Sunday, April 29, 2007

Gung Ho

My work described to you would probably sound of tedium and yawningness. So I share the words of yet another hero: Private First Class Ryan Ho. Young Ho heard stories of the first gulf war as a child and the recent one as a teenager. Looking for a direction, he signed up.
Ryan Ho

I knew we were in a time of war, I knew it’s not going to be easy,” said the Hawaiian native. “But I want to help people and I’m willing to make the sacrifice.” About his decision to go to Iraq he said:

I was worried, I was scared. My dad was also worried but he tried to hide it. My mom was freaking out.” Ho’s reasons for sticking to his decision were simple.

It’s risky, but it has to be done. And I’m here because I choose to be and because someone needs to step up and do something.” After a month in theater, Ho says, “I thought it would be a lot more crazy here. It’s a lot more under control than I thought.”

In his short time, his unit has run across a couple of roadside bombs and been under fire by a sniper. But he has no regrets.

I made the right decisions. I know some people say that joining the military would be crazy and that this war is stupid. But I know that I’m doing something that will have a positive influence on people.”

So this is Ernest signing off for another week, most likely. But thought I share this great American’s words.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Respect and Commeradery

And the hits just keep on coming. A week or two ago one of our up-armored Bradley’s took a hit. Everyone walked away. The armor has proven effective. Then just in the last day or two, a fighting vehicle took an armor piercing round. Our armor again protected the driver and reduced casualties.

This is good. Along with a good all-around job, it’s good to know our teams are making a difference. We are now opening a second facility on another base. The original number of requested armored vehicles in contract has been almost doubled. We’ll be here a bit longer.

I’ve also read reports that, along with the surge in troop numbers, came a change in the manner that Iraqi troops and police are trained. Full coalition units are deploying with the Iraqis instead of just sending a few trainers or observers. The Iraqis are learning quicker and taking pride in their accomplishments.

American soldiers are reporting now that, instead of the American soldiers always pulling the wounded Iraqi soldiers to safety in a firefight, Iraqi soldiers are now rescuing American counter-parts as well. The respect and commeradery are growing.

Iraqi men deem it a great honor now to join the Iraqi forces and fight for their country. All these things seem to me to be some kind of light at the end of the tunnel. But there is of course still much to do.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Keeping Cool

Another Stryker Sunset

Hey, first can we talk about the weather? BEAUTIFUL. Mostly it is sunny and a few clouds. And it rains once a week. Temperature around 70. Usually the rainy season ends in February and the temps are climbing by now-- it is unusally cool and with moisture. We love it! How are you?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


a classic
To tell you the truth, we’ve just been workin’ hard here. As a multi-billion dollar, diverse company, I guess we’re used to getting to it. But when you are in a crazy place and the pressure is on, sometimes the color comes out. Here’s the milder of what I’ve seen…oh, and if you are really bored, click here to see why my nickname is always Spiderman---> Ernest Goes Ape. So here goes:


been here too long if you paint your office like this...

if it worked once...(pinch me I'm a redneck)

soldiers too...

no showers? no problem!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Sunday, Soldiers, and Prayer

A few LDS soldiers in Kirkuk

Wherever I go it seems, the Lord sends some of the religious “home team” to be with me. That is, most bases have about 6 LDS soldiers at their meetings on Sunday. The interrogation unit here in Stryker is furbished by soldiers from Utah, so my church group is about 30 strong instead.

Today the soldiers testified of their faith. I get to hear them say they know God lives, that there is a purpose for everything, and hear them declare compassion for “the enemy.” I literally thank God for such men and women.

One soldier told us that “We all know that God is protecting us.” He says every time they go out the gate his group has a prayer. “It probably isn’t legal,” he says, "but we do it anyway." I know many of YOU are praying for both the soldiers and the people of Iraq as well.

And I think it works. Prayer, that is! Take these interesting statistics from an article in the New York Sun by Alicia Colon. According to a Department of Defense report, the number of military deaths of 4 consecutive years during the Clinton administration:
1,245 in 1993;
1,109 in 1994;
1,055 in 1995;
1,008 in 1996.
That's 4,417 "peacetime" deaths in 4 years.
4 years in Iraq? 3,260 since March 2003 (AP figure)


I’d say some prayers were being heard.

I have pondered the miracles of lives saved. Working in armor, I have heard the stories often. I have heard them again: If you can accept the R-rated environment, you can hear one such story at this site:
Young Americans Documentary
in a clip called “Everybody Gets Blown Up.”

You may find the other video snippets similarly coarse but look past that to hear thoughts of American soldiers revealed, as well as the environment and purpose of their work here. If you are like me, you will be very proud of who we are and who we send to face the terrors of war, and how they handle it. Enjoy.