02 June 2006


I'm here. In one piece, oddly enough. The convoys were long and tedious. We spent a bit of time parked alongside the road waiting for EOD (and in at least one case, a crew from 5th Engineers) to clear IEDs ahead of us. No enemy contact or IED attacks, just IEDs located by other units.

The thing you have to remember about counter-insurgency, the central fact that defines all existence, is tedium. The bad guys don't spend all their time attacking us. Most convoys are without incident. If there are 10 incidents a week on a particular piece of highway, and 20 convoys a night pass through that spot, then there are 130 convoys where the main threat is falling asleep at the wheel and driving off the road. (These numbers were selected at random and do not represent any piece of highway I know of in particular).

This fact is all that keeps the insurgency alive. Complacency kills, plain and simple. If you know what you are looking for, you can frequently spot IEDs way before they are in the effective kill zone. If you have highway hypnosis going on, then it isn't so much so. And enough convoys where nothing happens will lull some people into a false sense of security. And that's when they roll right past an IED and 'boom'.

Camp Ar-Ramadi is. . . well, it's a dump. Until the unit we are relieving goes back to Pennsylvania, we are living in a tent. One frickin' huge tent, but it has nearly every enlisted Soldier and NCO in HHC living in it. On the plus side, it is much smaller than Sykes and you can walk everywhere. We've been mortared once since we got here, but it didn't even hit the camp. Hajji gets lucky every now and then, but mostly he can't shoot. Oh, and this place is full of Marines, which always adds a touch of class.

The one huge, burning bright spot in my dreary existence is this:

The Marines have a chaplain. That chaplain is one of three, count 'em three, Orthodox chaplains in theater.

I can finally go to liturgy.


Anonymous sappersdad said...

Glad to hear that you made it with no problems. It was fun having your wife stay with us. I think she is a keeper. ;-)

6:04 PM  

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