Friday, November 17, 2006

The Way Things Are

Oh man, just saw a TV show filmed in PB, (Pacific Beach) San Diego. Not 6 weeks ago I was there on my longboard watching the beach go by! Those were the good ole days, eh?

It's not all bad. My "room", a building, a hut, that I share with a bunch of other guys is right near a gym and internet cafe. And because of the near proximity of the chow-hall to my place of work, I am getting 3 square meals a day for the first time in my life. My last chance to get fat...

Today the CO (commanding officer) of our repair camp called us all together to both thank and admonish us on a few things. 65% of his Marines are new recruits, just kids, and he is grateful that contractors like us with experience and capabilities are here to, not only get his vehicles back on the road, but teach his soldiers how to weld, repair, replace, etc. They will take such skills and knowledge with them when they leave. That's cool.

I am starting to get the just of things here and although I was impatient at first looking for progress, it now seems things are starting to move into place. But my experiences here so far pale in comparison to my last experience in Iraq. So far. Remember to visit the archives at "Ernest Goes to Iraq" if I am boring you...otherwise, have a great day--

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Sundays, Birthdays, and Holidays

One of my first nights here a great wind and rain storm knocked out the center support of our tent in the middle of the night. While one of my tent-mates watched it with his flashlight the rest of the night to see if it would come down on him, I went and snoozed out on the couch in the more solidly-built Recreation room.

Church with the Mormon Marines is in a little computer room. The Sacrament is administered from the top of a horizontal freezer and we have 6 to 13 Saints there for the one-hour service. Last week we did testimonies and this week we viewed a few Conference talks.

Today I sat down with two Marines outside the "chapel" and had a nice little chat. I love those guys! They know why they are here and are proud of it. They should be, every time I interact with our military I am very impressed with who they are and what they do. They feel they stand between the average Iraqi and Saddam-like terror, that they are the purveyors of freedom. I'd say they are right.

The camp celebrated the birthday of the Marines (Nov. 10th) with a very special party where each soldier got 2 beers each. Alcohol is strictly prohibited by the Military in Iraq so there had to be some very special permission from way up the command chain----shhhh! Don't tell. But apparently they really enjoyed the priviledge.

Veterans Day? We watched the Presidential ceremonies on TV and I personally thanked those two Marines (Anderson and Oliver) and relayed to them the gratitude I personally hear from great Americans when I'm home on break.

It's good to be here.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


I have been in Camp Fallujah less than a week. Marines run the place and they run it on the basics. There are not many of the luxuries that can be found on many other bases and to make things worse, the Marines have suffered much higher casualites in the last month here.

My shop is a tent with steel plates to drive the HumVees onto for repair, but otherwise the floor is dirt, sand, rocks. It is maybe 22 feet wide and maybe 45 feet deep. My supervisor has decided not to let me have Sundays off, but I am allowed to go to church for a few hours.

Other than that, I am having a great time!

I am still learning my way around and working on a way to upload pictures to the blog. For now, my time is up for posting. More later.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Blackhawk UP!

I wish I wish I wish I had my digital camera with me...because riding in the helicopter was THE COOLEST. Just like on the news or a movie, looking out a rectangle side window with the outline of the machine gun in front, whirling 150ft over the tops of palm trees, muddy huts, acres of sand, and yes, even a beautiful blue/green lake!

When we passed over a village, kids would run out with both hands in the air, waving! I finally found out of the gunners had bags of candy and he would target quite accurately a toss to those kids now and then. What a great PR move and everyone is happy.

Once, over a barren stretch, the gunners let out a few practice rounds on their side-mounted machine guns. It was all just way cool. The pilot flew very smoothly and we would swerve, hover, and switch positions with the other chopper from time to time. It was so cool to see so much of Iraq from such a vantage point.

Man I wish I had that cam to share some pics with you. The good part is, when I leave for vacation in a few months, I WILL have it with me. But that was a real kick in the pants for me, first time in a whirlybird...and the other best part? I got paid to do it!