I am home!!!! I actually got home on Monday but I haven't had a chance to write until now. The trip home was fine. No problems. Anne is out of the hospital and on the road to recovery. She is going to have a long recovery but at least she is now on the right track.
This will be my last entry in my Blog. I want to first start off by thanking each and every one of you for all of the support that you have given me throughout my deployment. The notes, packages, phone calls and letters all helped me to feel a little bit closer to home and every single one of them put a smile on my face. I looked forward every day to seeing who had written and what was going on back at home. It is amazing how little things make such a difference when you are in an environment like that.
I have to tell you, even though the environment over there was truly challenging, this was probably the best 6 month tour I have had. I have been fortunate to do several interesting things in my career but this probably topped them all. Through all of the stress, frustration, long hours, harsh conditions (sometimes) and everything else that happens over there, being able to get things done was really rewarding. I will most certainly be sharing a lot of stories with you as time goes on. Some are pretty amazing!!!!
OK, take care of yourselves and stay safe. I don't know exactly when I will back to work as I need to stay home and take care of the family for a while. I'll see all of you soon.
I hope this finds you all doing well.
For those who haven't heard, I am redeploying home earlier than expected. I should be back in the USA sometime next week. My wife has taken ill and I really need to be home with the family right now. Because I had such a short time left before I came home anyway, they have just cut my deployment short and are bringing me home for good. I wish I were coming home on better circumstances but that is how it goes. Nonetheless, I am so excited to get home I can't wait. This last 6 months have been very challenging and stressful.
I will write at least once more in this journal to let everyone know that I actually made it home. Until then, I want to thank all of you for your constand thoughts and support throughout this time. Everyone has been great.
Take care of yourselves and I hope to see you soon.
Today was quite a day. I got 8 packages from all of you. Thank you so much, everyone for the goodies. Everything, as usual, is great. You guys are making me quite popular over here with all of the good stuff. Folks know where to go if they get the munchies during the day!!!
Also, since my last blog entry, I have realized that things are even worse than I feared in SP23. I got a picture, actually a card, with one of the packages and I couldn't believe it. Bob and MAC now, will the madness ever stop. I have put this picture in the same location as the QMR picture. Check it out!!!
Anyway, things are good over here. Things continue to move forward on the projects I am working on. The weather is starting to cool down. Highs are now only around 90 degrees or so with the low around 70 degrees at night.
Take care of yourselves and each other. God bless all of you.
I hope todays entry finds folks doing well. I have received many packages from many of you in the last week and I want to thank everyone for the goodies and for all of the great words of encouragement. Everyone is really great. I am doing well. Hard to believe I am down to 7 weeks left.
I got an e-mail today, I will not mention from who, and attached was a picture of the SP23 management team. I had high hopes that Bob Krum was going to be able to keep things in check while I am gone but after seeing this picture, I am quite concerned. Seems like the QMR went well this week but that things are not what I expected. When I got the picture, I expected to see the usual QMR suspects all standing up there looking good. Instead, I get a picture of only 2 individuals who I am being told are now hailing themselves as "THE SP23 MANAGEMENT TEAM"! Was anyone else at the QMR? I have attached the picture so that everyone can see it to let me know if this is really true or not. I hear that the QMR went good but with a management team like the one that is now in place, how can it not!!!!!!! All jokes aside, I did hear things went well at the QMR and that the "Real Team" (everyone) is doing well.
Take care of yourselves and keep in touch. I'm thinking that for those folks who understand the above paragraph will have some comments to make!!!
God bless all of you.
I just got back from another trip up north. It was very successful and this time I got to do some things that I haven't done in the past. Although I have travelled on several Blackhawks and Chinooks, I haven't done so during the day. This trip I got a couple of hundred miles of travelling on Blackhawks during the day and got to take some very neat pictures. On one of the flights they put me up front and let me have comms with the pilots and gunners. That was pretty neat. I have added several of them to this page so that you can see them.
Things continue to go well and as you can tell, I am still very busy. We are making a lot of progress with the Program and have pretty much redefined what we are doing in the world of prisons and now have a clear path forward and are starting to execute many of the ideas that we have been able to convince both governments are the right projects to meet critical needs.
It is hard to believe that I am down to my last 2 months. Actually, if things go as planned, I'll be out of here on my way to redeployment in less than 2 months!
I continue to get many e-mails and blog mails from all of you. I continue to enjoy reading about what is going on back at home and coming into work in the morning and ready what you have sent continues to be a highlight of my day. Thanks for that.
Please take care of yourself and stay safe.
How are things going? They are good here. I continue to stay busy with my job and will traveling again soon. I continue to enjoy your e-mails and blog entries.
Hey, how about them COWBOYS!!!! 4-0 for the first time in, it seems, forever. Of course, the one season where they are doing well and I am gone. Not to worry all of you other NFC East (no Dallas) fans, I'll save it up until I get home!!!!
We changed clocks back yesterday. We are now only 7 hours ahead of the East Coast. Back home I know that you are still a month away from changing clocks so we'll be a little closer in time for a while.
Hey St. Cyprian, I mailed a small package to you yesterday. You should get it in a couple of weeks. Nothing big, just something to say thank you!!!
Take care everyone and stay safe. Keep in touch.
I hope this entry finds all of your doing well. Things continue to ok here. The weather is finally starting to let up a little. This morning when I went outside it actually felt a little like fall. We are only getting up to around 100 degrees for a high and at night it is actually down into the 70s. It really helps with the temperatures lower.
The challenges are still great here. Nothing is easy and even things that seem should be straight forward and quick aren't. I can't write about some of things I am dealing with right now trying to get some projects started but lets just say that "you can't make this stuff up"!!!!
My relief now has orders. He should be here sometime early December to start turnover.
I understand that the SP23 folks completed the CDR for LE the other day. Congratulations!!!! That is a huge milestone and the team has worked extremly hard to make that a success. I can't think of any other folks that were/are more suited to make that program successful. I regret that I couldn't have been there but I know that everyone deserves a lot of credit for what they have done.
I appreciate all of the notes and e-mails that I get. It is really nice keeping up with things back home and hearing how folks are doing. I know that I don't usually respond to most of the messages left on this BLOG but that is because many are specific topics and not things I would particularly want posted out there for others outside of our sphere to see. Please keep writing though. My morning routine is to get into work, get a cup of coffee and then check to see if anyone has written me from the day before.
Take care of yourselves and each other and stay in touch. Thanks.
I am back from my trip. I got to go to a lot of places up in the Northern part of the country. Things, in places, are different up there than they are around here. The trip was good and I got everything accomplished that I needed to. Getting back was a chore but I made it. Had to take a series of Helicopters (Blackhawks and Chinooks) but I'm back.
I hope that everyone doing ok. When I got back today I had a great surprise. I got an envelope full of letters from the St. Cyprian 4th graders. That is the school where our boys went when we lived out in California and we still keep in touch with a lot of the folks there. It was really nice to have the students write me. I now, however, have a lot of questions to answer. I will answer them and send them back. Thanks Kids!!!! It may take me a while to get back to you but I will write.
Please take care of yourselves and each other. As always, drop me a note when you can. Thanks for all of your thoughts and prayers.
I am still traving around right now for several more days. This is really a technology age. I have been to several place this past week and I actually get better internet connection than phone connection. Go figure!! Anyway, I have been to several very interesting places and I will have many more stories to tell when I get back. I have some pretty interesting pictures to share too. I will post some of them when I get back.
Things are going ok still. I am more than 1/2 way done which is really great.
I understand that it has started to cool down back home. It hasn't cooled down here. I still do not think we have gone below 90 degrees at night yet. I am jealous that you guys are starting to enjoy fall!!!
Take care and be safe. I appreciate everything that you have done for me and I continue to enjoy reading your blogs and e-mails. Thanks.
It has been a while since I have last written. Things have been very busy around here. Just like back home, it is the end of the FY and there is plenty of work to be done to get expiring funds obligated.
I will be out of contact for a while coming up soon. I have some traveling to do to visit some of the sites where we are going to be building. Traveling here is a real pain. Helicopters, fixed wings, vehicles, etc. You get places the best way you can. Should be a very interesting trip. I'll fill you in on it when I get back. I will be visiting several places throughout the country!
I hope that everyone is doing ok. I still enjoy reading all of your messages and appreciate all of the support that you are giving me. We now have a couple of other SSP folks over here although I haven't hooked up with them yet.
Please take care and drop me a note to let me know how you are doing.
Happy Labor Day! We actually had yesterday off to observe the holiday. I slept most of the day away. You don't really realize what working 7 days a week, 12 hours a day, does to you until you get a whole day off.
Well, another month has gone by. I can't believe it. Time really goes by fast here. I am actually down to double digit days before I get home. I hope that everyone is doing ok. I guess for most your kids start school tomorrow. Summer is over!!!
We opened up the first fire training academy here in Iraq last weekend. It was a very nice event and the AFN did a very nice piece on it. There were several guest speakers and then the trainees put on demonstrations and gave a walk through of the facility. It was a very nice event. Attached is the news clip for it if you are interested. All you have to do is click on the "watch video" link and you should be good to go. There are several stories on this so you might be interested in all of them.
I hope everyone has a nice, safe Labor Day and that everyone is doing well. Take care of yourselves and please stay in touch.
Hope things are going well for all of you. Things continue to be busy around here. Prisons have gained a lot of interest here so I am knee deep in trying to get new projects awarded to build. I have to admit, the days go by very, very fast here. Seems like I just get into work and before you know it, it is 9 p.m.
We actually got away, as much as you can around here, and went out to the swords the other night and took some pictures. They are posted so go take a look at them. IT was nice to get out and about for a little while anyway.
I am starting to finally get into a little bit of a weekly routine with some of the folks that I work with. Saturday night has become "poker night" thanks to the folks that sent me the poker chips in one of the care packages. Sunday, several of us go to mass in the afternoon at the U.S. Embassy and then everyone meets after that for dinner over there. Sunday nights at the Palace is usually prime rib and lobster. Not bad, huh?
I have been trying to exercise but so far it has been sporadic. Since I get up so early back home to go to work, I have decided that I will not do that here. I stay at work until 9 or 9:30 almost every night so I sleep in until 7 a.m., go to breakfast, and get into the office around 8 a.m. I have been trying to get to the gym either around lunch or dinner. Doesn't always work out though. Additionally, my ankle is still a little sore from my injury back at training in Ft. Jackson.
The weather continues to be hot. Most days we are around 113 to 115. But hey, it is a dry heat!!!!
Counting from the day I left home to start my training, etc., I am almost 50% of the way done with this deployment.
Please take care of yourselves and stay in touch. I really miss everyone and I can't wait to get back home.
Hope this finds everyone still doing well. Things continue to be busy over here. We are starting a lot of new projects and that has made me extremely busy. We are trying to add prison capacity here in the country so there are several projects that we are now undertaking to make that happen. It certainly makes the days go by fast!!!
I have gotten to go, in the last week, out to a couple of the projects that we are working. It is always good to see the progress that is being made. Construction here is much different than in the States. There are many more challenges here as well to get the projects complete but you learn how to work through them and just expect to have unforseen delays. All part of a days work here.
I have actually gone over the 2 month point in country. Time has really flown. I am over 1/3 of the way done with my time here and it really seems like just yesterday.
Summer is almost over for all of you and the kids will be going back to school. Hard to believe isn't it. My family is currently on their last vacation to the beach. Must be nice while Dad is over here working his @#$% off. But hey, what are Dads for right? Actually, I know that Anne in particular needed the break and I am glad that they got away. They are with some friends so I know they are having fun. Anne offered to send me some sand from the beach but I respectfully declined seeing that we have an excess over here!!!!
Anyway, gotta go for now. Please keep writing and stay in touch. I think about everyone every single day and can't wait until I get home to talk to everyone and tell you more stories and show you more pictures.
God Bless, Stay Safe and Take Care of Each Other.