Sent: Thursday, May 01, 2003 7:31 AM
Hey there. I didn’t forget about you.
I have been pretty busy lately. No.. I have not left the states yet, I am still in rainy Washington. The last month my unit has been getting trained in more mission specific duties that we will be doing over in Iraq. There have been some days of complete boredom but over all we have gotten a lot accomplished. Everyone had to get cross qualified on other weapon systems. For example I am a team leader that primarily uses an M-16 rifle with a 40mm grenade launcher attached under the barrel and I also had to get qualified on my gunners weapon which is an automatic grenade launcher that mounts on the turret of the hummve as well as his squad automatic weapon or SAW for short. The saw is a beefed up version of the M-16 rifle that can spit out 800 rounds a minute. My driver and gunner in turn had to learn about the other weapons as well. Usually a normal size company can move through one weapons range a day but we would usually spend or more days at the range because there are so many units here deploying that soldiers were just being mixed and matched as time allowed.
We were shuttled in cattle cars (no really!) from place to place. We would be packed in like sardines and shuttled to ranges or warehouses where we would pick up more gear that would be needed when we got in theatre. The warehouses were empty except for some scattered boxes labeled with the contents. With the war all of the supplies were hard to come across ad I had to take three different trips to the issuing facilities to get everything I would need. Uniforms were so scarce that our unit just got them last week.
Our unit spent three days in the field learning more infantry tactics and other cools stuff that guaranteed we get very dirty. Needless to say it rained the entire time. Everyone joked that Washington was the BEST place to train troops for desert war. We had security patrols that would walk into the woods and search for enemy ad booby traps, had to deal with riots and other scenarios that were meant to test our ability to control an area of operations on a company level. The training company gave our unit very high marks on our reactions and made the comment that out of seven thousand troops that have already moved through the base we were definitely in the top 5 percent. Anyway, after those three days we were tested on military police tasks like convoy escorts and reacting to sniper fire. We drove to some area of the base that was thousands of acres of woods and set up a base camp. Each platoon was given an area to secure and the training company gave out operation orders every few hours for missions that needed to be completed. We spent five days doing this and did very well. There were multiple attempts to breach our perimeter or ambush our patrols but the unit was able to dodge all of the attacks. On the final day our company was tasked to safely escort a company of quartermasters that contained 15 trucks through our area of operations. We were told that there would be mock enemy forces that would be ambushing us along the six mile supply route. There were road blocks setup and several attacks on our convoy. We lost a couple people along the way, but we completed the mission. At the end of the week we broke camp and drove back to the main post where we were happy to get into beds and take showers.
There have been many rumors of where we are headed and what are mission was going to be but none of them panned out. I get to watch the news a bit every few days and get to see how the war has played out. I had just gotten my first anthrax shot and was sitting in the medical clinic when the first bombs were dropped that may have gotten Saddam. Since then the war had moved very quickly. Faster than I think most would have thought. There are going to be groups in Iraq that are still loyal and will take the risk of dying to attack US troops moving through the country and that’s what the military police are planning to take care of. The city of Baghdad is three times the size of L.A. and the military force that occupies that is going to need to be large as well, not to mention the size of the force that is going to be needed to watch the entire country. As of today we are all completed with our training and all of our stuff is packed and being shipped off. What we are waiting for is the green light from the commanding general in Iraq and that will come any day. From there we have 48 hours to get on a plane and land in country. We have lost three soldiers during the initial training for reasons ranging injuries to criminal offenses. The crew we have now is the one to get sent into places unknown. We do know that there is still fighting between Iraqi’s and soldiers and as M.P.’s we are going to be extremely busy. Its difficult to imagine a more strenuous amount of missions than what we had in Bosnia but the word is that we are going to be working up to 15 hour days moving people and equipment from one area to another.
Now that we are all done and just waiting for a call to leave, I spend my nights watching movies in the barracks!
I wanted to send another update to all of you letting you know what I am up to and say thank you for your prayers and support. I hope to be home soon and see all of you again. Take care and God bless.