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!