28 January 2008 (ON PATROL)

We went to 14th Ramadan today. LT Schardt and AB met with Sheikh Thamer and a couple of other guys in the back of my Stryker. They gave us, what seems like, some decent intelligence. Unfortunately, I’d be willing to bet that another platoon or company will get to act on it.

About half way through their meeting, Crapenter started snoring in the driver’s hatch. AB and LT Schardt are pissed. He is being counseled (the army’s version of being written up), and he is also being given a curfew. They think that if he goes to bed earlier, he won’t be so tired. I’m not sure it’ll really make a difference. We are all tired, all the time.

Today’s visit with the CLCs was actually kind of fun. They kept the kids away, for the most part, and we just talked and joked with them. It’s pretty amazing; everywhere I have deployed, that has been a language barrier, but we are always able to work around it somehow. We were cracking jokes on each other and teasing the kids, and we were all laughing and having a good time.

I think that the CLCs felt bad for me. I showed them a photo of Jacob and I together, and one of the guys pointed and said, “America?”.

I shook my head yes, and the look on his face changed. To me, his faced looked like he was thinking, Damn; that sucks. I don’t know how you can do it. Maybe I imagined it, because that’s how I feel most days.

As we continued talking, one of them asked, “What you work, America?”

I told him that I’m a soldier, but he didn’t seem to understand. Maybe he doesn’t get that we have a standing army even when we aren’t at war. Maybe he has only interacted with reservists or guard guys. I don’t know.

The power on all of Camp Taji went down today, and still hasn’t come back on. The guys are all bitching about it. It makes me think of my first deployment, when we didn’t have power. We had an old green canvas GP Medium tent with some plywood thrown down for a floor. We had a gas stove in the middle of the tent for heat. It ran off of an upside down 5 gallon fuel can that was propped on a tripod just outside the tent. During the days, we rolled up the sides to allow fresh air and light to come in. At night, we had flashlights and chem lights.

Oh, there are the lights again. Power is back, so everyone can get back to their Hajji DVDs and Xbox games. There are sirens all over the place though, so I’m wondering if a generator caught on fire or something. The fire department is definitely headed somewhere.

SFC Arambula cut my hair today. It really doesn’t look too bad. The front is a little shorter than I like it, but he does a good job with fading it. He kept talking about how fine my hair is. I have been noticing that myself lately. I hope it’s just finer and not getting thinner.

I got to talk with Theresa earlier tonight. She was making the drive from over to Indianapolis for training for work. I worry about her being on the road by herself, but I’m sure that she’ll be fine.alked to Theresa earlier tonight.  She was making the drive to Indianapolis for training.  I worry about her being on the road by herself, but I’m sure that she’ll be fine.

More later…

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