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Johnny Wolfe's Travel Diary

Hello Everyone. I have set this page up so that it will be easier for you to keep up with what I am doing while I am on my deployment. I want to let everyone know that I appreciate all of the support you are giving me during this assignment. Take care and keep in touch. Thanks.


Diary Entries

Friday, 09 November 2007

Hello Everyone,

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.


Saturday, 03 November 2007

Hello Everyone,

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.


Saturday, 20 October 2007

Hello Everyone,

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.


Thursday, 18 October 2007

Hello Everyone,

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.


Thursday, 11 October 2007

Hello Everyone,

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.


Monday, 01 October 2007

Hello All,

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.


Friday, 28 September 2007

Hello Everyone,

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.


Thursday, 20 September 2007

Hello Everybody,

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.


Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Hello Everyone,

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.


Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Hey Everyone,

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.


Monday, 03 September 2007

Hello Everyone,

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.


Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Hello Everyone,

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.


Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Hello Everyone,

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.


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Recent Messages

From Steve Cohen
Johnny, we miss you personally and professionally. SSP is finally leveraging CI to address some of the bigger problems it has. But of course it will not be as exciting when you return compared to where you are now. We all look forward to your dropping right in and continuing to be a star. Stay well and take care of yourself.
Response: Thanks Steve. I am really looking forward to getting back and moving forward with everything going on back there.

From Dave Wunder

Thinking about you and praying for your safety. Thanx for all you do......
Response: Thanks Dave.
From Barry H.
Please come back. We have drained all the hidden funds out of SP23 and we need you to refill the accounts since we are still hungary! Hope all is well in your part of earth. Stay safe!
Barry H.
Response: You mean you have taken everything! I thought we had it hidden from you pretty good, I guess not.

Thanks for the encouraging update. (ha,ha)

From Billy Z.
Thanks for all that you are doing over there! Enjoyed the pictures!
Take Care and know that you and the others are in our thoughts and prayers. bjz
Response: Thanks Billy.

From Dale Kenemuth
Hi Johnny, Just happened to run across this site and thought that I would send you a quick hello. What is this with Friday morning off time? Thought that when you were in-country that it was 24/7. Now you can be considered a real vet. Welcome to the group. Keep your head down. Best wishes. Dale
Response: Thanks Dale. I'm keep my head, and everything else, down as much as I can.

From Shari
Welcome to October and the Fall. Pittsfield trees were starting to turn last week. In 2 wks they will be beyond peak, but they should be at peak here. I will be driving up to Pittsfield in mid Oct and I'm looking forward to seeing all the colors. It is good that your relief has orders - just means you are closer to getting back to VA. Take care and keep writing. We all enjoy the blog. Shari
Response: Thanks Shari. Have a safe trip up and enjoy that nice cool weather. Still getting up to around 100 during the day here.

From John Fincannon
My son started his tour in Iraq yesterday. I think he is at Al Asad (sp?). He is working the CH53 mechanical systems. If you bump into him in your travels, be sure and say hi.
I was on the LE CDR panel. First class effort. It was such a relief to see an organization actually following a good system engineering process. We dug pretty deep and couldn't come up with much. Job well done to your team.

Take care, we are all thinking of you and your family.

John Fincannon
Response: Hey John,

I hope that your son has a good tour here. I'm not sure if I will ever have a reason to be at Al Asad but you never know. If your son is ever up in the IZ, have him look me up. The LE team is a good one. First class!!! Take care.

From Galen Gunderson
Johnny, Phyllis and I are wishing you the very best. We look forward to seeing you again. Thanks for all the troops working so hard to keep us safe. God bless and stay safe.

Response: Thanks Galen. I appreciate all of the support back home. Take care.

From Csaba
I have been perusing your website for some time now and cannot get over the fantastic job you all are doing 1/2 a world away. Thanks for the pictures and the blogs. It really shows how well we have life in the states. Take care of each other and God Bless to all. Teri, Stephen and I are praying that everyone returns as soon as possible.
Response: Thanks Csaba. Good to hear from you. Take care and tell everyone I said hello.

From Bill
Your fame increases 10 seconds at a time!
The words sounded familiar. FBM principles are really universal.
Glad to hear you have reached/passed the half way point. I suppose that is why the Pres dropped in.
Keep up the good work and stay safe.
Response: Hey Bill,

Thanks for writing. Tell everyone back home I said hello.

From Steve Cohen
There are many of us who read what you write regularly but do not answer you. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Please keep telling us what you are doing and how much longer until you are back in this so much easier business.
Response: Thanks Steve. I really appreciate everything that folks are doing back at home. The support has been great. Take care and I will see you soon.

From Paul Jacobsmeyer
Johnny--your wife directed me to this website--it's a good one. I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate Nicholas's service as a server at St. Francis of Assisi and your service in Iraq. Your attitude is great and the blog fascinating. I keep you in my prayers daily. Stay safe, looking forward to your return. VR, Paul Jacobsmeyer, Volunteer at St. Francis of Assisi
Response: Paul,

Thanks so much for the kind words. I am attending mass on Sunday afternoons here but it is not like being at St. Francis. There are great folks back home praying for all of us over here and we all appreciate your support. Take care and God Bless.

From Brian H

Only 9 more days until the football season begins and less than 3 months away from the first Cowboys loss to the Redskins. Just wanted to ensure you that I'll be the first to let you know the results. We're all thinking about you here at HQ, take care. -Brian
Response: Man,
What type of medication are you taking? I didn't even know you were sick!!!!! OK, if the Redskins win you can call me at anytime of the day or night to let me know. If the Cowboys win, you can bet there will be a journal entry and I will make sure I give a special mention to you!!!!

From Steve Kintzel

I've enjoyed keeping up with your adventure over there. Johnny Quest was one of my favorite shows as a kid!!! Guess I'm showing my age. You continue to be in my prayers. Take care and we'll see you in a few months. Steve
Response: Hey Steve,

JQ was one of my favorites too. Guess we are both getting old!!!

From Shari
Thought I would send you regards from Pittsfield. It has been a week full of meetings and I even managed to get somethings decided. We are starting to get ready for the budget cycle - you get back in time to do the BOD reviews. I will be retired - I will be putting in my papers this month for 3 January. I am looking forward to it. Don't know what plans are being made for my position, if any.I hope that they can get someone in before I leave for some turnover. All is well. Take care of yourself and keep writing your diary entries. I enjoy reading them. Shari
Response: Hey Shari,

Good to hear from you. I am hoping that I will be back in time to say goodbye to you in person.

From Paul from SPSA
Sir, Hope things are all well. I thought you may want to hear this "humor in uniform" story from Robert Duprey:

I did not enlist in the Navy - I was drafted. So i was not going to make life easy for anyone. During my physical, the doctor asked softly, "Can you read the letters on the wall?"

"What letters?" I answered slyly.

"Good," said the doctor. "You passed the hearing test."

v/r PN

PS: Have a good day and be safe.
Response: Very Nice!!!!
From Becky Clark
Johnny -
I've been enjoying reading your adventures, and hope you are doing well over there. It looks like you will have some company with Allan Giese there as well.

Stay safe and cool.
Response: Actually, Alan is now in country. He arrived on Saturday morning but will not be here where I am located for a few days. I am really looking forward to seeing him. Thanks.

From Bill
Terry's frocking and Change of Command were very well done. Had a good time.
I believe your wife and sons had a very good time. You might have an issue with the use they made of your office, but there is still a bit of time to remove the beauty salon!
Response: Hey Bill,

I heard about my office! I haven't talked to Anne but I'm sure I will never live this down. Thanks for the warning!!!

From Mark Roberts
Jonny Quest???? I've got visions of a skit when you get back here because I think we have all the Jonny Quest characters here at SP.

Hope you're staying safe and cool.
Response: Absolutely. That will go a long way. I'll send you my theme music. It keeps me going!!!
From jennifer
HEY JOHONNY! (-: Did you think i would forget the nickname? I am trying to keep Krum straight until you return - he's a handful though - always causing mischief. You are in our thoughts always. Glad you are getting all the packages. And Nathan and Noah are always asking about Mr. Johnny in "RAQ". (-: Nathan is here and wants me to tell you to "be safe" and "don't get too dirty." He also says that "Santa Claus will be sure to bring you a lot of presents so that you can be really happy." The boy is obsessed with Santa and presents even in August! Must get that from his dad!(-: Take care and be safe.
jennifer, ken and boys

Response: Hey Jennifer,

Tell your boys I said hello. When I get back, we'll have to get them down to our place. Tell Nathan that I am staying safe and that the only thing I really want from Santa for Christmas is a plane ticket home!!!!!! Take care.

From Les Greeley

Since the time we found out that you were going to Iraq, my family has specifically prayed for you each night during our prayer time. My children of course remember the stories of Commander Wolfe from my time at SSP. Last night I showed them the video of your press conference. They really enjoyed putting a face and voice with the name and stories. We then had a special prayer time just for you.

We are so proud of you. It’s terrible to have to be away from your family and in such a terrifying place, but what you are doing is going to make such a difference in the lives of generations of Iraqis. It was exciting to hear how much success you’ve already had. It’s certainly not the story told by the news each night.

Please know that we will continue to pray for you until your safe return. As I’ve mentioned to you before, if your family needs ANYTHING, please just let me know. We’re only a half an hour away.

Take care and stay away from the soccer fields!!!

Response: Hey Les,

Thanks so much for the kind words. I do feel like we are doing a lot of good as we rebuild the infrastructure here in Iraq. I appreciate all of the thoughts and prayers and I do look forward to getting home and seeing all of you again. Tell your kids I said hello.

From Dan McCullough

Hope all is well on your end. In reference to your earlier 25 July entry, I saw on the news last night Iraqi Nationals shooting their guns in the air aimlessly after thier latest victory and thought of you.

You are in our thoughts and prayers,
Dan McCullough
Response: It was great to see them win actually. They needed something like that here. All of the folks are very excited about it.
From Bill
Just back from gurgle, gurgle England. Need some water, they might be willing to lend you some. A lot of flooding just north of Bath.
Heard the Iraqi beat the Saudis yesterday. Also heard the celebration was quite intense. Hope you were inside!
Take care,
Response: Yep, I stayed inside!!!! I am really glad that they won.
From Susan Underwood
Hey Johnny,
I'm trying this again. If this message doesn't make it on your blog then I'll go another route. I just wanted to thank-you for your blog. It is so interesting to read and see all the pictures. Sounds like they are really throwing a lot your way.
Take care, our thoughts and prayers are with you and everyone else over there.
Later, Susan U.
Response: Hey Susan,

I do read all of the mail on this site but don't respond all of the time because I am normally heading off to do something. I appreciate all of the support. Take care.

From Dave Monti
Greetings, boss!
Tracy and I are holding down the fort for you. We do have to watch our back and be on the lookout for "pickpockets", though. Don't worry about what the other guys are saying--just because they can't manage their funds doesn't mean they can mooch off those who can!
V/r, Dave
PS: Pat and I are looking to get Anne and the kids a buffalo. We think they're setting their sights too low!
Response: Wow, a Buffalo!!!! I can't wait to get home. I'll have more darn animals that Evan Almighty!!!!! Take care.