Wednesday, November 09, 2005

This was probably the last time I will interact with the local Iraqi people. My unit will be going back home soon, and I need to focus all of my efforts on redeployment activities.

Regardless of how many times I go on these types of missions, their impact is always the same. I am continually impressed and frustrated with the local populace, and I am always a sucker for the kids. If there is anything that will be forever impressed upon my memory from my time here it is a profound hope for the future of the Iraqi children.

This particular trip was to a school at a local village not to far from our base camp. We were able to sit down with the headmaster and the village sheik for a brief visit. As usual, the conversation quickly turned to the topic of what the Americans can do for them and poignant questions about particular projects they would like to have done in their village. Our Civil Affairs officer, CPT Sean Walton tired to explain to them that we do not have the liberty to randomly choose what projects are done and which village receives them. He also encouraged them to utilize their newly elected local leaders to lobby for the help they need. The concept is so foreign to them, they just don’t seem to get it, and before Sean could finish explaining what they need to do they were repeating their plea for American help. I could tell he was getting frustrated, but he handled it very professionally, but I’m not confident they got the point.

Afterwards it was outside to hand out some goodies to the kids. I’ve expressed before about how they can be extremely forward and demanding. I tried to instill some order and at one point shut the vehicle cargo hatch and tried to explain to them I wasn’t giving anything else out until they got in line and waited their turn. That lasted all of about a nanosecond and they were back at it again. At the end of it all, however, I’m just a softie and a sucker for kids in general. Besides, how do you say “no” to a kid who has no shoes, rags for clothes, no running water, and intermittent electricity?

You don’t….you just give.


Anonymous Shelly and Jessic said...

John~ I know you are sometimes frustrated, but you are making such an impact! Just from the pictures, I can see it in their eyes.
Not only were the pics great, but it was also nice to see the words, "coming home soon." We think of you often! Happy Veteran's Day!
Shelly and Jessic

2:22 PM  
Blogger jaibone said...

So Mr. You did keep your head down, and now you are coming home, and I will miss what you write, even if we as soldier and veteran don't have the same idea about this war... I appreciate that you went, and did well, but I would have much preferred to have not had any of you go at all. Sounds like you learned a lot about the people you met, and I feel as though you gave me a picture into their world.

Thanks again John and welcome home. Something I would have loved to hear, but Viet Nam was another time...

7:14 PM  
Blogger Margaret Mc said...

I have no idea how I found your blog, but I did. Great name!
Thanks for writing and sharing your life in Iraq. Military blogs are one of the best sources of info on what is really happening. Those of you who are writing, posting pictues reveal the human side of the war that is so often missing in the daily news stories.

My heart goes out to your wife and children -- they must miss you terribly. (I'm the wife of an ex-marine, Vietnam-era vet, the mother of a navy boy, er, man. Also have 3 other children.) Hoping you are reunited with your family and loved ones soon.

Your postings are heart rending, funny (your gramma shaking her booty!), insightful, more newsworthy than anything on network TV and have touched me beyond words. To you and all the other men and women serving -- thank you.

7:52 PM  
Blogger Call Me Grandma said...

Hi John, I just wanted to come over to your place and to tell you, "THANKS" for serving our country. May God bless you today and always. Happy Veterans Day.

2:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

happy veterans day brother, stop being a crabass to the kids too, just kidding, enjoy your last days in the sand, get home safe


7:13 AM  
Blogger Amy said...


I just have one thing to say.....

I am so proud to call you my husband !!!

I Love You,

7:35 AM  
Blogger southerngirlpls said...

Just stopped over to say Thank You for everything you have done and are doing to serve this great country! I have enjoyed reading your blog. Take Care and God Bless!

8:25 AM  
Anonymous Isis said...

Thank you for all of the sacrifices you and your family have made to help make the world a safer place for all of us. God Bless!

10:17 AM  
Blogger Melinda said...

I've always thought your blog's name is one of the best! :) Loved the photos with you & the children--I hold hope for them as well. So hard as a mom to not see my own girls when I look at the kids in Iraq.

Wanted to wish you a Happy Veterans' Day and a safe trip home when the time comes.

11:48 AM  
Anonymous Mom and Dad said...

Hi son, Great pictures as always. The Iraqi children are so beautiful, and I'm glad you're a softie when it comes to the kids.
Happy Veteran's Day. Can't wait till you are home safe. Proud to have you as a son. Love and prayers, Mom and Dad

3:20 PM  
Anonymous Monica Orluk said...

As always, your blog moves me and makes me glad I have the chance to give you soldiers. What you are doing is wonderful and I pray for your safe return.

God Bless You,
Monica Orluk

5:27 PM  
Blogger Wayne's Mom said...

I'm another mil-mom, but somehow, each of you has become 'one of my kids.' There's really no way to thank you for the selfless service you have rendered on behalf of our country for the sake of future generations. Just wanted you to know we're grateful, and that we continue to pray for your safe return.

Until then...

5:31 PM  
Blogger Faith said...

I just want to say thank you for your service. My fiance is currently deployed to Baghdad, Iraq as well. Ray and Faith

I know that what you guys are doing over there will better the nation one day. It just sucks that seperation is part of the deal.

God Bless You!

9:05 AM  
Blogger Nick Bowen said...

John - I'm a Viet Nam vet who has followed your blog from day one. I have appreciated everything you've said and done. Please continue to post even after you return home. The tide of popular opinion is turning away from supporting this war - please keep the encouragement flowing and please keep giving us the positive news like you have shared over the past year.

7:41 AM  
Anonymous kkt said...

God bless you!!!

2:45 PM  
Blogger Chevy Rose said...

Packing up to come home, what great news.
Thank you for your service and sacrifice for our country.
I know what you've all done to free these people will turn the tide of the freedom loving people everywhere. I pray those children you've come in contact with will grow up and appreciate having the chance to grow up free and take pride in their country. It sounds like ignorance is still big problem with the adults, i.e. Knowing how to get things done in this new Iraq.

6:36 AM  
Blogger TheAnvil said...

I dont know where to start,,,other than I am proud to see those pictures.....but I have also seen the pictures of childeren suffering from the time we first went into Iraq,,,,but it is good to see some smiles...

I am proud to see a Chirstian Man/Father go into that land and still feel his ties to children, and family. Today we are so far removed from the old world ways,,,( here in the US,,,when everything was realavent to everyone on an EVERYDAY basis)....

on the flip side of the coin,,,those were the old world ways,,,,,what We see in the pictures,,,are very close to the biblical ways of life which many of us read about on any given sunday( why is this not a football or movie endorsement?)

Well,,, I have prayed that You return home safe,,,,,so I do not worry for You as I would others,,,( not to say my prayers mean more,,,I just have learned to count on them( prayers) more)..

Got a chance to see the memorial marker in the Sam Bass Park...

I also have to Agree that the TEX-MEX food at Chuys is really the only good food left on the Planet,,,Thanks for telling me about it... a poor california boy.......

I still owe You Lunch,,,Jason

10:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


2:48 PM  
Blogger gbc-awcca-2010 said...

stop war

1:06 PM  

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