Monday, August 14, 2006


Our unit was put on a couple details. We had to pull tower guard. Basically two people would sit in a tower for four hours shifts, with all our gear one and just keep an eye out for any unusual activity. It sucked. When it was winter time it was fucking cold…it snowed too. In the summer it would get to 115-125 and you would just sweat to death. Little Iraqi kids would walk by with their sheep and cows…sheep were everywhere. This one kid kicked his sheep and I yelled at him to be nice… he gave me the finger. Shit head. When we were first put on the tower two Soldiers from my unit heard a nose and saw some movement and the girl started to shoot. Turns out it was a stray dog…they talked their way out of it and didn’t get in any trouble. One night, I was on duty with a Soldier from my unit and we heard wild dogs barking and making all these weird noises. I was convinced they weren’t dogs but insurgents pretending to be dogs. I was sitting on a cooler and a couple of them sounded like they were right under us…I jumped and fell off the cooler….I had so much shit on that I got stuck and I couldn’t even get up. My M16 fell…I looked and felt like an umpa-lupa. Good thing they weren’t insurgents or else we probably would’ve been dead.
We were also put on “hajji watch” (its really called Local National Escort duty.) The U.S. hires locals daily to come work on camp…probably about 500 a day. Some of them could be insurgents…we don’t know…but they are allowed on our camp. Makes a lot of since. We ended up watching a group of 10 guys who were working on renovating a building into a hospital. Rumor has it the building they were redoing was where Saddam would torture Olympic athletes if they didn’t perform to his standards. A couple Soldiers that had the detail before my partner and I said there was blood on the walls in the basement. Who knows if its true or not…still kind of creepy though. The guys we worked with were awesome…really funny. They were all related. A couple older, middle-aged guys and a few in their teens. We would have to walk around with our weapons loaded and watch what they were doing. They would bring bread and fruit from home. They would always share too…the bread was really good. One guy always asked me for shampoo, soap, toothpaste and anything else I had. First thing I gave him was deodorant…Iraqis need to learn how to use deodorant. I showed him how to put it on and told him to use it everyday and he’ll attract the ladies. One of the older guys was a rebel. He had tattoos and told us how he loves getting drunk. We would always joke around with him. One day I helped two of the younger boys paint and that ended up into us cashing and painting one another. They told me I was a really bad painter…I thought I was doing a good job. Those guys were a lot of fun. They were really curious about the U.S, one of them told me how he was going to come to the U.S. and what jobs he planned on getting. He asked so many questions and when he found out I was from New York all hell broke lose. He loved the fact I was from there. He asked about the towers, about the city…everything. He really wanted to visit…I told him he could come stay with me. They traveled from Balad daily…they were the targets of insurgents. The insurgents knew which people worked for the U.S. and they would get robbed often... even killed. When you have a chance to work with Iraqis one-on-one you’re able to see them for “normal” people who just want to make a living and who are sick of being terrorized.


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