Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas in Germany

Well sadly no snow has fallen, although the forecast for the day is snow, maybe I will be surprised. I'm happy just to be safe and with (some of) those I love, after coming home from deployment. Life has returned to some sensibleness here in the army, but I'm still looking forward to the day when I will be home at last and getting on with my future.

Happy holidays to you and your loved ones!

Oh, slight recommendation, for those of you who are caught in a good snow and have time to read a good book; "A Haunted Bookstore" is a must for all book lovers.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Snow and Stripes

Daniel bought a couple of new lenses and took this picture of snow on a branch. He was quite proud of it!

Also to be proud of, he got his promotion yesterday and now wears sergeant stripes!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Wilkommen aus Deutschland!!


He's back "home!" On IM with him right now. They got into Germany about 7 hours ago. Flight out of Baghdad, 18 hours in Kuwait, and a plane ride home.

From my other computer when I got home (obviously before we chatted):
Daniel says:
I guess you are already gone, so I will just say, we are back in Germany. Internet is hooked up, but I have to get a router tomorrow. I probobly won't be on tonight, but tomorrow, I should have a full connection.
I'm happily, and safely home from a 15 month endangerment to life. Glad it's done; learned alot from it and hope never to do it again.
Talk to you later

Thursday, October 23, 2008

How I met your mother

Apparently their workload is going down. Daniel said he had a lot of time in the past few days and had watched several episodes of "How I Met Your Mother." I think they are all just hoping that they'll line up and get on a plane any day now, but tempering that with the reality of Army Wait Training (no, it's not misspelled).

So off to Netflix I go to check out the series in order to have something to talk with my son about. :)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Daniel hates politics

I haven't heard from him in a couple of days, so in retribution for his silence, I'm posting political stuff on his blog :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Mr. Chucklebritches

I caught Daniel online today. What a treat. He was apparently also on with Cap because Daniel would inject snippets of Cap's IM's into mine. Not sure what sort of bunking arrangements they have on the FOB, but possibly Daniel and Cap are in different buildings.
Anyway, between the 3 of us, they seemed in really good spirits, joking (sometimes inappropriately) and in general much more lighthearted than he's been for some time. He said they have been busy cleaning anything and everything, but I think the realization that in a little over a month they will not have sand between their toes is making the busy work tolerable.

Monday, October 13, 2008

It'll be a blue, blue, blue, blue Christmas


I was looking at the weather indicator and realized when they finally leave, they will take a 40-50 degree F drop in temperature between Iraq and Germany. They are going to be soldier-sicles!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I am robot


I talked to Daniel this morning for a bit on his squad leader's cell phone. A good deal of the conversation sounded like metallic robot talk and was hard to decipher, but he said they're working hard, dressing, undressing, knitting exciting underwear. Oh wait, that was Monty Python's Holy Grail. I always get that and Army life mixed up.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Whistle while you work

Their replacements have arrived. Daniel et al have been doing "transition" work, which means they are washing walls, fixing mechanicals, laundering bedding and in general getting the place tidied up for the new guys. Daniel says they will be moving back to the FOB soon, but still do not have a departure from Iraq date. He's ready to go - the horse wants to get back to the barn, even if the barn is in Bavaria.
15 months is a long time. I'm glad for all the soldiers and families that they have changed it to no more than a year at a time.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Woohoo!

Lost in translation says:
just passed
now I am promotable
going to sleep

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A slight delay

The SGM (sergeant major) had to attend a memorial service so Daniel's board appearance is put off till tomorrow.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Anticipation



It's Saturday and I slept late after a long week of a variety of interesting occurrences. I missed Daniel's call - dang. It's now 6:30pm in Ba'qubah and his boards exam is tomorrow. He said he's more than a little nervous because the Sgt. Major has been pretty rough on the candidates, it's been reported, but they are still having a high pass rate. I'll post as soon as I have results

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Boards


Daniel has been told he has to take the Boards for a promotion to sergeant. Great. Now I have to learn how to spell that well too. I can do Baghdad, I can do Ba'qubah, so I can do sergeant.


I don't know that he's excited about it - maybe when he realizes he can go to the non-comm officer's club?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

All I know

Daniel dings in occasionally. The only news I have is that they are pulling 10 hour patrols daily.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

When did we stop being of value?

If all the world is a stage and we are but players, apparently some have more important roles than others, and some have inadvertent roles. This sickens me, that potentially other's lives are offered up to the god of jihad without their active participation or agreement

Monday, August 18, 2008

Hot off the press


Official word - post no mail of any sort after September 15th. He said they probably wouldn't get it, or it would be delivered to Germany months later.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Two links and some narrative

Why the avocado? I don't know. It's just a cheerful, summery picture.

I post this thinking, "A ha! I finally found something I can definitely attribute to Daniel." I'm probably wrong, but it's good news anyway so I'll post for your edification.
Here also is a picture with who I think is Daniel (with the antenna), reflected in another soldier's glasses.

Daniel called this morning, hungry and tired. OK so normal and I was glad to hear from him. He said there were a couple of issues that may prevent him from being in much contact for a while. It was nice to hear his voice.

He is planning out some really exciting things for the time he is simply a civilian again. He and a couple of buddies are going to Japan so Daniel can show it off. He is trying to dust off some of his Japanese skills and heft a couple of Kanji just to prove he can.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A visit, apparently

Daniel said they had found some pictures on Yahoo news of recent events. Hm, a visit from General Patreus, apparently.

The link to pictures is an "Iraq + Stryker" search string, so there may be other newsworthy pictures as well. I reference the entire search string because I don't know most of the soldiers pictured, but maybe you do!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Say what???

We can't send anything with alcohol in it because of the Islamic sensibilities, but apparently we are overly cautious

Sunday, August 3, 2008

More good signs of hope

I read the news nowdays with an eye for military advances all over the Middle East with the hope that Daniel will not be requested to revisit. The news out of Iraq although guarded, is good and the focus on securing Afghanistan again looks hopeful as well. I was happy to read this report this morning

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Drum Roll Please!

Before the big news, I'll tell you that Daniel had never heard of the "stuff" I referred to in the previous post. He said they're doing other "stuff." There you have it, straight from the horse's lips.

He did tell me they had gotten word that the official "Welcome Home" ceremony will be at Rose Barracks in Vilseck on November 25th - that's something to be thankful for!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"Stuff" is going on




Daniel called yesterday (middle of the night for him). He said he was just getting back from patrol. He just said "stuff" was going on.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

2nd Cav news from Diyala



Go Ghost Riders!



Later in the day ...
I talked with Daniel this morning (evening in Iraq) and he had just eaten and was fine. I'm assuming this story does not pertain to his health.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Auf Wiederscreiben

German - Till we write again.
Due to potential security problems which I as a distant and not military informed person could leak, I have decided not to post anything unless there is something newsworthy and clearly not potentially injurious to the forces (ex - "They're back in Germany!").
Sorry to those who read faithfully, but you'll have to wait and have dinner with Daniel and catch up on all his stories, once he's back :)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

You'll "knee"d to wait

The hubby had knee surgery Friday and is recovering. My posting will be a bit sparse until he is fully recovered.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

2SCR at Warhorse on July 4th

http://www.usatoday.com/news/military/2008-07-04-iraq-july-fourth_N.htm
Any of your guys in these pictures?

Hot and Tired

I can tell when Daniel is calling on a refit day, before he goes out or after he's been on a mission. Yesterday he called after a mission. He was exhausted and you could hear it in his voice.

He said the Internet had been out and they have been busy. He was also incredibly jealous that his friend Alan with the 101st Airborne is on his way back to N. Carolina. They had a shorter tour, ostensibly easier duty and now not only is he leaving Iraq, he's going stateside. Daniel has Germany to look forward to after deployment. I'm still not sure what he's griping about. I loved Germany, but then again I didn't experience it with the military.

They have been told mid-August to let everyone know to stop sending packages because they don't want to have to re-route them. I will post that date as soon as I have it.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Water Woes



As if war in your country isn't enough to worry about ...

Monday, July 7, 2008

News from across the pond

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7482307.stm

No, it's not just being married to a Brit that makes reading the BBC interesting. There is a different perspective to English journalism and oftentimes it is refreshing to read that the efforts of our men and women are positive, that Patreus is working his voodoo in a way designed to win hearts, not just wars and that for our investment of lives and money, the people of Iraq have a brighter outlook.

Daniel reported they had an "interesting" op, helicoptering in to an area that hadn't been "visited" for a couple of years. They did so on intel of weapons cache and "bad guys." He couldn't tell me what had transpired, but said we might look for it on Stryker News soon.

Ultimate subjugation

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Think globally, fingerprint locally


http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25550354/

I am not surprised by the information in this article; we have been ignorant too long of what is taking place right under our noses.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Coin Explained

Getting a “coin” from another unit is like getting a token souvenir. The coins are a gift from another unit. Military members tend to collect them and display in a case or on a rack. I hope he saves that coin and brings it home some day.

Thanks to Mary A.! Semper Fi
Thanks also to the comments posters!

Loud and Clear


Daniel says:
Hmmm yes, we got another shipment of water finally, and we took the Iraqis off of our power supply, go figure, the generator works better when they aren't scunging half of it for themselves.

He phoned this morning. The water was gratefully received and they are scheduled to receive 2 new generators.
Part of the problem with the old generator was they had authorized a small amount of use by the neighboring Iraqi (house?). They had hooked up and were using far more than allowed, hence some of the problems. While they wait for the new ones, they at least have moderately more consistent electrical for themselves.
The new lens in the package that arrived today and Daniel is absolutely in love with it. He has posted some pictures on his myspace, mostly what I will refer to as beefcake pics of his squad, but I suppose they can't help it; they're buff by profession.

Daniel was given a squadron coin which he thought so impressive, he took pictures of it. Other than being really nice, he wasn't sure what it was for, but thought receiving it might carry promotion points. Any military out there care to ding in with a comment?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Make some noise

The situation has been updated! Thanks to all.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Mein Hut, der hat drei Ecken


Are you singing with me? Need it in English? My hat it has three corners, three corners has my hat...

Ha! Now it's stuck in your brain.

This is 2nd hand information, having gotten it from the Squid, who got it from Nano (Maria-lynn and Daniel, respectively), that 2SCR will be "feet on the ground" in Germany by mid-October. This is a whomping 2 months from the last tenative date we heard.

The good news is perhaps he can enjoy a smidgen of Oktoberfest. The bad news is the likelihood of being stop-lossed just went up by a factor of 2 months.

We'll wait and see. There is an election, the possibility of even more hot spots erupting into conflict and the remote chance we all call everything off on account of gas prices and spend the next five years dipping our toes in our kiddy wading pool.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Movie Review


We went to see Wall*e on opening day. Yes, we got the free watch. If you want one, hurry on down to your local theater because these limited edition souvenir time pieces are only available if you see the movie on the opening weekend (to boost numbers clearly). They are equisitely crafted pieces of plastic, big enough to fit on your Tickle Me Elmo's arm, and guaranteed to stop working if it even should *look* like rain. Don't say I didn't warn you.

And so what does a clean up robot (I hope I'm not spoiling the plot here) have to do with Daniel's blog? We sat in an air conditioned theater and ate popcorn. It was nice. Saturday morning Daniel called. It had been 120 that day and the 5 year old generator on the COP is not doing well. In order to keep air conditioning in the housing area, they are not allowed to use the microwave and the water heaters are also not to be used. All showers are cold. All food is too.

He also said that as they were leaving for their mission, they had no water; it hadn't been delivered yet that day, so they were scrambling to find a few old bottles of some sort of soda to keep hydrated with.

Our world of cool theaters and leisure time to watch movies is so far flung from what he's doing, but what he and the other guys are doing does, and has done since the beginnings of our country, made my life possible.

Thanks guys - sending cool, wet thoughts your way. Keep safe and hydrated.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

An egg on the sidewalk


Woof! Have you noticed the temperature? It was predicted to be 119 on Friday. I haven't heard from Daniel in a couple of days, but if I were he, when not at work, I would be lying on my bunk in the air conditioned barracks.
Maria Lynn said he called her, but the line got fuzzy and dropped. It probably overheated :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ho Ho Ho


We've been thinking about Christmas here lately; we're living in the presents [rim shot]. 2SCR is supposed to be back in Vilseck for Christmas and we've been making arrangements for visitations.

This morning there was an IED death in Ba'qubah which I had to add to the blog honor roll. How often do you read reports of a soldier's passing, weeks away from their end of deployment? There is of course no great time to end your life, other than peacefully in your sleep, surprising everyone because you're 98 and still amazingly healthy, but with so much hope and anticipation it seems particularly cruel.

My prayer for today is that for each of the families who has an 2SCR soldier representing it, there are presents underneath your tree and a joyful soldier to enjoy them with you.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

AP Story snippet

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A female suicide bomber struck near a government compound northeast of Baghdad on Sunday, killing at least 15 people and wounding 40, police said. At least 21 suicide attacks have been carried out this year by women.

The bomber detonated her explosives in front of a heavily guarded area that includes the courthouse, the post office and the governor's offices in the city of Baqouba, a police officer said.

The 15 killed included seven policemen, the officer said, giving the casualty toll on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to release the information.
-------
There were no US injuries.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Popcorn and a soda

Daniel has been absent from the phone or Internet for a couple of days, so no news is ... well, no news.

The advance, advance, advance party for whichever unit is going to replace them wandered through a few days ago. I am guessing the reaction was, "Yup, there's a lot of sand."

Daniel says his orders are till November 1st, but he holds with the mental conviction they may be there longer. It's sort of like the tribulation debate, which comes down to be prepared for a post-millenium tribulation and pray like heck it's a pre-millenium rapture. If that doesn't make any sense, write me and I'll explain.

Browsing Stryker News this morning, I followed the link on a story about a DVD premiered at Ft. Lewis. It documents the battle for Ba'qubah, which was one of the fiercest in Iraq during the surge. The reason 4-2SCR has a relatively quiet assignment is because the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry, in the words of Bill Pullman in Independence Day, plowed the road!

http://www.nwguardian.com/103/story/3410.html If you have AKO secure access (you're a solider basically), the program is viewable on Stryker News; pull up a root beer and a batch of Orville's finest and enjoy!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sometimes I forget

I pray for Daniel, his buddies, and others I know who are serving.
I talk to Daniel and covet the time he has on the phone or by IM, but sometimes it serves as a smoke screen to cover what I know he is doing. It's good to not forget.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Hansel Hadams

From the lens of my aspiring photo journalist.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Now you see it, now you don't

Daniel wasn't pleased with the posting about how cute he was, so I pulled it down. Sorry if you didn't get to enjoy it more.
Keeping with the "all grown up and saving China" motif of this blog, I'll offer instead an article link describing what they are doing in Ba'qubah.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sensless?

The majority of their missions involve knocking on doors and asking, "Sunni or Shiia?" I wonder what the rate of obfuscation is and whether there would be a purpose to disguising data.

He said they were just doing "census." I asked if there was an "L" in there.

I am grateful, despite my cynicism. Knocking on doors should be a far sight safer than kicking in them.

This article pinpoints why they currently have the ability to conduct this census. The troops who have been in Diyala prior to Daniel et al's arrival have done some really tough work. Kudos to all contributors to that effort.

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Long and Winding Road

When I spoke with Daniel last, he said he needed to get to bed because they had a long mission ahead of them, which of course he couldn't talk about. He was worried about doing so much walking in this heat.
I haven't heard back since, so I am hoping they are back safe and sound.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ideology

I had all sorts of interesting things I wanted to say about this piece from the Seattle Times today, but I think I'll let it stand on its own.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Humor in Uniform

Daniel has a picture he entitled "Two Worlds," which I had seen before. Jessica, wife of previously photographically featured Locke, sent me some pics of Daniel and it included that one. I post for your amusement.

Archie Bunker


It's "all in the family." They target each other; picking off a GI is just gravy. These people are happiest when they "resolve" feuds by taking out other Iraqi's who might have a different sect belief, or whose ancestor may have offended their ancestor. It doesn't matter the reason.

The sector Fox Company is in is relatively quiet. The population is much less dense than when they were in Baghdad and consequently there is much less noise. Small arms fire is almost nonexistent. That's the good news. The bad news is the criminals are much more likely to use IED's.

There haven't been any US injuries here since February, but Daniel reports they were busy over the weekend killing each other.

Anyone who believes the fall election will bring a speedy exodus of troops from this area is delusional. There is not a savvy politician alive who is willing to take the PR fallout from the massacre which will occur when these internally warring factions are unrestrained.

Daniel ventures that within 7 years, Baghdad will become a duty station.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial


I was cleaning Daniel's room after his leave, getting it ready for his grandparents' visit next month. I came across a brochure which given the Memorial Day weekend, I thought appropriate to share.

This is Perez' Baghdad memorial service program. This is the one his brother's in arms shared with each other.

Jesus said, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Thank you!

It's Memorial Day weekend, when we honor those who have fallen in service to their country.

Just like, "I love you," I firmly believe, "Thank you" should be said when the person to whom it is directed is able to receive it.

Thank you to all who have served, who are serving and the families of those who are no longer with us.

Courage is not the absence of fear
but the williness to act, regardless.


How hot was it?

I've been trying to find a widget to put Ba'qubah weather on the blog, but it has been an unfruitful search. When I talked with Daniel this morning I told him it had been 111ยบ today. He said he knew it had been hot, but hadn't realized it was *that* hot. Ah well, just a preview of the really hot days to come.
The mess with chow [pun intended] has been resolved. The supplies orders for the previous squad left when they did, and now new supply orders have worked through the red tape so the troops are actually eating! Daniel said the first chow they were served took everyone about 2 minutes to down . They were quite thankful!

Daniel has been doing some photo work for a guy in his squad who is an aspiring rap artist. He has posted 3 of his pictures to his myspace account. [The link only works if you have a myspace account and are signed in, so belatedly I have posted the pictures here]


He's been learning a photo editing software, so the added verbiage is his work as well!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Food related anagram

Microwave popcorn can be rearranged to spell "vaccine worm or pop." It's important that you know these things!

Food in general

...With plenty o' popcorn. Extra butter?
Daniel says:
Yes please. food is kind of scarce around here so far. I haven't eaten much. Cup noodles and other such boil-water only things would be good. Even in the heat it's still food and easy to make.
---
The other things he enjoys are semi-spicy things like chili. He says if you leave a can out in the sun; it's pretty darned warm when you want to enjoy it.

He's not fond of dried fruit and thinks protein bars are a last resort, but if you feel inclined to send something, I would hazard he won't turn it down. I am also guessing he's lost the 15 pounds he gained on leave!

Monday, May 19, 2008

More Corn


Talking to Daniel as I type -- he says they have a microwave in their building and his top request for packages is ...... Microwave popcorn!

Who's the leader of the club?

http://www.strykernews.com/archives/2008/05/19/from_iraq_to_di.html#more

Corn on the COP

I'm so glad he's at the new COP because when he calls, there is no satellite echo. It's really annoying to listen yourself talk!

There is Internet, although they can't purchase it individually, and there is VoIP phone service, which is cheaper than the AT&T calling card.

The chow is shipped over from FOB Warhorse, which was the best part of the FOB. They don't get choices on what they eat, but the food is good and he doesn't have to walk half an hour to get it.

He said it is more humid than in the Rashid district, which surprised me. He also said that may have been his perception since it was his first patrol with kit on and he was sweating like a pig. Side note - I'm so glad he's past puberty. When he would run cross country, you didn't want to be in a closed car with him as the hormones burned off with the sweat!

He has a new address. If I haven't sent it to you and you want it, drop a comment with your email. I'll send you his address and delete your comment so you won't become spam-fodder. Bring on the packages, he says!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Anagram

Camp Warhorse can be rearranged to spell "Search War Mop"

Just thought you should know.

OK I lied

It wasn't within a couple of weeks - they went yesterday but I'll be darned if I'm going to let that on to casual information gleaners.

They are established at Camp Warhorse and Daniel called today to complain. If nothing else was worth noting, the cold drink area's refrigeration unit didn't work so it was the "lukewarm drink area."

The camp has wire fences filled with dirt which you can't see over. He says navigating it is like a maze, although I didn't hear Disneyland-like glee when he described it.

I don't have a new mail address yet.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Change of address


They're moving within the next 2-3 weeks to Diyala province, to Ba'qubah. Looking at topographical maps, it will be a little more hilly, so maybe cooler. At least it will not be so humid. Funny, you don't think of that as a desert issue, but down by the river where their sector was, it could be a problem.

The highs are in the 90's, so they're climbing into the furnace of summer. When he's older and his children say, "Dad, I'm hot!" he will probably say, "Let me tell you about hot ......"

Friday, May 9, 2008

A Clarification

Daniel is still in the BIAP, a ring of FOB's around Baghdad International. He has not able to rejoin his company because of low visibility due to sandstorms.

When he eventually rejoins them, they are moving to Camp Warhorse where they will be assigned to the 4/2SCR temporarily. He does anticipate the snail mail address change, but only the zip code. I'll post the new one here as soon as I know it.

I'm loving him being there because 1) he's not being shot at 2) he's getting regular meals and sleep and 3) he has Internet! Woohoo.

Tea Time and Mortars

Daniel says:
oh yeah, apparently. If I wanted to , I could join the British army, and keep time in service, and rank when if I were to join. interesting fact of the day.
Daniel says:
(they pay in pounds)
Diane says:
Don't you have to be a British citizen?
Daniel says:
nope
Diane says:
weird
Daniel says:
we were talking to some British soldiers and they said we could sign a contract while we are here to join their army.
Diane says:
And the advantage would be...? Other than getting paid in pounds?
Daniel says:
a LOT better equipment, a Much more funded and cared about military.
Diane says:
shorter time in service?
Daniel says:
and pounds
Daniel says:
don't know, didn't ask. not really interested in staying in any military
Diane says:
But they could take you to England for training. It is lovely there. Nice vacation and you could bunk with the future heir to the throne. All in all, it could be much worse.

And another inane bit of chit and chat. I hope I won't get him in trouble with Homeland Security by divulging this

Diane says:
Matt's now eating a day old donught. Nothing better than stale pastry.
Daniel says:
cold pizza? day/week old popcorn?
Diane says:
Cold pizza, yes. Old popcorn is nasty and makes your breath smell bad so girls don't want to suck your neck. Stay away from it if you ever want to have children.
Daniel says:
well at least we agree about the pizza. I don't think I agree with your theory of a new form of contraceptive. I don't think its as affective as you think
Diane says:
Trust me, dad and I could have potentially had 27 children except he insisted on eating old popcorn. You're lucky to be alive bucko!
Daniel says:
ok then

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Gotta speak the lingo!

I can't tell you how many times I have asked Daniel to "go smallest to largest," organization wise for me.

This morning, looking at Stryker News (no new names - yay!), I came across the following article, which may help clarify if you're like me and can't get the org chart straight to save your socks :).

The picture is of booty discovered in a raid. Daniel thought it was funny.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Back in the saddle again

So he's back in Baghdad and it's 105 degrees. Quite a change from the snow he experienced when he was here. The chopper which was to ferry him back to the FOB was cancelled, as were all chopper sorties. Instead he's to phone his squad (why am I thinking of ET?) and they will send someone to get him.


They will be moving to another FOB, so he asks you to hold off on packages in case he gets a new mail address. It probably wouldn't be any different other than the zip code, but he'd rather not have to have packages "catch up" to him - he's not sure they do that very well

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Godspeed

After asking Daniel to do a "guest" blog, it apparently won't happen. He's on his way back to the Sandbox. He reports he gained 15 pounds (woohoo) and his flight from SeaTac to DFW put him in too late to catch the flight to Kuwait. The US gave him a complimentary overnight at a hotel near the airport and he's scheduled to fly out this afternoon, most likely.

They have until late September or early October in Iraq, then to Kuwait for outprocessing and debriefing (making sure no one wants to go off and get weird), then back to Germany for at least 90 days. After that comes the breath holding. The goal is to stay with the 2-2 SCR, which is not scheduled for a re-deployment for at least a year. If they get transferred to another unit, he could go back for a 2nd stint. He would like to come home and get on with education and the rest of his life.

It was wonderful to have him here. Please stick him back in your prayers for safety.

Friday, April 25, 2008

R & R

Yesterday around 6:30pm, we went to the elementary school favored by Daniel's sister. They have some really great playground equipment and although she is 13, she loves spinning so fast she can't stand up afterward.

Daniel went with us. He had to take off his pajamas to do so. His leave, when he's not seeing people, is consisting of "general sloth, followed by lazing about, after which a little bit of eating before an afternoon nap." [see "Red Dwarf"]. He's loving the freedom to do what he wants, or not do anything because he can.

He is being fed regularly. Getting ready to shower, he noticed a "bloomp" on his otherwise skeletal frame. He said he looked like his Japanese teacher Spann sensei, only pregnant. She, unlike the mental image of a Japanese teacher you've just constructed, is blonde, very tall and model thin. I suggested his "twins" might be regular food and he countered with the very real possibility it was just the copious quantity of cheese dip made for his birthday celebration.

I'll pull a Cookie Baker and post a recipe. It is a bold deviation from this blog protocol, but indulge me. Hats doffed to Marsha Chester, the originator of this recipe, with whom I worked at Boeing before Daniel was born.

Chili Cheese Dip
1 lb. Velveeta
1 can chili without beans
1 can diced green chilies
1 bunch green onions, chopped
dried red pepper flakes to taste
cilantro to taste (not in the original recipe, but hey, if it's good, it's good)

Cut up the cheese (and I use the term loosely) and mix in 2 qt ovenproof container with the rest of the ingredients. Bake covered at 350 until soupy. Remove from oven and let sit for about 10 minutes until it becomes a consistency which allows you to scoop with tortilla chips, crackers, hunks of bread, etc.

Enjoy!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

You couldn't ask for a better Aunt!

My sister's post for today is wonderful. I thought I'd share, in case you aren't avid food blog readers :)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Observations

Yes, for those of you who wondered whether he had to *walk* from Portland, no, he's been here 4 days and I've been enjoying his company rather than blogging. Here are some striking tidbits from our conversations, in no particular order.



  • One of the "culture shock" items occurred before he left. When he had to turn in his weapons, he felt like he had lost an appendage. He said it felt weird and it wasn't a good weird. Not having a means of protecting himself meant he felt naked and vulnerable.



  • We were talking about how many military transition to civilian life by choosing a career in law enforcement. When I told him I had read the adrenalin rush which comes from being in a combat situation becomes addicting and many ex-military find a desk job too mundane and boring to want to do it for any length of time. They feel more alive under dangerous situations.

    Daniel said he totally understood. When he gets shot at, he frequently finds himself laughing - he says he finds it "fun" in a deranged way. He supposes it's "fun" all the way up until the time you go down with a hit.



  • He is not finding it difficult to talk about himself and his experiences because he's alive, kicking and in one piece. He has shown us a video taken by someone in a vehicle 2 behind his which recorded an EFP hitting Daniel's vehicle. The blast took out the "rhino," a device which sticks out in front of the Stryker, and probably saved at least 2 lives inside the vehicle. Daniel said it was a rude awakening, because literally he was fast asleep at the time.



  • Other people's experiences he has more trouble with. He has made it through a telling of Perez' death twice and finds himself shaking at the telling. I have not heard it yet.


  • He wears a memorial bracelet for Sgt. Johnson and his squad have ordered the one for Spc. Perez. I was thinking of the promise we give to remember the fallen troops. Their brothers in arms put it tangibly.

The picture is sent by Mrs. Cap (wife of Daniel's friend Capellino) of Perez' memorial service.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

He's almost here

We got a call from Portland - he's on his way!!!!!!!!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Nothing yet

It's all quiet on the Daniel front. We've decided to stop getting nuts about it and wait till he calls.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Wait and see

He's in Kuwait! He called to say it was 8pm there; he had arrived 4 hours earlier. They finished their in-processing and had been allowed to go to chow.

At 7:30 tomorrow they will give him either his final travel plans (which he hopes to be able to pass on to us) or an indication of his being on standby. Either way he gets to eat regularly, sleep regularly and no one is shooting at him. In terms of Army life, it doesn't get much better than that!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Hooray!

Daniel was online last night. He is parked at Camp Liberty, which is where he will leave from. They were sent there early, only to be told, “You’re early.” Best indication is he will arrive Thursday or Friday of this week, depending on when he actually ships out.

He will go to Kuwait, from there to Atlanta to check in for leave. He flies from Atlanta to Dallas and Dallas to SeaTac. No idea what flight or when (I hope they’re not using American Airlines), but he said he changed his mind on group meetings, at least just for the airport. He would love to see anyone who would like to come out and greet him when he arrives.

If you want an update of arrival times, send me an email back, along with a “sure, let me know even if it’s 2am” or “just let me know during normal waking hours” and I will do my best to keep you informed.

I am going to pick up his car today and make sure it’s clean (it’s not) as well as his cell. Same number – it will be on for 2 weeks.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Sleep is overrated

The phone rang. I thought it was James because my fully asleep, seasoned citizen eyes couldn't quite make out the name on the screen. "Hello? What?"

"Hi. I just read the blog and 'indirect fire' means a mortar attack."

Well at least we got the important stuff out of the way. -smile-

He's alive and kicking. Here's the news that's fit to print:
  • By the 8-11th, he will hopefully be back at the FOB.
  • Around the 15th, he will hopefully be in Kuwait
  • They will fly him home either via Texas or directly to WA (whether SeaTac or McChord is unknown)
  • He will have 18 days at home (YAY!)

He says now is not a good time for packages. They are moving off the COB and many things will have to be left behind. By the way CookieBaker - he said the brownies were absolutely fabulous! He appreciates packages greatly and says please to resume sending them when he has to go back.

Friday, March 28, 2008

From Stryker News (2SCR highlighted)

Multi-National Division – Baghdad PAO
BAGHDAD – Iraqi Security Forces and Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers killed 24 terrorists March 26 in Baghdad.
Soldiers combined with their Iraqi counterparts to conduct precision, intelligence-based operations in the capital. These terrorists and militant elements were increasing their attacks against civilians, the Government of Iraq, and Iraqi and U.S. security forces.
Soldiers from 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, killed a terrorist during rocket-propelled grenade and small-arms fire attacks on a checkpoint in eastern Baghdad at approximately noon.
Abna al-Iraq, or Sons of Iraq, killed a terrorist approximately 4:30 p.m.
The SOI apprehended the man northwest of Baghdad. The terrorist had admitted to killing an MND-B Soldier earlier in the day and then tried to escape custody. As the terrorist attempted to escape, he was shot. Coalition forces performed medical care on the scene, but he died of wounds.
National Policemen from 5th Brigade, 2nd National Police Division killed one terrorist at approximately 5 p.m. after he fired at their guard tower with SAF in southern Baghdad.
At 7:45 p.m., an MND-B air weapons team positively indentified 20 to 30 terrorists moving north of Baghdad. They received clearance to fire and killed four terrorists.
Soldiers from 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, killed six terrorists in southern Baghdad at approximately 8 p.m. after coming under attack from SAF and RPGs.
At approximately 10:30 p.m., Soldiers from 1st Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, killed one terrorist after he attacked a joint combat patrol with SAF in eastern Baghdad.
Another air weapons team killed five terrorists armed with RPGs and RPK rifles in eastern Baghdad at approximately 11 p.m. Several improvised-explosive devices had been emplaced in the immediate vicinity of the terrorists’ location in the past week.
An air weapons team killed two terrorists at 11:30 p.m. after Soldiers from 1st Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment were attacked from a building in northeastern Baghdad.
Soldiers from 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, with assistance from an air weapons team, killed three terrorists.
They also wounded and detained another at approximately 11:30 p.m. in western Baghdad. The terrorists attacked the Soldiers with RPGs and SAF.
In the last 24 hours, militants and terrorists conducted ten indirect fire attacks, ten attacks against civilians and 47 attacks against ISF and CF.
Two U.S. Soldiers and one National Policeman were killed in these attacks. Seven U.S. Soldiers, three Iraqi Army soldiers, one NP, two U.S. civilians, five SOI and four Iraqi civilians were also wounded.
“The terrorists also continue to conduct very limited indirect fire attacks against forward operating bases, joint security stations and at the International Zone in an attempt to harm innocent civilians and government officials working towards reconciliation in the country,” said Col. Allen Batschelet, chief of staff, MND-B. “We will relentlessly pursue those individuals who would seek to murder, terrorize or intimidate the people of Baghdad. Contrary to reporting, this is not a battle against Jaysh Al Mahdi – this is straight and simple a fight against those individuals breaking the law.”

Another name

It was a bad day on Stryker News as the infighting in Iraq picks up. Staff Sgt. Joseph D. Gamboa, 34 from 1st Squad, 2nd Cav has his name added to the list of those whose sacrifice must not be forgotten. DoD says it was "indirect fire," which probably means he was caught in between people not shooting at him.

I read an article yesterday about an Iraqi family who longs for a strongman like Sadaam Hussein to emerge because although he was a tyrannical despot, he had enough clout to keep everyone in line.

It reminded me something similar happened inside the former Soviet Union when the communist regime relinquished power. People complained because they were no longer given things just because they were citizens.

The process of a people learning to stand on their own, rather than relying on a government to keep things in line and provide for them is a scary thing. I hope that the proliferation of welfare states around the globe (including ours) does not ultimately lead to the type of desperation where we would hope for a maniacal dictator rather than learn to manage our own selves.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Tool Man Fixes Up Morale

Mar-21-2008 » Filed Under: 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment
By Staff Sgt Arron Schille, 2nd Stryker Calvary Regiment
BAGHDAD - Within the compound housing, the headquarters of the 2nd Stryker Calvary Regiment is a small shop made up of four plywood walls and a tarp for a roof. It’s what takes place inside this makeshift shop that helps the Dragoons of the 2SCR accomplish their mission with a little more ease.
Two Dragoon Soldiers; Sgt. 1st Class Chris Russel from Vancouver Wash., assistant operation non-commissioned officer, and Spc. Ross Gray from Lubbock, Texas, a generator mechanic, both of Regimental Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2SCR, took an empty spot in the back of the compound and within a week turned it into a self-help workshop for the Soldiers of the regiment to use to better their professional or even personal lives.
“This shop was mainly built to insure mission readiness,” said Russel. “The tools found in the workshop, as well as the building materials are available for use by any of the 2nd SCR Soldiers, and were found in the garbage, abandoned.
“If I see something sitting in one place too long, I just go ask if I can have it. Most people say it is OK with them, and then I just take and fix it,” he added.
Many different types of tools can be seen within the shop, and there seems to be a tool for almost any job. Among the tools, Soldiers can find several table saws, a lathe, air compressor, a power washer, and a variety of hand tools.
One of the previous projects that Russel and Gray have completed is the building of weapons racks for soldiers to put their weapons. They also just completed fixing a wall locker, for any Soldier who might need it.
“We just fix it and if some one needs it then they can have it,” Russel said. This shop has been operational for about two and a half months, and since its construction has greatly contributed to over all mission readiness of the regiment.
Gray said, “It took about one week, we put up a wall a day.”
Russel has a back ground in wood finishing and also some schooling in Engineering.
“It was primarily him I just basically pointed him in the right direction, he is a pretty motivated and intelligent guy,” stated Russel, referring to the building of the shop.
Any Soldier can use the shop to create a special project or fix a piece mission essential equipment. No mater what the Soldiers reason for using the shop they are encouraged to stop by, but first they must be able to show that they have a working knowledge of the equipment they intend to use.
“Every soldier has to prove to me that they can operate the equipment that they are using,” Russel said.
If the Soldier doesn’t know how to use a piece of equipment then they are trained by Russel and have to take a test to show that they are able to use the equipment safely.
Although Russel and Gray are able to conduct almost any task within the shop, they are available to aid other Soldiers in completing their own projects.
“I like it when some one wants me to help them with something instead of just wanting me to do it for them” Gray said.
Despite the shabby outside appearance of the 2nd SCR workshop, inside the tools and troops who work there more then make up for it in their quality of work and knowledge.
So if you see this shop in the Dragoons compound don’t judge a book by it cover, there is a lot more to this little shop than meets the eye.
”I can fix just about anything right here in this shop, instead of having to send it some where else to get it fixed,” Russel said.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The times they are a-changing

My phone dinged again today! Here is the latest news (well what's fit to print anyway).

He's on the FOB for a couple of days and may be online during that time. Then they are back to the COB, where they will be packing up. He doesn't think it all makes sense (and I think he's going to be missing a room to himself), but they are pulling them back and putting them somewhere else. Yes, he knows where he's going. No, he can't say.

In terms of leave, he does not have a firm date, but believes April 8th might be a possibility. He thinks this because there was someone scheduled for it, who has taken their leave earlier. If it is the 8th, he would be here for at least part of his birthday, which was something he hoped for.

I asked if the optical drive cleaner I had sent worked. He said he used it once and it killed the thing; the brushes wore down on the first usage! He's amazed his computer is working at all, given 7 months of dirt and heat. He also said he gave all his Peeps to Capellino. I told him he could have saved them for his coffee; they look so cute floating in the little brown puddles. He said, "Coffee? Did you mean the mud they serve here??" Evidently he hasn't been away from Starbucks long enough to not care about the quality of his joe.

He sounded good, tired and was looking forward to his first shower in a week and half.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Red Tape


So the "hello" was also on my laptop and I didn't see the message till last night. Apparently he's filled out his leave paperwork, but doesn't have firm dates still. At least that means he's still in queue and they haven't found him, how do you say .... indespensible? Indespensible. That's what I thought.


For those of you who didn't understand the previous quote, go out immediately and rent "Top Secret" with Val Kilmer. If you have kids, fast forward through the jail scene.

Thank you to the Bob and Mary S. family for providing funding for a package to go out to Daniel.

Monday, March 17, 2008

IM

Daniel says:
hello?


Well I missed it, but it's an indication either he took his laptop to the FOB or they have arranged for Internet at the COB. Either way, it was nice to have a touch point.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Size matters


For those of you who have a loved one in need of a package, I have an interesting tidbit of information courtesy of Bob S., a church friend who also works for the Post Office.


The US Postal Service has a new priority box ONLY for APO/FPO addresses. It's 50% larger than the current priority box, and only costs $2.00 more to send! The boxes themselves are free; you can order a pack of them online to be delivered to your door! USPS bigger box


Just think, you can now send more socks, more chili, more stale Peeps, pre-read paperback books, shaving cream, homemade cookies, etc. for a deserving soldier. If you don't know one, you can adopt Daniel as your "support our troops" poster child!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

This time he called for real!

You always worry when your phone rings at 3am, but this was Daniel apologizing for waking me, wanting to say hi on a precious FOB visit where they would have telephone access. The satellite kept dropping, but we managed to talk for about an hour before his bladder forced him out of the phone bank.

Lots of news. An EFP (see previous post or look up in Wickipedia for an explaination) hit one of their Stryker's right outside the COB. It sent 3 guys to Germany for extensive reconstructive surgery and there is question as to whether a fourth will be able to pull through. Please pray for all four men.

Daniel said their base is a lot more difficult than the FOB. There is no offset - the civilian population is across the street (which is where the EFP was located). He said the sector is heating up again and he appreciates your prayers. They will be there till probably September.


Noteworthy tidbits:

  1. It's getting warmer in Baghdad (he described it as the downward spiral into hell fire temperatures). My last package for him included chocolate, which he said arrived melted. No more chocolate, although Lynn, the brownies he said would probably be fine if you seal them. Really, feel free to send them, he said.

  2. He is hopefully coming up on leave and was quite specific about what that means.
  • He wants to be alone. He said he will need significant time to be by himself to decompress.

  • He does not want to have family or group gatherings; he will see people one on one.

  • He does not want to go shopping, to the mall or to the movies. He gets very tense when a lot of people are in one place. He says he will grow out of this once he's out, but for now he survives by being alert and wary in crowds.

  • He does not want people to ask him what it's like or have him tell stories. Most of the stuff he doesn't want to think about and does only beccause it's his job.

  • He will probably not go to church for the above reasons - too many people in one place coupled with not wanting to talk about it. He asks everyone's indulgence and thanks them for their understanding.
The optical drive on his laptop is having issues and they can't use canned air to clean it because 2 bright sparks have "huffed" cans and departed this planet in their stupidity. Canned air is now a banned substance at least in their part of the Army. I am having Matt buy a cleaning kit to send in his now chocolate-less package so he can at least have his movies.

He has no indication of when his leave will be, and I told him we were quite fine with the notion we'd receive a phone call at 11:30 at night saying, "I just landed in Newark. I'll be home in 3 hours, will you pick me up?" DUH!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Looking for Mr/Ms Right

I just logged visit 1032. 1050 is the next number we're looking for. If that's you, take a screen shot and send it to me (Daniel's mom). If you don't know my address, leave a comment saying, "Help, I need your email address."

A visitor prize goes to that lucky winner.

Technology is so great!

York Times Article by Stephen Ferrell

Original post

March 1, 2008

DIYALA PROVINCE, Iraq - “Tell them we are staying,” ordered Lt. Col. Rod Coffey, nodding toward the Iraqis clustered nervously in the driveway beside his armored Stryker vehicle.
“Inshallah,” came the villagers’ reply, an Arabic expression meaning “God willing.”
Their wariness was understandable.
The Americans had arrived in the northern Diyala River Valley in force in mid-January, during the opening phase of an operation to clear Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia from one of its local strongholds in Diyala Province.
Iraqi villagers had seen government forces arrive before, only to have their areas slide back under insurgent control when they left.
This time is different, the Americans are insisting.
“Our biggest message is that we are coming in with the Iraqi Army, with the Iraqi Police, and we are staying and providing security, and that’s something they haven’t seen before. But until they see it they are not going to believe it,” said Maj. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, the American commander in northern Iraq, as he toured villages early in the deployment.
Only seven months earlier, Americans had stormed into Baquba, the capital of Diyala Province. They secured and held the city, but allowed some insurgents to escape into the surrounding countryside, where they continued to torture, kidnap and murder.
Bashar, a college teacher who moved to Baghdad a year ago to escape the clashes, said that the American-financed groups of Sunni men who now help secure Baquba rarely trouble her or other civilians during her weekly visits home.
However, she said, people do suspect these former Sunni insurgents of carrying out revenge attacks on Shiite militias, who inevitably retaliate. And outside the city she feels much less safe.
“There is terrorism still there, even now,” she said. “The general situation in Baquba is good, but the borders of Diyala are not safe.”
After the first few hours of the latest operation in the northern Diyala River Valley, which lies a few miles north of Baquba, most of the leaders of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia had, once again, escaped.
But American officers argue that their presence, reinforced by Iraqi Army units, will now deprive the extremists of a crucial base. Pointing to a 75 percent fall in attacks from June 2007 to January 2008 across Diyala as a whole, and 85 percent within Baquba over the same period, they say the insurgents will now be further crippled by the loss of a safe haven to manufacture car bombs to send into nearby Baghdad.
“The real victory here is not killing 10, 20 or 30 insurgents; it is that this population here is separated from them,” said Colonel Coffey, commander of the Third Squadron, Second Stryker Cavalry Regiment, part of the Fourth Stryker Brigade Combat Team.
“The Iraqi provincial government is able to operate in here again. That is the real permanent win.”
It has been a win with costs.
Moving through the villages, American forces have found evidence of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia’s weapons factories, training camps and weapons caches.
They also lost six American soldiers and an Iraqi interpreter in a single explosion, at the start of their mission here. It happened Jan. 9, after their patrol walked into a house rigged to blow up in the village of Sinsil.
The compound had been cleared of explosives two weeks earlier, commanders said. But villagers did not tell them that insurgents

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

False Alarm

It turns out the call yesterday was James, calling on the school phone which comes up "unavailable," just as Daniel does.

Monday, March 3, 2008

He called

I just got a phone call from Daniel! Unfortunately he called my cell and it of course dropped the call so I didn't get more than a "hello" out of him. That's OK, he's alive and kicking still.

If you've got to be stationed somewhere ...

Hawaii is ideal for Stryker unit according to the Army
Mar- 2-2008 » Filed Under: 2/25 SBCT , Ft. Lewis
By Gregg K. Kakesako, Honolulu Star Bulletin
Despite the insistence by local environmental groups that Fort Lewis is a better location than Schofield Barracks, Army planners say there is no room at the Washington state base for another 4,000-member Stryker Brigade Combat Team and their family members.
Fort Lewis was the home of the Army's first combat unit built around the 320 eight-wheeled, 19-ton vehicles. Opponents like environmental lawyer David Henkin believe the Washington facility has the necessary room and its location near an Air Force transport base makes it a better choice than Schofield Barracks.
"In 2004, we were told we can't look at Fort Lewis because Fort Lewis has two Stryker brigades and can't take a third," said Henkin, who represents Ilioulaokalani Coalition, Na Imi Pono and Kipuka in a long-running legal battle protesting the Army's plan to convert one of the 25th Infantry Division's units to a Stryker unit. "Few weeks after they said that, they moved a third Stryker brigade to Fort Lewis and to this day Fort Lewis has three Stryker brigades."
In the draft environmental impact statement that recommended Schofield Barracks as the home of the Army's fifth Stryker unit, Henkin said Army leaders again ruled out a fourth Stryker unit at Fort Lewis, which he claims is an about-face from the Army's previous position.
On Feb. 22, the Army released a supplemental environmental impact statement that recommended Schofield Barracks as the base for a Stryker team. The study rejects Fort Lewis, saying it is "at its maximum capacity" in supporting three Stryker Brigade Combat Teams. "Accommodating the full requirements of an additional SBCT (Stryker Brigade Combat Team) would require an additional 192 acres of space within the cantonment area, temporarily discounting the fact that facilities could not be constructed in time," the study says.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

And the winner is ...

Someone.

Whoever hit 1000 didn't email me. I did get a lot of notes though, indicating what people's numbers had been and it was fun, so ... watch for occasional contests to win prizes (it's the Mary Kay Sales Director in me rising to the top -smile-).

Nothing from Daniel. Not unexpected, but then that doesn't make it any easier.

A plea - as he is out of communication, letters and cards will mean a lot to him. It is definitely not my forte, but I am going to write him at least twice a week until we have electronic communication. I know he would really appreciate those tangible thoughts from home.
If you need his address, leave a comment to this post and I'll get it to you. If you think you have it and you're not sure because of the COB move, it's still the same - F Co 2-2......... that one.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Round Numbers

Checking in, the next blog reader will be #1000! I'm so blessed to have people reading about and praying for Daniel.

If you're #1000, take a screen shot of the counter at the bottom (it's the "print screen" button on a PC keyboard. To put the screen shot into the email, just "paste". I have no idea how it works on a Mac). I will send you back a special thousandth visitor prize! -email removed for SPAM prevention-

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Adding to the list

Spc. Orlando A. Perez, 23, of Houston, TX, died Feb. 24 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered from small arms fire during dismounted operations. He was assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, Vilseck, Germany.

All of us here offer our sincere condolences to the loved ones Perez leaves behind.

I have not heard from Daniel since his phone call, but this notice was finally posted on Stryker News. One of the things we do is try and read between the lines. "Dismounted Operations" means the squad had left the Stryker had were on foot. I'm guessing they were all under fire, including Daniel, and they were witness to his death.

I try and imagine the theater which will play behind Daniel's eyes when he's home on leave. He has experience and memories we cannot begin to imagine. I suspect he would wish to forget.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Loss

Daniel called me this morning. They are moving tonight to their undisclosed location, but he wanted me to know that on Stryker News within the next couple of days, I would see a 2-2SCR death from their platoon reported, and it wasn't him. The family had been notified, so communication blackout was over.

Daniel said he would write to me later about it, but said, "it was quite an experience." I am guessing he was there. Pray for all involved.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Oh it's a jolly holiday

They're moving. Of course the location is undisclosed. Get serious. At any rate they have been and are moving so for a while his contact will be spotty, if non-existent.

Keep checking back as I will keep you posted with what I know, and if there is nothing to report, you may get lovely pictures or videos of the best ways to cook okra (answer - not at all).

In the meantime, please keep Daniel tucked safely in your prayers. His mood is down and his outlook bleak. He's really ready for his leave, but I worry if he's seen one too many bloody bodies at this point - those are images which never leave.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Kentucky Derby

No horsing around, this is just a quick post to tell you he's hoofing it away from his computer for a few days. That you understand he's OK is the "mane" reason for the post.
Other than that, there have been semi-official rumors that 2-2SCR will be back in Germany by Halloween, a month earlier than expected. As with all things Army, we believe it when we see it, although you may begin jockeying for position to shake his hand when he returns.

He took this picture with his new camera on patrol Feb 3rd. He's quite pleased to have the camera and is planning on publishing some of his war zone images when he returns.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

It's Shmoggy Out


Daniel received a gift of a shmog (head covering the men wear) from one of the Interpreters ('terps) named "Kareem". I told him his own mother wouldn't know him to look at this picture. Oh wait, that's me.

Thank you to Rose C. and her group. The 'terps received VERY gratefully, your package of gloves and other warm stuff. It was a brutal January and they were cold. What a wonderful thing you did!


Anyone out there have soap/shampoo/conditioner samples from frequent stays in hotels? Those are great things to package up and send for the 'terps as well!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Berlin

They're building a wall. Actually they are building several. This is the main occupation of Daniel's squad, when they're not pulling guard duty or walking extra patrol.

The wall is to be the presence in the future, which the Army is currently. It divides ideology. It prevents the flow of animosity down dusty streets which have seen Hatfield/McCoy-like dedication to the anhiliation of the enemy within.

Doonesbury had a comic about the point which Daniel said was "spot on," in his experience. The CLC (Concerned Local Citizen) wanted the Army to blow up the house where an intelligence target was located. The driver asked why and the reply was, "Someone from his family killed someone from my family."
"How long ago was that?" was the next question.
"About 1,300 years ago."

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

All Quiet on the Western Front

I am out of town for the next few days and wanted to post something so regular readers wouldn't be left high and dry. (un)Fortunately he said nothing is going on.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A Strange Dichotomy

Daniel took a mandatory class yesterday. It was on suicide and why it's a bad thing.

While he wouldn't argue that point, the humor of it was that the Army does not want you to kill yourself, however the very nature of the job is a willingness to give of one's life.

He didn't want to get too esoteric about it, just chuckled and got a cup of coffee so he didn't fall asleep during it.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego

Daniel 3:19 had the king of Babylon (located near present day Baghdad) throwing Daniel and his friends into the fiery furnace for refusing to worship him.



Modern day Baghdad has its fiery furnaces too. Daniel took a picture of this one this morning.

An instrument of Saddam's torture, re-ignited to heat up sectarian violence? No, an oven at a bakery where they stopped early in the morning, just in time to enjoy bread right after being taken out.

Daniel says:
fresh baked bread is wonderful....I only got one piece, but it was mouth watering, warm, and still soft. I ate it not less then a minute after coming out of the oven
Diane says:
Yum. Did it have a hard, but still supple crust?
You're making my mouth water btw
Daniel says:
it wasn't too hard, or crunchy, but it was a nice crust. biting into it, your teeth sink into warm bread, the steam rising from it as you consume it
Diane says:
Do you get to do this very often? Be at a bakery in the middle of the night?
Daniel says:
not at night no, but we do go to bakeries often, when we have the chance anyway. the LT is a bread monger

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Words from beyond

I was profoundly touched by an article in Stryker News today, while looking at things for Daniel. It was a tribute (with the link below) to Maj. Andrew Olmsted, who lost his life in Iraq. He was not 2nd Cav, but was of note among other things, as a military blogger. His final blog entry was profound and touching. I know that all soldiers write a final note to friends and family, should the unspeakable happen, but I have never been privvy to one before.

I don't know what Daniel wrote. I pray God's mercy that I don't have to find out.

http://andrewolmsted.com/archives/2008/01/final_post.html

Sunday, January 6, 2008

From the Department of Defense

America Supports You: Calendar Provides Troop-Support Ideas
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 3, 2008 – New Year’s resolutions frequently include good intentions, such as joining a gym, calling parents or organizing closets. But through its America Supports You program, the Defense Department is helping Americans resolve to support the nation’s servicemembers throughout 2008.

America Supports You is a DoD program that connects citizens and corporations with military personnel and their families serving at home and abroad. It’s ringing in 2008 with a 12-month calendar suggesting ways to support the nation’s military men and women and their families each month. “Remembering the troops at a time when people are already setting goals will help keep the nation’s servicemen and women in the forefront of our minds throughout the year,” said Allison Barber, deputy assistant secretary of defense for public liaison and internal communications. The calendar, which can be downloaded into Outlook or iCal calendars, is available on AmericaSupportsYou.mil.
The site not only offers ideas on how individuals can support the troops, but also contains information about troop-support groups in their area. Some suggestions found on the calendar include sending Valentine’s Day cards to troops serving overseas during February or lending a helping hand to military families during April, the Month of the Military Child. When summer rolls around with swim lessons, camp dates and family vacations, the June calendar includes a reminder to donate frequent-flier miles to servicemembers and their families who so often are separated. September brings the opportunity to join in or plan a local America Supports You Freedom Walk to commemorate victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and to honor veterans, past and present. The calendar also includes ways to honor servicemembers on Memorial Day and Veterans Day. “There are so many ways to show the military men and women we support them and the work they do,” Barber said. “I hope people nationwide will take the time to remember the troops when setting their New Year’s goals and that they find the reminders in the calendar helpful in achieving them.”
For more information about the calendar, visit AmericaSupportsYou.mil and click on the New Year’s Resolution icon.

Blackout

We haven't heard from Daniel in a few days. The Seattle Times said 2 soldiers were killed over the weekend in Diyala province, so they are probably on blackout.

No knocks on the door, so it's not Daniel. I don't look forward to adding more names to the roster however.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Rockets Red Glare

Daniel says:
We had a rocket attack the other day; 6 rockets whizzed over our tent
Diane says:
Whoa.
Over is a good word
Daniel says:
yup
The Iraqis are very good with direction, but thank goodness they are horrible with angles, otherwise we would have been gone for sure, the rockets hit about a mile over the FOB