Sunday, October 26, 2008

Boots on the Ground

If the Army can schedule an event at 3am, they will, preferentially. Something about "the earlier the better".

Things moved rather quickly the last 24 hours. Our platoon was notified of an opening in the air-window out of Ali Al Saleem airbase - by 7pm that night we were packed and the tent swept out. Buses took us to the airbase where we waited for a C17 flight into Baghdad International Airport (a.k.a. "BIAP").

After some fitful sleeping in the waiting area, we hustled up the on-ramp in full body armor, and roughly an hour later, we landed at the main Baghdad airport, formerly known as "Sadaam International". Now it is a sprawling way-station for military, diplomats, contractors, foreign visitors, pretty much anyone who comes into Iraq from around the world.

I've seen all sorts of soldiers here: British, Australian, Moldovan, Albanian, Dutch, etc. One forgets how large the coalition is. Of course, the Americans occupy all the dangerous areas.

Recent rains have turned everything muddy - that special Iraq mud that is one part clay, one part quicksand. Vets know what I'm talking about. Everything is dirty. It rains mud here in the spring and fall. No wonder these people are pissed off.

A welcome addition to the billeting tents are WiFi routers. It cost me $26.50 for a week of service, which so far is quite fast. My bank won't let me access their website though - something about their security firewall blocking an Iraqi IP address. Can't say I blame them.

Two of my guys (McGarry and Choi) get to stay here at Camp Liberty to accomplish driver's training for the new MRAP vehicles. I'm taking a Blackhawk helicopter later to another base for some other stuff I can't really mention right now.

So now I'm in Iraq, officially and inextricably. From Day 1 of my mobilization orders, that took exactly 58 days, or just about 2 months. However I am still not doing the actual Army job I was trained for. I'll let you know when I am.

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