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Note from a bud in Irag....


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He is a pilot with 1st AD. His Base of Operations is the Bagdad Airport. His primary work is in the HQ, but he gets in on the QRF stuff supporting the card players. I like busting his grapes about being a REMF.



My OLD geographically challenged/ Cold War Relic of a friend, let me help you with something. GO get a map, draw a circle (yes a round thing!) around Baghdad, Iraq. As you see there is no “rear area” in the modern day urban battlefield. Just look in the lower left hand corner (southwest side if you have a compass) and you will see where I live. With 360 degrees of bad guys outside the wire! I know the odds are in our favor as there is only 5 million, but they can be a nuisance. Does the name Custer mean anything to you?The closest thing to a “rear area” is dadgum Kuwait! WE “REMF’s” live in dadgum dusty, hot, aircraft hangars with minimal power. Only half the people have any type of “air conditioning” when the dadgum Iraqi power is working. The “Hua-hua/Trigger-puller killers” most live in palaces formerly owned by you-know-who! They have marble, tile, running water, air, dadgum MTV and washing machines! But we have it better because we “live at the airport.” Let’s not mention which makes the better mortar target, which we get our fair share of, and that aircraft shot at by an SA missile, he was looking at his landing pad when he got shot! This is how close we are to the bad guys, just a dadgum mason fence with some concertina wire on it. When you roll out the gate, and EVERYBODY must do convoys, it is game on full contact. These “new/follow-on” units just will not listen. They don’t understand to keep watch, stay in uniform (keep your dadgum body armor on, and your helmet chin strap tight), and DO NOT drink a dadgum lemonade bought from the locals while you are suppose to be pulling guard because you will pay with your life (the lemonade guys, two of them had powder burns on the back of their head because they let the bad guys get so close!). I tell you it is hard to even convince some of the people here that this is not training, they are trying to kill you. But the bottom-line is- NO REAR AREA!

I was glad to hear from you and see that every one is doing OK. I am somewhat disturbed that you are shaping “young minds”. I can envision your missed homework policy now: “Two minutes of no-holds-barred or an F, it’s your choice!” I really think you are the right guy for that job. Like you always said, respect is a two-way street, you get what you give. Kids can see through fake people, just like soldiers. I am way overstocked right now on the batteries; I have a small PX in my room from all the stuff Jennifer has sent me. The excel spreadsheet, thanks but kiss my ***, I make those for work! Really, we all get numerous packages and things sent to us from the Red Cross as far as toiletries and things go, I even got a double album of Jim Croce out of one of those boxes! The movies, now that is a different story. We have DVD players here (our laptops or the one in the signal shop) and anything you can get we will watch. TV series shows on DVD are really in demand . Remember that Maxim magazine is a racy as we can get under strict (not kidding) regulations. The shemagas, I want one too! I am looking and I will not forget you, however the only thing the locals readily sell are kafeyaas (the Yassir Arafat hat!). These look in pattern like a shemaga, but are a little thinner and a little smaller. If your students are really interested we would really like to see people just say the Pledge of Allegiance, actually learn the words to the Star Spangled Banner and them ask them why we are the “Land of the Free” I hope they deduce because we are the “Home of the Brave”. Cards and support are great and we appreciate them, but thanking a vet is even better, there are people all around that have served and just a visit, a listening ear, and a thanks would go farther in helping younger folks understand that these are not far away and long ago events only alive in a book. If you really want to impress this fact upon them just look up the ages of our KIA. These soldiers were in high school last year or two years ago! I know you know all of this, its just becoming one of those passing fads, when we first got here it was all hooray, now people are wondering just what the hell we are doing because “the fighting is over, right”. It is very ugly. I hope it does not get any worse. My unit will be here for a full year, we have been teased with a 14-day leave to go home, I don’t know if we will get it. I don’t know how the history book will end with this one; I don’t know that it ever will. I have come to the realization that I will see this place again.

If you guys want to visit Europe you had better hurry. With restructuring we do not know where my unit (1AD) will go when we redeploy. We most likely will go back to the states. That will put a stop to my plan for a follow-up job in Italy. Yes your old stomping grounds had a job I knew about that was being filled and would cycle open for me after my command. The Vicenza job would be great, Jennifer would love Italy. I will eventually be in the market for some guns. I did sell mine before moving to Germany, no sense in having them rust for years. I will need a complete rig minus a 12 gauge, which I packed-up and stored. I will eventually look for a .375, a .45, 9mm, and a bolt action rifle, most likely 30-06. This is at least two years away and I have plenty of time to pick the model and type I need. I know who to go to for the good deals! I am really looking at future options, I know WHAT I am doing now, I really can’t say I LOVE it, I am fortunate enough to be

in a position to make a difference. I am honored to serve, but the price of being away from my family is very steep. I know it is not easy for Jennifer and the kids, I dare say their job is harder than mine. I think about home a lot, I think sometimes about our hike in the Smokies, that was pure relaxation, we really need to do that again. No fancy equipment, no dadgum computers, no phones, no GPS, just walking through the wild. I would of course not mind packing some Jack Daniels for the campfire! Home is always on my mind, it gives me hope. Please take care of everyone and let them know I said hello.

Take Care,


I knew this guy when HE was in HS. I'm very proud of what he has turned into. I can't remember if he is a Maj or Cpt. It don't matter, he is still the guy I knew before he joined the Army. Only grown up. You know what I mean. I'm proud to call him a friend.


If you read between the lines you can get some insight into what it is like over there for the troops.


Upper Cumberland Chapter


Maxpedition Hard Use Nylon Gear

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Great letter. Here's to him staying safe and coming back home to be with his family and hike the Smokies again. Same for the rest (even though they may not all want to hike the Smokies).


"You can't make a man by standing a sheep on his hind legs. But by standing a flock of sheep in that position, you can make a crowd of men" - Max Beerbohm

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Hey man, tell your buddy to go to the 1st Brigade headquarters of the 101st Div, and contact Major Lee Flemming... LOL, and have him say that Breaktrack sent him....(He'll know it was Captain Mac McKinney....LOL. Will that freak him out or what that we got a connection through Geocaching...LOL.


Ahem, also, uh, tell him the care package is in the mail....heheheh.


(Lee is a hunter/killer, not a REMF....trust me.... and a fellow Geocacher..)



"Trade up, trade even, or don't trade!!!" My philosophy of life.

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Not to sound like an asshat or anything, but can you expand on the acronyms? I have no affiliation to the military so they are all new to me.


Best of luck to your bud and tell him to keep up the good work. I will be as happy as his family will be when he comes home safely!




-Technology...I have no idea what I would do without my GPSr, my TiVo, or my Computer with a broadband connection. I guess I would spend more time with my wife! icon_smile.gif

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You know, I passed this topic up probably fifteen times or so not figuring that it would grab at me the way it did as I read it.


I'm in the process of copying it and saving it, since several points and comments opened up my eyes alot.


My dad retired from the AF and I have a bro. currently a reservist, but I never really got around to the realistic side of serving-first hand.


Touching, to say the least. Thanks.


Give a big hello and return soon from us!




Yup. That's MY goat!

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Originally posted by Green Toad (f/k/a Stroh):

Not to sound like an asshat or anything, but can you expand on the acronyms? I have no affiliation to the military so they are all new to me.


Best of luck to your bud and tell him to keep up the good work. I will be as happy as his family will be when he comes home safely!




-Technology...I have no idea what I would do without my GPSr, my TiVo, or my Computer with a broadband connection. I guess I would spend more time with my wife! icon_smile.gif


I tried to do these in the order in which they appear in original post, I would put a disclaimer here if I really cared....LOL:


AD = Armored Division

HQ = Headquarters

REMF = Rear Echelon Mother, er, uh, Finder! Yeah, that's it, Finder. (Must remain family friendly, you figure it out...lol)(Think *Chairborne Ranger*

MTV = (you're kidding, right)

PX = Post Exchange (Different services sometimes call it different things, but it's a store).

DVD = (Once again, I think you know what this is...)

1AD = 1st Armored Division

Maj. = Rank of Major

Cpt. = Rank of Captain


If interested you can obtain from any government book store a compete listing of all military acronyms, be prepared for some cost and bring a heavy duty vehicle to carry home the HUGE volumes, yes, volumesssss. And on top of that, each service has their very own, as well as many which are the same... so it's like learning a whole new language if you change from service to service. Trust me on that one....lol.


Folks, you know the one thing that sticks out is the obvious pride with which the individual is serving. This is the common feeling in our military services. Most, if not all, serve with great pride and love of their country, no matter the task, no matter the danger, no matter the deprivation. The few knotheads who whine and cry to their mommies or congressmen are the exception to the rule, and you should never forget that.


No matter how bad it got, no matter how tired we were, no matter how late, no matter how early, we would (sometimes sarcastically, you know how soldiers are) look at each other and say, *Happy to be here, Proud to serve, Huuuuaaaaaahhhhhhh!* On the really good days, it meant one thing, on the really, really, really bad days, it meant something entirely different...LOL.



"Trade up, trade even, or don't trade!!!" My philosophy of life.

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