Saturday, May 17, 2003

IT IS AGAIN 108 degrees in Kuwait today. Have you bought and mailed the cold packs and Gatorade yet?
THIS is pretty cool.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Soccer returned to Iraq and a near-capacity crowd cheered former World Cup captain Rad Hamoudi, who watched from the sideline after years of exile.

Iraqi champion Police beat al-Zawra 2-1 in the first soccer match in Iraq since the downfall of Saddam Hussein last month. But the result hardly mattered.

Troops were sent by the United States and British led administration to provide security for the match, which was billed as a symbolic fresh start.
WASHINGTON POST article outlines the expected mission of the 1AD in this article.

The injection into Baghdad of 18,500 additional troops -- the division plus dozens of smaller specialized units tacked onto it -- and their 7,400 tanks, trucks and other vehicles will double the U.S. military presence in the capital, enabling commanders to place more patrols on the streets, day and night.

Soldiers who have trained for months for high-intensity warfare will be operating checkpoints, protecting Iraqi facilities, conducting manhunts and, mostly, patrolling the streets of Baghdad as a quasi-police force. They have trained for all those tasks, but not to the highly honed edge to which they prepared for combat.

However, it is very doubtful that CPT Patti and the Gators will be doing any of these things. What they will be doing is providing those who are operating checkpoints etc with fuel, water, food, spare parts for their humvees and tanks and such things as that. So I don't imagine CPT Patti to be out roaming the streets everyday like the soldiers you see on the news. I expect she will operate from a fixed (and defended) operating base.

And I really hope I'm right.
AN EXCELLENT QUESTION AND ANSWER session with a reporter in Baghdad can be found here. He indicates that elements of the 1st Armored Division have alread arrived in Baghdad (but I can assure you CPT Patti and the Gators are not there yet). Read about how they are bunking...and the fact that the 3d ID quickly reminds the 1AD that "you didn't win a war". Good read.
SATURDAY, MAY 17th. Day six of CPT Patti's deployment. Last confirmed location is Camp Udairi in the desert of Kuwait near the Iraqi border.

Friday, May 16, 2003

SEEMS TO ME reading these articles it becomes clear that we don't have a handle on the security in Baghdad nor the rest of the country. Note that they keep saying that 15,000 more troops are coming (1AD). Well, that solves nothing under the original plan that the 3d ID go home once 1AD arrives.

Therefore, 3d ID is in for a long stay - a situation I personally believe to be untenable, or we are going to see the deployment of significant additional Army units in the near future. And NONE of this adds up to good news for a short deployment for CPT Patti and the Gators.
ANOTHER TAKE on an achingly slow reconstruction effort. The quote below offers one point of view but you'll find others if you read the entire article.

Experts in postwar reconstruction stress that it is a difficult job in the best circumstances, and Iraq has been particularly difficult.

"We were prepared for a lot of things, but we weren't prepared for this complete anarchic take-down, having people taking wires out of buildings," said Scott Feil, a retired Army officer who directed a major study on postwar reconstruction, published in January by the Association of the U.S. Army and the private Center for Security and International Studies.

"We half-expected the (Iraqi) police force to still be functional," Maj. Gen. Buford Blount, 3rd Infantry Division commander, told reporters yesterday.

When the U.S. Organization for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Aid (ORHA) made its first TV broadcast to the Iraqi people Wednesday night, the new channel used as its logo the eight-pointed star seen on many buildings here. If ORHA's head of communication, Margaret Tutwieler, or her staff had consulted with any Iraqis before adopting this logo, they'd have known that the eight-pointed star is the symbol of . . . the Ba'ath Party.

Bremer is taking over a very troubled agency: ORHA - America's inadequate, notoriously slow-moving substitute for an interim occupation government - is as unpopular with the U.S. soldiers on the street as it is with ordinary Iraqis.

Concerns me because to the average Iraqi the face of the United States interim authority is not the bungling bureaucrats...but rather the soldiers on the street. And it is upon those soldiers that the Iraqis will take out their frustration. May want to have your congressman's phone number handy.

See the rest here.

This is mini-vacations in the Carribean for military folks. Thank you!

Good article here about how the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES - they run the PXs) follows the troops. Note the staggering quantity of sodas sold in one day.
POSTING may be a little light brother is visiting just before he leaves en route to some third world nation...sounds a lot like what my wife did earlier in the week...
FRIDAY, MAY 16TH. Day five of CPT Patti's deployment. Last known location is Camp Udairi in the desert of Kuwait near the Iraqi border. However, we hear that ships are being offloaded at Kuwait City she may be at either location.

Thursday, May 15, 2003


Although rampant street crime in Baghdad keeps residents living in fear, Lt. Gen. David McKiernan said his forces were confronting a "more dangerous" opponent: small but determined groups of opposition fighters using guerrilla tactics to undermine American forces by sabotaging military efforts to get water pumping, electricity flowing and the government running.

"There is still a problem with organized elements against the coalition," McKiernan said.

...The official, who like the others spoke only on the condition of anonymity, said the two main U.S. units in the Iraqi capital, the 3rd and 4th Infantry Divisions, and the 1st Armored Division, which is arriving from Germany, were all better equipped for tank warfare than for policing cities.

More here.

UPDATE: And then there is this:

The instability has compromised the good will of ordinary Iraqis toward U.S. forces, who are seen as impotent against the looters or, worse, unconcerned. Many Iraqis swear they have seen U.S. tanks and troops stand by as looters break into museums, libraries and schools.

While some of the chaos is the work of common criminals, Iraqis and American officials agree that organized elements increasingly are using the violence to undermine U.S. credibility.

They say the gangs are affiliated either with Saddam Hussein's deposed Ba'ath Party or with Shi'ite groups, both of which are eager to turn Iraqi citizens against the American presence.


The 3rd Infantry Division has been told to stop sending troops home and to step up patrols, a move that reflects mounting concerns within the Bush administration about security in Baghdad, military officials said on Wednesday.

See the rest here.

At 2 a.m. Thursday, troops formed a cordon around the outer perimeter of a 9-block area. About 200 houses and outlying buildings were searched before the sweep ended at 7 a.m.

In one house, a large stack of brand-new Iraqi currency was found, the military said. At another, a soldier emerged carrying a camouflage military uniform top.

In an unrelated incident early Thursday on the Tigris River north of Tikrit, U.S. forces saw a boat being loaded with cases of unidentified materials and fired a flare in warning.

The Americans came under fire from boat and fired back; they said they believed they killed everybody aboard.

The entire story is here.

(Article found by way of Command Post)

Amid signs that criminals roaming the capital are more violent and better organized than ever, top U.S. military officials said Wednesday that they will double the number of military police on city streets within two weeks.

The U.S. military is also considering confiscating pistols and assault rifles with folding stocks from Iraqis, many of whom travel the streets armed with weapons, according to a draft of the plan.

Well that will make me feel better about CPT Patti being there.

It's an ugly place and in some ways getting uglier. Read about it here.

The first wave of non-military-related aircraft began arriving in Iraq last week. A plane carrying communications equipment and six people landed early in the week at the airfield in Inkawa, a suburb of Irbil where many nongovernmental organizations are based in the north. A similar flight was scheduled for Baghdad later in the week.

Once the equipment is up and operating, medical supplies and other badly needed material will be on their way.

The entire story is here.

According to the rear detachment guys the ships containing all the equipment have arrived in the gulf. Ships are not yet being offloaded due to a traffic jam at the port. As soon as a berth becomes available they will begin to offload.

The rear detachment guys are also telling us that they expect the 1AD to be fully in place in Baghdad by the 4th of June.
THURSDAY May 15th. Day four of CPT Patti's deployment. She is currently at Camp Udairi in the desert of Kuwait near the Iraqi border.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

ANOTHER EDITORIAL from the same web site.

We cannot say that suicide bombings in Israel and Russia are acceptable but not in Saudi Arabia. The cult of suicide bombings has to stop. So too has the chattering, malicious, vindictive hate propaganda. It has provided a fertile ground for ignorance and hatred to grow.

The cynical might point out that this is what the Saudis are saying in their English language paper. But I'd prefer to believe the sentiments are real.

Anyway, the whole piece is here.
(Article found by way of Instapundit)
AN ARAB RESPONSE to terrorism in Saudi Arabia

Who are we trying to fool? Ourselves or the international community? Neither can be fooled.

It’s about time we got our act together. The time of pretending that radicalism does not exist in Saudi Arabia is long past. The time for pretending that we are above errors and could not possibly commit terrorist attacks is no longer with us. It has got to stop. Change must come now. We as a nation cannot afford to leave it to its own slow pace. It’s either now or never. It also must cover all aspects of our life — the school, the mosque, the home, the street, the media.

How can we tell the rest of the world that we are tolerant of other religions and faiths when some of us are not even tolerant of other schools of Islamic thought?

How can we expect others to believe that a majority of us are a peace-loving people who denounce extremism and terrorism when some preachers continue to call for the destruction of Jews and Christians, blaming them for all the misery in the Islamic world?

And the media? It seems that if the media are not flatly denying, they are following the see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, speak-no evil method.

Its a good the whole thing here.
(Article found by way of Instapundit)

Ah...sweeps week. When we can count on the networks to pull out all the stops to get our attention.

You probably heard that Jay Leno and Katie Couric switched jobs for a day. I didn't get to see Jay in the morning, but I did see Katie on the Tonight Show.

Did anyone else notice that they had removed Jay's usual desk and replaced with it one that had no front, ergo, we all got to stare at Katie's legs through the entire show?

Now, I like a nice pair of legs...but changing desks for that pupose just strikes me as a bit, well, creepy.

Just checked...its 106 degrees in Kuwait.


I apologize for the fact the fonts change everytime I add some quote from another source. I'm trying to fix that...

Tough new rules of engagement coming says this article. Interestingly this information seems to fall in line with the complaints by the NY Post (previous entry)

A good opinion piece at the NY Post on the shortcomings of US Planning for postwar Iraq. And as much as I support the Administration, I gotta say I believe this is mostly on the money

During the war, we did not have enough troops to do everything that needed to be done, but the quality of our armed forces pulled off a brilliant campaign nonetheless. Now, a month after the fall of Baghdad, the most consistent complaint from our soldiers, our diplomats and even from Iraqis is that we don't have enough boots on the ground to do what must be done.

Secretary Rumsfeld consistently has sought to minimize the role of ground forces in order to justify cutting the Army and funneling the savings to defense contractors. Now he doesn't want to allow a victory parade in Manhattan that would add to the luster gained by the Army and Marines in the recent campaign - and he wants our troops to do the occupation of Iraq on the cheap.

Bad, bad idea.

In the strategic marketplace, you don't always get what you pay for, but you never get what you don't pay for.

See the whole thing here.

Found this story on the internet about CPT Patti's temporary home. You can read about the facilities and conditions. However, the story is almost three months old so some stuff may have changed.

UPDATE: This link shows Udairi on a map of Kuwait. And another description of the camp here

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, GEN Richard Myers whom many of you will recognize from the Pentagon briefings he gave along side Secretary Rumsfeld, gave further indications that the 3d Infantry Division may not leave Baghdad as quickly as planned.

A month after their capital city fell to U.S. forces, Iraqis in Baghdad go to bed each night to the sound of AK-47s bursts overhead. It isn’t continuous, not at all, but it is still disconcerting.

Security, Myers said, is a fundamental concern. To meet the challenge, he said, additional military personnel are arriving each day.

“The scheme would be that eventually they would replace some of the units that have been here the longest, but that remains to be seen,” Myers said at a news conference after his briefings.

“It would be event driven. There’s not a timeline we’re on. We’ll look at events, and we’ll look at security in Baghdad. We’ll look at the security in other major population centers. We’ll look at security in the rest of the country and make those decisions as we go along.”

One has to feel for those guys. They are the ones that did all the heavy lifting during the hostilities, along side the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. The Marines have redeployed, but the 3d ID is still there trying to catch a break.

The entire story is here.

Delightfully, CPT Patti called this morning using her cell phone to make contact. Wanted to give me an update on their status. She warned me though that with no electricity she cannot recharge her phone and the contact may cease for a while.

Major bummer.

On to the news.

They are temporarily residing at Camp Udairi. Camp Udairi is a "tent city" near the Iraqi border. She indicated that describing it as "spartan" might be a bit too generous.

She says the Gators are lucky enough to have lights in their tents, although the rest of the battalion does not. Other than the few lights there is no electricity in the tent city. However, she reports that her First Sergeant has rigged up a Gator Patio and a Gator Balcony, the only such amenities in the camp. Now I'm having trouble imagining a tent with a balcony...perhaps one day I'll see the photos.

She called at 9:20 am her was already 94 degrees. But they do have access to ice. So, when she can, she puts the ice in her "camelbak" (that is a small back pack that holds drinking water...with a tube that acts as a long straw). That helps in the process of cooling off and remaining hydrated.

They are eating "real food" from a dining facility. However, lines are very long for food and for the few commercial telephones in the camp.

They do not have access to computers in this camp, so she will not be able to read her e-mail until sometime after they arrive in Baghdad. They expect to be in Baghdad by the 1st of June.

She sounded great and said she was doing very well.

I'm glad for that. Bet you are too.
WEDNESDAY, May 14th. Day three of CPT Patti's deployment. She is currently in Camp Udairi in the desert of Kuwait near the Iraqi border.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003


This is just too funny.


A Star Trek quiz:
Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and 'Ensign Gomez' beam down to a planet. Which one isn't coming back?

Police in Baghdad pack guns again for the first time since the war, as the capital faces a new type of lawlessness - arsons, car thefts and kidnappings. U.S. authorities distribute sidearms among the 5,000 police who have reported for duty; police guarding important sites will have assault rifles.

Some 300 Iraqi soldiers march on the U.S. army's main Baghdad base to demand back pay and a future in the new Iraq, joining a growing chorus of Iraqi civil servants hoping for a quick return to normalcy - including salaries - under the U.S. occupation.

What does it say of the conduct of our soldiers in securing the peace when Iraqi soldiers have the confidence to approach our forces today?

The entire article is here.
Additional military units heading to Baghdad - namely the 1st Armored Division, based in Germany - were intended to replace the 3rd Infantry Division and other units that fought the war, but Myers said Monday that they "may" replace units now in Iraq.

This doesn't bode well for the soldiers of the 3d Infantry Division who must be just sick of the place by now...nor does it do much for my optimism that CPT Patti's deployment might be a relatively short one.

But this article indicates the 3d Infantry Division only extending until june...heck, it will be June before the entire 1AD is in Baghdad. So it seems that any extension by the 3d ID is only a matter of a couple of weeks at most.

Lt. Gen. William ``Fuzzy'' Webster, deputy commander of all allied ground forces in Iraq, said in a separate interview Monday that within two weeks an additional 1,000 military police would be operating in Baghdad.

``Then it will quickly decline again,'' he said, because the 1st Armored Division, which is scheduled to enter Iraq soon as a replacement for the 3rd Infantry Division, has fewer MPs than the 3rd.

Soldiers of the 1st Armored Division are now gathering in Kuwait, preparing to haul their tanks and other equipment north.

The article also gives a glimpse into a mission the 1AD will face.


A look at the challenges facing our troops in Iraq.

When US soldiers first arrived here in Thawra, in eastern Baghdad, rumors swept through the thickly populated Shiite Muslim neighborhood that the Americans' high-tech night vision goggles were capable of seeing through women's clothing. In a conservative Muslim neighborhood, such a suggestion is almost too much to bear. So an Army representative took a pair of goggles to a respected religious leader to show him that they merely enhance vision at night.

US officials believed the demonstration put an end to the issue. But some Iraqi rumors never seem to die. The latest version is that some sunglasses worn by American troops allow them to see through clothing.

Now, US forces are letting Iraqis try on their sunglasses

You can read the whole thing here.


It occurs to me that would be an apt description of the Ba'ath Party. See what I mean here.

UPDATE: This story further supports my contention. Sample:
Working from archives seized from many of the regime’s buildings housing secret police, state security, military intelligence, Baathist Party headquarters and so on, the Committee so far has produced a list of 10,000 names of those executed by the regime.

Actually, a pretty cool one.

I wonder if this applies to the Disney park near Paris as well?
TUESDAY MAY 13TH. Day two of CPT Patti's Deployment. She is currently in Kuwait City.

Monday, May 12, 2003


CPT Patti called about 1:00 pm east coast time. Very quick phone call.

They arrived safely and when she called they were on the bus headed from the plane to the terminal.

Said its HOT.

And, just so you know the time in Kuwait/Iraq is east coast plus 7 hours. At least for now...that will change when we shift off of daylight savings time.

Thanks for all your "safe flying" prayers. If its not too much to ask we now could use some safe ship unloading, safe firing range and safe convoy to Baghdad prayers.


One 5-ton truck with a trailer attached lost its brakes, rolled from a ship and plunged into the harbor, said Maj. Glen Cunningham, 41, of Daphne, Ala., an Army reservist from the 1184th Transportation Terminal Battalion.

“There was no driver,” Cunningham said. “We fished the truck out later.”


Troops from the Baumholder-based 2nd Brigade and Hanau-based 4th Brigade arrived last week. The division’s 3rd Brigade, normally based in Fort Riley, Kan., also has arrived in Kuwait.

Soldiers from the division’s Friedberg, Germany-based 1st Brigade are the last troops to leave Europe. They should be arriving this week, Gercken said.

The entire story is here

According to this no one seems to know.

UPDATE: This story offers a more reasonable tone.

As big as the duffle bags and ruck sacks are...we found out they aren't big enough to hold $1000 worth of new stuff.

I am now on a first name basis with the guy at the post office if you catch my meaning...

Those who have served in the Army already know.

Each unit has a mascot - a nickname if you will by which they refer to themselves. There are such nicknames out there as Spartans, Diamonds and Providers.

CPT Patti's company mascot/nickname is Gators.

All the leaders in the company also have numbers which identify them by position over the radio. Tradition in the Army says that the commander is always "six". The first sergeant is "seven".

Well, on any given day there may be many units on the same radio net and therefore many sixes and sevens all trying to talk. In order to identify themselves as the commander of such and such a unit (without giving the unit designation which is a big no no over the air waves) they use their combined unit nickname and position number.

Hence, CPT Patti is Gator Six.

And occasionally someone refers to me as Household Six.

It was an interesting scene as the soldiers and family members gathered at the company last night. In front of the barracks is a grassy quadrangle where benches had been placed for folks to sit during the hours we would be there.

The soldiers were intermittently busy drawing their weapons from the arms room, and conducting equipment checks. In between these activities they were of course free to spend these hours with their loved ones.

And I noticed that the families tended to cluster as families...and not in larger groups as friends, although many of these families are good and close friends.

The groupings indicated that these were family moments. As well they should be.

Later, in the wee hours of the morning as the soldiers were finally aboard the busses and the busses pulled away, I like so many others in the same circumstance of worry and longing and pride and fear stood on tiptoes to wave goodbye one more time. And when the busses were no longer in sight, I looked around. For the first time all night we the families were standing in one large group.

I suppose family may have many definitions.

Oh the things one sees just by keeping the eyes open.

Let me describe briefly the Army's duffle bag. A cavernous green (naturally) nylon bag shaped like a squat sausage link. A little over three feet long with a diameter around which a grown man might just be able to get his fingers to touch if he were hugging it. The bag has two straps along its side by which one can wear/carry the bag as if it were a back pack.

It holds a lot. And I can assure you GIs never leave extra space in their duffle bags, especially for uncertain deployments such as this.

About midnight last night CPT Patti and her company (The Gators!) had transferred their duffle bags, ruck sacks and carry-on back packs to a huge maintenance bay the size of an aircraft hanger. Awaiting the busses to take them away many of the troops were lying on the duffle bags, trying to catch a nap.

Family members were lingering there as well, spending every available moment with their soldiers.

And then suddenly the First Sergeant stepped in and announced the arrival of the first bus.

The company executive officer ordered the soldiers designated for the first bus to move their duffle bags to the bus. I watched as the supply sergeant, a slight woman, perhaps five-foot-two and maybe 95 pounds struggled to don her duffle bag upon her back. Someone stepped in to assist her by lifting and supporting the bag until she had the straps around both shoulders and the bag on her back.

As the supply sergeant said "OK, I got it" and the assistant released the bag there was a cinematic moment in which the sergeants eyes grew huge with a nascent understanding of her predicament and her mouth opened but it was clear she didn't know what to say. And then, slowly, she began to topple backwards, the weight of the duffle just that required to overcome her slight body weight and straining muscles. But it was an incredibly slow toppling. And in a flash CPT Patti who was standing nearby grabbed the duffle in a bear hug and prevented the sergeant from completing her fall.

Later, while the soldiers were boarding the bus, I overheard another sergeant refer to the pack and bag laden troops as "Weeble Wobbles"

An apt appelation, if ever I heard one.

As CPT Patti was doing her final packing yesterday she handed to me a card in an envelope.

On the envelope was written in pink magic marker "Female Military Officer". CPT Patti said it had been passed to her by the battalion Chaplain. The author doesn't know CPT Patti - indeed, doesn't know where her card ended up.

Inside was a homemade card with stars and the words "Thank You" written across the front.

Within the card were these words.

Dear Madam

Thank you for your service to our country. Stay strong and be encouraged. We appreciate what you are doing!

Just wanted to brighten your day and keep hope alive!!

Praying for your safety!!

Heather Goasdone
(Rhode Island)

Well Heather, CPT Patti was touched. I don't know if you actually know any female military officers or what you imagine they are like. But ff you knew her you would be amazed at her gentle and giving spirit. I've been married to her for two years and I am more amazed every day.

Heather, CPT Patti sends her thanks.

So do I.

CPT Patti called using her cell phone about 1045 this morning. Said she was calling from the tarmac at Ramstein Air Base as they were about to board a United Airlines jet bound for Kuwait City.

She sounded great...said the overnight bus ride and processing for the flight went smoothly for her company.

Said that seat assignments on the plane were made by rank. So CPT Patti is flying 1st Class to Kuwait City. Whoo Hoo!!

I'm glad for that little blessing - because there will be much discomfort for her over the next many days.

Flight is about 7 hours...they should be landing sometime about 1:00 pm east coast time.

Has anyone ever developed a scale for measuring how much one loves another?

If not, may I suggest using how much one aches with missing another upon the occasion of an unpredictable separation such as this deployment. It is real, it is palpable, but is it quantifiable?

I knew I love my wife. By the measure above I didn't know how much.

I'm astonished at how I ache. And weep.

Does it get better?
THE BUS PULLED AWAY carrying CPT Patti and her soldiers at 1:42 am.

My heart hurts.

Sunday, May 11, 2003


G for "goodbye".

In about an hour we will leave for CPT Patti's office, with a stop at a nearby hospital on the way to visit one of CPT Patti's soldiers who is fighting an infection. I have said before how remarkably CPT Patti loves her soldiers.

In this final hour at home we are baking cookies and banana bread for the soldiers and family members who will all gather together tonight to say farewell.

About midnight CPT Patti and crew will board the bus...and begin the journey that will take them to Ramstein Air Base. About 11:00 am on Monday our time (5 am on the east coast) the plane is scheduled to depart.

Its about a 7 hour flight from here.

Please send up a prayer for our girl as she and her soldiers head out to make a little history.

This is rich. Especially in light of this.

They don't seem to understand they are their own parody.

Security was required because Baghdad, like the rest of Iraq, remains an unsteady place without a functioning police force and without enough American troops to keep the streets safe. General McKiernan admitted, in one of the frankest comments yet by a senior American in Baghdad, that he did not have enough soldiers to secure the entire country. Fewer than 150,000 troops are in Iraq, which, he noted, is the size of California.

Read the whole thing.



'The Arab Media Succeeded in Deceiving the People' says this article.

Gee...ya think?


Read why here.