Monday, August 11, 2003

Quite unexpectedly today I received a letter from the Gator's 1SG from downtown Baghdad.

Let me share with you some of what he says.

"Greetings from Baghdad! The soldiers of A Company are working very hard and establishing an incredible reputation across the 1st Brigade Combat Team.

During the last month (the month of July) our soldiers logged over 3000 miles on over 200 convoys. We have issued over a quarter-million gallons of fuel and our warehouse has filled over 58,000 separate requests for repair parts for the vehicles of the 1st Brigade Combat Team.

Our number one priority is and always will be force protection: we have hired 30 Iraqi workers to fortify our perimeter. The XO and a NCO are tasked to put them to work. We have built six bunkers with steel fortified overhead protection.

CPT Patti has seen a lot of destruction and seen the Iraqi people and children up close. Saddam Hussein oppressed the people of Iraq for decades. The Iraqis are glad that Americans have brought them freedom. CPT Patti i sa part of history and responsible for bringing them that freedom. She is very proud to be a soldier and an American. The experience of Operation Iraqi Freedom will change her life forever. She is a busy soldier and I'm very proud to have her by my side.

Our quality of life is improving daily. We have hired plumbers, electricians and carpenters to renovate our living areas. Local contractors have installed new doors and windows and they have wired every room with light fixtures and switches. Our Command Sergeant Major is working a contract to get us 125 Kilowatt generators so we can power more electrical appliances. The generators should be here at the end of the month [Note by Tim: the generators did get there about the 1st of August]. We also contracted chemical latrine services, we have a total of 10 port-a-potties and they are cleaned daily by the contractor. The days of burning human waste are over, at least for now :-)

A small PX has been established in our camp. Soldiers can buy items such as snacks, sodas and personal hygiene items. The selection is small, but we think it is better than nothing. The PX also sells a limited supply of Army brown t-shirts, towels, and underwear..

All the rooms are equipped with either air conditioning or swamp coolers and every soldier has his own electric oscillating fan. We have a laundry and bath company from Fort Hood, Texas that provides shower and laundry services, however some soldiers have opted to buy their own washing machine for convenience. Additionally we have a total of 4 shower rooms fully operational. And we have access to a satellite telephone.

Moreover, we have an additional contract with an ice company. Alpha company gets 60 bags of ice daily, used solely for refrigeration since the ice is non-potable. We have 5 soldiers attached to us who specialize in water purification. Our "water dogs", as they are commonly known, have remarkably issued nearly 1 Million gallons of water to thirsty soldiers throughout our Brigade sector.

He closes with an admonition that we should all keep sending soldiers packages and mail...and thanks us for our support.

First Sergeant - it is the nation that needs to thank you.

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