Hey Gang. Weve been on the road a lot these past few days and all is going well. Blogger is giving me hell and doesn’t allow me to sign on but I have my ways but still cant add a photo or the post I had for today so it will be posted next time.

The Marines are doing very well along with the Iraqi’s who are gradually coming up to speed and taking things on themselves. Throughout our travels and as a light at the end of the tunnel begins to appear you come to forget some of the basic things you might take for granted back in the states. Besides the obvious, running water, cars and economic structure that allow you to buy anything you want just about anytime of the day, you forget about what’s it like to do the basic things that use to be common practice. Hot water in the shower is a nice thing. Radio stations, TV other than DVDs and FOX news and some crazy Haji station. Having not to decide what you’re going to wear because you’ve worn the exact same color all year, something out of an Einstein story as he would always wear the same clothes so he could eliminate that problem of his day. Yes wearing blue jeans and shoes other than the slipper formed combat boot may be a shocker. Traffic lights, adjacent traffic, cars besides armored hummers, crowded places and all with out a gun or two or close air support clearing your way??

Going out to dinner with the family and friends. Not being at work 24/7 from 0600 to whenever and working weekends and holidays. Holidays? What are those when you’re in a combat zone?? Interaction with people who aren’t readily trying to kill you and no immediate threat of indirect fire or trash on the road covering IEDs. No more “situations” as the major situations back home might be a flat tire or a car wreck………..but not an impeding sniper picking off warriors downtown or the small arms fighting just off base. No I anticipate what it will be like to go out for dinner and sit among people not in body armor, with weapons and couple day sweat worn camies on. To eat with metal utensils and have real glass of real milk. To not have constant dirt, dust, pollution, burning shitters or the otherwise in the air as your daily fragrance.

To live in a house, not a semi trailer and acquaintance myself with a real bathroom and not a shoe box disguised as a port a john. Try climbing in a port a john with combat gear on. For the love of god don’t drop any gear down that hole and don’t mind the shrapnel holes in the side of the cozy crapper either. Doing my laundry in a house and learning how to use money and its denominations again. To see my family and have a BBQ with American meat. To watch TV on the same time frame as the rest of America and not have to stay up to 0200 to watch a Sunday morning football game.

How I will miss the ever constant low fly over of helo gunships, aerial reconnaissance aircraft, jets and occasional mortar, RPG and small arms rounds. Tracers through the sky and warning sirens. The many flys trying to get you’re your mouth and the rat that thinks my sleeping bag is a good place to give birth. Our melted and burnt TV and mattress ( we will miss it so), walking to the head in shower shoes and having Haji attack. Of course how will we adjust without having sand everywhere, under and atop everything and in all cracks? The need to use boxes sent to you to send out your own packages and filling out the hundred lined customs form. The many uses of an ammo can from cigar humidor to useful furniture. Hitting golf balls over the Euphrates river and seeing the FOX news reporters (ladies) and thinking “that’s what American women look like” I think. Donning the ever loving body armor in the 120 degree weather, sweating until salt forms on your clothes and you see Elvis streaking across the Iraqi road as you are crammed into a reinforced hummer. Drinking the tasty bottled water out of the UAE shipped through several Arab country’s to us in another Arab country……….does that make sense??

Being in Iraq is like being in Hawaii. You are stuck on a base (an island) and if you go into the waters you might get attacked. But here everything is crap brown and Hawaii, well it’s the totally opposite of crap brown. Yes, the frequent shock wave created by incoming and out going that you feel in your chest will never be replaced back home but at least the Iraqi’s are gradually coming up to speed and taking things on themselves.

Burning a stoag for all of you
Semper Fi
Capt B

Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 4th Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army Division spearheaded their second independent operation yesterday. Iraqi soldiers led a security presence and sweeping operation today in the village of Subiyhat to clear the area of insurgents and interact with the populace. Subiyhat is a small village located in rural, eastern Al Anbar Province, home to more than 2,000 citizens in the vicinity of Fallujah. Operation Tawakalna Ala Allah, (Trust in God) was the unit’s second battalion-sized operation in the Al Anbar Province planned and conducted by the 1st Battalion, 4th Brigade leadership. Marines from 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team – 8 assisted in the operation by providing security on the outer perimeter. The operation resulted in the detention of four suspected insurgents and enhanced relations between the citizens of Subiyhat and the Iraqi Army. “I want the people in this area to understand that we are here for their protection and we are here to stay,” said Col. Najim Abdullah Menahi Salmon, commanding officer, 1st Battalion, 4th Brigade. “I am very proud of the way my soldiers operated today…our mission was a success.” The operation involved three Iraqi army companies from the 1st Battalion, 4th Brigade which patrolled the village. Two additional Marine companies from 1st Battalion manned the outer security cordon. The primary goals for the Iraqi soldiers were to meet with locals and search for illegal weapons. They also distributed leaflets with the battalion’s tips line phone number so residents can report insurgent activity. In addition, the soldiers passed out several dozen Iraqi national flags while interacting with the villagers. “The national flags are popular because it gives the people pride to receive the Iraqi flag from the soldiers of the Iraqi army,” Najim said. “I plan to build on our success today and increase these types of operations in the future.” The Marine commander supporting the operation also considered the day’s efforts a success. “My number one priority during this deployment is to facilitate the development of the Iraqi army capabilities,” said Lt. Col. David J. Furness, commanding officer, 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment. “The more [the Iraqi Army] operates, the more confident they become in their abilities, and the more eager they become to assume responsibility for security.” Iraq’s 1st Battalion, 4th Brigade assumed their current battle space from the U.S Marine’s 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment Feb. 1. This operation was the next step in the progression of this unit gaining complete operational independence in this area of operations, Furness said.The 1st Battalion, 4th Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army Division is partnered with Regimental Combat Team 8, under the II Marine Expeditionary Force (Fwd) in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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