In Iraq for 365

About my experiences in Iraq... the frustrations, the missions and this country... and the journey home

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

At the airfield, just waiting

It's official. We transferred our authority over to the 366th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment. I'm sure they will do a great job, but it's hard to leave. A part of me will always be in Iraq, writing stories for the Iraqi people and the American soldiers and their families...

His ankle was bandaged and he was being carried to the Stryker vehicle to be evacuated to the hospital. I don't know what happened to him, but from the looks of it, his heel had received a bullet or some shrapnel. I was on the same Stryker convoy, only I wasn't going to the hospital... I was leaving Camp Freedom for the airfield to wait for a plane. As I stepped onto the Stryker, I looked at the crowds of soldiers walking by and I couldn't help but to feel bad. Here I am, leaving and they're staying. I know, I've put a year's worth of blood, sweat and tears into this place, and I didn't leave anything on the battlefield, but I feel like I'm leaving people behind. I'd stay, if my commander would let me. "We came as a team and we're leaving as a team." Two of us, including me, attempted to receive extensions for six months, but our commander denied the requests. He's in charge, so he knows what's best.

Yesterday, my bags were packed and although I've been outside the wire more than anybody in my unit, I didn't do a very good job. I packed the equipment and clothes so tight that I had to pull everything out this morning just to take a shower. I also forgot soap and towels. So, after I jumped out of the shower, I dried off with my dirty brown T-shirt... gross.

Right now, I'm at FOB Diamondback, which is like 50 times better than my normal post. We watched two movies -- Good Will Hunting and High Fidelity -- in the FOB's Movie Theater. The place gives you popcorn, a drink and has a huge cinema-like big screen with surround sound. As I sat back in the chairs and enjoyed the picture show, I was lost in the movies and with my feet propped up on the empty seat in front of me, I comfortable... I didn't feel like I was in Iraq. My buddy said he felt the same way. "The only thing that was missing was my wife. The whole time I had such a yearning to have her next to me, holding my arm and just touching me." Soon, my friend, this will be reality. Soon.

48 Comments:

At 3:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well Iam not even American but I have someone special risking his life there. By reading your posts daily you made me feel closer to him and I want to thank you for that. Your contradictory feelings are understandable, sad to leave but also happy to go home. Even if all your readers will miss your posts Im sure we all want to wish you good luck and thank you for the good job you and your team have done there. I know your living experience there will always be in your mind, same as your stories will be in our memory. Take good care of yourself and be happy.

 
At 6:54 AM, Blogger Sarah said...

Have a safe journey...

Sarah
tryingtogrok.com

 
At 7:00 AM, Blogger Janie said...

God Speed, Soldier to your loved one's arms.

Thank you for your service.

 
At 7:17 AM, Blogger FVK said...

Thank you for your sevice. You should be very proud of your work and the contributions you've made to so many lives in the new Iraq, as-well-as those you've touched around the world through your blog.

God bless you and your family.

Fred
Milwaukee

P.S. If you like, email me when you're back in Milwaukee and I'll take you to Solly's for a burger or two.

 
At 7:36 AM, Blogger Molicious said...

You're so close! You must keep us up to date of your journey home. By the way, Good Will Hunting rocked.

 
At 7:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Casanova, why doesn't it surprise me that you applied for a 6 month extension........hmmmmm?? Well, let me think about that.......maybe because I've come to know you pretty well this past year. But, I'm glad you were denied. I'm glad you're coming home. You deserve some peace after what you've seen. It's true that no one else could actually replace you and do the job you've done, the way you've done it, but it is someone else's turn now. You're quite the soldier!!!! You make us all proud......

kbug

 
At 8:14 AM, Blogger Kim said...

I don't know why this post made me cry. Stay safe, Sminky, and hurry home

 
At 8:47 AM, Blogger Bon said...

Bless you. Seeing into your heart and mind as you have given us the privilege of doing, well, what a gift you give us.

I know you would rather stay, but I'm glad you are coming home.

many hugs
Bon

 
At 10:06 AM, Blogger Huntress said...

I know you will miss Iraq and the wonderful and noble cause you undertook.
Closing one chapter of your life is difficult..but a new and exciting one awaits to be written.

Be well...God Bless You for your kind heart, your articulate words, and your service to such a noble calling.

Welcome Home Soldier Boy!

 
At 10:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred,

Seing your post today has brought tears of joy to my eyes. I am SO glad that you are coming home. We can't wait to have your sparkling wit return to the office. Once you are settled in, Todd and I would like to take you to dinner at your favorite restaurant.

Hope you have a safe trip!
Elena

 
At 10:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I usually post as membrain but blogger keeps forgetting my password. It's to bad I found your blog only just recently because I quite enjoy it. I'm Canadian and I fully support what you guys are doing in Iraq. It's quite commendable that you tried to stay for six more months. I hope you continue posting. I'm really looking forward to the Inauguration. Thanks for serving. Have a safe flight home.

 
At 10:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blue Man,

Glad to hear you're coming home. Thanks for all you've done over the past year. I've got a few cold ones waiting for you in my fridge when you get back to town. Have a safe trip back.

Blue Man II (aka Micky Finn)

 
At 11:29 AM, Blogger strykeraunt said...

It seems that you are really torn between two worlds right now. You have your family here in the states but have also developed a very strong connection with those who have become your extended family this past year. I too am glad that they denied your request. You have served your country in a way that most of us cannot even begin to comprehend. Now it is time to come home to the world you left behind when you stepped on that plane a year ago(?) Just as you picked up the reign for someone who had been there before you, it is time for another to take your place.

I must say, even though I do not know you and only found your site recently, I too felt both happy and sad when I read your post (yea...needed the kleenex again).

Thank you.

 
At 12:52 PM, Blogger sarah said...

My aunt Kerry met you here in Dallas and told me about your blogs and I started reading them a while back. Im glad to hear that you are going home. I just had a friend return from Iraq after a year there. I was so glad to see that he made it home safely and I hope the same for you.
Best wishes to you and all the solders bustin their butts in Iraq.

 
At 4:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amazing, truly ... this blog is amazing; and heartening ... I'm frankly at a loss for words ... trite comments such as "soldier, you do your country and your uniform proud" are just that, trite ... the indominatable spirit that you evince, and apparently the same goes for the Iraquis you've met, bodes well for long-term sucess in Iraq ... listen, my father gave his life to ensure a viable, free South Vietnam but the Vietnamese seemingly didn't want it badly enough: the Iraquis appear to ... that said, the sacrifices appear worth it this time ... God bless you; and God Speed!

Lt Col Bill, USAF

 
At 4:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

well, well, wellll...Sminkie's commin home. once you get in the right hemisphere, consider dallas, the pool, many cold brews and charred mammal flesh on the verandah, or as my buds call it "beeranda". this an open invitation with no expiration date. welcome home!

 
At 4:31 PM, Blogger another_army_mom said...

Smink,
What do you mean "wife"? Are you getting married or is your friend? Or are you pulling our leg again?
April fools day is still three months away!!
If it's true who is the lucky woman? Does she like the Simpson's? HA HA!! A certain person would like to know these things.
You've done a terrific job in Iraq we all very much appreciate it, you are an excellent soldier. You have done this country a great service. Glad you are coming home!!!!

 
At 5:18 PM, Blogger Army Mom said...

As one of those Army families, I can say that where I have loved reading your perspectives from Iraq, I am much happier to know that soon you will be home...and safe.

As my son prepares to deploy, I can only hope that he will find friends who will become to him, like an extended family...as you have come to be to your comrades. But when it is time for him to come home, I will hear no excuses.

Go home and hug your mom, dad and little brother. It has been way too long for them...and the rest of your family and friends.

Bon Voyage...keep safe and don't forget to check in on the blog to let us know you have landed safely.

 
At 9:39 PM, Blogger JUST A MOM said...

Come on home, A job well done. You did what was needed, let them have their turn. Relax, and thank you so much for your input, I'll be watching you with the Pres. Do something silly to let us know it is you OK.
Hang in there, I guess it is now Start having fun!! RELAX!

 
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