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.