Monday, March 06, 2006

The more things change...

The more they stay the same.

The days are more and more a like since there was a big mission change for us. Since then, there really hasn't been much demand for my skills beyond the usual IT disruptions. Even then, DOIM (I mean Big Brother still manages to keep me in middle man status.

Lately, DOIM has decided to shut down our ability to use "unmanaged" (non-Cisco) switches on the network. Apparently, some regulation, somewhere states they are unacceptable. Well, we're in Iraq and my battalion lacks the funding (and desire) to purchase these devices. So, the past month or so has been spent applying more and more band-aids to a much larger problem.

A couple days back, a fiber line truck showed up - soldiers from "some other unit" started running fiber through sewage ducts and into our buildings. The NCOIC came by telling me it'd be a short while until the switches showed up. So, my month of ductape solutions and prayers will soon be replaced by the required (cisco) equipment.

I think it's a conspiracy and I also believe this is just another reflection of how long the US will be running operations. People out there, in spite of what you hear at home, this place is going to become another Korea or Germany.

Seriously Officer, I Fell

So we have mandatory runs and they aren't a formal thing. I was running the other day and in an attempt to cut a concrete corner, I managed to slip on gravel. The slip became a full out fall. I recovered and noticed that my fall managed to impact a pebble (or rock) the size of my pinkie finger nail into my shin.

I immediately fished the rock out of my leg, checked the wound for other bits of rubble, hopped back up, and finished my 3 miler.

After completing the run, I jogged to our CP looking for a medical kit to sterilize my wound. Someone coughed up iodine and after a couple minutes of applying that to my leg, another soldier drove me out to the TMC for more 'professional' care.

The wise cracking nurse dumped peroxide and some other cleaning solvents into my wound, he applied gauze and tape. Told me to return if it became infected.

So, my driver and I returned to the CP and I went to my room for a little relaxation.

It took about 1 day for the pain to settle in and now I'm over the majority of the pain. I think it's healing up nicely, and I should be able to make it back on the road ways soon.

This isn't the first time I've crashed and burned running and from the looks of it, not the last. Some soldiers out here cracked a couple jokes at my expense:

"Sir, you know it's going to take more than that to get your medical leave back to Germany!"

"So I take it sir, that you'll be putting in for the Close Action Badge now?"

All I could really respond with was,

"Well an LN (local national) was looking at me funny. So, I think I can get some mileage off that...then again, I should probably omit that he asked if I needed help from the report."

Bad Joke, I Know

All lameness aside, the "Ground Hog" day effect is in play here. My arabic studies continue to be fruitful, as are my gre preparations, the reading i've been tackling ('Lords of Discipline' is excellent! As was 'Make Love! The Bruce Campbell Way'), still fiddling with the occasional video game and dvd movie - mostly save those for particularly slow nights. I've also continued my software development hobby - making a lot of progress in graduate-degree-style work.


I was on my way to the gym awhile back and a strange siren went off. I wasn't on army turf and it was an alarm that I wasn't used to hearing. I dashed across the pallet side-walk and into the gym-tent that was a good 25 feet from my position.

As I moved into the tent, I noticed airmen and soldiers sprawled under weight lifting equipment. Civilians behind desks and wash towel carts.

A man managing the gym told everyone to stop and take cover.

We were in position for about an hour and a half. During this time, some people became fed up and walked out the tent as others slapped on head phones and rocked the time away.

Someone mentioned to me that the incoming fire impacted some 2 blocks from the gym I was sprawled out in. I thought that was strange because the usual thud and vibration that follow a "danger close" round were never present.

I guess I'm luckly and missed it.

Eventually, the "all clear sounded". I started up my work out and walked back to my trailer. Seems like an insignificant story to me, but it probably explains best how things work out this way.

This is the command post...

Before I break until the next post, I'll have to relay one more story. I'm a bit suprised this one almost slipped my mind.

I was going to the gym the other day (post fall) and started hearing the warbling charlie brown voice over the loud speakers positioned around out FOB.

"Attention FOB...blah blah blah blah blah"

Was about the most I could make of it. I continued my journey to the gym, did some upper body work and on my way back, I recall hearing the same message,

"Attention FOB...blah blah blah blah blah A Positive blah"

I thought about it for a bit and figured it must have been a call for A Positive blood. I mean that's the only thing that could make sense! The FOB is low on blood, holy crap! I need to high tail my booty to the dining facility (it's Lent, I'm Catholic, and I'm fasting), grab a quick bite to eat and haul butt to our TOC!

I dashed (as much as one can) through the DFAC and grabbed some choice fruits (bananna and apple) and a sandwich.

I made my way quickly to my TOC. The "Incoming message from the Big Giant Head" (for all you 3rd Rock from the Sun fans) repeated, this time with a new voice,

"Attention FOB all soldiers and air men with A Positive Blood that are willing to donate, please go to the nearest medical facility. I say again..."

It took about an hour to hear a clear message about this need, and I jogged back (wincing) to my TOC and requested a ride.

The NCOIC told me that they had called the medical office and the need for my blood was no longer an issue - yet the incoming messages continued to emplore personnel that wanted to donate to hurry it up.

We were confused and started with more phone calls and emails. Within 10 minutes we confirmed that the hospital no longer needed blood and after another 50 minutes the incoming messages had started to relay that the demand for blood was no longer a big deal.

That was a downer for me. Everytime I had gone to the hospital to take other people or for my check ups, I have overheard doctors prepping their areas to care for incoming iraqis and soldiers.

So, I'm going to explore blood donation more on post now, and may try to make a regular effort to donate. There are people here that have a true need for my small contribution.

That's all I have for now, I'll continue the good word and take care everyone.



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