Saturday, June 26, 2004

A Visit From Jeff and Dan

A Visit From Jeff and Dan
26 June 2004

It hasn't been a particularly interesting week. Mortar attacks and responses aside, it has been pretty ordinary. Okay, even *with* the mortars, it has been pretty ordinary. We are once again in that Groundhog Day existance. Imagine to my surprise Jeff McLellan ( and Dan Taxson ( come up to the TCF door and ask for me! They have both been chosen for the Multinational Force Support Team and will be departing for Al Kut (a Ukrainian base) by helicoptor this week via Camp Victory.

They arrived on Monday and were supposed to leave here this morning, but their departure got pushed to Sunday. It's been nice having some time to just bs and catch up with them again. I know Jeff back from CRC at Fort Bliss and I met Dan and my current trailer-mate Scott back at Doha, Kuwait when I was enroute to Qatar and spent a few days at Camp Doha back in April for the ISO9000 Boondoggle.

We broke them in good while they have been here. We had a mid-day mortar attack on Wednesday that had a few people fillin their britches. One whizzed over the Defac (dining facility) and hit behind a conex box over by the barber shop. Another flew over building 7 and landed in the open swampy area. When that one flew over building 7, one of our network guys and one of the new soldiers that just arrived were in a shear panic to get inside the building. The soldier pushed the network guy away from the front door when he couldn't get the combo lock open--nearly crawled over him to get in and then damned near knocked over the Colonel who was standing in the entry by the door! Once inside, both guys had eyes as big as saucers and looked like Orphan Annie from the 1930's comic strip! I shouldn't laugh, but the situation was kind of hysterical.

Scott was off last night, so he and I dragged Jeff and Dan along with us over to ISG to do laundry and see the sights over there. We did our usual, the capuccino after loading the washers and then lunch after laundry. Got to see the much talked about gym at ISG. Very nice equipment. Too bad noone was there to use it. THey need to move that stuff over to Victory where it will be properly used. We headed over to North Victory afterward for any last minute things Jeff and Dan may have wanted. Nice relaxing day.

We have had lots of mortars this morning--both at Victory and at ISG. I could tell it has made Jeff and Dan a bit edgy since at Basrah(earlier in the year for Jeff), Camp Doha, Kuwait and Arif Jahn they didn't have any of this mortar non-sense going on. I can tell that the frequency of mortars have even tested Scotts nerves lately. Today we were in the PX at North and two ba-booms went off. The second was much louder than the first and Scott jumped. I jokingly told him to temper his responses. We didn't want to frighten the "kids" any more than they already were. Don't want them to think we're wimps! He countered that he couldn't help it, it was involuntary.

Actually, the mortar noise isn't that much different from hearing the noise from the ICG train yard I lived across from in Carbondale, Illinois back in 1979-80. You'd hear all kinds of booms and bangs and train engine noise from the freight cars being hooked up all through the day and even in the middle of the night. (I was living in a trailer then too, come to think of it). Now I'm hearing mortars and the sound of the helicoptors buzzing so closly overhead you think that they are going to touch your roof as they pass. Like the train yard back in Carbondale, mortars and choppers are just the background noise or background effects of everyday life here.
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