Saturday, August 15, 2009


So I have a myriad of stories to tell you from the last month in Iraq, so I'll release them as I have time to type them up.

The last month before we left, we had to make room for our incoming replacements, so we had to vacate our three-man CHUs (Containerized Housing Units, which were boxcars with a door and linoleum flooring) in favor of wooden C-huts approximately three times as big that we managed to fit 30 guys into. If you do real quick math, that means we fit 10 times as many guys in a space 3 times as big. The room as 40' X 30' equaling 1200 square feet divided by 30 guys, meaning 40 square feet per guy... the equivalent to having 8' x 5' of my own personal space. And I had to fit a bed in there.

Also, we had two trailer bathrooms with 8 stalls a piece for 500+ guys to share. That means a big stinky overused undertoiletpapered mess you sometimes had to wait to use to relieve yourself.

So we affectionately called it Auschwitz. And every morning as I'd wake up and hit my face on the exceedingly short bunk above me, and take a big whiff of the smell of men's body oder that had a suspicious dill fragrance, I'd think about how grateful I was to be going home soon.

Well, a problem with living in such close quarters is that people have a tendency to get sick. Especially when you introduce a large group of people from another country. Well, when our replacement unit from Mississippi showed up, our guys started going down with a horrible illness. The warmed into a fever, nausea, massive full body cramps. We had 8 guys in one C-hut that were sick. Soon, it jumped into the my C-hut and two of the guys in my hut got sick.

Our medics took one of the sicker specimens down to the Troop Medical Clinic for evaluation, and they diagnosed him with "the Flu."

Some how that turned into "THE FLU."

And soon, everyone was talking about how Bravo Company had "Swine Flu."

So, an order came out from my First Sergeant that I had to round up everyone in the company who had THE FLU and take them to the TMC for evaluation.

So anyone who had a cough, sneeze, or diarrhea within the last month went into my notebook and down to the TMC.

All but three of the guys in my company were cleared as not having THE FLU.

But later that night, the Camp head Medical Officer decided that it would be better to be safe than sorry, so we were ordered to take anyone who had gone to the TMC for evaluation to be mass exodused (can you use that as a verb?) to a different C-hut for quarantine.

Nearly fifty guys attempted to fit into a C-hut with the max capacity for thirty before they figured out that we didn't have enough room for them all and had to split one of the healthy C-huts into a "sick half and unsick half" to fit the rest.

Unfortunately, because I had gone down to the TMC with all of these soldiers, and conscientiously had gotten FLU tested, I too was quarantined. And as we made our exodus to the other C-hut, I warned the guys that if they tried to force us all to take off our jewelry and force us into the showers together, that we should run away. (I'm not making light of Auschwitz, I'm merely trying to point out in a really silly frustrating situation, that it's actually not that bad.)

But it wasn't so bad. They started bringing us food. And they quarantined one of those to toilet trailers. So 50 of us were sharing one, and the other 450 guys were sharing the other. That was honestly quite pleasant for a night.

The next day, they figured out that the vast majority of us were not actually sick. And only the 8 Soldiers who were genuinely sick were kept there.

So that's my Auschwitz story.

I'm an American!

Well, Friends. I'm an American again. And I really like it.

Some of the things that we have:

1) Beautiful climate. Whether you like sunny, rainy, desert, trees, wind, hot, city or farmland, America's got it.

2) Freedom. I can talk about what I want wherever I want. I can believe what I want, and talk about what I believe. I can protect myself from bad people, and I'm allowed to publish my opinions about any of those things without harassment.

3) I can go running down the street with my iPod in and my shirt off.

Please, please, enjoy your freedom today. There are a lot of people who have given up a lot of things to give it to you. So don't sit in your house and forget today. Do something just because you're free to do it.