Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Election Results Still Being Tallied Back Home

Wednesday, November 03, 2004
Election Results Still Being Tallied Back Home

This last week running up to the US elections has been pretty routine around here with the exception of the constant mortars and outgoing stuff. Most of us are so used to it now that we don't even wake up for it and don't flinch when there is incoming unless it shakes the walls of the trailers. We have been in full battle rattle for the past four days now as a precaution.

Full battle rattle is enough of a pain inthe butt with the added weight of the flak vest and kevalar helmet, but over the past three days, we've been having constant rain. Every area you walk on is nothing but mud, wet sand and standing water. By the time I walk one block from my trailer to the road, my shoes have four inches of mud, stones and sand caked on the bottom of them. The backs of everyones pants are all caked in mud too. You can't get away from it. Walking down some roads is pretty treacherous since some of the roads are (or were) hard mud roads that with all the rain are slick as snot.

Sand gets into the grooves of your shoes and boots and NEVER dries out. I've never in my life seen sand that won't dry out; but it's here! Entering our trailers, there isn't anywhere to scrape off your shoes, so then you're dragging it into the trailer until you can get your shoes off. So it is a choice now; would I rather be choking on dust and hacking a lung up, or be in wet socks and mud up to my waist?

As long as I'm bitching, new management around here is a real joke too. If it wasn't straight out of Dilbert before, it is now. "If you're caught not wearing your battle rattel outside, you will be sent back to your trailer and docked 12 hours of pay and lose one gold star." Okay, everything except the gold star bit. The new micromanager in charge is running the place like a kindergarten and the tyrant hasn't even had the common decency of introducing himself and henchmen to us "old folk" that have been here forever. But then again, "It's good to be King" (Mel Brooks in History of the World). Which brings to mind the following line to that just mentioned, "Sire, you look just like the piss-boy!" You'd have to see the movie to understand the context.

I was relaxing here getting ready to go to bed at about 0900am when a huge ba-boom just caused the wall to push in like it was breathing and then shook the trailer. This was abnormal even for here in strength. After getting on the floor and donning my battle rattle, I went out for a look to see a gray mushroom cloud rising and some black somke from a fire afterwards. Looks like a pretty big car bomb just went off at the highway checkpoint in the direction of the old front gate to the base. As the crow flies, it's about 1500 yards away, but still the explosion packed enough punch to move the wall. We will probably know more by the time we go in tonight. Tis the season for suicide bombers and rockets- Ramadan, you know. I can hardly wait for their Grande Finalle. Maybe they'll burn down Sadr City for an encore.


It's my night off, but I still stop in to check email and snail mail. Found out that the explosion this morning was a bus bomb. Call it a hunch, but I'm not thinking that there were 50 insurgents with bombs strapped too 'em. That would just be too much hope for.

About 715pm, a rocket went over the trailers and landed over in the parking lot by the gym. I heard it buzz over the trailer, land and explode, and then I just rolled over and went back to sleep. It wasn't a big one and it definitely didn't "rock my world". Mortars don't pack the punch that a rocket does, but is still capable of sending shrapnel all over the place.

Scott also came in late this morning or early afternoon. He let me know that Bush won the election. He and Ron stayed up and watched the results. Sounds like it was a close one again.
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