Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

We were awakened by the phone ringing at 6:30 am Sunday. In hopes that it was Lcpl Tyler calling from Iraq, I jumped out of bed and answered. It was him, calling on a satellite phone at 5:30 pm Iraq time. He has been there about 2 weeks, and the last time we heard from him was a day or two after he got there and he did not sound well. Seems he had an upper respiratory infection and a bad case of jet lag, But this time he sounded great. We spoke for about 30 minutes, which was amazing as most phone calls are 10 minutes exactly because so many guys are waiting to use the phone. There was a lot of good news. He's well now, and has been made a Fire Team Leader. There is not much happening in terms of the insurgency, only a couple of IEDs which they found before they blew up, a very small weapons cache, and some "shots fired" which occasioned their squad to take a "Firm Position" in a building which had a locked metal door, which the Lcpl promptly blew apart with his shotgun (I just love that sort of thing). After his last deployment (9 marines were killed in action in the first month) we are very happy that things are calm. The people out near the Syrian border are living normal lives, free from terrorist threats and restrictions, and for the most part are cooperating with the marines. The children love the marines. The future of Iraq is being established in places like this by the US Marines.

Here is a link to a great article about the place Tyler is and what the Marines of 3/6 did to make it a better place for 1/7 and the Iraqis who live there.

The bad news in that living conditions are not so great. Camp ******, the Firm Base for 1/7 Baker company, is a fairly nice base, with many of the comforts of home. But most of the marines are not in Camp ******, but in "Battle Positions" in town. The Battle positions were set up after Operation Steel Curtain, and are there to establish the Iraqi Army as the dominant force. A platoon of marines lives with a platoon of Iraqi Army soldiers, and they do everything together. They have running water, which is hot when the town has power. They can send their laundry to the Firm Base by way of CAAT (can you imagine that.........Combined Anti Armor Teams........Humvees fitted with the deadliest of rockets, machine guns, grenade launchers, and marines.........being used as laundry delivery service?)




but it's uncertain as to whether you'll get your socks back or not.............Mom, Please send socks and underwear!" They are supposed to get one hot meal a day, also delivered by CAAT, but often they don't arrive, so it's MREs or care package dinners. The marines also have no access to computers, and very limited access to phones, making old fashioned mail the main source of communicating this deployment.

Then theres the ugly. The Lcpl said is growing a mustache. Imagine this mug with a thin red line under the nose and you'll see what I mean.



Actually, it might look pretty good

3 Comments:

At 10:21 AM, Anonymous Karen said...

Great post (as usual)! Loved the photos, too. I will keep this young man, his family, and all of our heroes in my prayers. If his unit needs carfe packages or letters (I know some troops don't get any) I hope you'll let us know.

 
At 2:53 PM, Anonymous Sandy said...

Thanks for the excellent post...and for the link to the article too... it is great to hear real life stories of the positive impact our military is having in Iraq...I wish the MSM would run some of those kind of stories instead of the usual negativity !!

We will keep your son and his unit in our prayers. YES... please let us know if we can send letters and care packages to them too!!

 
At 9:27 PM, Blogger senorlechero said...

Karen and Sandy, thank you for your prayers and support. Tyler gets plenty of care packages, but we're sure there are other guys who don't.

E-mail me at serfbaja@sbcglobal.net and I'll e-mail you the contact info for his platoon Sgt. You can send anything you want to him and he'll distribute it to guys who need it.

God bless you both

 

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