Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Trouble sleeping...

We received some intel last night that our base was going to be mortared (a mortar is an indirect fire weapon which has a range of approximately 3 to 7 kilometers depending on the size). Our area has been relatively quiet for a while now. We've had a few incidences outside the wire, but there has not been a direct attack on this base for about 10 months. However, we have seen increased activity since the commencement of some of the major operations in the Baghdad area to crack down on enemy activity. The insurgents are just like cockroaches that scatter when you turn on the lights and come looking for them, and it appears some of them may have scattered into our area. We immediately launched our Quick Reaction Force (QRF) and some combat patrols who were out all night looking for suspicious activity.

I'm happy to report that nothing happened. This was our first interaction with this particular informant, but when linked to some other activity his story seemed credible. Given that nothing occurred there are only a few possibilities:
  1. He concocted the story in order to make himself look like a good guy and will later try to get something in return (job, money, ...etc).
  2. He was telling the truth, but our QRF and combat patrols scared the bad guys (i.e. cockroaches) away.
  3. The cockroaches intentionally fed this informant bad information just to see how we would react and thus gain insight into our tactics and procedures.

Only time will tell which of these is right.

Needless to say, it's a bit difficult to sleep when you have this kind of info looming over your head. I stayed up until about 12:30 a.m. and then realized there was little I could do (too many cooks spoil the broth). I tried to lie down and get some shut-eye but found myself bolting upright every time I heard a HMMWV roll by or any other strange noise. I felt like such a wuss since I know there are soldiers in other parts of Iraq that get mortared on a regular basis.

As I was lying there I began to reflect on all the times I had restless nights back home over such insignificant things.

"Please God, let me get that promotion."

"Man, I wish I made more money."

"What am I going to do about these bills?"

"How can I afford to get that new home...new car...or some new 'thing'?"

"Man, am I ticked off right now...ummm...what where we fighting about?"

All of those restless nights seem so trivial now that I almost start to laugh. I look at how most Iraqis live and realize that once I'm back home I should sleep like a baby. I am blessed with the love a wonderful woman. My children are all healthy, beautiful, and smart. I have great friends, a good job, and I live in a country that offers freedom and safety like none other in the world. What do I have to lose sleep over?

God is teaching me so much while I'm over here, and I have promised myself that I will not forget it after I get back home.

Later,

j

20 Comments:

Blogger CJ said...

Such a good reminder for all of us, John. Thank you. Sleep well--Heaven watches over you.

10:32 PM  
Anonymous Paul said...

John: Let's hope it was Possibility #1 (informant just trying to puff himself up), and that your base remains quiet. And thanks for adding some perspective into our daily lives and worries.

12:18 AM  
Anonymous Michael said...

God Bless John, thanks for putting things into perspective and to all the brave guys in your group, give em a big Howdyyyyy and Thanks for their service to our country! Let em all know they make us all so proud here! That WE ARE ALL PULLING FOR EM to get home safe and sound. You're all in our prayers.

12:36 AM  
Blogger Greg Tinti said...

John,

7:44 AM  
Blogger Greg Tinti said...

It is perspective like this that should make blogs like yours mandatory reading for people in the states that are "disillusioned" with this war. Thank you for everything.

7:50 AM  
Anonymous Rachel said...

Great reminder for all of us. Stay safe over there...

10:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sleeping with your helmet and vest on arent you, maybe we will get some help in iraz and afghanistan now that another country has been hit

jus

1:30 PM  
Blogger Papa Ray said...

Hey,
I hope you sleep well when you get home. You will still want new things, but you will find they are just not as important anymore.

I didn't sleep very good for years, too much rage and guilt. But then my homecoming was not like the Warriors get now.

My heart is so gratful for that.

Papa Ray
West Texas
USA

5:44 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Hey.... thanks for the words that we all need to hear. Thanks for what you're doing, and thanks for sharing it with us via this blog.

P.S. You are NOT a wuss.

6:02 PM  
Blogger KJ said...

Because of celebrating the 4th of July this week, I am reminded again of how thankful I am for men like you who are in danger so that we can be safe back home. THANK YOU!!!! And God bless you and continue to protect you. I appreciate all you are doing over there! Keep up the good work.

8:45 PM  
Anonymous cheryl said...

John, thank you for sharing your experience with all of us. We are praying for you.

6:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey J, We do take so much for granted!! Thanks for the perspective.
UUHHHH, I freaked the other night when I was changing a lightbulb in an outside light fixture and a big spider scurried out and ran across my arm...that's a wuss....you are a HERO!!
CB

8:09 PM  
Anonymous Shannon said...

Hey John! I don't know you but a friend sent me a link to your blog and I read it often. I have prayed for you and your family. Thanks so much for all you do for our country. And, thanks for your blog....each entry touches my heart and reminds me of what really matters in life. I hope you are able to get some rest soon.

8:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

people keep saying your not a wuss, i guess they dont know you very well

jus

3:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John,

Thank you so much for all that you do! Thanks to your family, too, for their sacrifices as well. You are a man to be honored and respected. You are in our thoughts and prayers daily! Keep up the good work!

Krista

3:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for that...now it puts my problems in perspective...now I can sleep peacefully....zzzzzzzzzzzzz

stay safe, and may God be your inner peace....

3:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thats what Ambien is for....

9:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Next time you should go outside the wire to look for them so if they do mortar you, you'll be away from impact.

9:41 AM  
Blogger jaibone said...

Buddy... I've been down with you, and this blog, since you started it... it hurt to read, "The cockroaches intentionally fed this informant..."

Dehumanizing the enemy is standard practice, as all good soldiers know... can shoot at them if they have faces and families...

guess I just wish you'd have kept the patrol slang off the web.... whatever their role in this war, they aren't bugs...

Still say Duck and Cover... and if you stand on rooftops to take pictures.... silly you for making a target of yourself...

7:32 PM  
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8:40 PM  

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