24 March 2008 (JSS ROWAD, IRAQ)

Like the previous night, the overnight tower checks didn’t go so well. Midnight was the last time anyone checked the towers.

Today was more of the same. We were bored. 1SG was stressed out and bitching at everyone. CPT Veath came out to check on things, and he and 1SG got into it about something.

LTC Boccardi showed up this afternoon. He came walking into the room we’ve been staying in and asked what we’d like to talk about. It was Jimmy, Leo, LT Schardt, AB, 1SG, CPT Veath, and I all kind of looked around, but no one said anything. Then I noticed that everyone was staring at me.

Finally, LT Schardt asked about SOIs. The battalion commander said, “We are paying them not to blow us up.”

After that, I made some comments about how terrible the Iraqi soldiers are. “I’d rather serve with some Call of Duty veterans,” I said.

He agreed with me that the level of training they have received is not good enough. He said that they are working to change that.

Bushmaster JSS 6Later in the afternoon, some of us took turns knocking down a brick wall with a sledge hammer. We got a good part of it down, and then we pulled more of it down with a HMMWV. CPT Veath and I were standing inside the building when they pulled the first section down. I didn’t really think to much about it until chunks of cement from the roof started falling. We didn’t get hit, but we got the hell out of that room.

I cooked dinner for everyone again. Another platoon arrived from Taji just as I was pulling the first round of meat off the grill. They didn’t even have all their gear off yet, and they were already snatching up food.

Our soldiers got some goody bags from the battalion commander. They came from high school students near White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. The letters from students are funny to read sometimes. They write as if we have no connection with the outside world, aside from their letters. Getting mail is great though, and kids’ letters are always appreciated. I try to write back to as many of them as I can. They should know that we received their packages, and that they are appreciated.

After dinner, we sat out bullshitting. It was the same group of guys that LTC Boccardi had been talking to earlier in the day: Jimmy, Leo, LT Schardt, AB, CPT Veath, 1SG Angulo, and me. We were talking about clubs, bars, strip clubs, barracks rats, and some of the crazy and sick things we have seen joes do in the barracks. It always makes for a good laugh, and it’s even better when LT Schardt is appalled at the things we are talking about.

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