No more roleplayers
When we got mobilized in Ft.hood, we got trained up on a lot of stuff, most notably and obviously how to react to and respond to IEDs. I couldn’t even go into detail into the training because of the nature of the threat and the battlefield out there is ever changing. The enemy watches us, they videotape the attacks and ambushes and watch how we respond to them, and they change their tatics. And thus we change ours. So there is no permanent way we deal with the enemy. But during our training in ft. hood we had civilians dressed as, ‘Haji’. ‘haji’ is the name we give all Muslims. Its very similar to a catch all word for the people here. The local food here is ‘hajji’ food, what the men wear , we call ‘haji man dress’, the pirated movies we buy from ‘hajji’ , For those that don’t know, the Haj is a spiritual pilgrimage Muslims go on to visit Mecca or Medina. And when a Muslim makes the pilgrimage I think they are called hajis. But we call them all Hajis. Some people think its offensive, for me it’s just convenient. But I haven’t had a lot of contact with them or spoken to them, though they are everywhere on base. They do a lot of things I wouldn’t want to do, like clean the portable latrines and other menial labor stuff, like digging holes or filling sand bags. Back in ft. hood when we trained we had civilians dress in ‘haji’ wear and pretend to be Iraqis, some were acting as innocent civilians and some were dressed as civilians but were acting as the enemy with bomb vests and other weapons. I got so used to training with roleplayers that when I got here and I saw a real Iraqi with the haji headwear on I went up to him and , was like, whats up and than I realized it wasn’t a roleplayer and this wasn’t a training are in texas.
We just got the word that some of us are going outside the wire. This term means we are leaving the base. I’m not, but there was 3 hours where I was unsure if I was going to go. I can’t go into detail on the mission for obvious reasons but it gave me a big knot in my stomach thinking about it. My close friend is on the convoy and the thought of bad things happening to him keep crossing my mind. I feel terrible thinking it, he has a wife and a kid. I couldn’t even imagine coming back from a deployment with that experience. I volunteered my arm so he could give me an IV and practice his CLS, combat lifesaver skills. I know I am going to worry the whole time they are outside the wire. Especially now when the enemy has IEDs that can blast through the armor of a tank. Its pretty scary, especially when the threat is something like a roadside explosion. How can you fight that? I realized my dog tags are wrong, they have the wrong blood type on them, which obviously would be bad news if something happened, so I had the sobering experience of marking my blood type on the top of my combat boots. I know a few soldiers will actually tattoo a dog tag on their abdomen. , just in case. We also have our blood type as a Velcro patch. We also wear Velcro tabs with our blood types on them. Of course we have Sgt. Majors on this post who have nothing better to do than to nitpick at soldiers on how their uniform is worn. All in the name of uniformity and discipline but most of these sgt majors aren’t leaving the wire and they got nothing else to do on post. When you are downrange you quickly lose respect for those clowns. We have young privates and specialists outside the wire getting blown up and shot up and when they come back to base they have to deal with a sgt major with a stick up his ass who thinks his war contribution is to make sure that your patch is within a millimeter of the correct spot. Awesome.
Though I do want to dismiss to you the rumor that Starbucks does not support the military. I know there was an email going around that stated such. Starbucks sent our little office enough coffee for 2 years, and hopefully we will never have need to use it. Though, I do want to point out something important. There is a difference between supporting US troops and supporting the war. I know most of you can see the difference, so I encourage you to support companies that support the troops. So go ahead and drink your starbucks, I still think its overpriced coffee but I think paying more than 50 cents for coffee is insane anyways. Don’t even get me started on the yuppfication of dunkin’ doghnuts. Okay… I will. At one point it was a place wear a blue collar worker could get a coffee and a breakfast sandwich for 2.49 now it seems to cater to wall street types and people who like different flavor coffees , like vanilla _mocha broccoli or something. But I notice dunkin’ coffee is more of an east coast thing. It’s the simple things you miss.
Speaking of missing, I still have a f’ed up relationship with Shari, for you knew people I just emailed. Shari is a girl I met about 3 months before deployment.. the first few dates were alright, mostly nervous energy on my part made it hard for us to be comfortable. Hell, even on our sixth date I was still had the first date jitters. I think because I like her so much and I was so nervous I was going to do something to fuck it up. But once we got comfortable with eachother it was amazing and magical and all that wonderful stuff. I never clicked with someone like that before, I was happy, it was a feeling that was for so long absent in my life. It was like flood in the desert, it made this bleak soul feel alive again, that there was things to live for, to be excited about the next day, to wish that day would never end. We went on road trips had amazing fun awesome times. Than my deployment came up. Honestly I tried to push her away. I didn’t want her to stick around for me. I think it was low self esteem. But with the advice of my friends I gave in and agreed to stay together with Shari. It wouldn’t be hard for me, because I would be half way around the world surrounded by guys. For her, young vibrant and so attractive. It would be very hard. Well, within a week of me leaving we broke it off, it might have been mutual in the beginning, because she was hysterically crying everytime we spoke on the phone. And I said something I regret, and I hope I don’t regret for the rest of my life. I told her I couldn’t handle her crying to me everyday and focus on the mission in Iraq. I realize now what a cold thing that is to say. In many ways I didn’t want her to go through hysterical fits of crying everyday. After seven days away from her it became clear to me that she was the person I wan to spend the rest of my life with. And I let her slip through my fingers. That the love of my life is gone, and she won’t respond to my emails. I wonder how much love means to me? Is it not enough that I let her get away from me, should I have literally shot myself in the foot to stay, got injured, what cost pain when there is love. I don’t know. But right now its 1:30 am in Bagdad and I am in one of Sadams personal guest houses, feels like millions of miles away from her. The thing is, everyday for the last month I wonder if its her birthday today. I don’t know if I ever asked or if I was to plain dumb and inconsiderate to remember. Everyday I think today might be her birthday, its driving me crazy. Crazy enough that I emailed her asking me it, even telling her to lie to me if she didn’t feel comfortable telling the truth. The last I heard of her voice she said that she was surprised that she didn’t feel bad anymore and that she realized she didn’t love me anymore. I think that was her way of putting up a protective wall. She had said she wanted a clean break. Not to remember me. Anyways that is my relationship. I am madly in love with someone who refuses to talk to me. There is nothing to get over. It would be like someone asking you never to step outside in the sun again. I couldn’t and I can’t do this. So tonight I wonder if its her birthday.
So I got that to preoccupy my time. I wonder if she thinks of me when I am thinking of her. I wonder what I would be doing back in the states, it makes you think, what life have I lived, has it been meaningful, if it ended today and a mortar round landed on our postion. What have I not said, I don’t even know if I know myself well enough to know yet what I have yet to say.
Well with that cluster f*#k I say goodnight from bagdad iraq. …. Yea that’s small arms fire in the distant. And you thought you had bad neigbors.
1 thought on “Letters from Iraq #3”
Hey bud, very moving reading your letter to this ex Army man. You definitley have a way with words.
A thought about your girl. I would send her a copy of your letter if I had her email address. Just a thought, thinking the way your bared your soul and feelings to the world might ring her bell.
Not sure how this thing works but if you need anything mailed, hit me back.