Menu

Previous entry Next entry

Rickpops’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 18 Jul 2007

Location: USA

MapI'm back....

Been an interesting trip from South Carolina to Baghdad...I've been here almost thrity days now, its getting easier but it was rough going...The heat was really not as overwhelming as i thought...we work in the office most of the day, its the mile walk in the morning and in evening that kills you..wearing all that armor, carrying weapon, you are drenched by the time you get to work..i keep a uniform at work now and wear shorts/docksiders to work...with full armor and pistol wrapped around my leg..not a pretty site, but its functional...

I'm on my third "turnover" now in 30 days, i keep switching jobs. Probably because they cant match me to my talents! There are "gapped" billets here, and i'm the new guy so take on these extra tasks, there are two CAPTAINS who are on their way, i'm hoping they take these jobs and do some work...but you never know with captains....

The food is so so, cafeteria but not bad...I live in a trailor with a 50 year old air force guy, i dont know how he does it, i feel old here at 40 and he wears the same gear and travels just as far...he works in one of the iraqi ministries and they have NO A/C ALL DAY! People dont smell that good with no AC, i guess it can always be worse...

My job is what kills me, its contracting, air force lingo and iraqi descriptions for titles/positions we are dealing with...It truly is like nothing i've ever done for 18 years, I wasnt ready to learn a new language but i guess I'm learning three... I'm starting to catch on but its hard. The hours are long 8am to 10pm seven days a week, i usually have time to hit the gym at night, shower and go to bed...There are things to do here, i live by one of sadaams old palaces, there is a pool, there are movie nights, etc, but really just no time...

The impressive thing is the number of really smart hard working people here. If Iraq doesnt make it, its not due to lack of effort. Everyone I talk to is doing something they have never done in the military..we are embedded with embasseys, trying to get their economy going, setting up procurement laws, teaching their police force, we are all over the place. The majority of the iraqis want to learn as well, there really are some smart hardworking people, and it just amazes me what they endure to come to work. Going through checkpoints, some which take hours, bombs, rockets, mortors, killings, i just cant imagine doing that every damn day...I am hopeful that they can turn this place around, it would be wonderful to see it thrive in 20 years, but I cant see that right now, its too far in the distance.

Amazing the number of organizations here, high speed contractors and consulting firms trying to make things work, state department people, and again the iraq government people as well. Just a lot of people trying to piece together the country, but there really is a lot of work left to do...

I'm trudging along, really trying focus day by day...It reallly is groundhog day here, on diego garcia we had sat/sun off and that broke up the weeks, but here it is up at the same time, bed at the same time, and eating in the same places all the time....

The thing that helps are the emails and letters/packages. I cant thank you all enough, it really does break up the days. I'll try and be better about posting, maybe once a week or so, but thank you again for all the notes i've gotten so far...

have a great night,
rick