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,


Blogger jaibone said...

I've been following your posts since you started this blog.... As a Vietnam veteran, and a woman, I envy you the positive way in which GIs are being treated by the American public... never really happened for us.... I'm learning a lot about what's happening for all of you through your vivid pictures of life in a combat zone... very different from the ones I knew in my seven years of ARMY service. Keep it low to the ground and don't forget to duck and cover! Thanks for giving me a soldier's view of this war.

8:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

remember to chew with your mouth closed because instead of eating on the floor with the dog you will be outside eating on the sand with the camels
also if you want to see how passionate they are you should start a food fight


7:57 AM  
Anonymous Shelly and Jessic said...

Hey John! It's good to hear you're settled again.
Your interaction with the Shieks (Is that how you spelled it?!? LOL) sounds interesting. To be able to learn about someone's culture hands-on must be so amazing!
Will your group still be assisting in building local schools? I'm still in shock over those photos, and at the same time I'm SO thankful for everything life has provided me.
Keep up the great work and know that we're thinking of you!

Love, Aunt Shelby and Uncle Jethic :) he he

6:24 PM  
Blogger Aunt Maidi said...

Hi, John -

Your postings are amazing. Thanks for keeping us informed. Your interaction with the shieks is interesting. When you do go to their homes for dinner, be sure to post what your meal consisted of. We're also curious - what would the vendors be selling?

Stay safe and know that you and our soldiers are bathed in prayer.


Aunt Maidi

9:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John, I was in Dallas last week and I have to tell you jc penney is still supporting you.I was in a meeting and your picture popped up on the wall. It most have been 20 feet tall and seeing you there in front of me was moving.I heard you saw Megan again, that's great, keep track of your little sister,she on the move.
Your new location sounds good,take jaibone,s advice and keep low to the ground .
We love ya Dad

4:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Any idea how long you'll be at the new location? Does the mailing address for packages change? Thanks for clarifying about the e-mails, I was beginning to think you were a slacker. How many hour days are you working (14-15?) We saw Paul Collins wife and son yesterday and she said you and Paul are or were at the same camp. Anyway, they hope he'll get a blog going soon. We pray for you often. Love from The Riddick's. John, Jeri & Adam.

9:55 AM  
Anonymous ashlynn blessing said...

thank you for posting and keeping us informed on your journey. we pray for you daily thanks for your service!!

3:02 PM  

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