Apr 30, 2008

My old stomping grounds... 

... twice over: my old unit at my previously deployed location.

The funny part though is that because it's a blogspot site, chances are nine out of ten that it's blocked by the G6 on any of the government computers. Gotta love it. Found it at Dustman's.

Apr 26, 2008

The Big Dog 

Toby Keith played Baghdad tonight and your truly was there. This finally puts me even with the Wif, who saw him in 2006 in San Diego without me. Now if we could only see a show together!

Of course, this was a favorite. (video is from Fallujah in 2006)

And when you're in a crowd full of folks who would like nothing more than to be back in America, that song means something. But some folks obviously wanted to be here. The female soldier with the prosthetic leg, for instance.

Yeah. You read that right. Saw her after the show on her way out. I don't know how many amputees have been deployed back to the war zone. In fact I think there's only one in the whole Marine Corps, and he had to fight to get back. But there was this soldier. Didn't look like she was more than 21. Maybe a bit older, but not much. Wow.

As fer me? This is the song the Wif called me during when she went because it was "my tune." Yeah, I'll buy that...

Oh, and Toby said the drinks are on him, so now I have a new destination when I get home. Or two. Or three.

Apr 23, 2008

Never squander an opportunity 

Apr 22, 2008

A rarity 

"Things I agree with al Qaeda on" is, indeed, a very short list. In fact, I think it only consists of two items: they want to kill me, and they were responsible for 9/11. Zawahiri restates these issues in his latest missive to the West, wherein he gets all worked up about Mahmoud recently declaring - again - that it may have been those eeeevil JOOOOS who brought down the twin towers. I find this quite amusing, considering that we'd like to smoke both of these jackasses, and here they are flinging poo at each other. It would be more amusing however, if The Onion hadn't already done it better.


PS- Happy Earth Day. To become more in tune with the Earth, I'm spending today covered in a fine layer of sand... as I travel as quickly as possible between air conditioned spaces that are spewing out greenhouse gasses by the metric shit-ton. Suck it Algore.

Apr 18, 2008

"That flag means a Marine Corps for another 500 years." 

- Navy Secretary James Forrestal

Which means we'll outlast the Church of Global Warming. By a lot.
Screw you, Time.

- Mike the Marine

Of chow and mortars 

It was a sound I wasn't used to. And so I froze for a second - a little "deer in the headlights" action - waiting to see what the protocol was. My first response was to head for the exits. I mean, the only thing I was familiar with that was close to the sound I was hearing was a fire alarm. And so - flashing back to being ten years old in school - line up and head for the exits. Right?

Of course, that would be monumentally stupid, which I realized before even a second passed. Why? Because there were shells falling outside... somewhere. Which the "big voice" on the PA system made abundantly clear, when - in between the whooping, dive klaxon-like sound I was hearing - it stated quite clearly, "Incoming. Incoming."

The only time I had previously been exposed to falling artillery of some type, it was over before it began. In October of 2005 during Ramadan, I had been sitting at a desk inside a building on Al Asad airbase in Al Anbar province, when I heard a loud thump. There were Marines outside at the time building stuff and moving pallets and I figured it was 50/50 that they had dropped something heavy on the concrete or we had just taken some rockets pretty far off (rockets being Hajji's preferred method of shelling Al Asad because he has to shoot from so far away and there are no close population centers for him to hide in). The air raid siren went off after the two rounds landed, and no more came in. So - truly - it was over before it started.

But now I was hearing warnings BEFORE thumps. This was something new. I guess that means the radars work. So there I am in the dining facility, and everyone lies down on the floor. It's sort of silly I guess - I mean the building has a reinforced roof and is completely ringed by concrete barricades. The only way anyone's taking a hit is if the building gets hit directly - and by something rather large, I'd imagine. But down to the floor I go. The thought does briefly cross my mind how crappy it's going to be to meet my end here, next to the taco bar, on the floor of a chow hall in Baghdad. And then, a couple thumps a descent distance away, and the "all clear" sounds. Everyone gets up, a few sheepish looks are exchanged, but more smiles than anything else. That wasn't even close. Heard it more than felt it.

Easier to set up, take down, and aim (and hide) than rockets, mortars are the "shoot and scoot" weapon of choice in urban areas. Mount a tube on a vehicle and now it's even easier. So that's what comes in around here mostly. And then, Hajji melts away into the the city. He's done his bit for the jihad for the day, whether he hit anything other than dirt or not. And because he's in the city, it's a hell of a lot less dangerous for him than shooting those rockets from the middle of nowhere.

Regardless of what Zawahiri says, your average Muslim warrior is not so hot on meeting his 72 virgins right away (you'll notice ol' Zawahiri himself doesn't seem to be in any kind of a rush). No, he'd rather do his thing as safely as possible and then go back home. When those rockets came in at Al Asad in '05, the shooters had the bad luck to do their thing right when two Harriers were on station. Even though they got away, the couple hundred rounds of 25mm that chased them down the river that night obviously had an effect - we didn't take any more rounds out there for the next three months.

I heard that sound again tonight, and realized it actually reminds me more of the ship's alarms from when I was on float, which they tested constantly. Either a collision alert or an NBC attack warning - I can't remember exactly which. This time I knew what to do: take another bite of ice cream, then get under the table. Hey, the system seems to give you a pretty descent head's up. Heard it more than felt it. But felt it more than last time...

Maybe they know when I'm at chow.

Apr 12, 2008

Greetings from Sunni Baghdad! 

I landed under the same amount of sniper fire as Hillary, and all I got was this lousy blog post.


Apr 9, 2008

You ain't in Berkely, toots 

Your smile of the day is located here. Enjoy.

Tough crap, Droopy.

Every Marine a collector 

That was the phrase once upon a time that meant "keep your eyes open because ANYTHING could be intel." I think it's been changed recently - to what I'm not sure. I've heard the Doggies say "every soldier a sensor"... same principle. In that vein, I, your intrepid host - still stuck in Qatar after almost a week, mind you - noted the following... which was noted first by a Zoomie and then ended up in Stars and Stripes. In any case, I passed it to the proper authorities.

Anyway, once I make it to Toshi Station and pick up those power converters, I'll get back to ya...

Apr 3, 2008

Back in Black to Iraq 

OIF v2.0 starts tomorrow. Going solo this time as an individual augment, so this is going to be a whole different animal than the trip I took with the MEU. Just be a couple months. Don't know how much posting will come from it, but I will of course try. See ya when I see ya.

One more from the Thunder from Down Under. Maybe more appropriate? Heh.

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