21 January 2008 (CAMP TAJI, IRAQ)

Today’s patrol around 14th Ramadan went as planned.

We conducted a dismounted patrol through the area surrounding 14th Ramadan. We were looking to find out what roads were passable by Stryker, and we were happy to find that nearly all of them are wide enough for us to use. We walked through a lot of fields while we were out there too and ended up in some pretty sloppy mud.

I really haven’t decided what to think about these CLCs. We stopped and talked with them and their leaders today. They complained that they haven’t been paid in over two months, and they are considering quitting. If they bail, I think we will start getting hit with IEDs out here quite a bit.

I handed some candy out to a couple little girls today. Some boys, who were probably about 10 years old, came up to me and started in with the, “Mista, give me…”

I looked at them and said, “I’m not giving you shit, unless you say please.”

One of them said, “Mista, please, you give me” So I gave him some candy. I’ll teach these little fuckers some manners before I leave here.

I definitely think that I am getting too old for this job. My body is aching. My shoulders hurt from the weight of my gear, and I can barely stand and walk because of the pain in my feet. I don’t know what is wrong or what to do about it, but if I’m off of my feet for any amount of time, it’s excruciating to try to get up and walk. My arches feel as if they are tearing. I have to brace myself on something and hobble around for a few minutes, before the pain eases up enough that I can walk normally. It doesn’t ever stop hurting, it just hurts less.

We got back in from patrol just before 3 P.M. I got some food and went to sleep.

Sgt. Taaga talked with his wife today. She was upset and told him that the Family Readiness Group (FRG) told the wives that the brigade lost a soldier. Theresa isn’t in Hawaii, where the FRG is, so I wonder if she has heard. I haven’t said anything to her about it.

JT 21 Jan 2008

Me in the Stryker

SGT Taaga

Sgt. Taaga in the gunner’s hatch


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