Saturday, June 28, 2008


you are very missed

Friday, June 27, 2008

thanks are in order

last night i recieved some mail from my cousin Bryan and his huge family in Indiana. thank you so much for all the goodies. The pictures and cards that the kids wrote and drew are now hanging on my wall above my bed. The coffee is wonderful and had a cup this morning. Let all the kids know that my Platoon and the children of Iraq say thanks for the candy.
The other day we were out on patrol and stopping by different houses to drop off generators. The mother of a child asked if i could look and see if i could help at all. i dont think i was prepared for what i was about to see. The child was brought out and set on the floor laying down, completely limp, i was told that the little girl was 10 years old and doesnt eat anything just liquids. It looked as if the little girl had spinal meningitis, the girls muscles were in complete atrophy because of the complete inability to grow muscle and inability to move. Malnourishment and a hard working heart was all that this child had. there was nothing i could do. it was absolutly heart breaking. The little girl had been living like that for 10 years not sure if it was spinal meningitis but it looked similar. im no doctor. then the Iraqi commander asked if i could look at two other children 3 houses down as a favor to them. i agreed and walked in on a brother and sister with what looked like severe Autism. the little girl was completly incapasatated and the brother showed little movement. again i could not do anything to help. This is a bi-product from cross breeding of the families...a tradition from the olden days when it was common place for incest. just the way they did things back in the day... we left and i didnt say much for the rest of the day. It took a toll on me seeing kids like that... its never easy.
We went on patrol a few hours ago in incredable heat. If you want to know what Iraq feels like put a blow dryer in front of your face or open the oven when its cooking...its horrible heat and it really hasnt gotten to its full potential yet. Temps are expected to hit mid to high 130's...crazy i know. we took a quick rest in a house today to get out of the heat and the temp inside this house was 121 degrees. i never knew i could sweat that much.
Things are going ok here not too much to talk about. lots of patrols a day for me lately about 3 or 4 is average...not too much to report ill have some pics up here soon. Take care everyone

Saturday, June 21, 2008

It was a weird feeling from the start

before you start reading...a warning, this is our life...this is the beast of iraq...some days nothing, one day...something.

As we started our patrol at 0100 or 1am we walked though our area of operation and things seemed out of place. I couldnt tell you exactly what it was but it just didnt feel right. we moved down alley after alley hinding and moving in the shadows. there was a strange feeling of being watched. We moved down another alley way and stoped at a main road. one team had to run across and pull overwatch as the next team moved across the road. the first team went and when they were in position across the road i looked back and saw that the following team was looking at something. on the second story there were two men looking at us and then ducking their heads down. night vision is an amazing thing...we were able to see every movement. they poked their heads out again and were met with a red laser pointed at their heads. needless to say we didnt see them again. our team scrambled across the street and pulled over watch for the third and final team to cross. the first team then started moving down another alley, we were going home. As soon as i got up and started moving shots rang out. we all quickly found cover and returned fire. Then we moved up a parallel wall and bounded as teams of two ran to a bigger building by the main road. as soon as they were set the other two went. When i got over to the bigger building there were only 4 more guys to get over to us. And as soon as they did we saw men in the alleyway facing us with weapons. An entire Gun team opened fire on this alley way, destroying cars and buildings with high volumes of fire and high explosive 40mm grenades. 6 grenades were fired almost instantly and men were running through mag after mag. our vehicles were at the scene now and were opening fire with large caliber machine guns supressing fire while we mounted up. the whole ordeal lasted only about 10 minutes but we managed to go through nearly 1000 rounds of rifle ammo and 6 High explosive grenades. muzzle flashes were seen from several different locations and lead each one of us to believe that they were waiting for us. Those two men on the rooftop...did they give us away, did they call ahead? gunships were on standby and in the area looking for targets for their hellfire missles to strike. There was no more movement. we moved back through the area twice since a few hours ago and found nothing...just mangled cars and buildings. this city has its high points and low points... the children are smiling durring the day but at any moment things can change. i write this here because its important you understand what were doing here. its important to know that were still here. I started this to give friends and family an accurate portrayel of what its really like over here.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

hey everybody

hey everybody,

things have been ok out here lately. its getting really hot now...i dont even care to look at a thermomater. Not too much going on here. a few updates though... my december leave is now up in the air...because of the dust storms no birds can fly...therefore those people dont leave on time for their leave so it pushes everyone back one day...we have had 10 days of red air. so that would push me back to december 18th now...bullshit i know. so we will have to wait and see if this gets moved around to try to fix the problem... im as lost as you are in this situation. in other news ive heard that we push past the wall in december so that should be fun haha. Ive decided on becoming a flight medic when i get out of iraq. its something that i can make alot of money with in the private sector and something that i would be very happy with... ill drop my packet and go to school for 4 weeks then be a medic on a medivac cool. i feel a little relieved that i finally made up my mind. This way ill be able to have some sort of life back home...well heres some random pics from our patrols...not too much going on so ill give some background on the pics.

This is Stalher. hes our grenadier, and AG (assistant gunner) he carrys all the ammo for our big gun that another guy carrys. the little kid in the forground is Lenny...well we actually dont know his name so we just called him Lenny. he didnt say much but for about 15 minutes he was Staff Sgt Richwien's best friend (pic above Stalher)

The girl in the green dress was so intrigued by my camera... she didnt move or anything. usally the women in this country arnt as welcoming of photography as the boys are. but i thought this turned out pretty good

As we were questioning some people on the street SGT Consintine was moving around to get a better position for security. SGT Consintine is one of our team leaders

And well this was me crammed into the bradley while delivering 3 generators to people's business' that were affected by the combat going on

Sunday, June 8, 2008

lost in thoughts

The days at cop Comanche leave a lot of time to think about the coming days and years. A lot of us here have been questioning the things that we want to do with the rest of our lives and careers. Its started to play a lot in my head as well. Where do I go from here? There’s a few options for me and each one seems great but I just don’t know which way I want to go. I had a conversation with my best friend Christie not too long ago about similar problems while facing decisions in the pathways of life. I think she said It best. When there are so many different ways that you can go I wish someone would just choose for me. I have 2 years left in my contract with the army. My dream has always been to become an 18delta or special forces medic. That has been my aspiration since day one but there’s so many factors that play into the special forces career. If I work my ass off and am selected then that will be my career until I retire. I know I wouldn’t want to do anything else. it’s a lot of work but that’s not what makes me apprehensive in the matter. I know that if I put my mind to something I wont fail. But it also means that I wont be able to have a stable life for quite some time. The operational tempo is on the higher end. Having that “special someone” is pretty much out of the question. I would want to focus on everything that I needed to learn. I’m already missing my friends and family a lot. I don’t know if I want to commit my life to the army just yet. I’m only 23 years old. I got a lot ahead of me. Then there’s the opportunity of becoming a flight medic for a medivac helicopter. Its something that has interested me ever since I saw mercy air (flight medics) land at a car crash we responded to. It fascinates me. Every time I see a helicopter in the sky I act like some damn 6 year old at an air show. The opportunity that I could work as a civilian on a medivac bird after I got out of the military is very high. And they make very good money. Or there’s the option of getting out and going to paramedic school with my G.I. bill money. And continuing with the firefighter/paramedic route. I’m already a certified firefighter. And with 4 years as infantry line medic with wartime experience counts for something. But with such a competitive job market who knows what that counts for anymore. Being hired on as a firefighter/paramedic has been a goal of mine since I was young. My only problem is feeling accomplished in everything I complete. I’ve worked my ass off for the things that I have to show. I’m proud of all I’ve accomplished but I never feel like its enough. I never truly feel accomplished. I’m always looking forward and looking for the next challenge

but oh well heres some more pics for your new gear come in the other day and i got my bedding finally...I have a pillow! whoot! no more sleeping on my laundry bag

today i mounted a bayonet on my rifle haha completely pointless but it still looks cool ahhaa

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

the kids in sadr city

I swear there has got to be more kids than in this city then ive ever seen before in my on patrol we made the best of out time by playing around and chasing the kids. it was a blast. thought id share some pics. daily life around here is not so bad besides the heat. 122 degrees in full gear is begining to suck...just waiting till 135degrees. We BBQ'd tonight. it was awesome. we had a first platoon cookout.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

pics and more!

well heres some pics of the trash stash... and our good friend the barret .50 cal sniper 1500 yards it will punch a softball size hole in you... good stuff... and the other image is the view through our acog scope. Things are slow here and days are passing by quickly. have fun everyone and ill talk to ya soon