Wednesday, March 14, 2007

It's official, I am a Fobbit

Well, I have been pretty busy lately getting things ready to move into our new offices. A lot of work going on and most of it is severely unappreciated. I have a couple bosses that all believe they are the most important boss and it makes my job unpleasant and frustrating. I complain about it a lot to the other fobbits that I work with because they have the same issues, but I try to be very mindful of who is close. When I compare my problems, though significant to me at the moment, they pale in comparison to the guys on the guns. I feel ashamed at times when I am upset and ranting about crap that happened today when I am talking to a guy that had to replace two windows in his vehicle because they were shot out in a gun fight the night before!

I did get the chance to talk to my kids the other night and it never matters what's going on in my life, they are always uplifting. The woman renting my house moved out so I let them know that we would get to stay in our house when they come to visit this summer. My daughter was so excited. She reminded me of last summer when we bought a go-cart and she wished she could ride it, but it was broke. She was so happy to hear that Uncle Hank and Grandpa Gary fixed it the other day and she can ride it this summer. Then she started a long, refreshing "Remember when we?" dialog and we both laughed and laughed.

My son was quite the delight as well. He got on the phone with a resounding "Daddy, guess what? ... I'm playing with my imagination and I am sleeping in a box 'cause it's my bed!!!" Anyone that knows my son could just see the smile on his face that goes from ear to ear when he is so excited. His eye brows arch up and his eyes sparkle. He was so ecstatic I couldn't help but laugh with him. I told him about staying in our house this summer and taking the boat out to go fishing every day. He chimed up and let me know that he went fishing earlier because his box used to be a boat!

All my problems and worries of this place just disappeared. None of it seems to matter after talking to my kiddos. I sometimes complain about the mile I have to walk at bedtime to call them, but you'll never hear me complain about talking to the ones I love.

By the way, a fobbit is a nickname the guys on the guns give those of us who stay "behind the wire". We live in a FOB (Forward Operating Base) pronounced Fob.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Not what I had in mind

So, things here are going good and we are all beginning to settle into our roles. I have realized I have a problem; my name. When I began training up for this mission, we were all going to be hardcore killers! I began adopting a persona that would get my head straight. I adopted a name that would allow me to focus and deal with the fact that I would be regularly engaging my enemy through weapon sights and killing him. I created a mentality that I needed to deal with death and destruction everyday and hopefully a personality that I could leave in this place when it was time to come home.

The problem is I do not have the most dangerous job. Not even close. My technical skills have been called upon and most of my days are spent as a computer guy. I was building myself up to be a Hadji Hunter. The reality of my situation here is that I am merely a nerd sitting behind a computer. Not exactly what I had in mind when I came here.

So, I need to come up with a name. One that isn't so tough or intimidating. I need to retire Hadji Hunter to someone who truly deserves the name. I'm kind of nerdy, funny and outgoing. I like to think I am handsome-ish. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

It's movie night

So, I was reading over my journal today. I have received a ton of emails and comments and I love all of them. I never imagined my stories would have such an impact on so many. With the popularity, I feel obligated to take on a bit of responsibility. I have to say that after reading my entire journal from start to finish I was sad. It sounds so grim and dismal. Anyone that knows me knows that though I have had my share of depressing times, I am not that way by nature.

I am having an awesome time as permitted and limited by Army regulations. I am sort of the MWR representative of our area. We watch movies almost every night on the huge walls of our compound with my video projector I got at Christmas. It is awesome I must say. A huge 30ft screen and amazing $20 Hadji sound system that has 2 volumes... off and on! Everyone drops by, asks what the movie is for the night and we all hang out.

We have bought a microwave and refrigerator. So the popcorn is hot and the Hadji Coke is cold. We have had as few as one and as many as twenty. We cook hamburgers on the grill and dance in the isle...well, I dance in the isle. It is a huge trailer park that sometimes gets rocketed. I decided after my second or third night, when I hunkered down in a bunker and jumped at every noise, that I wasn't going to let my enemy defeat me. I refuse to live in fear every day, wondering if today is the day.

This week we have found a new entertainment device; a stun gun. The local Hadji-Mart sells stun guns, and when you sneak up to your buddy and zap him in the buttocks or the leg, he falls down or hops around hollering! It is so funny! Then you have the tough guys that see what parts of their body or yours can take the stun gun the longest. It is totally childish humor, but for some reason it is so funny.

I got to talk to my kids yesterday and can't tell you how happy I was for that. The time difference is a huge pain, but I do what I can to stay in touch. My sister gave them a dog and they are so excited. They were going to get it and my son was all happy and asked if I was going to come too. Then he got sad and said, "Oh, I forgot you are in can't come!" It truly broke my heart. I would never wish a divorce on any child, but this war adds so much more. He doesn't really understand what is going on, but he knows I can't come see him when I want. I will be taking vacation in a couple months. Not a day to soon whenever it comes!!!

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Honoring the fallen

I know I said I'd never write about death or injury, so I'm not. I will however write today about remembering and honoring my fellow brothers. This week, we have the unfortunate duty of attending two memorial services. Neither of these was a soldier from our unit, but should be given the same respects.

The services have been made mandatory by the "higher ups" and this upsets a lot of my fellow soldiers. This morning while shaving, a couple of my soldiers were talking about doing various errands on their day off.

Then the one says, "Oh yeah, we have that stupid memorial service at ten o’clock.”

"That's Bullshit!” was the reply. Then they complained for a bit and discussed how they were going to "get out of it".

I can't begin to explain how disappointed I was in hearing my fellow brothers complaining about honoring the sacrifice of a fellow soldier. I can accept it from the activists, politicians and the various other individuals and groups that we defend, but to hear it here, from them, really pissed me off more than anything else.

But, that wasn't the last I heard of how this memorial service was so "inconvenient". On the bus and in the chow hall, I heard all sorts of ramblings of frustration. The only one I could actually offer a little understanding to was one of my soldiers on a gun truck. It was from one of my soldiers going out of the wire, taking direct fire and dodging the ever so deadly roadside bombs that took these soldiers lives.

His comment was heartfelt and real... "I don't want to believe it can happen to me!"

How can I complain about that? For him and the others like him, I feel compassion. It is the others, put out by the memorial services because of no other reason than they just don't want to go. They are the ones I wish I could just punch in the mouth!