3rd Marine Expeditionary Force did a remarkable job of not damaging a religious site when breaking into the Saddam International Airport’s Southern side.
As I understand it, the rubble in my photos below represent what was left of the Elite Republican Guard barracks/headquarters after the Marines rolled through.
I have many reasons for being in Iraq at the moment. The first, and most obvious is debt-relief. I want to be out of debt and free.
Another of my reasons is my future. I want to live a lifestyle that requires a bit of money in the bank. I want to make one of these my home.
Call me crazy, but I crave the contact of very few people and it is a life at sea that will grant me the quiet that I crave.
George Bush just left the Bob Hope Dining Facility a short time ago, but not before interrupting my chances at dinner. I simulated by having a Turkey MRE. I understand, the dinner was supposed to be a morale builder for the troops and that makes the interruption understandable, I just wish I’d known in advance, I’d have eaten something for breakfast or lunch to make sure I’d had a hot meal.
For that matter, if I’d known DURING the meal, I could have gotten pictures to post here when he left.
That’s okay, one of the guys I work with got a few shots, so when he emails them to me, I’ll post them here.
In the meantime, I think I’m going to have that bag of M&Ms that came in the MRE for dessert.
Oh, and I’m not bitter, just hungry.
Today was a slow day in the IT world for me, so I offered my time to the site manager. He asked me to escort the host country labor manager, Mr. Hussein, around the base on his many errands. When Mr. Hussein wishes to move the Army requires that he be accompanied by a soldier and a civilian contractor, so I agreed.
We left the camp to take a dump truck off the airport and then go to another camp to check on the progress with septic tanks. After dropping off a few welders and a crane so that the work on the tanks could be done at the other camp, we turned back to our primary work site, by way of the checkpoint to pick up a sand truck.
At the checkpoint we were informed that the checkpoint was closed due to the detection, by bomb dogs, of an explosive device five minutes earlier. We were locked down on the airport.
With nothing to do, we turned back to go to the work site, only to find out that the checkpoints allowing entry to the worksite were similarly closed.
It turns out that two dump trucks had been identified by two bomb dogs as containing, or having contained bombs or bomb-making materials. EOD was called in and the trucks were cleared, the drivers however were arrested. I’m not sure about their status this evening, but the trucks were owned by the drivers, and the fact that the dogs sniffed out bomb-making materials, making me think that perhaps the trucks will be at the checkpoint until the Army moves them and the drivers are likely the latest additions to the POW roster.
This afternoon I spent a bit of time thinking about the quantity of explosive load that a dump truck could contain, covered in dirt and camouflaged for a trip onto the airport. The load wouldn’t be a small one, that’s certain.
A sobering thought…
A soldier at the checkpoint told me yesterday that there were two Iraqi men, laborers, who had gotten into the habit of bringing food a few times a week. These men would arrive later than the majority of the workers and talk with the soldiers as well as share food with them.
Two days ago that stopped.
The labor detail that these two men were part of had to go in earlier than usual and these men were recognized by some of the other workers. The other laborers all started shouting “Saddam’s men! Saddam’s Men!” and once identified the two workers were removed from the crowd and incarcerated by the Military Police. I’m guessing that they are in one of the POW camps today.
For all the negative news that comes out of the media, and all of the “Iraqi’s Hate America” bullshit that the media spouts, you’d think that the Iraqi’s don’t want America here, but I see the opposite with these workers every day.
I spent the day out at my construction site. A lot of new stuff has gone in out there, and the construction crew was asking for some support with networking printers, fixing laptop issues, and providing IT support for a third-party plotter. I‘m still working on the plotter, but I think that for the most part the guys out there are happy with the outcome today.
Tomorrow I will be back out there, and those guys maximize use of IT personnel when they get us out there, so I‘m not sure what my night will look like for blogging.
I talked with a few soldiers from the Missouri National Guard/Reserve and they gave me a little more insight into what was going on last night. While the newspapers were simply reporting explosions, the soliders told me that the fighting included Bradleys and at least on M1A1 Abrahms tank.
I may post more later, but right now, I‘ve got to take care of more issues.
There was a major engagement on the eastern end of the airport this evening. I’m not sure where exactly, and I don’t have any details, other than what I saw out my windows this evening. Tonight’s engagement is the first that I have seen in my time here.
We began hearing the explosions of heavy rounds at about 9:10 PM, continuing until just moments ago at 9:25 PM.
I’m not going to give operational details about what I saw, other than to say that it didn’t look like a minor firefight was taking place. My guess is that insurgents attempted to strike back in retaliation for yesterday’s start of Operation: Iron Hammer.
Iron Hammer is a counter-insurgency operation aimed at destroying insurgent’s resources and gathering places as well as capturing leaders.
The main point of my post right now is to alert my friends and family to the fact that I am okay. I don’t know with any degree of certainty where this attack took place, so I want to make sure there are no doubts as to my safety.
From what I could see, I’d guage the attack to have been about 2-3 miles from my location. From here it looked like a distant fireworks display once armor started to respond.