Saturday, October 21, 2006

Jet Sky

I had to grab a photo of this advertisment. They are actually trying to rent Jet Skis, Banana Boats and Donuts. I am tempted to call just so I can ask if those are cake donts or if they are glazed.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Night of Power

Ramadan is finally wrapping up but not before one last supernight! The Ummah (Holy Group of Believers) believe that this is the holiest of all nights in the Muslim calendar.

I have attached some transcripts from the USC Compendium of Muslim Texts. If you wonder why I read this you must learn a valuable lesson taught by Sun-Tsu and von Clausweitz. "To beat an enemy you must first understand him." Two powerful military minds 1000 years and an entire continent apart knew this simple axiom and so do I. Make no mistake, I consider radical, fundamentalist Islam to be the enemy. Here is the transcript describing the meaning of this night.

This chapter (surah) was revealed in Makkah, and its basic theme is honoring the revelation of this blessed book, the Holy Qur`an. The Night of Power or honor is a special gift only to the community (Ummah) of Islam. The night is one which even the angels in the heavens see as worthy of witnessing. The night is so rich with holiness, as the night when good deeds are returned, and is equal to a thousand months in the sight of Allah.

In a report by Abi Hatim and Al-Wahidi, by way of Mujahid, the Messenger (saas) mentioned that there was a man among the Israelites who devoted his life to the cause of Allah for a thousand months. The companions were amazed and impressed, but were saddened because they knew there would be no way that they could reach this status of devotion. So Allah (SWT) revealed this surah to inform them that He had just blessed this Ummah with the Night of Honor, which is equal to a thousand months.

This is the night that some of the most fanatical will try and become martyrs to their cause. The mullahs will get some of them wound up supertight and they are reckless. That's OK with me. Reckless equals dead in combat.

There are so many things about this religion that we spoof but that they consider to be above reproach. The cartoon flap is a good example. Another is that you cannot say Muhammed in print unless you add this (PBUH). I wondered just what the hell that meant until it dawned on me one day. PBUH means "Peace Be Upon Him". They don't say this in day to day speech but it is in the newspapers and magazines.

On the personal side I gotta say, "its' friggin miserable weather here". It is late October and it is still over 100 degrees. At least I am not in Djibouti. Some of the guys who are assigned there tell me that they have two seasons. They have Summer and Hell. Add the humidity in and it is like Texas in June here. In Djibouti it is like Texas in August right now and they think that it is "Getting nice outside."

I added these pics I took a few weeks back. This is the same mosque about 15 minutes apart. I wish i had gotten the sun at the perfect angle between the minarets but I took what I could.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


There I was tooling down Route Circle 6 towards the USAF base when I started to get close to this truck. Imagine my surprise when I saw that camel head pop up! I scrambled for my pocket camera and got it out in time to catch this series of pics.

I raced up close as I dared. Traffic usually bad on this road. By bad I mean that they fly down it at 160 KPH or so and the limit is 120. Add that to the fact that camels spit and dare I must to get this close.

I snapped that shot and then pulled around to the side. I was eye to eye with this beast doing 120 KPH on one of the most dangerous roads on earth. I have seen a lot of weirdness in my time on earth but this one goes in the book for sure!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

A normal day

What is a normal day? Is it having the 9-5 Forty hour per week, home on weekends life or is it 24/7 in a war zone, surrounded by thousands of soldiers who are armed to the teeth, ready to kill, and hiding a puppy in their tent? Is it waking up in you bed at home dreading another day of commutes, office routine, going home and then doing it again or is it a day when you get up and wonder if today is the last time you will see your breakfast buddies alive?
Normal days change as our life changes. My normal day in Iraq is one of a monotone colored world with incoming fire, bunker calls, Battle Update Briefings, SitReps, LogReps, helicopters and armor. My normal day here is juggling tasks from getting new pads built at an airfield to making sure that some of my personnel get out to a conference in the US on time with their airline tickets, passports, cash advances, orders, reservations, bags, and some good humor.
Recladding CHUs (Containerized Housing Units - Trailers), ethics training, CAC (Continuous Access Card) renewals, workshops, fuel allocations, environmental leaves, Fire Fighting training, security clearances, proposals for construction, reviews of WBS (Work Breakdown Structures), and right sizing are the issues I dealt with today.
Sometimes I hurt people's feeling becuase I am so abrupt. I am brusqe at times but it is because I hate when people put up roadblocks and excuses to why things can't be done. Things CAN be done with enough planning and effort. The easiest thing in the world to say is NO. When poeple say "No. it can't be done" I challenge them. I ask them why and then defeat every argument. By tearing up the excuses one by one they come around to the conclusion that it can be done. I use metaphors a lot. I ask them, "How do you eat an elephant?" The answer is, "One bite at a time."
The war in Iraq is like that. The easy way is to say, "It's too hard. We can't win." The tough path is to eat the elephant. I am taking my bites. I take them one CHU at a time, one DFAC at a time, one subcontract at a time, one successful mail run at a time, one soldier manifested to a new base at a time, one light bulb repaired at a time.
My normal day is eating an elephant. What is yours?

Thursday, October 12, 2006


My wife says I sound tired all the time. I am. This grind just wears me down by this point in my rotation to where I am cranky, weary, and just plain worn out. This makes four years now being deployed and it is starting to wear on me. Not only do I get physically tired, I am mentally tired.
By that I mean that when I finish my normal 14 hour work day I am so drained that I have no energy for conversation, music, reading, or any other activity which takes mental processes. I don't want to talk to anyone, hang out anywhere, go to a movie, the library, or the gym. I just want to sit in the dark for 30 minutes of a DVD before I pass out from exhaustion.
Thank God I have R&R in three weeks. If I did not I would have to get away on an LWOP (Leave Without Pay) for a few days. I thought Kuwait was going to be easier than Iraq. I'll take Mortar Bingo over this any day.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Return of the First Team

UPDATE - I took the photo out. have to as Big Brother doesnot like it.
One of the rare times I post a picture of myself but I know a lot of people will want to see it considering the cast of characters here. Here are three of the OIF II survivors from Taji. Chris (L), myself (C), and Vic (R) are three of the first people to sleep in blown out, camel spider infested, sand flea ridden, piss smelling buildings at Taji. I blurred the names on the ACUs on purpose as well as mine on my CAC ID.
I knew they were coming back and made a trip out to one of the Kuwait bases to see them today and to have lunch. These are true warriors and real heroes. Sports figures, movie stars, magazine models mean nothing. These are the men you want you sons to be like when they grow up. I know that I want my son to be like them.

When you see a soldier notice where the unit patches are. The patch on the left sleeve denotes the unit they serve in. These are 1st Cavalry Division Troopers. That is important but the one that means the most is the one on the right shoulder under the flag. That is the Combat Patch. These men are veterans who have been in a combat zone for a minimum of 6 months. This means something to them and to me. They wear the big yellow patch (subdued for deplyment) on this sleeve as they were both here in 2004 with me in Taji.

It was a bad year to be in Iraq but even though it was filled with difficulty and fear it was a time I will always remember as the time we all went through a crucible together. I dodged mortars with these men, ate countless meals with them, sat through droning endless planning meetings, played poker with AFEES pogs, drank near beer with them, and got up at 03:00 to watch College Football with them. We talked about our families, friends, experiences, wants, needs, desires, and future plans.

We talked about how we all agreed that even though it was hard on us individually, it was in the best interest of the country for us all to use our own special sets of skill, experience, and education to make Iraq a better place so that none of our sons have to return unless they come as tourists.

Watch out Haji.The First Team is back and you know what that means. You are about to get your a$$ kicked again like you did in 2004. You learned the hard way that the most dangerous job in the world was shooting mortars and rockets at Taji. The garrison mentality soldiers are gone. Fire and move is again the order of the day. Welcome back to Iraq Troopers. You were sorely missed by us.
BIG LOU is waiting for you!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Another Warning from BIAP

Another bit of mirth courtesy of BIAP (Baghdad International Airport). This was sent out to almost everyone in CENTCOM as a travel advisory.

It shows:

A - How slow the authorities here are behind the last terrorist plot to incinerate innocent airline passengers.

B - That it has finally been discovered that cooking oil is a lethal weapon. After all, those Trans Fats are a killer.

C - They still have not learned how to use spell check.

Monday, October 02, 2006

My Friend Chris

I saw one of my friends from the 1st Cavalry Division today. For OPSEC reasons I won't give his last name, rank, or unit but a lot of you will remember him from OIF II. He was the most forceful personality
I last saw him in Killeen, Texas during my last R&R. It was a very hectic R&R and all we got to do was have lunch together. We have been in Iraq, the USA, and now Kuwait and we have never had a beer together. That is just how it is. General Order #1 applies. It says NO BEER.
Chris is an officer, a leader, and a warrior. He is one of our finest and men like him do a damn fine job of representing all that is great about America. He comes from a family without wealth and earned his officer's commision by getting a full ROTC scholarship through college and then made a career out of the Army. The Army has been good to Chris but he is nearing the end of his run with them. I think this will be his last deployment.
Like me, he has children and his are old enough now that they are cognizent of the danger he faces. They struggle with it and I can see in his eyes that he does too. He showed me photos of his oldest son today and the boy is growing up. I know Chris does not want his son to grow up too fast. A year is a long time to a child.
During the last rotation he lost troopers and he knows he will lose some this time too. That weighs heavy in your mind but Chris is enough of a soldier that he will fucntion and work as hard as he can to bring them all back safely. I hope to hell he comes back safely too.
We talked for a couple of hours and could have sat longer except that one of the other guys had to get back to his rat killing. I will get to see Chris again in a few days and we will hang out again.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

More Kuwait Towers

......sorry about the delay. I get wrapped up in stuff from time to time. Like I was saying in my last blog, these towers are a real hoot. I try and find humor in everything and this did not dissapoint. These towers are just gawdawfultacky.

Look at this shot of the sequins up close. You can see why it starts to remind you of a fishing lure after a while. The only fish it ever caught was Saddam. He saw the bait and went for it and that is what precipitated his eventual downfall.

Isn't that sad? To think that some educated engineer designed it is sad enought but some one had to actuall fund this travesty of taste!

They did manage to have a good idea though and that was to build a kiddie park. This is a cool little water park that they built but the funny thing is that it was so hot there was no one there.

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