Monday, December 31, 2007


I just realized that "SPC Daniel Webster" can be rearranged to form the words "Respectable Winds." I'm not sure this is a good thing, but his grandfather would have been proud!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Forms of Turkey

As you sit around wondering if turkey (or ham) can possibly be combined with any other food substance in a way you had not previously envisioned, Daniel's squad is pulling 11 1/2 hour duty guarding contractors as they build a wall. Part of that time is spent sitting in the Stryker. Daniel says 20 minutes in the vehicle makes your backside go numb, so 4 hours should probably be covered under the Geneva Convention.

We read our Christmas novels, burn the Christmas candles (thanks Lynn!) and prepare for another round of indulgence on New Year's Eve. Our guys are staring down same old, same old; boredom, danger, fatigue, hunger and discouragement. It's another reminder of what sorts of sacrifices they make on our behalf.

New Year's thanks to all our men and women of the Armed Forces.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Military Secrets

Daniel told me they had a very ..... vital ...... and important ...... probably ..... critical mission on Christmas. Hm .....
His IM picture is now a dark scene with a bonfire in front. Burning anti-American pamphlets? Destroying evidence of evil? So I asked ....

and the bonfire, was what we did for Christmas Night patrol. We went to a check point and did an "inspection" that involved us drinking chi [tea], sitting around a fire, taking lots of photos of stoned gaurds, and talking about weed.

Maybe vaguely reminiscent of the shepards in the fields, guarding their flocks by night, but I'm guessing the only angels visiting came to those who were smoking :P

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas peace

Daniel says:
hey I'm probably going to hit the hay now
Daniel says:
Merry Christmas to all
Diane says:
Merry Christmas in the best way of all. We share the gift that knows no geography or time. Be at peace and know you are loved and missed. Sleep well.

An opportunity!

In talking with Daniel today about things Christmas, we had the following discussion.

Daniel says:
sure, I'm sure the terps would love to get something., I've been passing on candies here and there, but I'm sure they would love something
Diane says:
Anything you would recommend?
Daniel says:
ummm....warm garments? If you wanted to send big boxes, but other than that I really don't know, foods and goodies are good
Diane says:
What sort of warm? Civilian clothes or wool sock sorts of things?
Daniel says:
maybe something that they could wear underneath the ACUs, since they don't really have anything, and I know they are cold when we go out. I'm usually wearing a polypro underneath my kit in the mornings, and its still cold
Diane says:
Can you take a guess at sizes?
Daniel says:
larges, maybe, a medium or two
Diane says:
How many terps?
Daniel says:
ummm....lets see there is josh, Kareem, Lewaid, Steve, I don't know the rest, but there are about.....7 maybe

If you look at the slideshow, or see any pictures of the troops in Iraq, occasionally you'll see a soldier with his face covered. If you look, you'll notice an Iraqi flag patch on his sleeve, even though he's attired as a US soldier otherwise. These are the LN (Local Nationals) who risk their lives and even the lives of their families to act as interpreters for the troops. They live on base but do not get the full kit the US soldiers are issued, and are not allowed to go into the PX to buy things for themselves. Daniel is concerned they are cold, have no toiletries and are still willing to do what they do, at great personal cost.
If you're reading this and have a soldier deployed, they have "terps" assigned to their unit. A gift at Christmas to these invaluable aides would be a great thing and you can send to your soldier with instructions to pass them on. If they are confused, tell them Daniel says its a good thing.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Daniel wishes all blog readers a very Merry Christmas. He will probably be on patrol. Bleh.

He said tomorrow (Sunday), they have to go to another FOB to pick up someone from their company who has gone AWOL. No, he's not stupid enough to run off into the local population, but he's hiding out from having to go to work by bunking "on the run" at other bases. I asked Daniel what would happen once he was caught. He said, "Well for sure he's a private again, probably for a reeeeeallllly long time!"

Sunday, December 16, 2007

After the flood

It has been an eventful couple of weeks. We have survived the Washington floods, the wind, the cold and the airplane ride you don't want to repeat. These coupled with Daniel's busy-ness and lack of communication, and I haven't published in a bit.
We received a packaged with some jewelry, money and a disc of pictures he had taken. I have posted them in the left margin. If you are reading this and are a 2-2 relative, I hope you see someone you know and it brings you joy.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Oh the weather outside is frightful

It's raining bullets while the troops are doing humanitarian aid. Snipers are taking shots at the delivery by the US Army of school supplies. Not little things like pencils, but truck loads of desks, chalk boards, television monitors and DVD players.

It is amazing to me how little value is placed on the people whose lives bump up against the insurgents. To them it is nothing to put a small child in harm's way, or to eradicate someone trying to help bring progress to their culture, restoring it in a deliberate and positive way; impacting an entire nation through its children.

Daniel said they were targeted, but no one got hurt. Hallelujah!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

2 Flu or not 2 Flu

Daniel says:
sorry I was eating some popcorn, I just got off 24 hours of quarter
tomorrow I start going back out on missions
Diane says:
quarter? Staying in your quarters because of being sick?
Daniel says:
Diane says:
Wow, both ML and I were sure they wouldn't let you off duty because of a little thing like being deathly ill. Are you any better or did they give you 24 hours max?
Daniel says:
I was vomiting, and retching, and having cold sweats...
if I needed more, they would have given it to me, but I'm not longer feeling nauseous, or vomiting, so I'm deemed good enough to go back out
I was sleeping most of the 24 hours
Daniel says:
cap [Capellino] got back today'

Capellino had his 2 weeks mandatory mid-deployment leave. He and his wife had a $6,000 Bahamas vacation, as well as visiting his parents. I remarked to Daniel that it must be difficult to come back to the sandbox after that sort of hiatus. He agreed.

Daniel signed off pretty quickly because he was not yet over the sick nasties, but had been deemed well enough by his chain of command to get back into the thick of things tomorrow, and he wanted more sleep.

Had he been home I would have parked him on the couch with videos to watch and gotten him some ginger ale, but I guess my little boy is not that any more; he's able to throw up without me. My, they grow up so quickly. :)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

15 minutes of fame

Daniel alerted me to this article about his squad in Stars and Stripes today.

Christmas is coming

It occurs to me that I should pass on some of what I know for Christmas parceling and Iraq.

    Mail by December 4th for guaranteed delivery.

    Priority mail boxes (available free from the post office) cost $8.95 to mail, regardless of weight

    Do not send rum balls. Nothing alcoholic is allowed is Islamic countries. The same thing applies to anything pornographic.

    Keep in mind that although they may be sitting still at their base for the moment, they could be moved next week, which means 2 duffle bags, leave everything else behind. Any non-commestible should be small and something you don't care if it stays in Iraq.

    The most valued thing to a soldier is to remember he is loved and missed at home. Even if there is nothing you wish to send in a package, send a card and if you can, include a picture. It's a touch point with a place they wish they could be.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Yeah for Microsoft

You may have heard the news reports Microsoft was sending X-Boxes to Iraq and Afghanistan for the troops to use in their down time. Daniel's squadron didn't see any of those, probably because they are off the beaten path. Several of his fellow soldiers bought them on their own and Daniel finally did too.
While he was on patrol one day, someone grabbed his box to play and plugged it directly into the 220 current and fried the power cord. Yes, it was the power cord - Daniel is becoming the master of diagnosing things about which he has no knowledge. I told him he probably got that gene from his dad and he agreed, saying the random weird singing gene came from me (but that's a whole different story).

Steve contacted a former student of his who works for MS in the entertainment division and when he found out what had happened, said he would send off a replacement cord at no cost and throw in some games for good measure in support of our brave soldiers (Shhhhh - don't tell Daniel).

Kudos to MS!!

Monday, November 19, 2007

From Stryker News

This is Daniel's squadron and FOB (Forward Operating Base).
BAGHDAD — Middle eastern culture experts are helping 2nd Cavalry (Stryker) Regiment soldiers better understand Iraqis they meet and work with in West Baghdad.
Soldiers from 2nd Cav’s 2nd Squadron are working closely with a four-person Human Terrain Team (HTT) out of Forward Operating Base Falcon in Baghdad’s violent East Rashid neighborhood.
The team of academics, which includes a social scientist, two cultural analysts and a military liaison officer, is charged with bringing cultural awareness to the Army and studying the ethnic makeup of Iraqi populations so commanders can plan courses of action, governance, patrols and provision of essential services accordingly, said HTT member Fouad Lghzaoui.
The Moroccan-born cultural analyst, who studied geography and Arabic literature at the University of Morocco, said the team helps units deal with some of the unfamiliar quirks of Iraqi culture.
“For example, for an infantryman (the Iraqi practice of) holding hands or kissing another man cheek to cheek is a hard thing to get used to,” he said.
The team helps bridge the gap between the squadron and key Iraqi players in its area of operations, said Capt. Travis Cox, 30, of Salem, Ore., 2nd Squadron’s fire support officer tasked with civil military affairs.
“They (the HTT members) are a second set of educated eyes who we can talk through what happens based on Arabic culture,” Cox said, “and aspects of different middle eastern things that being from Oregon I don’t know a lot about.”

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Tempus Fugit

Daniel says:
Daniel just sent you a nudge.
Diane says:
I just finished blogging about not hearing from you!
Daniel says:
I am, we finally got some time yesterday to get a card, unfortunately we didn't have the time to use it
ah....yeah.....we have been getting screwed a tad lately.
yesterday we were on patrol 5 times, for about 20 hours
Diane says:
Daniel says:
it was absolutely awful

Not 30 seconds after I posted the previous blog, life resumed as normal. All is well with the world!

He reports that although the new is reporting a general decrease in violence and a brighter outlook, his particular sector is "lighting up." They are seeing an increase in IED incidents, and the sectarian violence has not abated.

Time Warp

When I was a child, time passed slowly. A school year was as close as a mortal being could experience infinity. As an adult, time speeded up considerably other than those long bits of giving birth.

When your child goes to war, time does funny things. You hear from him and everything is fine. A few days of silence go by and all of a sudden each day is longer. Each moment more finely chiseled in its clarity. You find yourself praying more frequently as though whatever might possibly have happened would somehow be erased.

It's in the quiet times that those in regular communication begin to ask, "Have you heard from him?" "No, you?" The tension is heightened by the affirmation that contact has not been made. In my own situation I can't help but wonder are there people trying to contact me at my old address, the one the Army has on record? Nah, the phone number is still the same. They could call. So in the meantime we check Stryker news every day (whew, nothing new) and wait for a call. Maybe today. Good grief, is it only 9am? I feel like I've been waiting by the phone for hours.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Two Things

Daniel is grateful for the Concerned Citizens Network or whatever it is they are calling the Iraqi's brave enough to risk harm by providing intelligence which allows the military to disarm the bad guys. Without saying what, in order to protect who, suffice it to say some lives were probably saved, both military and civilian. It's a good thing!

He also said one of their platoons went on a mission with the British SAS. He told me to report to Steve (who is British and would therefore take great pride), that these guys kicked major butt. It is supposed to be like Navy SEAL's on steroids. I'll just be grateful there are people from all sorts of countries who feel this is the right thing to undertake and do it with professionalism and pride.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Messages from Home

You can send a message to a soldier through Stars and Stripes, both online and in the print version if you do it before the end of November. Click here

Daniel was not involved in the sheik rescue, but they have been pulling a lot of mission time. His last package request included paint brushes so he can clean off his equipment. BTW he thanks everyone who is sending him packages. They frequently go 14 hours without being able to get to chow, so the mixed nuts, beef jerky and cans of chili you send are keeping him from losing that remain .000038 percent body fat he has.

Friday, November 2, 2007

It's been a while

I haven't posted for Daniel in a bit because 1) the news was rather tame and 2) I hadn't heard from him much. Not hearing from him always worries me because it may be a "blackout" until the family of a casualty has been notified, but checking Stryker News this morning, there is nothing posted. Well nothing, except the following story, which I found interesting. I have no idea if Daniel was involved, but at least the 2nd Cavlary was there in some representation.
WASHINGTON - Seven sheiks kidnapped in northern Baghdad two days ago were rescued by soldiers from 9th Iraqi Army Division during a mission yesterday.
The mission, supported by U.S. military advisors and Soldiers from both the 82nd Airborne Division and 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, resulted in the sheiks' rescue, the capture of four abductors and the death of three extremists. The body of an eighth sheik also was discovered at the scene.
The sheiks were taken to a nearby Iraqi army facility where they received medical attention. Several said they had been beaten with a tire iron. The sheiks also said that they have no doubt that their abductors were Shiite extremists.
"The execution of this mission shows how far Iraqi security forces have come," said Army Brig. Gen. John F. Campbell, deputy commanding general for maneuver for Multi-National Division - Baghdad. "The 9th Iraqi Army, led by General Riyadh, reacted very quickly to intelligence they received. They planned and then organized their forces, and executed a tough and precise mission with support from the coalition. They are well on their way to being the pre-eminent security force for the people of Iraq."
The only other news to report is that a power line caused the communication equipment on the Stryker to fry and Daniel was put in charge of fixing it. He doesn't like the fact they rely on him to do things he has no training on, but on the other hand, I sense a pride in his ability to figure it out and acomplish the task.
Update - Squid (code name for his fiancee) said he called her, very tired, but OK. It's a good thing. I'll take tired over silent.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Sleep is a weapon

I had coffee today with the mother of one of Daniel's friends, also curently deployed in Iraq. He's with the 82nd Airborne, although apparently he's sitting in trucks a lot these days. Despite doing training jumps, he's not done any combat leaps.

Alan and Daniel went to high school together, ended up in Airborne school at the same time and are now sharing the joys of the Sandbox, albeit in different locales.

When I told Daniel I would be meeting with Alan's mother he asked that I pass a message to Alan through her. It was "Tell the [starts with 'b,' ends with 'astard'] to stay alive!"

Alan's mom told me to tell Daniel, "Sleep is a weapon," wisdom taken from the Bourne series. When you are tired, you are less aware of your surroundings, less likely to make good decisions and more likely to put yourself in harm's way. I thought it was sage advice.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Chicken Little

Daniel says:
well, I just survived another mortar attack
Diane says:
For which I am grateful, as I'm sure you are. Were you out or was this close to home?
Daniel says:
I was outside, coming back from getting my laundry, the base defense sounds off with an "incoming, incoming" and I hear and see the mortar round whiz over my head, and hit about 100 meters in front of me
Diane says:
Wow, laundry and a chance to be blown up. That's awesome multitasking.
Diane says:
Seriously, I'm glad you're OK.
Diane says:
Daniel says:
no kidding
Diane says:
Did it mean more laundry?
Brown Trouser Alert!!!
Daniel says:
these ones are already stained, hence the picking up laundry, I still need to take a shower and change into some NOT nasty cloths
Diane says:
Daniel says:
oh yeah and we found another 20 lbs of HME IED, and a few mortar rounds on a patrol
Diane says:
Wow, they've been busy little blow up beavers.
Diane says:
Is any of this in response to the Sadr City raid?
Daniel says:
Diane says:
Hammurabi's Code strikes again
So did the bomb guys blow up the IED?
Daniel says:
yeah, they blew the mortar rounds and the HME in place. we were standing about 20 feet from it when they blew it, it was kind of annoyingly loud
Diane says:
LOL. Annoyingly loud. It sounds like the neighbors are having an all night party and you're being forced to listen to Motley Crue when you've had a tough day pushing paper.
Daniel says:
its just another day at work

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Big Boom

Daniel says:
well I wonder when you are going to get up today
Diane says:
Good morning
I am up, but I have kitties to take care of. It takes about 1/2 an hour
Daniel says:
just so you know, my vehicle hit an IED last night.
Diane says:
Obviously you're alive and kicking
Daniel says:
yeah, it was a small one, and it exploded a bit early, so it just took some armor off the vehicle
Diane says:
Did everyone do laundry or do the brown trousers hide in the camo?
Daniel says:
I actually need to turn mine in [to be laundered], we have been...very....busy recently
Diane says:
Oh. You don't have to do it yourself?
Diane says:
It's like living at home only with live ammunition!
Daniel says:
in the last three days I've gotten about 9 hours of sleep
its been...a little bit trying
Diane says:
No joke. How can you make good rational decisions when you can't see straight?
Daniel says:
oh yeah, and there was a rocket attack on the FOB early yesterday morning
Diane says:
Any damage from the rocket attack?
Daniel says:
not that I know of, but they were close to the tents
Diane says:
What do you do about your styker armor?
Daniel says:
get another stryker untill that one can be fixed
Diane says:
Oh great. The one with the other guy's brown trouser stains. That's totally awful.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

A Night at the Movies

Daniel said they had been fired on, returned fire and one person was killed. We had the following exchange by IM ~~~~~~
Diane says:
I often wonder what happens when you are the one responsible for killing someone. I know you're trained for it, but it still has to affect you
Daniel says:
it was say the least....definitely something I wouldn't mind never seeing again
preferably no.
Diane says:
Yeah, you should leave that sort of thing to Hollywood. They do a much better job of it, right?
Daniel says:
not really....death is too quick in Hollywood.
and you don't have an opinion about the guy laying on the ground bleeding to death
Diane says:
an opinion? or an option?
Daniel says:
Diane says:
Not sure I understand
Ah, you don't care about them as a "character"
Daniel says:
when you watch a movie, and you see "Japs" or Nazis getting splattered, you don't think much other then the special effects team sure did a good job. know that that person has a life, you see him bleeding out right before you. he tried to kill you, you hate him, yet you feel some guilt. you think afterwords about his family, and his life. you think about the wife, or girlfriend that lost someone today. its different.
Diane says:
Yeah. I think a lot about that from afar when I put up the names of 2nd Cav when DOD announces they aren't coming home.
Daniel says:
you picture yourself getting wrapped into a body bag, under the same circumstances, just because of a difference of opinions
Diane says:
Not a good thought, is it?
Daniel says:
Diane says:
So I continue to picture your angels in baseball uniforms, doing batting practice with the bullets.
Daniel says:
Diane says:
Very nice!
Any requests for the next one [package]? I have a box out and ready. We put things in when we find good stuff
Daniel says:
actually, canned chili is really good, ML sent me some in her last package, and it worked great for going out on patrol, I just bring my combat spoon, leave the can out in the open for 30 seconds, and voila! cooked chili on patrol
Diane says:
Canned chili we can do. How do you feel about ravioli?
Daniel says:
eh...its food, really, I'm not too picky, but bland food I can get in an MRE
Diane says:
I'm wondering if I went to Uwajimaya if I could find interesting canned food. I assumed it wouldn't do you well because it wasn't "walkabout" food, but now that I know all it takes is 90 degrees and you're happy .....
Daniel says:
pictures are very much appreciated, I'm trying to get as many as I can, just so I have familiar faces to go with all the stories
Daniel says:
anything really is good, I'm not picky, and since my diet is always off, I tend not to eat too much at the chow hall, and more when I'm off on patrol, or just coming back at midnight
Diane says:
I wonder if we had one of those "seal a meal's" if it would stay OK long enough to get to you. Maybe ask around and see if anyone else gets packets sealed from home. I know Aunt L has a sealer. We could make some Thai curry noodles or something.
Daniel says:
mmmmmmmm thai
Diane says:
I will if I can get it to you. Other than that, I'll see if I can't wrangle up some more yakisoba packages.
Daniel says:
I know some guys that got sealed Mcyucks in basic
Diane says:
hahaha. Why go to the trouble of sealing fast food?
But it worked out OK?
Daniel says:
yeah I guess so
Diane says:
Maybe I'll ask Aunt L if we can use hers to give it a test run.
Daniel says:
that would be sweet, everyone would hate me lol
Daniel says:
not like they already don't hate me enough. although it has gotten better since getting here, they actually see me outside of patrols, instead of Germany, where they would never see me after work
Diane says:
I'm glad they're getting to know you. You're a cool dude. At least I've always thought so
But I'm biased.
Daniel says:

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Angels in the Outfield

From an IM today: I'm alright, kinda jittery....we were in a good sized fire fight today, and I was about 2 feet from a sniper's shot at me and the LT

It's hard to picture your son with a bullet 2 feet away, but I still take solace in the fact he's got some hard working angels sent by the awesome men and women who keep him blanketed in prayer. Many thanks to the group at Shoreline Covenant who meet Wednesday morning's, Rose C's group, Bobbi B's group and many others both individually and collectively who lift Daniel and the rest of the troops up.

As to his angels, I picture them giggling as they pull on their baseball socks and do batting practice with the incoming bullets. If you have trouble with the image, read Frank Peretti's This Present Darkness. :)

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The lights on the water

This is a "mom" post, not from Daniel, although to him.

One of my autopilot items now is to visit Stryker News in the morning. I hope there is nothing newsworthy, but some mornings, like today, I am disappointed.

What I check for are the names of those who have given their everything so that I don't have to worry about IED's in my front yard. It is the names of those who should not be forgotten. I add them to the blog, and pray for their families.

One of the things we do as parents whose children (yes, they will always be our children) are serving, is hope that we never have to answer the door to find two people in uniform on the step. Each one of those names has a door knock associated with it and a flood of grief .

Last night, driving over the 520 bridge, I was thinking about how beautiful Seattle is, how much Daniel loves it and how I long to make that drive with him and have the comfort of him safely returned. You've been in my thoughts a lot lately Daniel. Be safe and come home soon.

I love you,

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Hugs and Kisses

It was "tomorrow" when Daniel called, 1am Baghdad time. He sends thanks to G/G Ohlsen for the phone time :). He had just returned from a 24 hour patrol, one of those where you're so tired you can't sleep.
His story for today was a young girl sitting on the roof of her home close to where he was also roof bound, keeping a sharp eye out for "issues." The girl started waving and blowing him kisses. This went on for about 20 minutes until her mother or another adult female came onto the roof, slapped her face and dragged her inside.

I said that was sad she reacted in such a harsh manner, but Daniel seemed to think the whole thing was rather funny. I suppose it is one of those stories we'll have to flesh out when we have time to sit down far away from sandy streets which are light years from Seattle reality.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

From a Condolence

This was posted on a comment log for Sgt. Johnson. I thought it was profound.

Lost, Lest I go my uncaring way
Help me to remember
That Somewhere out there
A Man Died for me Today.
So Long as there be War
I must ask and answer,
"Am I Worth Dying For?"

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The kitty which bites

Some time ago Daniel told me about their translator Meemo. He said he enjoyed going on patrol with him because the guy was funny and pleasant. We decided the kitty he wanted when he got back should be a sand colored cat and he would name it Meemo. There are probably a myriad of jokes about what he was doing when the cat was missing (I'm finding Meemo!).

When I spoke with him this morning he seemed subdued. We chatted for a while about nothing until he finally said, "Oh there was something...remember our translator Meemo? He was arrested this morning for working with the local militia. They are the ones trying to kill us."

I think it really shook his confidence in human nature, his propensity to be trusting and the ugliness of betrayal.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Further information

The fatality was Sgt. Johnson who had been Daniel's squad leader while he was in Ft. Lewis and also most of the time in Germany. Daniel thought he was a great guy.

When I talked with him this morning we began with the platitudes of, "Well it happens and then you move on," and ended with the reality of losing someone as mortality hitting you upside the forehead.

He is scheduled for leave in April, coming home to celebrate his 21st birthday! That's a little beyond the halfway point of the deployment so he'll be on the home stretch after that.

If someone would like to donate to the care and feeding of a distant but yet lovable Nano, he says the best connection with home is the phone and if you email me (Mom), I'll give you the information to allow you to refill his phone card for him!

He sends his love, sounded reasonably upbeat and misses everyone.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Passing of a hero

From ML, who spoke with him this morning -

he sounded alive (not spiritually, more physically) His platoon had their first death. It was his squad leader. Lt. Johnson(?) I, he and some other guys smoked a cigarette for him. - kinda like a send off tribute; Daniel said he was a great guy. Then Daniel and I just talked until the phone connection died.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Update on Robbie

I have just received word that Robbie is in Germany and the doctors there have put him on outpatient treatment. He will be sent back to Fort Lewis in 5-7 days for outprocessing. He is being given a medical discharge as his medical problem is apparently a genetic one and can recur. He will have to be on blood thinners for the rest of his life.

I would appreciate continued prayer for God's will and provision for him once he is out of the Army.
Thanks for all your prayers.
Dee :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Daniel's cousin

From Daniel's 2nd cousin's mother:
Hey y'all,
I just received a phone call from the Army that Robbie is in the hospital in Baghdad with a pulmonary embolism. they said he is in ICU but in stable condition. Please pray for him and for God's will for him at this time.
Dee :)

Things that go BOOM!

10:30 Baghdad time (did you ever grow up thinking, I'll become an expert at spelling Baghdad?) and Daniel just returned from patrol. He said they had another 'incident.'

Intelligence had informed them there was a house booby trapped with an IED (improvised explosive device). They arrived and cautiously cleaned the house. Nothing. Revision of intelligence - it was a different house. Daniel and two sergeants went into this one. Kicking down a bathroom door, Daniel found 30 (pounds or gallons) of a chemical explosive sitting on the commode, a detonation fuse running out of it.

Exiting, they called a bomb detonation squad who showed up and opted to blow it in place. Daniel said it was a really big explosion.

When he was in basic training he would tell me about this that or the other weapon, expecting I would know what he was talking about. I would laugh and say, "Daniel, was it a little boom, a medium boom or a big boom?" When I asked him about this one, he said, "Mom, this was not a boom I wanted to be anywhere near."

Sunday, September 23, 2007

From another 2nd Cav soldier

I received this from the mother of a soldier in another unit. She said I could share.
I haven’t got to use the internet in 3 days cuz we've had some major things happen. 2 days ago we got our first k.i.a. he was shot in the back of the head during a fire fight. I was on that mission but wasn’t with that particular company. Today one of our vehicles was blown up with 2 rpgs. No deaths but 3 guys were hurt. so far my squadron alone has issued 18 purple hearts. We aren’t doing well. Another one of my guys stepped on a pressure plate causing an ied to blow. Luckily they didn’t do a good job with it so there was a delay so he only got some minor shrappenal (sp?) wounds and a concussion. When a guy dies there’s a "blackout" it causes all phones and internet to shut down until the family has been notified. That’s why I couldn’t use the internet for so long

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A view from the Baghdad Hilton

Daniel called. It was the first time in over a week I had heard from him. It was nice to know he was alive and unharmed.

It's Ramadan and I learned something of this religious observance. According to Muslim tradition, during the holiday the gates of Hell are closed. Anyone who dies during this time automatically goes to heaven. I asked Daniel if, as we in Christian society would assume, the violence would be subdued during a religious observance. He said no, in fact the opposite was true. There was generally an increase in suicide bombings during the month because not only did the bombers go to heaven, but also Muslim faithful who happened to be happily placed in the way of his bomb. You would think the families would thank the bombers for the favor.

I learned something from Steve as well. Steve used to work for a couple of Muslim bosses and they told him in Saudi Arabia Ramadan ends a day early. The observance comes to a close when the new moon is observed and as it is a month of daytime fasting, the sooner it ends the better! It turns out that the wealthy Saudi royal family has planes which can fly into the stratosphere, where the occupants can glimpse the new moon a day earlier than can be done from the ground. When it is announced the new moon has been seen, voila! end of fasting and time for partying; the Muslim equivalent for "Miller Time" without the beer, voluptuous women and hold the BBQ'd pork.

Daniel said the chain of command for 3rd platoon had all been fired and an investigation was pending on a checkpoint issue. His only joy in that was the sergeant who had published a nasty video of him on YouTube was in 3rd platoon. If you want the link I'll send it, but you'll get the context story as well.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Mo' Snail Stuff

Today we got another tent for the platoon so there is a lot more space for everyone and their stuff. It makes it a lot more comfortable and easier to live in, so hopefully it stays like that for a while.

We had a mission early again today. We walked a few miles searching the streets for IED's. Doesn't seem smart, huh? Ah well, every one we find is one less out there to kill someone, so it's a good mission. We do a lot over here for the locals and it's nice seeing that we can help them, but I still don't see the point to this war. I see the good that comes out of it, but the good we do isn't the reason we are here, more of just a side effect of being here.

Still no world on leave, but I will let you all know as soon as I get that information.

Letters, pictures, phone cards are always appreciated, but mainly pictures and letters. I'm missing home a lot and the people waiting there for me. I know it's only a matter of time, but it's difficult to feel that way over here. Time goes by quickly, but you never know when or where you will spend your last hours. It's just a nagging dark thought which pulls at you, no matter how much you know you will be coming home.

I keep optimistic though, try to have as much fun as possible, talking to the kids on the streets, and passing out candy to them.

Once I get more pictures I will try and burn a CD and send it home. It's really interesting seeing how different everything is over here - the architecture, the way of life and the culture. Hopefully it will give you guys a glimpse of life over here.

There are just some people here that I can't stand. They shouldn't even be allowed to breathe, but yet they do and people are too understanding. Enough said.

Anyway, life is fine. I'm still breathing and my heart still beats. All is good.

Send love to everyone back home,


Friday, September 14, 2007

Snail Mail

Everything is fine over here. This is the first time we have had some time to ourselves so far. We got done with 2 patrols and tomorrow we are getting a late call. Today was the first day we got shot at, no one got hurt though.

My job keeps me busy all the time, so I probably won't have too much time to write. I'm not expecting much Internet use, especially once we get on the COB. I'm good though. Sometimes it's nice to be busy; it makes the time go by a lot faster and I like doing something no one else does. I like being useful.

I can't wait to go back to school though. I was thinking about it in chow the other day. If I hadn't joined, I would have already graduated with a BA. Just kind of interesting to chew on.

Anyway, I miss everyone back home, and send love to all. I still don't have leave dates yet, but I will be sure to let you know when I do.

Cookies are ALWAYS appreciated! *grin*

[Love you mom, thanks for everything]

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Munitions induced insomnia

4pm Seattle time, 3am in Baghdad. Daniel just called. He was having difficulty sleeping. They had just been on patrol and they were fired on about a quarter mile from their base. No one was hurt, but it rattled a few nerves. I'm glad I was able to speak with him.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Angels and tennis shoes

Daniel reports he just got back from 38 hours of continuous patrol. At one point, Daniel had a "misunderstanding" with someone from 2nd squad who mistook him for a curfew violator. Daniel found himself with a laser target square on his chest. Thankfully they were able to identify before the other guy took a shot. My youngest said, "Mom, I don't think I like that guy, although he does have good aim."

I told Daniel each of these stories demonstrates to me that prayer cover for him is good and there is a right mighty angel keeping his scrawny little hide out of danger. Thanks to everyone who holds him up!

He says his tennis shoes are falling apart and if anyone would like to bless him, he needs a size 9. Saucony or Nike are his preferred brands, although this is just walking around; they don't do PT. If you would like to support him in this way, please post a comment so everyone knows it has been taken care of.

Exerpts from today's IM:
Diane says:
So what are the Iraqi's like you're coming in contact with? Other than the ones making IED's, are they glad you're there or do they stay away from you?
Daniel says:
it really depends, you know how the opinions differ back in the states, its the same over here
Daniel says:
some of them ask us for protection, some of them keep as far away as possible, some of them love us, some of them try to use us, its just different

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The man behind the button

Today's information is 2nd hand - I was off doing carpool duties so Matt related Daniel's IM to me.

Daniel was apparently taking a picture of a building hit by hell fire (gun ship missle) when he noticed a mortar with a fuse, but no one at the other end of the detonator. It appears the person rigging the IED was an accidental casualty of the weapons. Nice to know the troops were safe because the gun ship was on the ball! Thanks guys in the sky!

Daniel sent the following picture, uploading at 1KB/second (snails move faster than that) because their Internet is about the speed some of us remember from the 80's. How many of you thought you were really hot when you had faster than a 12 baud modem??? .

Monday, September 3, 2007

A rose by any other name

Lost in translation sent 9/3/2007 6:29 AM:
lol just lol, he can share my misery then [referring to a friend Jaecob K who I informed him as been assigned to be RTO for his unit in the Marines]
Lost in translation sent 9/3/2007 6:29 AM:
I've been so busy with commo, everything is in such a state of disrepair, I come back from missions and then I have to stay up almost all night fixing that day's problems.
Lost in translation sent 9/3/2007 6:30 AM:
last night we couldn't shower. I was pissed. We got back from a patrol, and we had to go straight onto QRF until about 2am, so we all smell......very say the least.
Lost in translation sent 9/3/2007 6:31 AM:
we got shot at some today when we were setting up security so the FOB commander could OK our new COB
Lost in translation sent 9/3/2007 6:32 AM:
a few of our guys got some injuries because they fell off houses, some broken ribs, sprained ankles, broken wrists, that kind of thing. nothing life threatening, but not a good thing.
Lost in translation sent 9/3/2007 6:32 AM:
anyway, I hope I get to call tonight, I will try my best, no promises though.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Oops, missed it

We've had a dearth of Internet since the move in. Today we got a temporary fix and up popped an offline IM from Daniel. It was rather cryptic, indicating he had returned from a mission and had another to leave for.
He didn't report any specifics, and I'll just be happy he's able to get on the Internet occasionally. OMG, how did people do it back in the "good old days" when they couldn't hear from their soldier except when the snail mail brought a letter. I'll be grateful!

Friday, August 31, 2007

No news

No news is supposed to be good news, but I miss hearing from Daniel. I would guess the prolonged silence is because they have left the FOB (Forward Operating Base) and have gone to a COB (Company Operating Base), which will be smaller and have very limited facilities.
I got a letter today from a wonderful woman at church who said her study group wanted to put a box together for Daniel and asked for specific suggestions. To avoid duplication, I'll list my thoughts here as well. Remember that the best packing material are individually wrapped hard candies they can distribute to the local children.

  • Tortilla chips with salsa. Yes, they'll arrive broken, but make for good snacking. Bags of pre-popped popcorn would also fill that bill nicely.
  • Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal.
  • Cookies. Although I wouldn't usually advocate it, store packaged would probably be best as they do put preservatives in them.
  • Craisins (dried cranberries).
  • Trail mix
  • Crackers and cheese spread
  • Top Ramen/Cup 'o Noodles/Yakisoba bowls (just add hot water type of oriental noodles)
  • Salted Nut Roll candy bars
  • Beef Jerky/"Slim Jim" type meat sticks

What not to send? Anything that will melt in heat. Anything with alcohol in it. Surprisingly, Daniel said they don't need liquids - the military provides them with all the water and Gatorade they can hold.

Other than that, handwritten notes, pictures from Seattle and words of encouragement are appreciated.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tuesday Afternoon

On my desk I have a little orange funky clock. The time never matches what my computer says is Internet time, primarily because I have it set to Daniel time. Today I noticed that for the past few days Daniel time has been 2:50. Being astute, it only took me a few days to realize the battery was dead.

Daniel called this morning to use up the last 10 minutes of his phone card. He told me he had gotten a new radio today and was busy charging batteries for it; they too were dead. The biggest problem now he said, was they were short brackets of some sort for the vehicles so mechanized patrol was not yet possible. They were playing the hurry up and wait game.

In some regards he must feel like my clock. Time has stopped and he is merely waiting for someone to replace the battery in order for his life to go forward.

What we're doing here

Tuesday. 103 degrees at 5:30pm

We're here preventing them from killing each other. The people you pass on the streets every day. The man who sells them their bread. The woman with the flowers. They're all targets for other Muslims who have an unexplainable insane hatred which allows them to strap explosives to themselves and knock several out of the circle of life.

Under the old regime, at least there was a common enemy in the Baath party and Saddam Hussein. Now the angel of death could be wearing shorts and kicking a ball in the park.

It's going to be a bloodbath when we leave.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Keep doin' what you're doin'

Saturday morning. Daniel was on IM for a bit. He said he had just gotten back from chow and a mortar attack. I asked him what a mortar attack was like. He said, "You just keep eating. There's not much else you can do." It is amazing to me that after 2 or 3 days there, they have acclimated to live munitions being lobbed at them.

Speaking of lobbing, why the lob-ster? Apparently if they are on duty at midnight, occasionally midnight chow will feature lobster. I don't know how fresh it is ..... Maybe the mortar rounds are safer :)

I asked whether they sent patrols out to find the person doing the firing and he said, "No. They generally fire and then get the heck out. Usually they don't hit anything other than dirt or a road. They are just hoping for a lucky shot." I would prefer to think there are angels doing batting practice with the incoming rounds!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Friday Morning

I got a call from Daniel! He is at his FOB (Forward Operating Base), taking classes, getting intelligence briefings (sniper in the area who is being effective) and experiencing sleeping to the sound of gunfire, mortar barrages and IED's exploding.

The troops were air transported from Kuwait to Baghdad, then by Chinook to their FOB. The vehicles were already there - they had done a land transport.

As we spoke, he said there was a 600 foot column of black smoke he could see. He didn't know if it was an IED explosion or an oil well which had been sabotaged.

He does have a new address. Please email me if you want it. He says Internet will be non-existent for the most part; phone calls when he can and snail mail will be the best form of communication.

If you want to send packages, at this time he is requesting:

  • Postage Stamps
  • Food - nothing that will melt in heat. Chocolate is right out.
  • AT & T phone cards. No other cards work with the phone system, and they're really expensive to buy there - essentially an hour costs about $30.
  • Books on tape you have copied to CD's. He will listen to them and pass them on to other soldiers. They don't necessarily have room for physical books and if you send one, only do so with the understanding it will not come back. He will pass it on and doesn't have room to carry things around.

The best way to send a package is with the Priority Express Box. You have to get the offical box from the post office (you can order them online), but they're free. It is a flat rate, regardless of weight.

He sends his love, thanks everyone for their prayers and says, "please write!"

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Straight from the horse's lips

I was searching today for news of where they might have gone and came upon this: Stryker Brigade News. If I'm flagging on posting, you may find something here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Operation [Iraqi] Children

A mom whose son just returned from the Sandbox said the best packing material was hard candy, individually wrapped (not chocolate). It saves on non-existent landfill to dispose of packing materials and gives the soldiers something to take with them on patrol to bring a little happiness into the lives of the kids they're coming in contact with.

I will be sending packages to Daniel and if you would like to spread some sunshine, donate bags of candy to the Packing Material Fund. If it's OK with church, I may even leave a donation box there so all the military families may do the same!

Where's Waldo?

Only heaven and the US Army know.

Welcome to the place where I'll post Daniel's correspondence as I get it. He may or may not still be in Kuwait, if he's not, destination is unknown.

Here's his arriving in Kuwait letter:

AND ITS FREAKING HOT! we stepped off the planes last night at midnight, to 102 degree winds whipping at us. But I'm here, I'm safe, and everything will be OK, I don't know if I will have time to IM or anything like that, with the time difference, and the lack of Internet use, but hopefully this won't be the last time you hear from me. we should be leaving Kuwait in about 2 weeks, still nothing official said on where though. I miss everyone at home, but I'm trying to have as much fun over here as I can. they even have a coffee shop here! everything is looking up, so don't worry about me, I can make it though. just let everyone at home know I love them, and miss them very much.

I don't know when I will be able to write again, but hopefully you should hear from me sometime tomorrow as well.

See you all later