Sunday, March 27, 2005


Well, I'm finally back up and running with my computer equipment so I will be able to blog more often and post pictures again (and there was much clapping and rejoicing).

I've posted a lot of pictures of the local Iraqi people, and I will continue to do so in the future. However, I wanted to pay tribute to some real heroes...the American soldier. The pictures that follow are all of guys in my unit. You will probably never read about them in the paper, but they put their necks on the line every day. They obviously don't do it for the money, glory, or fame since they will recieve little or none of those during their deployment here. They do it because that's just what soldiers do, and at the end of the day all that matters is the guy on your left and your right and making sure everyone gets back home safe.

This is one of some guys getting their gun-trucks ready to go right before a mission.

This is myself and SGT Hatt right before we left that day. SGT Hatt is an interesting individual. He is a gunner on a gun crew, which means he sits in the hatch in the HMMWV behind a machine gun as we fly down the highway. He also was one year away from completing his degree in English Literature when we got mobilized. Here's a steely eyed killer who can quote from classic works of writing.

This is SGT Hatt again. The picture was taken from inside the vehicle as we were going down the road. It was a little chilly that morning.

This is just another Joe in action as his crew gets ready to move out.

This is Lieutenant Holland who was riding in the back of my vehicle. It was a three hour ride. I guess he was tired.

This is SPC Edge. We affectionately refer to him as "The Edge". He was also about to start his last year of college at Texas A&M when we were mobilzed. As you can see, he doesn't like to have his picture taken.

All of these photos reflect every day occurences here. Nothing too exciting, but as my Father-n-Law aptly puts it, " excitement in a combat zone is a good thing."

I agree.

Let's save all of the excitement for when we all come home.


Saturday, March 19, 2005

What I am up to

I'm settling into my new location, and actually like it a lot better than where I was before. This base camp is a lot smaller, and not as crowded. We are about 3 hours south of Baghdad and the terrain is little more pleasant in this area. The base camp is surrounded by thick Plam trees, so it is not quite as desolate. (Don't get me still ain't Texas.)

My command group will be taking command of the post, which actually presents some interesting opportunities. Just yesterday I found myself meeting with two local Sheiks regarding the lease agreements they have with the Army. One owns some of the land our base camp is on, and the other owns some of the buildings we are using, and the Army pays both of them a monthly lease to use their property. It was a really interesting experience; speaking through an interperter, trying to read their body language, etc. They are truly a passionate people, which makes for an interesting combination since I am just the opposite. Hopefully they don't think I'm smug.

There will be more opportunity to interact. In fact, one of the Sheiks has already invited us to his home for dinner. This is a common practice, and I've heard the meal is pretty bountiful. They take their hospitality very seriously, and once you are in their home you are a guest of honor. Make no mistake, though, the conversation will quickly turn to business; we deserve more money for the land, we want to set up vendor stands outside the gate, ...etc. It's a delicate balance of being fair without giving into every demand.

Anyway, I know this isn't a real exciting post, but I wanted to let everyone know that I am okay and actually enjoying the new location and new mssion. I feel like I can have a more direct impact here, which will make all of this more worth while.

Until next time,

Monday, March 14, 2005

On the road again

Well, it looks like I'm moving again. I got the word a few days ago that our command post will be moving to a base located a few hours north of here. Our mission is going to change a bit, and we will pick up some additional responsibilities. During the move I will have very limited access and it could be a while before I can post again. I just wanted to let everyone know so you don't think I'm being a slacker. Continue to post and send emails, and I will check on them as soon as I can.

I'm sure you have noticed that I have not been posting any pictures recently. I have run into some technical dificulties that currently prevent me from doing so. The "long and short" of it is that I can no longer connect my personal computer to the military network (I wasn't really supposed to be doing it to begin with, but as usual I was trying to "buck the system"). My personal computer has the software that allows me to upload photos, and obviously my military computer does not, nor am I allowed to install it.

In order to remedy this situation about 30 of us have gotten together to purchase our own satellite internet system so we can have unrestricted access at any time. It's a bit pricey at $7,000, but we've raised about half the funds and it will be well worth it. Once we have it set up I will be able to publish all the photos I want.

That's all for now. I would tell you more about the move and the new mission...but then I'd have to kill you. ;-)



Thursday, March 10, 2005

Thank You!!!!

I have recieved so much support from so many people, I wanted to take a moment to show my appreciation to the following (in no certain order):

Ginny Rollie and all my coworkers at Dell
All of you have been incredibly supportive from the beginning. I'll never forget when I first found out that I was being activated for deployment. I was truly blown away by all of words of support and encouragement. Your recent packages have been a real morale booster to me and a lot of other troops. I look forward to getting back to the "real world" and working with all of you again. Ginny - you are the hub that keeps that wagon wheel rolling.

Jim Dunmire and his fellow coworkers at J.C. Penny
I recieved your care packages yesterday, and all I can say is "Wow!" Nine packages in one day made me really popular with the mail handler (he had to haul them all from the post office). I made it worth his while by opening them up and letting take what he needed. You have blessed more soldiers than I can list, and we all appreciate it greatly. Please pass on our gratitude to everyone who was involved in such a large effort.

Aunt Maidi and Uncle Ivan
Aunt Maidi, your emails of encouragement are always arrive at the perfect time and I want you to know what a morale booster they are. I appreciate your unwaivering support, and your care packages. You are truly a class act.

Mom & Dad
I know having two of your kids deployed has been tough for both of you. Your packages have been great...especially since they are just for me. :-) I am the man I am today because of both of you. I love you both, and I look forward to our next reunion.

Gary Moore
Your friendship has been a real blessing, and I always get a lift from your emails. It is always great to hear from you, and if there has ever been a time I haven't written back it is not due to lack of appreciation. You are a true friend and I look forward to my next flying lesson.

Justus and Joan
Justus, I appreciate your posts...especially the funny ones. I can use all the laughter I can get over here. I just recieved your package, and I really appreciate you both making the effort to show your support. On a final note...Justus, this is just for you...yeah, you little brother...lean in real close, and listen to your older, wiser brother..."Propose to the girl for the love of Pete!!" I expect to come home to a wedding.

John Geyerman
14 pounds of coffee and several hundred MP3's will go a long way in making this year more bearable. Thank you for the longest lasting friendship of my life.

Charles and Carol
Thank you for your thoughtful posts, emails, and the recent goodies. I know you have a true appreciation for all of this since you have "been there, done that, and got the t-shirt." It's always good to hear from you.

Donn and Sue
I am truly blessed to have such great in-laws. You both have been extremely supportive, and I know you are checking on Amy on a regular basis. Thanks for your packages and words of encouragment and support.

Amy, Alex, Jessica, Jennifer, Seth, and Luke
Each of you give me the motivation that keeps me going over here. While this is extremely difficult, I want to learn all I can from the experience so I can be a better husband and father when I get back. I constantly day dream of when we are all together again, and I can hold each of you in my arms. I am truly amazed at how much God has blessed me with such a beautiful family. You are my passion.

There are so many others that I could thank for their posts, emails, prayers, and lending a helping hand to Amy while I'm gone. I appreciate each and every one of you, and I want you to know that your support makes all the difference over here.

You are all awesome people.


Tuesday, March 08, 2005


I apologize it has been so long since my last post, but things have been really busy. Nothing out of the oridinary, just a lot of nitnoid stuff that keeps me running around all day.

(For those of you wondering what the heck "nitnoid" means, you won't find it in the dictionary. However, it used frequently in America as slang to indicate a "small matter of no consequence, or something that’s nit-pickingly frustrating.")

Anyway, enough of that and on to more interesting things.

Last week our Battalion Chaplain had the opportunity to vist the city of Babylon (yes...that Babylon; Tower of Babel, King Nebecanezzar, etc.) He returned with some really interesting photos of the of the ancient sites, but what I found most interesting was the story he told about a conversation he had with one of the Iraqis escorting him through the sites. They broached the subject of the recent elections, and the chaplain asked him if he felt things were getting better in his country. To which the man replied, "Yes...before we had nothing to look forward to, but now we have hope."

There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something better tomorrow.

-- Orison Marden