We did another dismounted patrol this morning. We walked up to Route Tennessee, the road that the OP was on. As we passed through the streets, we hung massive vinyl wanted posters. I’d actually call them banners. They were probably 5 x 7 feet.
The rest of the day, and the next day was business as usual. We did patrols, watched the patrol base perimeter, and sweat through our uniforms.
On the 8th, we took a female journalist from the Washington Post on patrol. We hated having the media around, but it was interesting to see how the Iraqis responded to her. Women smiled at her, while the boys and young men stared.
The patrol was uneventful; although, we did find some anti-coalition graffiti. Someone had spray painted a man firing an RPG at a Stryker on a wall.
When we returned to the patrol base, the Iraqi Army was setting up a MEDCAP (Medical Civic Action Program) There was a ton of press in the area for that. Thankfully, the Iraqi soldiers were taking care of most of it, so we didn’t have to jump through hoops to make it happen.
I had to laugh at the CO. I swear he told this reporter his whole life story. He carried her bag for her, talked about where he was from and why he joined the army. I think I stopped listening when he said, “I’m a cowboy at heart.”
He’s been busy writing his change of command speech, which seems like something the higher-ups should be concerned about given our current location. At one point, he asked if he could refer to my son, Jacob, as a “holy terror.” Jacob could be a terror sometimes, but he hadn’t ever been a problem the few times he’d been around the unit with me. I wasn’t sure what Jacob had to do with his change of command speech, and it kind of annoyed me. I’m sure he was just playing around, so I’m not even sure why it bothered me. Maybe it’s just that I haven’t seen Jacob for 5 months already.
Later on the 8th, we moved back out to the OP. I read Kiss the Girls between guard shifts.
I called Theresa, and she told me that she’d received a letter from Major General Hammond. It said I’d been decorated and something about courage under fire. I suppose we’d all been under fire a few times by this point, and we’d all done our jobs. I figured it was just a silly form letter, but it felt good for Theresa to hear a little about what I’ve done here, from someone other than me or the wives of other soldiers in my unit. Really, the general doesn’t know a damn thing about me, but it was still nice to get recognition in front of her.