much information; I spend most of my time trying to find things. Once I get a handle on where everything is, things should go more smoothly. I got my first care package from Braye last night, so I officially have no complaints.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

You never know who you'll run into

There is a war going on

As strange as it sounds, at times it is easy to forget where I am. The other day, I went for a run along a lake. The wind was dead calm and the water was smooth as glass. Way off in the distance, I could see the sun rising over a mosque. It was a very pretty sight and I wished that I had a camera with me. Just as I was reflecting as to how peaceful the world seemed—an ominous cloud of black smoke started rising. Oh well, back to reality….

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Another day down

Today is a busy day, but every day is busy out here. That is ok since 1: it is rewarding work and 2: it helps the time go buy. I burned the midnight oil last night and I finally got the pictures off of my digital camera. Sorry, if they are in no particular order.
Today, I found some boards, so I’m am going to do some creative decorating in my hooch—I think I can use the boards and some cases of bottle water to make a set of book shelves.

Monday, December 18, 2006

On my own

Today is another busy day. The guy I took over for has left the country, so I am on my own. The sun is shining and the mud is drying, so all is well.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Cold and wet

Today is a cold and wet day here in Baghdad--yes it rains here, and when it does, the moon dust that covers everything turns into a thick goo that sticks to everything. 2 inches under the mud is a sun baked clay that is as hard as concrete. Put the two together and well..., when I went running this am I was like a puppy sliding on a tile floor. I stayed on my feet, but I saw a few folks covered in mud climbing out of the ditches that run everywhere.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Christmas Spirit in Iraq

We are fully in the Christmas spirit out here, although it is somewhat subdued. Sure, there are some decorations out here (The best I’ve seen is a wreath on the front grill of a Stryker going outside of the wire) but for the most part, it is low key. I think that a lot of folks here just don’t want to think about it. In the palace where I work, they play Christmas songs a lot, and at times, it really makes me think of home. Of course, I can just imagine how excited the girls will be on Christmas morning and that makes me smile. Sure, I’ll be away from my family for Christmas, but they will always be with me.

Getting settled into a routine

I’m finally getting settled into a routine here. I typically go to work around 0700, eat lunch around noon, dinner at 1700 and wrap up work by 1900 or so. I don’t spend much time in my trailer, since it is nothing more than a room with a bed. As I move in more and add some toys and furniture, I’m sure that I’ll spend a little more time there. After work, I either go to the BX or to the MWR internet café. We have an internet café at work, but it is hard to get away for very long.

I’m still working on my turnover with the guy that I am taking over for. Talk about a fire hose of information!! I still see a lot of late nights, but I still think this will be a rewarding tour.

Because of security reasons I have to be vague at times. Today a celebrity is coming to work. Although I’m not one of the guys that will specifically meet with him, I may get to have my picture taken with him. (Something else for my “I never thought I would see that in Iraq” file). If I get any good pictures, I’ll post them.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Getting settled in

Having spent my first night in my trailer, I am loving life. I have developed an attitude where I actively look for the good things around me. That way, I develop a list of good things and all of a sudden, I’m having a good day. So for today, I checked out my neighborhood and found that the best gym and DIFAC are within a stones throw of my hooch. I also have a Laundromat nearby (run by the evil Halliburton).

Today is my second day at the office. I couldn’t be happier with the people I will be working with. My job is beyond the scope of what I trained for, but it will prove to be a very rewarding job to say the least.

The other day, I said that there was nothing that I need, well today I realized that there is something that I do need for my trailer. I am in desperate need for a pink flamingo to put in my front yard. Every trailer park back home has at least one pink flamingo and I think it will add the perfect touch.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

First day at work

Today was my first day at my new job. To say that it was overwhelming is an understatement. It is a very busy job and I’m sure that I will have a lot of late nights. It will be a rewarding job though, so it will be worth it I’m real impressed with the operation and people. I will also be able to get outside some and get my hands dirty and work directly with the troops, so that will be nice.
I guess as a palace, my office is OK with marble floors, crystal chandeliers and all sorts of other amenities.
I got my trailer today, alas, no marble floors, but it is a “wet” trailer, so I have a room to myself and I share a bathroom with another guy. So, by Iraqi standards, I live in a palace.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Things I need

Since I’ve gotten an address, I’ve gotten a lot of questions from folks back home as to weather or not I need anything. I really, really appreciate the thought, but I’m doing just fine. KBR (the subsidiary of the evil Halliburton) takes very good care of us over here. In the dining facility, we have: a main line, a speed line, a carving station, a stir fry bar, a sports bar (complete with fake beer), an Indian bar, a salad bar, a deli bar and a dessert bar. The PX has a limited selection, but everything that I need. Now if you ask me what I may want, well, let’s just say that living in a tent with 50 other guys has given me a bad case of gadget envy. Braye better hurry up and spend my tax free pay at Home Depot before I do something that she may regret. Of course, once I move into my trailer, the gadget envy may pass.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Groundhog day

Nothing major to write about today. Most of my time was spent in the classroom and in meetings. Since my schedule was packed, I decided to go running before class. Pretty scary since it is very dark around here with no street lights and the roads are in terrible shape. Like I said before, my base is a far as you can get from any danger, so the only hazard I face is breaking an ankle on one of my runs.
Today, I met my Navy boss. Tomorrow I meet my Army boss. I also move into my quarters. So, tomorrow should be interesting. Most of the guys I went through training with are flying out to their respective FOBs (forward operating bases) so I'll be alone and unafraid.

Monday, December 11, 2006


Today we received our assignments. As it turns out, I will be staying here in Baghdad. Mary Elizabeth can start bragging to her friends that her daddy works in a real palace now. Since I am staying here, I am going to start working on getting a trailer. I don’t know where it will be, but hopefully it will be close to where I work. I also have an address now:

LCDR my name
89th MP Brigade
Bldg 65 Camp Victory, Iraq
APO AE 09342

It will be so nice to stop living out of a sea bag.

Second day in Baghdad

Today was my second day in Baghdad. To start off the day, I had a meeting in the Al Faw Palace. The architecture was amazing—it is along the lines of what I saw in the Vatican. Too bad so many people had to starve to build it. While I was there, I got to sit in Saddam’s thrown. I took a picture, but it will be quite some time before I can down load the pictures from my camera. After my visit to the palace, I checked into my new command. Still no word as to where I’ll be going. All we know is that most of us will fly out of Baghdad on Wednesday.
I went for a run today and I saw something to put into my “Gee, I never thought I would see that in Iraq” file. I came across a small deer feeding on the side of the road. As it turns out, this entire area was part of Saddam’s private hunting preserve and the animals went loose after the invasion. Apparently, there are even some jackals running about. I also saw some soldiers fishing on one of the lakes. If I wind up staying here, I think I’ll ask Braye to send me my fishing rod.

The internet is extreamly slow here, so just keep in mind that if you don’t hear from me for a while it is most likely because I just can't get through.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

In Baghdad

I arrived in Baghdad a few hours ago. It was a relatively short flight from Kuwait. Shortly after we landed, we were driven to our camp. The base that I'm at is huge and very safe, so no worries there. We had the rest of the day off, so I actually went for a 5 mile run. Even after all that, I didn't see all of the base.
Landing at BIAP (Baghdad International Airport) we uneventful. I once read a reporters account of the approach into BIAP here as a “terrifying spiraling decent into hell, where the strongest of men cried out of fear...” We'll, it wasn't bad at all, maybe a little aggressive, but nothing bad at all.
The first thing I noticed about the airport was the destruction. Everywhere you look, there are bombed out bunkers and piles of rubble. It was a fairly long ride to our tent, so I got to see quite a lot. Just like Kuwait, there is a fine brown dust that covers everything. Cars, buildings, roads, everything. It reminded me of the blowing dust storms in Beijing. There are trees here that look like a cross of a sycamore and a willow, but their leaves were covered with the dust too, so you could only catch a hint of green.
I had a wonderful run today and got to see much more of the base. Thanks to the dust, my chest started hurting after a mile, but I quickly got used to it. This area is near one of Saddam's palaces and I could see it off in the distance. (The palace was built after the Gulf War with money skimmed from the Oil for Food program.) There is a fair amount of lakes and canals about, and with them what used to be very luxurious homes and boat houses. Of course, everything shows signs of neglect with crumbling sidewalks and potholed streets. You can tell however, that this used to be a nice place. In order to provide protection, the military erected huge concrete barriers, similar to the ones you see on highways, but much taller. They are everywhere. The barriers and the dust gives this place a feel of a big city construction site.
Tomorrow, I report to my new command. Hopefully, I will find out where I will wind up. I have a lot more to write, but only limited time at the computer lab. I also have been taking lots of pictures, but I have to wait until I get my laptop over here to down load the pictures.
So in closing, I am in Baghdad and it isn't bad at all (thanks to the evil Haliburton, I even had crab legs for dinner tonight). The base I am at is safe and quiet, so I have to admit I will have no good war stories when I come home.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Back from the desert

I'm back from 3 days of training in the Kuwaiti desert. The training went well and I learned some things that I'm sure I will never have to use. For some reason, the Army insists on making things as painful as possible. While we were there, we had to sleep on the floor of our classroom. The room itself was about twice the size of an average living room, yet we had close to 100 people sleeping in it. I got stepped on more than once. To make matters worse, we were not allowed to bring our ruck sacks into the tent, and of course it was one of those rare days where it poured, so our equipment got soaked.
Tomorrow, we head up to Baghdad. When we got back to base here in Kuwait, we were greeted by some of the members of the squadron we are going to. One of them told me that an Lieutenant Commander from my group will actually be working in Kuwait instead of Baghdad. There is only three of us, so we are all speculating who it will be. Either way, I just want to get going and unpack my bags.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Getting settled in

Well, I am getting settled in over here. I managed to get over my jet lag and got a full night's sleep last night. Today is a fairly light day, with the only even is that we are going out to the Udairi training range for some more training. There is no internet at all out there, so this will most likely be my last post for a couple of days. We will be there for a couple of days and then I'll be off to Baghdad. I'm looking forward to getting to my ultimate duty station and unpacking for good.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

What is Kuwait is Like?

We flew in yesterday after it got dark so I didn't get to see much of Kuwait. (On a side note, we flew right over Baghdad on the way in, kinda a strange feeling flying over the city in an airliner) I can say that what I've seen, Kuwait is a dirty, dusty place. I woke up today to a cold and rainy day. I would say it was about 55 degrees today. I'm staying at a joint Army and Navy base. It is an interesting place, with no permanent buildings. Everything is located in either a tent or a trailer. I'm living in a 20 man tent right now. The heat doesn't work, but our sleeping bags work very well. Everywhere you look there are concrete barricades and boxes of bottled water stacked up. The sand here is a dark brown and is as fine as talcum powder. I can see how it gets into everything. I will send pictures as soon as I get my laptop over here.
Besides having a PX, post office and all the other places that comes with a base, there is also a Pizza Hut, Subway and McDonald's. I usually eat in the DIFAC (army talk for the dining facility) It is quite good with a lot of different kinds of food. Think of it as a typical family buffet restaurant (except there are no crying babies here and everyone is carrying a gun) My only complaint is that they only have flavored half and half and I like the plain stuff.
There are a couple of Internet cafes on the base here, but the connections are very slow at times. Hotmail especially doesn't like the connection speeds and I have a hard time sending and receiving email. SO if you don't hear from me, please bear with me.

In Kuwait

I made it to Kuwait safe and sound. I need to keep this post short--I only got 2 hours of sleep in the past 24 hours and I have a full day that starts in 4 hours. I just wanted to let everyone know that I am safe. I'm living in a tent and sleeping in a sleeping bag. The weather here is cool and so far, the food is very good. The place that I am at is very safe, so no worries there.

Monday, December 04, 2006



In Maine

We landed in Bangor, Maine a few minutes ago. Wow, what a welcome! There were over 100 people were at the gate, cheering and clapping for us--a true hero's welcome. I can't say how great it made me feel. I don't think I have ever shook that many hands at once. Going off to war is a lot eaiser knowing that so many people are behind us.

So far, the trip is going well. We are flying on an ONI charter 757. I got a seat in the first class section, so it has been a ver comfortable ride so far. Next stop--Germany. I'm not sure if I will be able to post from there or not

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Hurry up and wait…

Well, Army has done it again. Our flight leaves today at 1600, but we had to start leaving our barracks at 0630. Very generously, the Army opened up 2 class rooms so the 115 of us can sit around and wait for the next 5 hours. Unbelievable!
After today, it will be difficult for me to keep up this blog. As of right not, I am supposed to get 1 to 3 days in Kuwait to adjust to the climate. After that, I go out into the field for 3 days to learn more Army stuff. Once in the field, I will have no internet access. After the field training, I will head to Bagdad. Once in Bagdad, I should get to more reliable internet access and have get a mailing address.
So, don’t worry if you don’t hear from me for a while—all is well.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The power of Prayer

The power of Prayer

Today, my Aunt and Uncle drove down from Charlotte to take me out to lunch. With my leaving tomorrow, today was a difficult day for me, and having some family with me was just what I needed.
I have been added to a lot of prayer lists lately. Today, when she found out I was going to Iraq, the hostess at lunch today told me that she would pray for me. These prayers mean so much to me.
Recently, there were two times when prayer made a huge difference to me. Several weeks ago, Braye and I were faced with a very painful and uncertain situation. We prayed together and that gave me so much strength. Although we didn’t get what we prayed for, I think the situation would have been much more difficult without the prayers we said.
Today, as we were saying good bye, my Uncle said he wanted to pray together. I was so touched. What he said was so special and powerful to me. Good thing I was wearing sunglasses since my allergies started acting up right afterwards. I am so grateful to them.
As far as praying for me, thank you all and please don’t stop. Please pray for Braye and the girls and for me to do the best possible job over there.

Last work day at FT. Jackson

Today was our last day here at FT. Jackson. It was a long process and I’m glad that I’m finished. As soon as I get to Kuwait, my “boots on the ground” clock starts ticking. As it stands, I am supposed to be there for 7 to 9 months.
Tomorrow is a day off. I wanted to rent a car and drive to my Aunt and Uncle’s house in Charlotte, but, as they say in Boston: "you can't get there from here". Getting to a rental car agency is next to impossible since the first shuttle bus runs after the agency close.

As it turns out, my Aunt and Uncle are going to drive down here for lunch tomorrow. I hate that they have to go through all the trouble to come down here, but I will be great to see them.
I checked into the BOQ tonight for some me time. I thought it would be a good way to relax, watch some TV, take a long shower and catch up on some phone calls, As it turns out, I’m in the Army now. The building is a mini barracks, being a cinderblock building (no cell pone coverage inside) the bathroom has a communal shower down the hall (no long shower), and all the TV has is limited basic cable (no TV). It is a good thing I brought a good book.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Last Training Day at FT. Jackson

Today was our last training day here at FT. Jackson. All and all, it was interesting. In the morning, we did a land navigation course. Of course, the majority of the folks in my class are pilots and navigators, so navigating through a 400m course wasn’t so hard. This afternoon, we did a mock convoy where we were exposed to some of the threats we could expect in Iraq. It was interesting and the instructors did a good job on the simulation. Tomorrow, is an administrative day and Saturday being a day off. If they have any rooms available, I may get a room at the Bachelor Officer’s Quarter’s—just to get out of my open bay barracks. A lot of the guys are going to get a last good meal in town before we leave. I think I will stay behind. Good company makes for a great meal, and the only dinner guest I would like to spend an evening with is in Pensacola.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Flight Details

Today we got our flight details. We are flying from Columbia S.C to Bangor Maine, for a 3.5 hour refueling stop. After Bangor, we will fly to Frankfurt for another 3.5 hour stop. After Germany, we fly to Kuwait. As of now, we are scheduled to land in the evening of the 4th—which translates to 24 hours in the airplane. It could be worse. Apparently, some folks will also fly commercial. It would be nice to be one of those guys.
Once in Kuwait, we will get “climatetized”  for a couple of days and then start 3 days of more Army training. From what we hear, the training there is very painful with nothing but MREs to eat sleeping on the floor of our classroom tent when class is over.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Heavy Weapons Day

Today was heavy weapons day—they day we are show how to operate the Army's “heavy” weapons. Today I got to shoot a .50 cal machine gun, a 40 mm grenade launcher and several other types of machine guns. All and all it was pretty fun. Of course, dropping bombs on tanks would be a lot more fun. After the heavy weapons fire, we spent the rest of the day learning about first aid. Pretty routine stuff, but the Army’s take on battle field medicine is pretty interesting.
Tomorrow, we find out about our flight arrangements. Rumor has it we will fly on a charter 767 from South Carolina to Goose Bay, to Frankfurt to Kuwait. A pretty painful flight, but it could be worse. I just want to get going—for two reasons—one as soon as I get there, my count down clock starts towards the day I get home. Two, on a less selfish and more important reason, I can start doing my job and hopefully help some kids come home with all their arms and legs.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

More Army Training

Today, we went to “Combat town” which is a simulated Iraqi village. Because the Army offers a “one size fits all” training model, we spent the majority of the day learning about things we will never do. Things like how to search vehicles at check points and how to search detainees. One thing we did that was fun was kicking down doors to search buildings. Again, it has nothing to do with my job, but given a machine gun and nothing better to do, I figured that I would have some fun. I lead a squad of 4 guys into a building. Once inside, I saw cardboard poster of a little boy, an insurgent with a rifle, and peaking in the window taking pictures was a Navy Lieutenant. So, accessing the threat, I shot the Lieutenant 6 times.
This is a picture of me in all of my “battle rattle” which consists of a Kevlar helmet, body armor, knee and elbow pads, a camelback and a bunch of accessories attached to the vest. I also have an M-16 and a 9mm Beretta pistol. It is a fairly heavy load. I defiantly have a lot of respect for kids that wear all that gear in 120 degree heat, day in and day out.

Monday, November 27, 2006


Today was a training day and we spent it in the classroom. We learned about convoy operations, the Army’s radio systems and a few other classes. All and all, a pretty easy day. Tomorrow, we are going to “combat town” where we learn to kick in doors and shoot all the bad guys inside. It has nothing to do with my job in Iraq (unless I lose the key to my room), but it should be fun. As it stands, we are scheduled to fly out next Saturday to Kuwait. In Kuwait, I will go through a few days of training and then I’ll be off to Bagdad.
Braye and the girls are back from a long weekend at her parent’s house. While they were there, Mary Elizabeth got to experience her first campfire. Apparently it was a big hit since she convinced Papa to have another one last night. I just hope that I can be the one that introduces her to smores.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Another Day of Narmy training

Today we did what the Army calls “reflexive fire”. Basically it simulates close quarter shooting where a target suddenly appears and you raise your rifle and take some quick shots. As far as Army training goes, it was a little fun. The rest of the day was spent cleaning guns. We actually have liberty tonight, but I am going to stay on base and just relax. I’ve gotten hooked on a Vince Flynn novels and I’m going to enjoy the quiet time. Tomorrow, Sunday, is another training day.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Rifle and Pistol Qualification

Today was the day we went to the range to qualify with our weapons. I qualified as “expert” with my 9mm pistol and also qualified with the M-16. No medals for me though, since I qualified as an expert with the Navy years ago The M-16 range was a lot of fun where targets pop up at ranges from 50 meters to 300 meters. The targets only stay up for a few seconds before they go down again, so you have to be pretty quick. It was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, I qualified first thing and those of us that qualified had to wait around all day for the rest of the group to finish. I have spent countless hours sitting in bleachers this week. Luckily, the weather was beautiful today

Friday, November 24, 2006


Today is Thanksgiving. We have been through some very difficult times lately and it is easy to lose sight of the good things when faced with so many challenges. Today, I tried to reflect on the good things in my life. Although I am miles from home and going further, I have so much to be thankful for. I am thankful to have Braye and the girls in my life. They are the stars in the constellation that I steer my life by. With them in my life, the goods will always outweigh the bads. I am also so thankful for all the love and support we have received from family and fiends. During these trying times, it means so much to us.
So I hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving. Just thinking about all the people in my life that I love and care about has made this a very happy day for me.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

This is the Army? (again)

After much thought, I figured out the motive behind the Army’s training plan—It is to get the Navy guys here so mad, the will be happy to go to Iraq. After spending all day in the cold yesterday with no cold weather gear, we went to the rifle range today. The first process in qualifying with an M-16 is to “zero in” the sights. Since every person is different, you have to adjust the sights to that particular user. In other words, I can hit the bulls eye every time with my rifle, but if I pick up someone else’s rifle, and put the sights on the target, I’d miss every time. The way you zero in a rifle is to shoot 3 rounds, walk up to the target see where they hit, walk back, adjust you sights and do it again. You keep doing this until you are “zeroed in” which typically takes 12 to 18 shots. Well, today it took 4 hours for us to shoot 18 rounds each. After that, we were supposed to go to another range to actually qualify by shooting at pop up targets. We waited another 4 hours in the pouring ran only to discover that: “opps, we forgot to schedule the ranges. Sorry about that”. Unbelievable!!
To make matters worse, I just found out that we have Thanksgiving off—the night prior. Had I know this earlier, I could have made plans to see some family in Charlotte or had Braye and the girls come up to Columbia. Family is very important to me and I would have loved to spend Thanksgiving with them. As it turns out, I volunteered to stand weapons watch tomorrow during the “special” dinner planned at the DFAC (Army lingo for the dining facility), so some of our junior guys can enjoy T-day.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...

Today was a full training day. For some reason, the Army loves to do everything outside—including lectures and briefings. As it turns out, today was very cold, so clod that it actually snowed for a while. After spending all day outside, I was chilled to the bone. We were issued a ton of cold weather gear (Gortex, fleece, etc), but we had no idea that we were going to be outdoors all day. Tomorrow we are going to spend the entire day on the rifle range and I. I plan to double up on long johns and the other cold weather equipment. What we did wear was the full “battle rattle”—full battle gear. It consisted of the Kevlar helmet, body armor, the ceramic plates for the armor, canteens, camel baks, my rifle and pistol, and a bunch of other stuff. It was quite a load, but not as bad as what I’ve heard other people say. I’m sure it will be quite a bit heavier in 120 degree heat.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

This is the Army???

Wow, I’ll try not to say anything negative about the Army and the process we went through today. Today was gear issue and it took all day. Much of that time was spent waiting. To get our boots, we had to wait almost 2 hours for the civilians to finish their lunch break. Sounds like a nice time for a leisurely lunch—nope! We got to eat cold MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) I had the chicken fajitas. It sounded good but once I opened the package, I had a flash back to the science shows we watched in elementary school—the ones where the momma birds regurgitate to their babies. Not the best meal I had ever had. In the Navy, to look after the troops, we tried to give them a decent place to sleep, decent food and something to do on the off time. We so far the Army ahs fallen short on the food, barracks and as far as free time—well, I haven’t had much of that.
On a happier note, Braye and the girls are doing well. As of a few hours ago, I am officially one day closer to coming home.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Ft. Jackson--Day 1

Well, I’m in Ft. Jackson S.C. (actually, I’m at the McCready training center which is an annex to Ft. Jackson) I hate to say it, but the process here so far has been very similar to what we went trough so far to date—a lot of hurry up and wait. A group of us arrived and had to wait several hours at the airport for a shuttle bus to take us to the base. Once we got here, we went through several hours of briefings before we found out that no one seemed to have any idea where we had to go. After waiting around for an hour in the cold, we finally found out which barracks we are supposed to stay in. All Lieutenant Commanders are below are staying in 40 man open bay barracks—something like Full Metal Jacket, but definitely run down.

This morning was another teary farewell for us. We told MEG last night that I was leaving and she cried a good bit. This morning, we arrived at Pensacola airport an hour and a half prior to takeoff. Once we got there, we had to wait in the check in line, then the bag screening line and then finally the security line. So, we had very little time to sit around and be sad. Since I’m in the military, the airline allowed Braye and the girls to come through security with me. That was nice sine I got to stay with them until the last boarding call.

I miss Braye and the girls more than anything, but I did feel a sense of relief on the fight today—this thing has been hanging over our heads since September, and it is nice now to finally get the countdown clock started.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Location, Location, Location…

Between my relatives in the real estate business and all of my friends in the Navy, I have learned the importance of location. Norfolk or Jax? Meridian or Pensacola? After all of these years, I think I found the best location of all…In our living room with Braye sitting next to me, watching the girls showing us how they can do somersaults.

I made it home last night after being away for almost a month. The trip home was nice. I was in a huge hurry and a few of us didn’t get a chance to change, so we ended up flying in our uniforms. American Airlines was great! The had an open First Class seat and they up graded one of our guys. I was almost as lucky—they gave me a free cookie.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Getting ready to head home

Well, as days go, today was a pretty bad one. But it is almost over. Tomorrow, I get to go home and spend 9 days with Braye and the girls. I am so looking forward to seeing them again. Of course, the thought having to say goodbye again will be with all of us.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Election day

Well, we may (depending on how many lawyers get involved) learn tonight which party controls congress. Of course I have my personal preferences, but I surly hope that, whatever the outcome, the results of the elections do not embolden terrorists. It worked in Spain and Italy. If international terrorists see these elections as a victory for them, then America loses.
On a lighter note, I gave my brief and submitted my research paper. Now all I have to do is a day long exercise tomorrow. I would love to head home as soon as that is done, but we have a no kidding “graduation” scheduled on Thursday. Because of the timing of the “graduation” the only flight that I can catch arrives in P-cola around 10:00pm. Oh well, such is the life of a number.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Almost done in Ft. Huachuca...

I took my final exam today. I did fairly well on it, tomorrow I have to give a brief and submit my paper. I feel so much like I am in high school that a bunch of us are going to hang out in the Wal-mart parking lot later.

A guy from my command in Iraq came buy today to give us a brief. Once I get to Iraq, I will then find out where I’m ultimately going. As it stands right now, once I’m in country I will:
Be assigned to an Army of Marine Corps unit
Stay on the my command’s staff in Bagdad
Go to Qatar
As of right now, we have no clue as to where we will be going or exactly what we will be doing. I received an email from a friend of mine from Japan. He is doing the same thing that I will be doing over there. It would be great to turn over with him. He is a good guy and I know that the program he will leave me will be top notch.

As far as going to Iraq goes, I don’t want anyone to worry. Iraq sounds scary, but in reality, it isn’t so bad. Thanks to the liberal media, only the doom and gloom is presented. When I was flying F-18s, I relied on the “big sky, little airplane” theory to help me avoid mid-air collisions. It worked. In Iraq, I’m counting on the “big country, only a few bad guys” theory.
In all seriousness, my job is a safe job, in a safe area. I honestly feel that driving through Pensacola in the mornings is more dangerous that Iraq—a bunch of rednecks, late for work and they hyped up from watching the latest NASCAR race—now that’s scary.

Monday, November 06, 2006


Today was a pretty slow day, with nothing worth mentioning in a blog…but I figure I better keep at it. Most of the day was spent studying for my final exam. Since a large portion of the test will be on classified material, it made studying difficult. I also made it to church on base today.

Great news about Saddam today. Say what you want about the war, but anything that causes the Iraqi people to dance in the streets is a good thing—especially, since without America, Hussein wouldn’t be headed to the punishment he deserves. I think many people lose sight of the fact that this man is a mass murder in the likes of Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Bear Hunting

Today I went bear hunting. Braye called today and during the conversation, she told me about an article she read about the Build a Bear Workshop. It is a store where you go and custom build your own teddy bear. We thought that would be a perfect gift for the girls (actually all the credit goes to Braye). As it turns out, there is a build a bear workshop in Tucson, so I headed up there. Wow, what a great concept! The lines were huge and the kids were having a blast (mental note, see if Build a Bear Workshop is publicly traded). In about an hour I made bears for both girls. Every night, while I’m putting the girls to bed, I would say a certain good-night phrase to each of them. If you squeeze the paw, there is a recording of my good-night saying. I sure hope they like them. I had a lot of fun making them

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Time to kick some ass?

A busy day

Today was a busy day. We had a video teleconference with the folks we will be relieving in Iraq. Because of the time zone change, we had to meet at 0545. I wanted to go for a run and today was my day to hit the weight room. So, because of a packed schedule, I got up at 0330, went for a run, showered, and then went to the conference. After the conference ended, we had a couple of hours off so I hit the weight room. After that, I had class all day. As far as class is concerned, it seems to me that the motto for the folks here at Ft Huachuca is “it is the process that counts, results are secondary”. I have an important jog to do in Iraq, give me the tools to do it. I want to have information dripping out of my ears when I leave here. As it is, we have to engage our selective listening skills to filter out the important information from the trivia. From my perspective, the ratio of trivia to important information is about 80-20%. Oh well. I remember way back when, when I was in Bahrain. I ran into a British Sergeant Major of the Royal Marines (sitting on a curb outside the Warbler). He was on the 5th deployment to the gulf. He said to me: “I take the queen’s shilling and eat the Queen’s biscuit. I go where she sends me”. Good advice.

I have important job to do and I just have to deal with the process until I get over there.

As much as I hate leaving Braye and the girls, the job I will be doing over there will have a profound effect on some guy’s lives. That is what important. I’m at the point: just let me go let me do my job.

Friday, November 03, 2006


Today was an interesting day in class. We had cultural briefs on Iraq and Afghanistan. We covered the usual information such as the economy, culture, customs and traditions. We also had a very interesting brief on Islam.

This is what I learned: Mohamed was the father of Islam. After he died, he was replaced by a Caliph (basically the leader of the faith). At the time, there were 2 schools of thought in the early days of Islam The Sunns basically endorsed another Imam to take over the faith. The Shia believed that Ali, the nephew of Mohamed should take over the faith. In the end, the Sunnis won. Three Caliphs later, Ali was elected as Caliph. Shortly after his election his was assassinated by a Suni in what is today modern day Iraq. The two factions have been split ever since. From what I learned, the Sunis consider themselves to be more orthodox than the Shias. It is interesting to note that that Shias are the minority in the Muslim world, with the exception of Iran and Iraq. Very interesting stuff.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

This picture says it all

Today was a long day and as far as out class is concerned, a total waste of time. I sure hope the Navy isn’t paying for this class. It was a productive day for me though. I spoke with a Master Sergeant (one of the uneducated masses stuck in Iraq). He has been there 3 times before and had a lot of great information. Because of security reason, I can’t disclose what he told me, but needless to say, I learned a lot. Of course, I’ll be in the rear with the gear, but it is still good stuff to know.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I guess I didn't study hard and make an effort...

Another day today. Class was somewhat interesting, but according to a certain public official, I must not have been very good at school since I’m going to Iraq. Without mentioning any public official by name:
I am amazed that so many public officials forget the fact that words mean things. What may be intended to be used as a sound bite on CNN or to motivate a political base can have a detrimental effect on the morale of troops. Some of the most outstanding individuals I have ever met are in the military and I am honored to serve with them. Now that I am going to Iraq, I find all of the anti-war, anti-military truly disheartening. If you are against the war, vote you conscious, speak out, but tell the truth. Inflammatory rhetoric about how we are at war for all the wrong reasons, that we are criminals fighting a losing cause only encourages our enemies and hurts the troops. If these individuals truly support the truth, then I hope they think before they speak.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Getting to the nuts and bolts

An interesting day today. Today, we started learning some specific systems that we will be using over there. For a change, we had an instructor that taught rather than simply read Power Point slides—it makes a big difference.
Apparently, the Army is going to start cracking down on blog sites. Here is an article that deals with the issue: Blog article. Like I’ve said before, I’m going to keep this blog intentionally vague for security reasons. Any good war stories I may have, I will save for when I get home (that will give me plenty of time to embellish them). Of course, my job is going to be very boring and very far from any action, so I may need many months to come up with some good stories.

I have had many questions about the war from both family and friends. In short, I fully support the President and his decisions. We are over there for the right reason. I truly believe that the president is thinking in the long term and the world will be better off years from now. Unfortunately, it seems that many politicians in our country think in micro terms instead of macro terms. I guess that is partly understandable—most politicians serve either 2 year of 6 year terms. It takes intestinal fortitude to think beyond the next election. I believe that the president is thinking in the long term (not unlike Teddy Roosevelt) and one day the world will be a better place. Propping up pro U.S. dictators may work in the short term, but oppressive regimes only breeds resentment and despair—which ultimately leads to terrorism.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Boneyard

Today, I traveled up to Tucson to check out the aircraft bone yard at Davis Monthan Air Force Base. It was very impressive to see miles and mile of aircraft lined up. I was also surprised to see just how many F-16s and A-10s were there—hundreds. There were even a few B-1s out there. The facility was closed, so I couldn’t walk about and check out the planes up close.
I also couldn’t help but be impressed by the base itself. I have to give great credit to the Air Force—they treat their people very well. The base looks super and the facilities are excellent. For example, there are 2 mini marts on the base and they are actually open 24 hours a day. A convenience store that is actually convenient!! This is in stark contrast to a Navy base. One time at, at a Navy base, I asked the clerk at the mini mart why they no longer carried milk in the store. Her reply was “We couldn’t keep it in stock and people started to complain, so we stopped carrying it”. I love flying in the Navy, but living on an air Force base would be great.


Today, I road tripped to Nogales, Mexico. It took over an hour to get there. The topography of Arizona is very interesting. During my trip, I traveled through rolling grass land, saw barren wind-swept mountains; but also passed through some heavily wooded areas and saw mountains covered with trees that looked similar to the Blue Ridge.

Nogales was pretty disappointing, since it is so far off the beaten path, even the Mexican junk peddlers seem to avoid it. I was hard pressed to find trinkets for the girls. On the way back, I decided to stop at a local winery. I admit I have a limited pallet and never knew that Arizona produced wine, so I decided to check it out. I was very surprised with what they offered. Too bad there is no way I can bring some back with me

Run Stimp Run

I try to get out and run at least 5 miles each day. So far, I have explored as much of Sierra Vista as possible. Today, I had a great run. I went out of town into the desert. The scenery looked like something from Forrest Gump. I really enjoyed watching the sun rise over the mountains and shadows fade over the desert. Along the way, I passed a cemetery with an American flag flying. I was a very inspiring sight.Today, Braye successfully replaced the water pump on our Suburban—I am so impressed. Her growing automotive skills will translate to me being able to slack off and watch the History Channel all day.

What I'm doing with the Army

I’ve gotten a lot of questions as to why I am going to Iraq to serve with an Army unit. Due to security reasons, I need to be intentionally vague as to what I’ll be doing. The Army has a need for individuals that possess certain skills that are necessary for them to accomplish their mission. The Navy has such individuals and as such we are contributing to the efforts in Iraq. Unfortunately, I have no special skills other that the fact that I am relatively trainable, which should be good enough.As much as I hate to be away from Braye and the girls, I have a job to do now. God willing, I will do that job to the best of my ability. I truly hope that my efforts will help some of our Marines and Soldiers come home in one piece.


Today was a fairly light day, with both classes ending relatively soon. I put my extra free time to good use by doing some shopping and getting a haircut (good ting Braye won’t see me for a couple of weeks). Braye called me today and told me that the water pump is failing on the suburban and bought another one to replace it. I know she has the intellect to replace it, but I don’t think she has the four letter word vocabulary necessary for auto mechanics. Class is bearable, but I am still frustrated.

A Better Day

Today was a better day. In class we are getting to the meat and potatoes of what we will be doing. The instructors are doing their best, but it is clear that this course is in this infancy. There are still parts of this class that have no bearing on what we will be doing in Iraq. Being away from my family is difficult, but when I’m wasting my time, that really bothers me.Class ended at noon today so we could spend time researching our oral presentations and papers (I’m not kidding APA format and everything). I spent my research on the road. I drove to Bigsbee, AZ and then to Tombstone. Being a history buff, I was looking forward to Tombstone, but I was disappointed. It is now a total tourist trap. At least the scenery was beautiful to look at.

Welcome to the Army

Well, today was an interesting day to say the least. Being at an Army base has been an eye opener. To save money, the Army has turned off most of their lights inside their buildings to save energy, so everywhere I go, things seem very dark and gloomy. I had dinner at the chow hall tonight. With only one out of every five lights on, it was very romantic—too bad Braye wasn’t with me.The Army has also adopted “water less urinals” to save on water consumption. Great idea, but the smell is unbearable.I also went to the base gym today. One would think the Army would go all out on their gym facilities, but I was very disappointed. The base gym consists of one set of dumbbells and a couple of benches. Every one there was bigger than me, so I defered to them and left feeling very scrawny.To cap things off, I learned that, in order to reduce traffic accidents, the Army has a “no left turn” policy on this base—you can only make right turns. To enforce this police, barricades have been erected to prevent any scoundrel from making a dreaded left turn. Getting on base was fine, but getting off was a challenge. Affected by hunger, brought on by the fact that I couldn’t see my plate due to the darkness, I was desperate to get back to my hotel. I finally had to dive in reverse to make the necessary turns to get to the front gate. Sure it was a drastic measure, but what are they going to do—send me to Iraq?As far as my schools is concerned, well, I don’t want to sound too negative in this blog, so I will emphasize the positive—the civilians instructors wear very nice ties.

Ft. Huachuca

Well, I made it to Ft. Huachuca. Today was a busy travel day, with the total trip taking 14 hours. I rented a van in Phoenix and five of us drove the last leg. That saved the Navy $1500 and saved us 7 hours. I don’t have much to report as to what Arizona is like so far. It looks like a typical desert, but maybe a bit greener than say Fallon. I saw 2 aircraft graveyards on the drive down from Phoenix, which is something you don’t see every day. Tomorrow, I start school at the Army base. I will be a taking a 3-week course. I’m staying in the Gateway hotel with so far is really nice. My room is more like a small apartment than anything else.Well, I’m exhausted, so I will sign off now and I should have more to tell tomorrow.

Can we make things any harder?

I arranged to get on an earlier flight to Phoenix. Once I get there, I hope to catch an earlier flight to Tucson, if that doesn’t work, then I plan to rent a car and drive to Ft. Huachuca. It is amazing how painful things are so far. We have received minimal logistical support so far. What support we have gotten has been totally inadequate. Case in point: We are supposed to fly from Norfolk at 0835 with one airline. Land in Phoenix at 1400, wait 7 hours so we can catch another flight to Tucson which lands at 2230. After we land, we have to get our bags, get rental cars, find our separate hotels, check in, and…oh get some sleep. Class starts at 0730 the next day.

Day 5 at NMPS

Well, we are done with NMPS. Today was uniform issue—something that took all day. I wanted to head to D.C afterwards, but I simply didn’t have the time. I went to Williamsburg instead and had a good time walking around. This weekend is free for military, so I timed it fairly well.Next stop is Ft. Huachuca, AZ. As of this afternoon, we have no idea how we are going to get there. All we know is that we are going to fly to Phoenix with one airline and then fly to Tucson on another—pretty painful.Braye and the girls are back home after spending a week at her parents. This week was fall break. Next week, they will be back on their regular routine with school and soccer practice.

Day 4 at NMPS

A long and painful day today. My only official function today was to get my latest Anthrax shot—a process that took most of the morning. I was very busy although. Hertz rental car over charged me for my car—they gave me the walk up rate instead of the government rate. Although they admitted that I deserve the government rate, they refused to refund the difference. To make matters worse, the Navy will only reimburse me for the government rate. So, it looks like this little trip as cost me a couple of hundred dollars so far. It is a shame that a big company like Hertz treats its customers like that.On a lighter note, I went to the Yorktown battlefield today. I wanted to go to Williamsburg, but after dealing with Hertz all day, I didn’t have time to make it all the way up there. I wound up going to Yorktown instead. As a fan of history I was looking forward to walking around the ramparts and fortifications. It turns out that this weekend is the 255th anniversary of the battle of Yorktown. As a result, the park was packed and much of the area was roped off for the reenactments that are scheduled for this weekend.

Day 3 at NMPS

Not much done on the Navy front today. We mustered at 0800 and were told to come back at 1000. At 1000, we were told to come back at 1530. So far, this experience has been pretty disorganized. The big issue today is what uniform are we going to be issued? No one knows. It will be either Navy desert camouflage or the Army’s new digital camouflage. The other major issue we have to deal with is that we are pretty much on our own to arrange our travel to our follow on training sites. This process has been done before, but it seems like the wheel is being re-invented each and every time

Day 2 at NMPS

Hurry up and wait is the task for today. Today started with group PT at 0600. I checked things out and then went off for a 5 mile run. I saw a lot of the base here at Little Creek. Seeing all of the Halloween decorations really reminded me of the girls. I hate missing out on holidays. Poor Braye, she will have to fight Madison all alone to get her costume on.Things were pretty slow at NMPS today. I did the majority of my medical stuff before I arrived, which saved some time. One thing I learned was to make sure the documentation for all shots and lab work is in your medical record. Pensacola medical filled out the pre-deployment medical screening sheet, but NMPS went through the record anyway and if they didn’t see the forms for, say small pox, you will have to get it again. One other thing, make sure you get a complete set of labs before showing up. A lot of guys have to fast tonight and get their blood taken at 0600.Tomorrow should be a fairly easy day, with the only important meeting in the afternoon.

Day 1 at NMPS

Today was the first day of NMPS check in. In fairness to them, they have to process a lot of folks. On the individual level, it is 2 days of processing crammed into a week. At least I have a car to get about in. Our days start at 0600 with group PT followed by filling out paperwork, medical exams and a lot of waiting around. Today, I snuck out and hit the gym for a quick working out during my lunch break. Speaking of food, since government messing is available, we are on the PMR (partial meal rate) so the per diem we get is pretty minimal. The galleys her have pretty good food and they have convenient hours.The big lesion I learned today is that flight suits are cool at NMPS. I regret bringing my khakis.I met some of the other RTF-611 guys that I’ll be going over to Iraq with. We are all pretty much in the dark as to exactly what we will be doing and where we’ll end up. There is a fair amount of information out there, but a lot of it is contradictory. I guess we’ll find out once we get over there. I just got an email from a friend of mine from Japan. He is currently in Iraq and saw my name on a list of folks coming over there. It will be good to hear what he has to say.As of right now, my schedule is to process here in Norfolk until the end of the week. On Saturday, I will go to Ft. Huachuca, Arizona for 3 weeks of training. After that, I get to come back to Pensacola for a week. Once I completely disrupt the household and ruin what ever system Braye sets up, I’ll head for Ft. Jackson, S.C. for 2 weeks of Army training. After that, I catch either a NALO flight or a commercial flight to Kuwait. I’ll spend up to 2 weeks in Kuwait conducting training. After that, I’ll head to Camp Victory Iraq

Leaving P-cola

Today is day one, the day that I left Pensacola. It was very hard saying goodbye to Braye and the girls. Considering everything that has happed in the family lately, leaving is especially hard. Mary Elizabeth held up great until I got to the security checkpoint, then the water works started. Braye was so strong for the girls, I’m very proud of her.Traveling to Norfolk was painful with each flight delayed. Once I got on deck, I called the NMPS CDO and he told me that billeting was overbooked and that a rental car is now authorized on my orders. A lucky break for me, I’d hate to spend a week at Norfolk on a walking tour. I’m now at Little Creek Naval Base. Over all, not bad accommodations.I’m writing this blog for my family and friends so they will know what I’m up to. I’m also writing it for other IAs that may be looking for some gouge. Since this is unclassified, I may sound vague and cryptic at times.