Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Some People Disgust Me

I apologize once again for the long lapse in time between posts. I've had trouble trying to write without crossing the lines of revealing sensitive information the the enemy can use against us.

As I mentioned before, we have contractors on the base that do much of the maintenece and running of different programs like the dining facility which I call a chow hall. I've gotten in trouble of using that term in the past, but I don't see a reason to change what we've call it for generations. Anyway, I'm off topic with that. Back to the people I'm writing about today, the contractors.

I'm working night-shift, so my last meal of the day before I go to bed is actually breakfast. We have choices like scrambled eggs, oatmeal, beacon, sausage, omelets, and hash among other things. Scrambled eggs, fried eggs, and omelets are made to order as we go through the line. Now, the other day, I was three people behind a civilian contractor that was there as part of one of the maintenence teams.

Here is the part the ticked me off this day. He orders three eggs, scrambled. The soldier behind him orders the same thing. The cook then took six eggs and started cooking them to the side of the grill together so that he'd have more room to cook eggs for the other people in line as well. Well, this civilian starts getting upset and complaining that he didn't ask for six eggs, he asked for three. Four or five people tried to explain to him that when the eggs were done cooking, they would be divided in half, and he would only get half of them, not all six, and the other half would go to the soldier behind him in line. He either couldn't grasp the concept, or refused to accept that reasoning. In the end, the soldier got all six eggs, and the cook had to cook three more all by themselves in order to satisfy that man.

Now, I've been in the country for almost four months now, and I know that at a minimum, three soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice while doing their duties off base. Many others had been seriously injured. We had received several mortar and rocket attacks on the base itself, and this guy was complaining about having someone else's eggs cooked with his. What kind of jackass stands in a line of this country's volunteer military fighters, and starts complaining about this kind of crap, when the people in line both ahead and behind him are facing dangers that would make him cower in a corner and piss himself? He was overweight and undisciplined, and he had the audacity to whine about something so trivial in a place where people were dying so that he could have his cush little job behind the protective barriers of the base, making two or three times as much money as the rest of us.

In any case, you can see why I some people disgust me. I'll have another post up tomorrow. I have to get back to work now.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Back in the Sand

Well, I’m finally back here in Iraq. Our government computers don’t allow me to access my blog page because it uses too much bandwidth they said. For the same reason, I can’t check my personal e-mail accounts while I’m deployed here. As a result of this, I am e-mailing my blog entries to my wife, Joy, who is posting them on the site for me. Thank you, dear.

Well, its hot over here in Kirkuk, but it’s a lot hotter in Kuwait and Qatar. I had to stop at both those places on my way here. I’ve been here for just over a week now, and I’m getting settled in nicely. As a matter of OPSEC (operational security), I will not be going into detail about some things, like how many people are here, living quarters arrangements, security procedures or anything else of a sensitive nature. We don’t want the enemies of America and freedom planning attacks or what not based on information I reveal on this site.

Anyway, I’ve been assigned to the operation and maintenance of the waste water treatment plant. It’s a big headache really. I was here a little over two years ago and instead of improving, this plant has gotten several stages worse. There are several problems preventing the plant from running as efficiently as it should be. One of the problems is in the process of being remedied by myself now, another of the problems is awaiting parts and equipment before it is remedied. Part of my job is to address the rest of the problems and get this plant back to running properly.

Life here isn’t too bad though all in all. We have contractors here that do most of the daily base maintenance now days. There are Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Burger King, and a Green Bean Coffee restaurants on base working out of little trailer facilities, and we have a contractor run chow hall that serves up some pretty good food. We get our food free at the chow hall, but the other places charge. The prices are kind of steep, but it’s well worth it for the luxury of having another small piece of home here with us.

Being gone from home like this always reminds you about the little things in life that you take for granted. Things like having your steaks cooked medium-rare, just the way you like it, or relaxing on your weekend because you get weekends off from work, or being able to walk 100 feet from your office in any direction without having to put on a Kevlar helmet and flak vest to help you survive any incoming small arms fire or a rocket/mortar attack, or, probably the little thing I miss the most, is being able to wear blue jeans and a T-shirt when walking around the house. We have to be in uniform any time we leave our bedroom, it really sucks.

Well, we’re working 11 hours a day, minimum, 7 days a week. Our commander kept telling us before we left that we’d only have to work 6 days a week, but it seems he’s changed his mind. We are allowed to take time of one day a week for religious purposes, but it’s only a few hours, not the whole day. Which day depends on which day the chaplains have services for our particular religious preference. After all, we’ve got Christians, Catholic and the various protestant denominations, Muslims, Buddhists, and others. Not enough time in a day to do them all on the same day. I know they have a Catholic Chaplain and a protestant chaplain, but I don’t about the others, but they still work a way for everyone to practice their faith while they’re here.

Well, I’m going to sign off for now. Remember, any question, comments, or concerns are welcome. My wife will be forwarding all blog responses to me so that I may address them personally.

Sunday, April 30, 2006


I sincerely apologize for not posting in so long. I've had a lot of work to do at work, which has been going late a lot, and to be honest, I've just been a bit lazy here at home with all the extra work and stress going on.

Let's see, what's happened since my last post? We had another "exercise," and then had the actual Inspection, called an ORI (Operational Readiness Inspection). We got an outstanding on that inspection, which is the highest rating you can get. According to the base newspaper, it was the first outstanding in Air Combat Command (my MAJCOM) in 4 years, and according to my flight commander, it was the first in over 12 years. I don't know which one is right, and I don't really care to be honest, I'm just glad its over.

Also spent a lot of time on training and preparation for the upcoming deployment. You wouldn't believe all the red tape BS and hoops we have to jump through just to get our orders, let alone the actual departure. We can't pack everything up until the last minute because they wan't us to wear the uniforms we are taking, or they want us to take other equipment in for inspection to make sure the stuff is ready to go because they don't believe us when we say it is.

It's amazing the way the Air Force treats its people. I went in to zero out my M-16 the other day (that is to make sure the sights are alinged properly so I can actually hit what I'm aiming at) and instead of treating us like adults, they treat us like babies. If they trust us to shoot these rifles, and to carry them and all that, why do they act like we have no idea what the heck we're doing. If no one is down range, what does it matter if I step up to my weapon to make sure my safety is on? But I got corrected for doing so. In the Air Force, anytime your weapon jams, the instructors want to watch you fix the problem in case you need help. If I were in the Army or the Marines and I raised my hand to ask for help, I'd get told to fix the dang thing myself. After all, if I were in the field, and my weapon jammed, is it really smart to raise my hand and call out to my CO that my weapon is jammed? No, I'd have the enemy on my in a heartbeat.

The Air Force babies us a lot. It's my primary complaint about this branch. For example, We are expected to be able to withstand sub human living conditions, fight wars, and survive the possible capture by enemy soldiers, but we can be severely punished for doing something as simple as telling a joke that someone might be offended by. I garuntee you that if I can't handle a few racial, sexual, religious, or otherwise discriminatory jokes, then I stand no chance of withstanding the pressures of war and deployment. It's no wonder the other branches laugh at us, we have all these rules and regulations that require to be treated like pansies, as well as treat others as if they're pansies too. It's really rediculous.

In any case, My deployment draws close. In fact, the next time I post to this blog, which won't be anywhere near as long as this last amount of time, I shall be in Iraq.

Well, I'll be off for now.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Back to Iraq

Well, I just got the news on Friday. It looks like I'm going back into Iraq. For those of you who know me personally, I'm going back to the same place I was at last time. For those of you that don't know me personally, I can't reveal information such as when and where in this forum at this time. OPSEC (operational Security) prohibits spread of this information to ensure safe departures and arrivals of personnel and equipment. I wouldn't want to have my plane or ship attacked because I said when and where myself as well as the troops from my base will be.

I'll keep posting while I'm deployed whenever I can. I'm trying to get a laptop to take with me. I can type what I want to post at any time on it, then just save it to a disk and cut and paste it to the blog on a government computer over there. Those who wish to have e-mail correspondence from me, feel free to leave your e-mail address in the comments section of any of my blog posts. I will also try to upload pictures while I'm there. I'll mail the film back home, have my wife develope it, and e-mail them back to me so that I can post them.

Your prayers and well wishes will always be welcomed by myself. Also, if you wish to pass any well wishes on to people deployed to my location, I would be happy to do that as well. I can notify you of where I will be once I get there, but not before.

Thank you for all your love and support.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

What job do I want?

Well, I'll start by saying that I'm sorry it's been so long since I wrote a new blog entry.

Ok, what I really want to do in life is teach high school history. As I'm sure you can guess, there isn't a high school history teacher position available in the Air Force. So I had to decide what to do in the Air Force. I had finished only a few college courses at this point, and wanted to continue to get a degree. To help facilitate this, I wanted a job that wouldn't be very difficult to learn and keep up with, and wouldn't be all that time consuming so that I could take college courses in my off duty time. So I eliminated things like flight tower controller, load master, cop, firefighters, and other "high tech" jobs. I wanted something simple to learn, and simple to keep up with as far as technology advances go.

So, what did I choose? Having a score of 94 on my ASVAB test pretty much gave me my choice of just about any job in the military, for any branch. So, I based my decision on 4 factors. One I mentioned in the previous paragraph. Another was the amount of the enlistment bonus, which varied depending on the job you chose(and in most, though not all, cases, there are no more enlistment bonuses for the Air Force). The third was that I wanted to get into the "operational Air Force" as soon as I could, so I wanted a job with a relatively short technical training so that I would have to deal with the new enlists degradation that you see in so many many that cover military basic training. Lastly, I needed to leave right away.

I chose Utility Systems Apprentice. As I understood it at the time that I chose the job, I would be a water and/or wastewater plant operator. It wasn't until after I signed on the dotted line that what I would actually be doing is the same thing as Roto Rooter. I became a plumber. I got to leave in 2 weeks, the tech school was only 9 and a half weeks long, and I got a $5000 enlistment bonus.

That's how I chose my job. I'm still a plumber in the Air Force, though I am no longer an apprentice. I have moved up from apprentice to journeyman, to craftsman. I passed up my opportunity to cross train into a different job, though sometimes I regret that decision. I will continue in this career field until my retirement in November of 2019.

This is a simplified version of my decision. I had written one previously that was long, and took over an hour to type, and then lost it all over a glitch with the spell check. I decided that most of what I put in that original post wasn't necessary and was in fact a lot of me rambling off on tangents. So I condensed my thoughts into what you see above.