Monday, August 20, 2007

Kuwait is Hot!!!

After over 16 hours of flying, my unit arrives in Kuwait. We get off the plane and wham we get hit with 100 degrees and it’s 1 a.m. local time.
Keep off the grass? Kuwait is the land that grass forgot.

Kind of reminds me of Tatooine. Throw a moisture vaporator out there and your in the Star Wars galaxy. This photo was shot on the way to Ali assalim as we were getting ready to fly out to Baghdad International Airport.
Nevertheless we’re all excited to see a new location. After a few hours of unloading the airplane, we head north to our next stop in our journey.
The military has several transient bases set up for soldiers moving in and out of Iraq. In the pics above you can see one of the tents we stayed in and what the scenery was like.
Temperatures got to well over 125 degrees each day. That wasn’t to bad but the sun was brutal. I’m pretty fair skinned so I put liberal amounts of SPF 50 sunscreen on and still got quite a bit of color. The sun got so hot that wearing gloves was par for the course. Otherwise the items, such as your weapon, got to hot to handle.
The base had all the amenities needed to stay in touch with the folks back home. You even had a star-bucks, a Burger King and a Harley Davidson Shop.
Well the next stop will be Iraq. We’re due to head out anytime and we’re just waiting for our flight.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Give me liberty…

…or at least a trip to Philadelphia!

Here we are in front of the liberty bell. Nice little trip to see some of America's history.

Today most of the unit took a ride into nearby Philadelphia for some sightseeing. We took in a tour of Independence Hall, snapped a few photos of a group of us in front of the Liberty Bell and just relaxed.

Independence Hall.
This was actually a pretty cool moment as the other tourists stood aside and cheered for us as we posed, snapping photos for themselves with their own cameras.
We got to enjoy a nice day off while we ran around learning about the signings of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. If you’ve never been down to see the museum, I highly recommend it. The tour guide was quite knowledgeable and any history buff will get a kick out of many of the static displays.
Here is where all your rights were formed. They debated about and eventually signed
the Declaration of Independence here.
After checking out a part of the past we set forth in search of the best Philly cheese-steaks. We drove with one place in mind, Pat’s.
This place is famous for it’s food. The service was kind of like the soup nazi episode of Seinfeld. We all enjoyed the food, definitely an improvement over our normal army fare.
We wrapped up our day with a movie and then dinner at Charlie Browns Steak House. Just two more days at Fort Dix.
Next Stop Kuwait!!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

“Yankees,” on deck for tour in Iraq

Staff Sgt. Jesse Vautour of Shrewsbury, Mass., assists Staff Sgt. Steven Mojica of Worcester, Mass.,
as he prepares his M2 caliber .50 machine gun for the days training. Both Soldiers are preparing to
deploy with the 1/181st Infantry, Massachusetts Army National Guard as part of a command and control
group charged with overseeing security elements.
(Photo by Staff Sgt. Don Veitch, 65th Public Affairs Operations Center)
Here’s a story I wrote about another Mass Guard Unit deploying at the same time as us.

FORT DIX, N.J. – Morning arrives with the sudden chime of the alarm clock, yet sunrise is still hours away. The workday will be well underway before the first rays of summer sun appear on the horizon.
With little fanfare, the Soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 181st Infantry Regiment file out of their barracks, form up and conduct the timeworn tradition of physical training. The steady drumbeat sound of the Soldiers’ footfalls as they run to cadence is indistinguishable from other units throughout the country. Soldiers have started the day in this manner for generations.