1st Cav News

November 30, 2006

Part of a great article from the 1st Cav News.

http://www.hood.army.mil/1stcavdiv/

CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq – The chance of running into your brother halfway around the world is slim. Taking over his job duties so he can redeploy home, increases those odds astronomically. The common denominator is these brothers are twins, and have shared many of the same interests all their life.

Both Sgt. Jeremy Tate, a tanker with Headquarters Platoon, Company C, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, and the younger twin-brother, by one minute, Cpl. Johnathan Tate, a tanker with Headquarters Platoon, Company D, 2nd Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, have served together in Iraq once before; however, this deployment the younger Tate will relieve his older sibling, of his duties so he may return to Ft. Hood, Texas, for a well deserved rest.

Upon arriving here, Jeremy allotted his personal effects to his younger brother, including a refrigerator, an I-pod with many of their favorite songs and his personal collection of digital video discs. The two also agree on favorite pastimes. Both enjoy fishing, hunting and barbecuing when home with their families.

Serving their country together is another likeness these twins share.

After graduating from Gordon Central High School in the summer of 2000, Jeremy and Johnathan decided to join the United States Army, together. After they swore in and attended basic training together, they were both stationed at Ft. Hood in the 4th Infantry Division; same unit, same company. They then deployed with one another to Somarra, Iraq, for seven months.

“We didn’t get to room together but we leaned on each other and it really helped us through the deployment,” Johnathan said.

The two worked together in control rooms and patrolled streets numerous times next to each other.

This time around, Jeremy, with the outgoing 4th Infantry Division and Johnathan with the incoming 1st Cavalry Division, will spend only a short amount of time together before Sgt. Tate redeploys home.

Johnathan arrived two weeks ago and immediately sought out his older brother. Not only to spend quality time with him, but also because he is taking over his position in the control room where they keep constant radio contact with patrolling troops.

Jeremy is awaiting a departure date to return home and spend time with his family while Johnathan is beginning his second deployment. The pair are enjoying the time they have to spend together while here, and upon Johnathan return home for mid-tour leave they plan on celebrating their reunion with a Texas-sized barbecue.

(U.S. Army photo by Pfc. M. Benjamin Gable, 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

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I am Weak

November 29, 2006

 

This morning was rough. I am not sure why and chose to blame it on hormones. (why not?) So I typed it out:

As I sit here in my cozy office, sipping my hot cocoa, listening to the stereo… Life is good … with the exception, the HUGE exception of not knowing if my son is ok.How is a parent supposed to stay in the festive holiday mood with the knowledge that my eldest son (still my little man) is somewhere in the belly of a hostile country?

If he is still working the same shift, he will be off duty now. Will he too be drinking a cup of cocoa?

Should I just put on the Christmas carols, put up the beautiful lights, and enjoy for him?

This is a bummer.

Please God, Santa, The Good fairy … oh Hell … anyone who has the power, Keep my son and his fellow Soldiers safe… (I’ve been good this year … most of the time)

I can no longer see thru the tears.

Today I don’t rant, I plead. Let them feel our love back in the States.

All my Love,
Mom J.

And then the funnies started rolling in to cheer me up. Thanks Vince and Lisa! Two better friends, one could never want for.

TV’s Craig Ferguson traveled to Bahrain over Thanksgiving weekend to entertain troops and discussed it during his monologue Monday night. It was pretty funny.  There’s nothing to download, but if you have streaming video capabilities, you can watch the monologue online

http://www.cbs.com/latenight/latelate/comedy/monologue/video/20061127.shtml

I am better now…. Thanks guys!


Army Strong

November 27, 2006

Army Strong

Every time I watch this, I have the same emotion (As shared by one our Soldiers)

HOO-FRICKIN-AAH!!!!!!!!!


Just adding some new pics

November 25, 2006

More Training

Getting in some more training.

Catching some Zzzzzzz’s before heading back              (1st Deployment)

An Oldie… AIT Graduation!


Thanksgiving across the Ocean

November 22, 2006

I I wanted to wait and post this on Thanksgiving Day. But then decided,  this is my blog, my rules… and it is already Thanksgiving in Baghdad.

First… We Love and Miss you very much, son. 

http://www.sgtstrader.org/msg/2006tdm1.html  (thanks for the link Liz!)

Do you ever get a song stuck in your head? I have been singing this one all day…

What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong

I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do
They’re really saying I love you.

I hear babies crying, I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more than I’ll never know
And I think to myself what a wonderful world
Yes I think to myself what a wonderful world.

The reason it is stuck in my head is a logical one (to me). I have been reading over a couple different Vietnam Veteran’s websites.  Every time I think of Vietnam I think of the Movie… Good Morning Vietnam and then that song jumps into my head. Ivan Pavlov would be so proud! What an awe inspiring group of Americans. Those who fought in Vietnam, came home and were treated like crap, yet rose above. The men and women (our Warriors)  who’s honor far out shines the likes of those who rally in Pink. This Thanksgiving I would like all to remember those who never received the Parades, the waving flags, the cheering family and friends at the airport. May we never again let our men and women down.

And a special prayer for David.

I pray that you know how much we love you. I pray that God watches over you and those serving at your side. And I pray that thru the grace of God you will be returning to spend Christmas with us in 2007.

Now for a funny….

(Thanks Una   )

You Know You Have Been in Iraq Too Long When:

When mortars land near your compound and you roll over in bed and think “still way off, I got another 5 minutes”

When you start humming with the Arabic song playing on the radio on the shuttle bus

Every woman that reports to your unit starts looking attractive

Every guy that reports to your unit starts looking attractive

You walk an extra 6 blocks to eat at the KBR (contractor run) dining facility to have the exact same food they are serving in your dining facility because you think it tastes better

You actually volunteer for convoy security duty because you still haven’t seen the country yet

You start picturing your wife in traditional Arab dress

The contractors have more fire power than the military combat units. (This is true)

You take the time to add your lines to this list

You’ve spent $200 dollars at Haji mart on DVDs buying Basic Instinct, 9 and ½ weeks, and Body of Evidence just for the sex scenes

You drink the water from the tap because you want to drop 20 pounds in two weeks

Driving around in SUVs with weapons pointed out the windows and forcing cars off the road seems very normal to you

You can put your body armor and helmet on in the dark in under 5 seconds

When the organization you work for has changed its name more than 3 times

When you can actually talk to people in the United States on a cell phone, yet you can’t get people on their cell phone a block away

When you actually spend more time writing e-mail about the dog in the compound versus how to conduct the fight in Najaf

Your idea of a fun Thursday night is to go to the Palace pool to watch the State Department folks get drunk, naked and try to pick each other up

When you actually get excited to get a package that contains 3 pair of socks, 12 bars of soap and a Victoria Secret Catalog

When you start to enjoy the rocking of the trailer every time the MEDEVAC choppers fly over

You memorized every episode from the 4th Season of Sex in the City

You enjoy the audience commentary while watching a movie bought at Haji mart

You see celebratory fire going over the compound at night and think, “wow the colors are so pretty” and want to fire back

Your thinking of buying real estate in the green zone

Your idea of sex is 20 minutes of Instant Messaging with your wife on the computer, OK, 10 minutes, who are you kidding?

You wake up and think Baghdad, I am still in friggin Baghdad

You make the new guy show you his count down timer just to make you feel better about your time you have left in country

You’re in the Army and you start saying Ooorah

You’re in the Marines and you start saying Hooah

You’re in the Navy and you realize you are in the middle of the desert, the exact opposite of being in the middle of the ocean, where one might normally find the Navy.

You’re in the Air Force, and you’re on the plane home because an Air Force tour is too short to have been a long Iraq tour. Ignore this list, zoomie, you won’t get it.

You only notice the stench of Haji funk when its not there

You plan on removing all trees and grass in your yard when you get home so it will look more natural

You forget there are other colors than brown that can be found in places other than power point slides

The temp drops down to 102 degrees and you shiver while reaching for your Gortex jacket

You have noticed a change of season, from long, hot and dry to short, cold and wet.

When you call home and your kids ask “Who is this?”

You call home and your wife says hello Bill (your name is Sam)

When you go on R&R, you duct tape your child to the roof of your car, hand him a pellet rifle, and assign him a sector of fire for the ride to “The Olive Garden.”

When you can comfortably shave and brush your teeth using bottled water, but don’t mind showering in the “non-potable” local water.

While on R&R, you look out the window and find Nature, which leads you to wonder who stole your sandbags.

When some of the contractors wear their DCUs (Desert pattern camouflage uniform) more properly than some of your soldiers.

When 12 hours is a short work day

You go Battle Captains!

When, During the BUA, “DIV asked MNSTC-I for the FRAGO that MNC-I was supposed to publish, but couldn’t because MNF-I hadn’t weighed in, since they were too inundated with MOD and MOI war-gaming the JCCs within the ISF to square us away!” is a valid comment and generates no questions.

When you start using words like G’day mate, Cheers, and Bloody hell as part of your normal vocabulary

When you have your opinions printed in the STARS and STRIPES more than 3 times

When the palace catches fire and instead of helping to put it out you grab a bag of marshmallows and start roasting

When you step into any office and there are 6 colonels, 12 lieutenant colonels, 15 majors, and 8 captains supervising the work of 1 sergeant

When you end every phone conversation with “Out”

When you’re ordered to get an air mission together on short notice because it’s a “Hot priority” only to have the Major call back once he is in the air to ask “Does anyone know where I am going?”

When the weapon buyback program has become so successful that you have issued the same AK-47 to the Iraqi army 3 times

When you can actually tell the difference between the sound of an exploding car and an exploding mortar

When on R & R you tell your wife that your weapon status is Red and your looking for the clearing barrel

When on R&R you go to Church and wonder why no one is wearing body armor or carrying an automatic weapon to the service

You see an indirect fire attack take out a generator and get angry at the enemy for not hitting the one that powers your computer

You see an indirect fire attack take out an air conditioner and your vigor to fight is renewed

You yell at the FNG for shouting incoming when the rounds don’t impact close enough to hit your tent with dirt

You know that you need to run inside immediately after any win of an Iraqi sports team to keep from being hit by celebratory fire

You decide for that for shits and grins – lets take a run around Lost Lake at Camp Victory to see if we can get shot at by the sniper

You never worry about oversleeping because if the morning call to prayers doesn’t wake you, the daily 0430 mortar attack will (most mornings)

The highlight of your shopping experience at the PX is to see that they got in a new shipment of Schick Tracer razor blades

When you send out your laundry and your whites become grayer, your blacks become grayer and your DCU’s become grayer – makes it easier to sort loads…

You get offended by people wearing clean, pressed DCU’s

You decide that it is a better course of action to pull your blankets over your head than put on your body armor during a mortar attack – the woobee will save you and at least you are comfortable

You make a contest out of seeing who can wear their uniform for more days before becoming entirely disgusted with themselves

You wonder if the fish served at dinner really was carp caught out of the Tigris or Camp Victory’s lake

You find it completely acceptable to pick your nose while talking to a complete stranger or member of the opposite sex

A rocket or a mortar really isn’t a big deal until the crater it leaves is big enough to trip over in the dark on the way to the latrine

You go to a social gathering and intermittent gun fire or explosions don’t even cause a pause in the conversation


November 21, 2006

Let Me Sleep


Draining a 100 Gallon Fish Tank in Less than 5 Minutes

November 21, 2006

Most of my posts have been serious…. That is because war is serious. There are constant dangers that we parents worry about.

And these worries can lead to sleepless nights… Many sleepless nights.

So, today I am writing a lighter post… We all need to be able to laugh at the crazies of life!

“Draining a 100 Gallon Fish Tank in Less than 5 Minutes”

or

“101 Reasons for Having the Floors Cleaned”

part 1

Have you ever reached the sleep deprivation point, where you have no idea if you are coming or going? 

I walked into the kitchen to grab an apple, but by the time I reached the kitchen I stare blankly at the oven. Am I supposed to start dinner? Yes, that must be why I am in the kitchen.  

I walked to the fridge, opened the door and stare blankly at the milk. I wonder for a moment about the expiration date. Gosh, I need to clean the fridge. Yes, that must be why I am in the kitchen.  

I begin pulling out the cold cuts. Turkey and Swiss on rye sounds great! Darn, we are out of spicy brown mustard. I need to run to the store and get a bottle. I need to make a grocery list. Yes, that must be why I am in the kitchen.  

Dang, those apples look good. I think I will have one. Wait, didn’t I just have an apple? 

Oh yes, put apple sauce on the list. I want to make apple sauce pancakes this weekend. Speaking of pancakes, did I reserve the Rockport Cabin? (don’t ask how I can get Rockport from pancakes … something to do with log cabin syrup maybe?) 

OK…. This is all hurting my head.  

I need to forget about all these stressful issues and just clean the fish tank. (see, I was going some where with this) 

I got out the buckets, the vacuum, the clean filters…

Hmmmm… Have I changed out the filters on the A/C lately? 

Sorry fish. I will be right back. 

On the way back I grabbed an apple because they look so good. I sat down in front of the aquarium and watched the fish while I FINALLY ate the apple. 

Recharged with food, I began the task at hand (just not sure what it is)  :-/ 

Oh yes… Buckets and filters are out for a reason. DOH 

I vacuumed the rocks and added fresh water. I am ASSUMING I added chemicals to the water as no fish have killed over yet. 

Then I began the dubious task of changing out the filters. It is not such a hard task. I have a sweet Ocean Clear canister pump. They claim it pumps 800 to 1600 GPM (seems high… but my floors tend to agree with the claim)  

All I need to do is shut off the valves on the hoses. It is easy, slide the levers into the horizontal position. One does not need special training nor a degree to run it.

I was awake enough to do this.  I lifted the lid to the canister, changed the filters, and cleaned it out.  

This is where my brain should have been in tune with what my hands were about to do. This is the point that I would have said, “Don’t even think of doing it!” 

Unfortunately, my brain was not in gear and my hands took over….

I looked at the hose, (the same hose that I had closed) and decided it needed cleaned as well. The pump was off. What could go wrong? 

Simple law of irrigation… a 3/4 inch hose, which is full of water, One end in the tank – one end hooked to the pump. Even with the pump turned off, removing the end of the hose which is attached to the canister is just dumb. 

As water was shooting out all over me and the floor, I sat back and began laughing hysterically. Seriously, who would do something so dumb.

Slowly my brain began to engage and I pushed my palm into the end of the hose.  I am sure this only lasted a few seconds… But, I had quite a bit of water on the floor.  

Holding the hose firmly, I had to push it back into the fitting. Picture in your mind, attaching a water sprinkler to the hose with the hose running.

At this point, I was wondering… “Did I add apples to the grocery list?” 

Ps. I spoke with David! He is doing fine. I am off to find another item for his “LIST” !!!!!