20 January 2008 (CAMP TAJI, IRAQ)

Today, January 20th, is a recovery and preparation day. I’m not sure exactly what’s on our agenda for tomorrow, but I’m assuming we will go to 14th Ramadan. We’ve been planning that patrol for a few days now, and something has come up every time. It has become a joke now, that this patrol is not meant to happen. My soldiers have started joking that if we ever actually do manage to head out for the planned patrol around 14th Ramadan, they aren’t going.

On a different note, Theresa was offered the General Manager position at the Tuscola Old Navy store. I’m excited for her, and I’m so proud of her.

UPDATE:

Tomorrow, we will go to have a look around the 14th Ramadan area. It sounds like we are going to be out there quite a bit. Actually, I think that we are going to be in that area nearly every day for the rest of the month. Those dirt roads make me a little nervous, because it would be easy to bury IEDs out there. Fighting force-on-force with these guys wouldn’t be a big deal at all, but IEDs freak me out a little. One minute you’re there and fine, and the next you’re blown to hell. No warning. No fight. No chance. There is no skill and no training that will beat them. It’s all about being in the right place at the right time. If you are the unlucky one, well, that’s it.

I keep thinking that I need to write “If you’re reading this…” letters. Some guys say it’s bad luck to write them. They say the same thing about wearing a dog tag in our boot laces or writing our blood type on our shirts and boots. Mine is B+, by the way.

Boots.jpg

I’m not really superstitious, but I’m not going to sit here and tell lies; I’m afraid to write those letters. I’m also afraid of missing the chance to say goodbye. I want to write letters for Theresa, Jacob, my parents, my brother, and Curtis. I could sit and write page after page for all of them.

I need Theresa to know how much I love her, and how I feel about us and all that we’ve been there. Some things I wish I could have done differently, while other things I wouldn’t ever want to change. I want her to know everything that I should have said, but never did.

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There are so many things that I need to tell Jacob too. He won’t understand until he is older, but he needs to know that I cared. He needs to know that saying goodbye to him, this time, was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I want to give him advice, and I want him to know who I am. I want him to believe that I would have been a great dad, if I don’t make it home.

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I need to thank my parents and Curtis for everything that they have done for me.

I think I could probably spend days writing all of these letters and never get them quite right. How do you write something to be remembered by? How do you make sure that your final words are perfect?

If I do write them, will it be bad luck?

I don’t know.

I got word today, that my R&R is scheduled for October. That’s great news! I might be home for Jacob’s 4th birthday. Maybe I’m being a little ridiculous, but sometimes I wonder if I’ll survive that long.

As I’m writing this, I’m realizing that down time is a bad thing. I’ve had way too much time today, to sit around and think about shit.

I’m sitting thinking about getting blown up and not watching my son grow up. I’m worried about Theresa out celebrating her new job with my best friend. Nothing would ever happen, but it’s hard to keep thoughts like that from creeping into my mind on days like today. It reminds me of watching a horror flick. You watch it, and it’s just a movie, but then you psych yourself out when you turn the lights off. Even when you know it’s ridiculous, you can’t shake the feeling that something is there.

I should try to go to bed, but I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep tonight.

SP (start point) for tomorrow’s patrol is at 0900.

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