Wednesday, March 28, 2007


I recently changed to a new command. I have been working for a command that has been in Iraq for quite a few months. I now work for a command that has been in Iraq about 1 week now. Things with my previous command were very stable; daily activities were pretty well set. Now, it's as if all hell has broken loose. My new command is attempting to establish themselves in theater and get to a point of daily operations quickly. All in all, this has been somewhat comical to experience. For example, standing up the my daily work operations requires certain things: telephone, computer, chair, desk, pen, pencil and paper. None of which they seem to have brought with them to provide me. So, as I receive multiple questions pertaining to my job and its relation to their operations, I find it funny that I have no way of providing said information to them. As much as I profess this issue to them...they just don't get it. I've resorted to sarcasm. In fact today, I was asked a question about a specific system that I work with. My response: "Hummm...let me go sit in my chair at my desk, log-on to my computer, write the answer down and I'll give it to you.....OH WAIT! I don't have any of those items. Huh...couldn't tell you, then." As caddy and infantile as it sounds, I think they finally got the picture. As of this posting, I now have a desk to work at...and a computer is on the way. Funny how things work out.

On another funny note. The Army just doesn't get "callsigns". Remember mine is Barbie. Callsigns are very common in the Aviation I don't even think twice about it. So as I introduce myself to my Army counterparts as "Barbie". I always get a quizzical look...then I have to explain my background. The one group of folks in the Army that seem to think callsigns are great...are interestingly enough the Generals. In the last 3 days, I've met two different Generals and have introduced myself with my callsign. After hearing the background story...they think it's great. I even tell them that my wife refers to me as Barbie quite often...or Super Stud...which ever one she deems necessary at the time. Actually Super Stud isn't usually what she calls me...sometimes more derogatory. :o) She's a tough woman to impress...I've had my work cut out for a long time.

Anyways, time keeps marching on here. The days are actually going by quickly. That is a very good thing. I've included a pic on this post. The larger building in the back is the building where my desk is located. Luckily, I get to get out to other locations around the area for my job...which helps my sanity.

R, K & G...I love you guys. Miss you. Could you send my Super Stud uniform policy is in effect.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


I had a little time to take some photographs today. So I headed out in my trusty "war machine". You guys black suburban NTV. Oh by the way...I renamed her. It's "War Pig" now. Seemed appropriate after the trouble she's given me lately; flat tire, ran out of windshield washer, no speakers, only 3 seats, etc., etc., etc. Also, I happened to be listening to Black Sabbath the other day...and of course, I heard the song "War Pigs". So there it is. OH and did I mention; driving through a parking lot the other day, I (War Pig) got pelted with shrapnel (special self-destructing rounds for large special weapon) from a machine gun system...and get was one of OURS. That's a whole other story; best left for another day. Don't worry, no damage at all; but I did have to go change my underwear and this time it wasn't the lunchtime curry.

Anyways, back to photos. I cruised around looking for some neat things to photo. Found them! Snapped about 10 or 15 pictures. Of course, it wasn't until after I had taken said photos that I saw the inconvenient little sign that I posted above.

So what's a good Naval Officer to do? I pondered the options: Go tell on myself and possibly have my camera confiscated or worse...have to go see "The Man". Or act like I didn't see the damn sign and move along smartly.

Being an upstanding Naval Officer and Aviator, I took the obvious choice. I hauled ass. I was driving War Pig like I had just stolen her. She didn't fail me this time...was a scene right out of "Gone in 60 Seconds". Well, now not only is the CIA looking for me...but probably CID (Criminal Investigative Service). No worries, I made myself a fake moustache from some camel hair...I should be okay.

R, K and G...I miss you terribly. Send Bail Money...I may need it.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


I have a few comments to my blogs lately that I'll address today. One, I received from family in Oklahoma really made my day. I have to tell you, getting email, letters, packages and even comments on my blog supporting the efforts here are really uplifting. So, J,M and T...thank you immensely. And yes, I do have AC in my dog kennel...thank goodness! Please tell everyone I said, "Hello and I'm doing fine." R, K and G are really taking care of me!

Brendon, from Fresno, CA had a question for me in his comment. I'm not too sure about what the scope of your question actually is Brendon. But I'll give it my best shot. He asked, "Why would they issue me a vehicle?" So, the simple explanation: Brendon, imagine, if you will, sitting at the Elephant Bar up on Blackstone sipping a martini. Then you decide that you need to head down to the Tower District for a little late night extravaganza. Well, you wouldn't want to you'd need a vehicle. Same thing here. In the execution of my job over here...I have to travel to multiple sites on my camp. Therefore I need transportation. Yep, I'm very familiar with Fresno, CA.

So for today's title...The other day I was eating dinner at a chow hall at another camp; and sitting at a table near me was a group of interesting guys. I can only describe the group of about 6 guys as looking like over-muscled homeless guys. All 6 had full beards; were wearing "tactical" civilian clothes (not military uniforms) and were all packing some serious weaponry. When I say serious weaponry; they weren't carrying standard government issue pistols. They all had some very expensive pistols and ultra-tactical gear. Now, just the fact that they all had beards made them out-of-place. Add the fact that each had arms the size of my waist and were wearing "civvies" told me immediately what "line of work" they were in. Whether they were Special Forces, CIA, Blackwater or any other crazy ass group that I don't intend on pissing off in my life is irrelevant. It just struck me as odd to see this group of guys sitting in the chow hall, eating a peaceful dinner and attempting not to stick out. Of course one can't help but notice them. After giving thought to the whole world that these kind of guys operate in and having seen them in operation in the past...I'm very glad we have folks like that in the world...and I'm glad they are on our side.

The fellas in this line of work are involved in some extremely dangerous missions and very, very rarely get any public recognition for it. And they like it that way. Seems odd to most folks...but it makes perfect sense. First, they wouldn't want to be recognized publicly and compromised. Secondly, they don't need public opinion to bolster the gratification for what they do. Like I said before, I'm glad they are on our side. I think long term strategic success in this theater can be a "make or break" on the successful completion of what these guys do for us...namely, "the things we don't like to speak of". Anyways, having met quite a few of these type folks has been an awesome honor and learning experience for me. My wife tells me that "I live, eat and sleep airplanes and flying". But as much as I annoy her with the Military Channel all the time...I can only imagine what these guys' loved ones put up with.

Well, before I say too much and one these guys sneaks into my trailer tonight and kills me with a q-tip....I better go. I've added a picture that has no relevancy to today's post. It's one of the palaces that I wrote about earlier. This one is the Al Faw palace.

R, K and G...I love and miss you guys. If the CIA calls, tell them I'm busy and will call them back. :o)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


After quite a few requests for updates on the Chuck Norris toilet, I made a special trip there today. Of course it was merely for recon purposes...couldn't have had anything to do with the curry that I had for lunch. EWWWWWW, he's gross! Shut up. Anyways, cynicism is rampant...bear with me. So, for some of the latest Chuck Norris inputs: Chuck counted to infinity twice! Chuck doesn't sleep....he waits! Chuck kicked someone once and broke the speed of sound with his foot! And the last one that I can remember from today's recon: They make Body Armor from Chuck's dead skin! Oh and according to one "poster"...Chuck has fathered all of our children. Not sure about that one...if so...we all need to talk with our wives and Chuck.

On a separate note: I was "issued" what is known as an NTV a few days ago. NTV stands for non-tactical vehicle. Leave it to the Army to make up an acronym for something they could have just called a "truck" or "car". They issued me a black suburban. Which is cool...I don't have to walk everywhere now. The guy that issued it to me told me that it was a "Frankenstein NTV". He further explained that it had sustained some damage in the past and they had pieced it back together. It runs great, only has 3 seats in it (don't ask), but the radio didn't work. And yes we do receive some radio stations...mainly Armed Forces Radio, but we also receive a feed from England. They have some pretty good tunes; plus the cool Brit accent.

Anyways, the lack of radio perplexed me. So, being the industrious guy that I am...I investigated. First off, the radio actually came on; showing the stations and all the numbers and stuff...but there was absolutely no sound...none...not even static. At first I thought a fuse might be the culprit. Then I thought...if the fuse was popped, the radio wouldn't work at all. Then it dawned on me....I took a flashlight and looked into the little grills in the doors....Yep!! You guessed it...NO friggin speakers. Not a single one. So I went back to the maintenance yard and question them about it. By the way, all the maintenance on the NTVs is done by TCNs (third country nationals). After trying to valiantly burst through the language barrier and explain what I needed....I gave up. Not to worry...I'll reattack at a later date. I headed over to my trailer to drop some papers off...parked my sturdy war machine...went to my trailer...had another visit from the lunchtime curry...and headed back outside to my waiting NTV.

Well the picture above speaks volumes...yet another way the man is trying to keep me down.

R, K and G I love and miss you. Please send a Tagalog, Urdu, Farsi, Indian and Arab interpreter, so I can get something done in this damn country.

Monday, March 12, 2007


As I walked to the "chow hall" today, I remarked to a friend how much the winds had been picking up lately. He's been here almost a full year. He told me that the winds usually pick up around this time every year...and pretty much blow constantly through the spring. Then, of course, as the 120 degree heat invades during summer; the winds stop. Well, that's a damn happy thought. You would think the winds would be welcome...they are not. Imagine if you will dumping about 20 bags of all-purpose flour on your kitchen floor. Then take an everyday electric fan; placing it at one end of the room and turning it on "high". Yep, that's what it's like. The sand over here is not like the sand most of you have experienced at the beach. It is very fine; almost like talcum powder. So what you get when you combine the wind and the very fine a painful existence. This is about the time of the year all the sand storms another interesting experience that I'm sure to write about soon.

With the blowing sand, I noticed how much the landscape reminds me of pictures I'd seen from the moon landings. Generally flat...with some small hills and barren for the most part. You see a few trees here and there...but they look like they are hanging on for dear life. Apparently south of where I'm located, the landscape is lush and palm groves abound. That area lies between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The rivers have split near Baghdad and primarily we have small tributaries of those rivers. I think I would like to see the area to the may change my attitude about this country. Also, in the north the landscape is mountainous and beautiful. That's what was explained to me by one of the Iraqi interpreters here. He was an interesting ethnic Kurd who had lived here until around 1995. He then left with some of his family and moved to the United States. Then about 4 years ago he came back to Iraq to work with the U.S. military. He expressed how much he loved his homeland and believed in what the U.S. is doing. He stated, "that he wanted to come back here and help." And so he's been here 4 years now. With that being said he was very adamant about some day leaving and going back to the United States. Apparently he loves our do I...if he leaves here before I do, maybe he'll pack me into one of his bags.

I posted a picture that gives you an idea of the landscape I see everyday. The picture was taken from in front of where I live.

R, K and G...I love and miss you. Please send my spacesuit and a lunar rover.

Saturday, March 10, 2007


Yesterday morning, I awoke bright and early with the intent of heading over to the gym for a good workout. Recently, I've been running or riding my bicycle in the mornings. But yesterday I decided to hit the weights. The gym is about 1/3 of a mile from my trailer. So, the run over would have been a great warm-up followed by some lifting. I was planning on a chest and triceps day...and sprinkle in a little calf workout. Let me just say, "The intent was there."

My first attempt ended about 300 yards from my trailer. As I merrily walked along, I remembered that I forgot to lock my trailer. Dang it; I scurried back to my trailer and locked the door. Whewwww....disaster averted.

My second attempt...yep you guessed it...a failure. This time I actually got within 100 yards of the gym. As I waited to cross one of the main roads on our camp to the gym, I realized that I had forgotten my weapon. "Oh F*&k, you've got to be stroking me!!"...I think those were my exact words. Number one; going anywhere without a weapon over just bad head work. Number two; it's a military regulation over here. On top of all that, I'm actually issued two weapons; a 9MM pistol and a M-16 rifle. You would think I could have remembered one of those. So, at a fast pace, I hustled back to my trailer.

The third try...complete and utter disaster. I made it about half way before I realized that I had forgotten my reflective belt. I had taken it off to put on my pistol holster during my second return to my trailer. The whole reflective belt thing is yet another Army regulation put in place to screw with my life. It basically states that if you are wearing workout clothes, you WILL be wearing a reflective belt. So, dejected, I ran back to my trailer for my reflective belt. There were a few choice mumblings that I won't repeat here.

Once I made it back to the trailer, drenched in sweat....I gave up. I was a broken man. To hell with it. I got in the shower, put on my uniform and trudged to work. As I "stewed" about the morning's gym catastrophe, I realized 3 trips back and forth worked out to be a run of a little over a mile. I guess things weren't as bad as I thought. I think I'll try for the gym again tomorrow. I hope I don't forget something really important, like my shorts or shirt. That would be embarrassing. Wish me luck.

R, K and G..I love and miss, I'm senile now!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007


I thought I'd give my two cents worth on waging this war today. I don't in any way profess to have the answers to managing Iraq politically or strategically. Nor do I have an opinion about how our leadership is handling the guys thought you'd catch me stepping on my crank, didn't you?!?!

As a working family man in America, I take pride in being able to support and provide for my family. With that responsibility, comes the daily endeavor that we call a career. For the sake of this discussion I will leave out the moral and emotional responsibilities of being a husband and father. Those are far more important than the financial support role...but are not a point of my discussion. I'm going to get an earfull about this from my wife...but I'll survive.

In Iraq, the majority of the working age males are unemployed. And as most of you know; in the Muslim culture, family is the one of the keystones of life. Now consider if you were sitting at home all day without a means to support your family financially and watched those effects on your life and the life of your wife and would that effect you mentally. I know that I would probably be pissed off and frustrated. And who would you be pissed off at? I'm guessing the easy "blame" Iraq that equates to the U.S. We shut down their industry and either closed or destroyed alot of the workplaces. In the big scope of was the correct thing to do to meet our strategic goals in Iraq. Three years after the fact and many, many unemployed adult males later...we wonder why we are seeing such a growing insurgency. I would like to see some of the state industry of this country be reopened and put some folks back to work. Hell, I don't care what they are producing; could be widgets...who cares...but at least they are working. Work means money; Money means food on the table; Food on the table means happy families; Happy families means proud, happy Men and finally Proud, happy Iraqi men means less attacks on American servicemembers.

That may be a very simplistic way of looking at things. And yes, there is alot more involved...such as religion, culture, yada yada. But it's a start. The notion that pride as an Iraqi will drive these folks into spontaneously starting a new government and developing western laws and ways....well, may be a little overly ambitious...for now. I think proof of this can be found anywhere in America. Find an area riddled by unemployment and you find destitution and crime at its highest rates. "People are people"at the core, whether they are American, Chinese or Iraqi and personal pride in the ability to give an adequate quality of life to your family crosses all cultural borders.

Now don't think ole Barbie has gone "tree-hugging" all of a sudden. If one of these wacky Iraqis comes at me with aggression on his mind...I'm NOT going to offer him a bologna sandwich or a 5 dollar bill. I'll definitely be offering the business end of my M-16....I plan on going back to my flying career, supporting MY family and eating at my dinner table one day soon.

R, K and G...Love you...have dinner ready when I get home :o)

Sunday, March 4, 2007


Ahhh, beautiful Baghdad in the winter. Hot, dry and dirty...just the way I like it....or something like that. So, I've had the opportunity to see a couple of Saddam's old palaces and man, he lived in style. The first was the Al Faw palace, which we now use as a military work area...funny now that I think about it; ALL of the palaces I've seen are military work areas. Interesting.

The second palace is known as the Perfume Palace. The perfume part of it came from the fact that this is where Saddam and his boys housed their female playthings...concubines...okay, i'll just say it; Their whores. Very luxurious about a quandry for these women; Live in the lap of luxury and have to service these jackasses OR Refuse and have your head cut off. I don't know....choices aren't the best no matter what.

The third palace is one that was owned by one of Saddam's sons. During the initial air campaign, it didn't fare so well against a few 2000lb bombs. Looks like it would have been a gorgeous place though. It is sickening to thing this is how they lived, while the majority of the people starved.

I made that same statement to a friend of mine the other day while standing in front of the Al Faw palace. By the way, he's a Prowler ECMO...but still a good guy. He retorted, "Happens like that in the U.S. as well." You know what; he's right...just seems more audacious out here. I told him that "maybe we should have taken these palaces and given them directly to the people of Iraq instead of using them for our own service". He didn't neccessarily agree with me and after thinking for a moment...I didn't agree with myself either. I followed up my previous statement with, "Yeah, you're right...if we gave the Iraqi people this type of place for there own use; they would not have a clue of what to do with...sorta like a Beverly Hillbilly's Syndrome". You guys remember, the Beverly Hillbillies were super poor, then became super rich and the way they lived in their mansion was completely comical. Such as calling the pool a concrete pond...and keeping a still (moonshine making apparatus) in the house. Anyways, you guys get the picture...oh yeah, that statement is copyrighted by me now. I get kickbacks if anyone uses it, okay.

I'll go for now...but my next post will be my ramblings on how to win this war or at tiddly winks; I can't remember which one my notes are written for...stay tuned.

R, K and G....I love and miss you.