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    Greg and Beth

    the political and personal musings of two
    mountaineers living in west-central Florida
     
    Iraq Vacation Update Comment
    Gregory Morris, 3/29/10 4:51:39 am
    I am now just over a week into my yearlong deployment. I am getting settled in fairly well, although I still feel extremely tired around 9-11am (2-4am Eastern) even when I manage to sleep through the night.

    Work
    I work 12 hour days, 7 days a week. So far that isn't wearing on me too much, but I'm sure it will eventually. Right now, I am trying to familiarize myself with "how stuff works"... in-processing, training courses, learning the new acronyms, trying to remember all my new passwords, reading system documentation, etc. Once I actually get my hands onto some real projects, the time will probably start moving a lot faster. Right now a large portion of my team is in transition. A bunch of the guys are redeploying stateside soon, and replacements are on their way. It looks like another few weeks before things move back into high gear.

    Home Sweet Box
    I don't currently have a roommate in my CHU (containerized housing unit), but I am told I'll probably get one at some point. Only high ranking officers get their own hooch, and civilian contractors rank lower than privates (except on payday.) The CHUs are basically shipping containers that are broken into three two-person rooms, wired for electric, AC, etc. My room is like a basic college dorm room, except the door leaks like crazy when it rains and helicopters buzz overhead at all hours of the day and night. The trailers are all surrounded by high concrete T-walls, so I feel a mix of "safe and secure" and "I'm in prison". There’s nothing quite like the sound of "incoming" sirens in the middle of the night to make it hard to sleep, but the sound of the C-RAM (Phalanx gun) is even more unnerving.

    Leisure
    My leisure time has been mercifully limited thus far. Since I've been working a 7-7 shift, it is getting dark by the time I head home. I do hope to adjust my work schedule to the point where I can have at least a little daylight at the end of my day so I can explore, and maybe do some fishing. I haven't done much exploration yet, because it is hard to get around here in the dark. This isn't like back home where every drop-off has a guard rail, and every road is well-lit. For now, most of my free time has been spent back in my hooch. The internet connection is good most of the time. It damn sure isn't FIOS, but I can do everything I need (like Skype and reading gun blogs!) I have a USB TV tuner, so I can watch AFN, which thankfully carries sports and news.

    Environment
    I have had the chance to walk around some, but (my luck!) it was on a day where the rain was pouring down, and the entire base became one big pit of the stickiest mud you can imagine. Even the gravel the put down just seems to sink into the mud, and becomes totally lost. The good thing about the rain is that it isn't a dust storm, like we had the previous few days. The dust here gets into and onto everything, leaving the world a dull shade of reddish brown. Nothing can escape it either. My office has a dusting of reddish brown grime over every surface, even a few days after I cleaned it. In spite of the dust and mud, there are many beautiful things here. The sunrises and sunsets rival Florida's. The lakes and canals are beautiful. What plant life there is reminds me of home. The animals I've encountered are different, and I'm still trying to figure out what everything is. The most interesting things here, however, are the buildings.

    Architecture
    At some point, when you get a chance, do a Google Image Search for "Al Faw Palace". The pictures don't really do it justice, but it'll give you an idea of what I'm talking about. There are many beautiful structures around here from mosques, to palaces, to simple buildings. The ornate decoration is just unbelievable. Saddam Hussein knew how to live in style, that's for sure. Some of the structures show distinct signs of battle damage, while others seem to be in perfect condition. I can only imagine how this place looked before we came in and took it over. Now, everywhere you look, all you see is tall, ugly concrete T-walls and sandbags. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy those are there, but they do ruin the scenery.

    So that about covers it. There are a lot of things I can’t discuss for OPSEC reasons. I also probably won’t be posting many pictures here for the same reason. If you are my friend on Facebook, you will be able to see a limited number of pictures, and even then mostly of the wildlife. Still, as promised I will attempt to post updates here as often as I have something to say.

    Oh yeah, I almost forgot… GO MOUNTAINEERS!!!! FINAL FOUR!!! WOOOOOOOO!!!!!

    [Comments are closed after a month.]

    Re: Iraq Vacation Update
    Chris, 4/15/10 2:41:05 pm
    Speaking of Architecture, absolutely make sure to get over to Slayer on a Sunday and go on the guided tour. The two main parts of the tour are the "Victory over America" palace and the Baath Party house.

    Take along a flag for the truly unique picture opportunity from he top of the Victory over America palace.
    < "Time and Stuff"
    "Iraq Gun-Gear-Related Post" >


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