Hey all. Sorry for the absence..... pretty much I overreacted to the no insurance got run into deal. The damage really isn't that bad, and the girl that did it is making $700/mo to cover the $2100 or so damage estimate.
Meanwhile a letter from my friend at the front. This time I thought I'd post the entire letter, to help give some perspective and also to help us not to forget what others are going through on a daily basis for us:
Hello to all my friends,
Just wanted to give you an update on life in the Middle East. It'* hot!! Did I tell you that last time? Ha ha. We have been reading in the news that the country is getting hit by a heat wave of 100 degree weather. Over here we haven't been below 110 degrees for two months! The other day I was at the Kuwait/Iraq border and the big thermometer was reading 135. My son Gregg asked me what that feels like, and I told him if you went outside in the heat, and put a blow dryer on high right in your face you would get a good idea. Through in a handful of sand to get the gritty taste in your mouth and you'd get the full effect.
Well I guess the last time I sent out an email was the end of May so here was my life in the last month and a half.... After I got back here to Kuwait from a week in Baghdad and Balad Iraq, during the first part of June they sent me off to Bagram, Afghanistan for 3 days and Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan for 4 days. They have been finding so many grenades, weapons etc. leaving Afghanistan that they are looking to set up pre-clearance Customs inspections like we do down here in Iraq and Kuwait.
After getting back to Kuwait work went on full tilt. It is pretty amazing how many soldiers/sailors/airman/marines and their equipment is flowing in and out of here. Saw an estimate the other day that there are as many as 5 million pieces of equipment over here. Anyone who thinks that we will be pulling out of Iraq in the next 10 years is really fooling themselves. I have the opportunity to talk to a lot of military guys over here, and it confounds us how the politicians think that we can pull out in a short time. 95% of these people are good people and are happy we are here. The Iraqis are starting to commit credible numbers to the Army and Security Forces and contrary to the U.*. media (it really is funny to watch CNN or FOX News) the death rate is way down. One Sunni insurgent group has even switched over and is scouting for the U.*. (got to meet one in our convoy, rough looking guy)! We just need to cut out that other 5%. Anyway enough of that.
I spent most of the rest of June here in Kuwait. Got a chance to get off in to Kuwait City for a day and tour the Grand Mosque and the Kuwaiti towers, and then went to Qatar on a 4-day R&R pass! Had a good time. Hadn't really realized how keyed up I was. Took a tour of the Doha, Qatar and got to see the different souks (markets) where they sell everything from gold to fruits and vegetables, hunting falcons to camels milk (tried it, yellow and really thick). Swam in the Persian (or Arabian depending on who you talk to) Gulf and took an evening of Salsa dancing lessons (so I can keep up with my daughter Kara when I get back).
Got back from there, spent a day here in Kuwait and flew out to Al Fajarah, United Arab Emirates to spend two days to train Army Customs Inspectors. We fly most everywhere on C-130 or C-17'* sitting on the cargo nets. When we were flying back the pilot came on and said they were going to practice their combat maneuvers. Did a 2 1/2 G bank that sucked my head down to my knees! Had an Army Paratrooper with us that got a big chuckle out of that. Got back yesterday and should be here in Kuwait for about 3 weeks before I have to head back up to Iraq. Next month I am scheduled for trips to Djibouti, Africa and back to Kyrgyzstan.
We are having a big "Half Way" party this week to celebrate being "over-the-hump" on the deployment. Many of my/our sailors are getting tired. We are starting to see some discipline problems and "illnesses" cropping up. These are the times when I really earn those big Senior Chief bucks (ya right, ha ha!).
As you can see my days stay busy with work, 10 - 12 hours 6 days a week. I take most of Sunday off (although I usually have to come in for 3 - 4 hours to catch up on email). Work out every other day and watch a movie on the laptop (am starting the 4Th season of the Sopranos) or read a book every once in a while (usually fall asleep part way through. Is that a sign I'm getting old? ha ha!). I am also taking a college class (although I am waaaay behind) on Contemporary Politics of the Middle East with the University of Maryland.
Well I need to go. Sorry for the length of the email. We get a lot of requests to send care packages which we usually share around and people ask us what they can send. Just your prayers. Those would help the most (although beef jerky is good too, lol!). But really thanks for your support. Believe it or not it does mean a lot to us over here. Take care and give everyone my best.
94 Bonneville SSE