17 February 2008 (ON PATROL)

We left Camp Taji at 0800 this morning, headed for 14th Ramadan again. People there seem to like us. The kids come out and walk with us, and people usually wave or say hello.

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Bridges was walking around with a squad of kids behind him. He was giving them hand and arm signals, and they were mirroring his actions. By the time we were done, they would halt, take a knee, and face out all from hand and arm signals. When it was time to move, they would pick up and move. It was kind of funny to watch.

As we left 14th Ramadan, we headed southeast to an area we have not yet been to. We stopped and walked through a couple of areas, and at one point I took Bobby Gene, Almazan, and SGT Taaga. Taaga. This was Taaga’s second deployment to Iraq, so he wasn’t new, but I think he was tired of being couped up in the truck. He seemed thrilled to be on the ground, and he was rambling in Arabic to every kid that came up.

SGT Taaga Dismounted Southwest of Ramadan

SGT Taaga on the ground.

One of the kids came up and asked me for my watch.

“I only have 1,” I said.

“But I have no watch. You give me,” he said.

“If I give you; I’ll have none.”

The boy laughed and gave me a look like, You got me. He gave me two thumbs up and moved along.

After checking a couple of new places out, we got back into our vehicles and moved toward Sheikh Jamal Village and Tal Tasa. While moving through Tal Tasa we got another call about a possible weapons cache. We went where Dragon Mike sent us, and we found nothing and no one. Eventually, we gave up and started toward Camp Taji again.

On the way back, Alleman asked our interpreter, “George,” if there were movie stars in Iraq.

“Of course,” George said, “I am George Clooney.”

We all laughed about that. Each interpreter chooses his own nickname, mostly because they want to hide their identities and protect their families.



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