Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry COLD Christmas!

Just a quick update, I managed to avoid the pink belley and I am offically safe now! :) I know some people wondered why I would post it here when anyone can read it, but the people in my platoon DON'T read my blog, because well, they'd be reading their own lives. So yeah. Also I noticed this is my 100th post!! Wow, I can't believe I have managed that many things to say about this place. Well still should be a few more coming before I head home...

Alright well Christmas is just about finishing up in this part of the world but I wanted to give a quick update. I figured that this Christmas, being that I was in Iraq, was not going to be the best of them, but it has turned out to be much worse than I would have expected.

Our rotation out to the outpost was working out so that I was going to be out here, away from the comforts of the home FOB. I was ok with that. I was also ok with not having a good Christmas meal or anything. I was fine. I was also accepting of the fact that I would usher the transition from Christmas eve to Christmas in a guard tower, probably cold as hell. Again no problems there.

A little divergence here for a minute. Let me tell you how damn cold it has been lately. If theres one thing that I cannot stand it is the cold. I know I had talked about this before and how I was dreading the winter approaching, but now that it is actually getting cold, I realize how much I truly hate it. The thing is, its not really all that cold. Its probably dropping down in to the upper 30's at night, but after going through a 120+ degree summer, thats a huge temperature difference. Add to the fact that this rotation my squads manning the guard positions durring the coldest part of the night. It probably wouldn't be all that bad if it wern't for the simple fact that the Army is great about not allowing you to be warm, despite the fact that they issue you all these different types of cold weather gear. But God forbid that you try and keep warm you know?!?

Me trying to keep warm in the guard towerWell we've managed to make use of what items we are allowed to wear and I guess it hasn't been THAT bad. About a month ago or so I had order some skin tight winter underarmor pants and shirt which are great for keeping you warm. On top of that I wear this thick cotton shirt all under my uniform which together makes it not too bad. Ive got my gloves and a fleece cap that I wear under my helmet and late at night I use my issued poncho liner blanket and half ass wrap up in an attempt to keep warm. Normally our guard towers have these AC/Heater units in there, that last time we were here, they were functional, but somehow in the last 2 weeks that we were gone, they ALL ended up breaking. Fabulous. Also within the places we stay at the outpost, it is cold as shit, and it has been made clear that we must maintain the "standard" appearance, so no wearing jackets around or the fleece cap when not on guard. How retard!?! Theres hardly anyone here of any significance and for Christ sake were living out in the middle of Baghdad. Is this really necessary??

So enough of my bitching and complaining about the cold. Back to Christmas. So we started off on guard, cold, but anyways time passed and finally we were done. Immediately afterwords, our squad drew names for the Secret Santa that we were doing. We all bought gifts in the $10 to $20 range and drew random names and got whatever gift that person bought. Following that, we had our "Christmas Dinner" which conisted of some smoked sausage and pepperoni with some cheese and crackers. It actually wasn't too bad. Following that several of us light up some cigars and celebrate the day of Christ's birth. It wasn't turning out to be all that bad of a Christmas, until we found out that they were planning on having another platoon relieve us for a bit so we could travel to a nearby base and get some real Christmas dinner.

This doesn't sound like a bad idea right? Well you have to figure all the time of getting everything ready, getting the handover going, heading out, getting back blah blah blah. Nobody in our entire platoon wanted to do this, but we were being forced. How joyful! To make it even better for us, the time we were going to be heading out was going to be smack dab in the middle of my squads sleep time. Awesome, now we are giving up sleep to do something that we don't even want to do in the first place.

Well seeing as how we had no choice, we were woken up got ready, and then headed out. Once we got there we receieve a speech that basically stated the time that we had, and that everyone was being forced to go in to the chow hall, to grab a plate of food, sit down and eat it and enjoy it and be Merry. Wow, I'm now being ordered to have a Merry Christmas in a manner in which I don't even want to do. And they wonder why a 26 year old who doesn't like to have his life run like he's 12 doesn't want to re-enlist!! HA! The food was actually pretty good, but all we could think about was how we didn't want to be doing this in the first place. Oh well, its the Army. What can you do? And of course leave it up to them to take something and ruin it. Well thats about all that I have for now. Hope everyone back home has had a good Christmas, or whatever you celebrate!

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Wolf Lover Girl said...

Merry Christmas to you! And keep warm!!

~ Wolf Lover Girl

Anonymous said...

ED...I HATE being cold, too, HATE IT...for some reason it just totally ticks me off. I am laughing at your pic...I have a poncho liner in my lap right now. I have written odes to that thing...lol. Your honesty and perspective never cease to amaze and humble me, brother. You take care. We keep you in thought.

Loz said...

Merry Christmas from Melbourne Australia and may all of those you have in future be spent with your loved ones.

Anonymous said...

I thought the surge was to engage the enemy?

not standing around in the cold?

and only anon becasue its easier

Anonymous said...


Merry christmas. Won't be long before you're home.

Please let me know if you are receiving my packages.


SYLKY said...

Hey Eddie Munster. I found my blogspot password again. Woo!

So, I just wanted to say Merry late Christmas, and Happy belated birthday. I sooooo wanted to rat you out to the guys, but I didn't say anything... for your belly's sake, hahaha.

Be safe, try to keep warm, and know that you're always in my prayers buddy. Luvs ya!

Anonymous said...

Dude, has NO ONE sent you the chemical hand and foot warmers that hunters use?? I can express mail you some. Drop me an email if you need 'em. LL@chromedcurses.com

Anonymous said...

Good to see the Army knows about how to instill good cheer.

On a related issue, wondered what you thought about how things are going. Stories from Iraq and Afghanistan on our troops didn't seem as plentiful this holiday season, which makes me think the wars are going well (U.S. troops aren't dying regularly). Part of it too could be our collective apathy and fatigue about the war.

Are we winning there? Are things improving, from your perspective?

I've enjoyed your blog and reading your experiences -- they are quite interesting. It's helped me too because I know no one personally that is there.

Thank you for sharing and I hope you are spending your next Christmas back here in Phoenix. It's cold here too right now (30 degrees tonight), but at least you won't have to spend it outdoors.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say that on your page you have a place where people can donate to Solider Angels-Project Valor and I think it's wonderful that you are using this blog to promote a charity. It's year end and if people haven't donated now is a good time to do so. I did donate to Soldier Angels but not directly through your link. So if the amt of donations is accurate and just from your blogg then perhaps you have had a bigger impact than shown. Either way thats about 45 laptops for wounded soldiers. How wonderful is that?

Dianne said...

This is about the same thing I heard from my boy about his Christmas eve. Seems like "they" would know that catching a bit of extra sleep would be about the best gift ever. I'm glad to read your perspective about not re-enlisting. His sentiments exactly. What a shame when the service could provide good careers but burn out their people so quickly.

Alex Horton said...

An E-5 on guard? What's the world coming to?!

Stripping common sense from their roles, it's hard for the higher-ups to realize why guys are getting out in record numbers...

Anonymous said...

Damn glad I found you again. Had 'puter probs and lost all my info. A belated Merry Christmas to ya. They shoulda just let you guys get some extra sack time. Next year will be better. Solo

Army Sergeant said...

Man, it's almost like Mandatory Fun isn't actually fun! Who would have thought it?

Someday, someway, the folks at the top are going to learn sleep is more precious than their crazy games.

Luck staying warm!