December 18, 2008

From the Front: 12/18/2008

News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

In their own words:
Back In the Army Now (at 54): Real Physical Therapy Begins Today - After three weeks of range of motion and stretching exercises, I started today doing strengthening exercises--rowing motion, arm exercise bike, resistance bands, small weights, and other exercises to begin to build my weak shoulder back up. Most of the exercises felt good. But the last one was a simple elbow lift lying on my back with a four-pound weight. Joe the Therapist (no relation to Joe the Plumber) said to do 15. By 12 I was in serious pain. And my shoulder was stationary. At that moment I remembered why PT is so important. The therapists know every muscle and can isolate and strengthen specific muscles. Every time I have had therapy, that has meant there are some exercises with little or no weight that seem like nothing and hurt like blazes. (READ MORE)

Bad Dogs and Such: You miss some things - when you're hanging out here. News, for one. Oh, I was aware that someone had thrown some shoes at President Bush. But I wasn't really aware that it was any kind of big deal. Until I was sitting, with one other soldier, in a meeting. And suddenly noticed something other than the normal traffic sounds. Something more like...several hundred people shouting in the street outside the building (they were, incidentally, the Free The Shoe Hurler faction). Hey, New Sergeant, I suggested as quietly as I could. Why don't you stick your head out in the hall, make contact with one of our security dudes and make sure we're cool? Did I mention this was New Sergeant's first mission? (READ MORE)

Dena Yllescas: Settling in - There's not a lot to report right now. I'm trying to get settled at my brother's house. I'm so grateful to them for letting us stay with them. It helps us out so much. Today one of the liasons we had in Germany who was from Ft Riley came and visited me. He gave me an awesome picture of his unit when they were in Baghdad and had the guys in the unit sign a card for us. That was so nice of him to drive all the way from Ft Riley just to give that to me. Thanks, Sgt Schroeder! I'm still working out all the details of all the things I have to change over and do since Rob passed away. I'm sure this will be an ongoing thing for awhile. I was never one for paperwork but I guess I better get used to it! Tuesday is my 30th birthday (yikes, I can't believe I'm THAT OLD!!) and my mother in law and mom have done something special for me. We're getting massages and the little girls (not Eva of course) are getting "princess" manicures. (READ MORE)

Mud Puppy: Oops It's Not Gatorade, And Don't You Just Hate It When You Are Getting Shot At And Your Car Won't Start... - Tuesday, December 16, 2008 1822 hrs - So it’s been awhile since I last wrote anything. Probably a good thing, because if the books I have been getting from my dear mother are any indication my use of the English language is offensive in the extreme. So bearing that in mind why don't we just continue on butchering it. C'mon it'll be fun. First let me tell you the stories behind the title of this post. Number one is "Oops, its not Gatorade” Which could be a very disturbing story if you have ever been on a long road trip where you haven't stopped for any "constitutionals" for a long time. But that isn't what happened. Here is what happened. (READ MORE)

Fearless 1st Marines’ blog: Marines drawing down in Iraq - KARMAH, Iraq – Marines with Task Force 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, and other Coalition forces are making operational adjustments. In the wake of the decrease in violence tied to the improvements in the Iraqi Security Forces and governance, Marines have started pulling back. In al Anbar Province, Marines have already begun demilitarizing and realigning operating posts and increasing operational area with fewer Marines, as Iraqi Security Forces continue to step forward and gain control. (READ MORE)

Fearless 1st Marines’ blog: From refugee to Marine - KARMAH, Iraq – Very few Marines have experienced war outside their duties working for Uncle Sam. Not Cpl. Bajro Buzaljko, a 21-year-old ammunition technician from Utica, N.Y., with Task Force 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1. As Bosnia erupted into civil war in the early ‘90’s, Buzaljko’s mixed Muslim-Catholic family’s life in Stolac was shattered. His father and uncle were placed in a Croatian concentration camp, leaving his mother alone to care for Buzaljko and his baby brother. (READ MORE)

Fearless 1st Marines’ blog: Barbecue a morale booster for Marines in Iraq - FALLUJAH, Iraq – There is nothing like a backyard barbecue to take your mind off the daily grind of fighting terrorism. That was the shared sentiment of Marines with Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1 during their unit barbecue at Camp Baharia, Iraq, Dec. 7. Leaders with the company organized the event to build camaraderie and to afford the Marines some relaxation time. The unit arrived to Iraq from Camp Pendleton, Calif., in early October and is nearing the halfway mark in the deployment. (READ MORE)

MAJ Daneker - My Point of View: Ready...Aim...Fire! - Did you know that the 211th MPAD is filled with some excellent dancers? Well, that's what I thought anyway after I saw many of them dancing around in line, waiting their turn to get their Christmas present from Uncle Sam...a little white plastic bottle. We did a required urinalysis today. Always fun! The funny part is that everyone always starts slamming back water, soda, coffee, or juice once they realize that they are being held captive in a small, stuffy room until they give the required product for testing, no matter how long it takes. The problem is that once you fill the bottle, there's still much much more liquid left inside your body. I had to go to the bathroom again before I even turned in my full bottle. And the need to pee continues throughout the day because basically your eyeballs were floating. (READ MORE)

Notes from Iraq: 17DEC08--SOI Pay, Again - For the next few days, my team will travel to different SOI pay locations in order to supervise. We are helping work through issues with some that are not paid, but make no mistake this is completely an Iraqi operation. While we were visiting an Iraqi base, a stream of Iraqis sought medical attention from our team medic. On the one hand, I understand that they need medical attention just like we all do at times; my heart goes out to them. On the other hand, they have their own medical system, and it is important that they use it and that it expands. We will visit other bases over the next few days. (READ MORE)

Pink's War: Bah Humbug - I can't wait for the holidays to be over with. I've never been one to get all excited about Christmas. Halloween, yes, I love Halloween. Skulls, costumes, scary movies, eerie music, I love everything about Halloween. But Christmas? I get all bah humbug around this time of year. I have a hard enough time getting into the spirit of things for the kids. But, I indulge the kids a little. Just because I don't get into the Christmas spirit doesn't mean I'm going to tell the kids they can't. This year, however, I was looking forward into not having to do a damn thing. No decorating, no boring parties, no endless baking of Christmas cookies. I thought maybe I'd actually enjoy Christmas this year. Boy was I wrong. (READ MORE)

Zen Traveller: A Terrible Thing - This was not good. We returned from a task and were driving through our neighborhood. Up ahead were several local security guys standing in the street observing a handful of guys in white lab coats running around. As we approached I could see the "lab coats" holding clear plastic bags of raw meat in their gloved hands and were feeding it to the very enthusiastic neighborhood dogs. The twenty of so dogs and their recent puppies were devouring the meat as fast as it could be handed out. This is the Iraqi method of keeping the street dog population down. Each piece of meat was laced with poison, most likely designed to cause massive internal bleeding within the dogs, killing them all within hours. It's an image that will live with me for years, ten-week old puppies sitting in the dirt gnawing gleefully on pieces of raw meat as we drove past. (READ MORE)

Michael Yon: The Clinic - In Iraq, there were always a few journalists who would see signs for humanitarian projects like this clinic, translated into to English, and would wax cynical, claiming that it was just propaganda to mask the uglier side of the occupation. I've heard people say things like "This is just for the cameras and the journalists who will devour lies.” Of course, if these signs were not translated into English, an equally cynical person might say, “Look, they aren’t even smart enough to translate the signs into English. How do you expect people to know about the good things you're doing?” Not that it matters what language signs are printed in Afghanistan: most people in Zabul Province cannot read any language. The government estimates that the literacy rate is, more or less, 15%. Not that they have any real way of measuring. It could be lower. And that is why the schools that are being built by foreigners are the most important thing happening in the country. (READ MORE)

News from the Front:
Coalition, ISF capture six suspected terrorists in Mosul - MOSUL, Iraq – Coalition forces and Iraqi Security Forces captured six suspected terrorists during two raids in Mosul, Dec.16-17. On Dec. 16, at approximately 10 p.m., Soldiers from 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment detained four suspected terrorists in the Musharrifa neighborhood. (READ MORE)

Coalition forces disrupt AQI networks, capture four wanted men - BAGHDAD – Four wanted men are among 12 suspected terrorists detained by Coalition forces during operations to disrupt al-Qaeda in Iraq activities Wednesday and Thursday. The terrorist organization’s command and control nodes were also targeted by Coalition forces during recent operations. Wednesday evening in Tikrit, 160 km north of Baghdad, an alleged AQI military cell leader was captured along with one of his associates. (READ MORE)

American Embassy Welcomes GE-Government of Iraq Energy Agreement - The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad welcomed the recently announced contract agreement between the Government of Iraq and General Electric Co. for the provision of power generation equipment and attendant services to the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity. Under the agreement, GE Energy will provide gas turbines capable of supplying 7,000 megawatts of electricity. (READ MORE)

IA soldiers seize weapons cache north of Baghdad - BAGHDAD - IA soldiers serving with the 4th Battalion, 36th Brigade, 9th Iraqi Army Division, seized a cache that included 133 57 mm rockets, a 120 mm mortar system, a 60 mm mortar system, two 120 mm rockets, a 107 mm rocket, two mortar sights, a rocket propelled grenade launcher, eight RPG rounds two rifles, a flare gun, four machine guns, 12 AK-47 magazines, 24 hand grenades, 30 flare rounds, two bags of assorted ammunition, and an assortment of improvised explosive device components. (READ MORE)

Lithuanian armed forces conclude mission in Iraq - BAGHDAD – The Lithuanian armed forces contingent officially brought its mission in Iraq to a close Dec. 16 during a ceremony at Al Faw Palace. The Lithuanians have provided an infantry platoon and multiple staff officers in support of Multi-National Force – Iraq, Multi-National Corps – Iraq, Multi-National, Division – South East and Multi-National Division – Central South since 2003. (READ MORE)

MND-B Soldiers detain suspected criminal in Ghazaliyah - BAGHDAD – At approximately 11:50 a.m. Dec. 15 in the Ghazaliyah community, Soldiers from Headquarters Troop, 5th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, detained an individual suspected of participating in recent grenade attacks against Coalition forces. The suspect, an adult male, was dropped off at the front gate of Joint Security Station Ghazaliyah 1 by his parents. (READ MORE)

ISOF kill three, capture 4 suspected criminals during operation in Baghdad - BAGHDAD – Iraqi Special Operations Forces took hostile fire during an operation northwest of Baghdad Dec. 17, killing three of the assailants. In addition, four suspected criminals were captured, believed to responsible for attacking Coalition forces and Iraqi government officials. At the site, several weapons were also seized, along with bullet-proof vests, homemade explosives, suspect electronics, identification cards and other documents. (READ MORE)

Bawi Water Pump, Filter Facility Opens in Salman Pak - BAGHDAD — Local Iraqi leaders and Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers held a reopening ceremony for the Bawi water pump and filter facility in Salman Pak, Dec. 13. This water facility has the ability to provide water to almost all of the major areas of the Mada’in Qada and many of the minor areas too. (READ MORE)

No comments: