Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Final Holiday Message.

From Luke, one of our young sea kayak customers in the army who recently shipped out to Iraq.
Hello Friends and Family,
I figured it was about time for an update from Iraq, so here is the latest news. Things are going pretty well for us right now. We have been running the operations we will be running for the next few months for over a week now. We're slowly developing a routine for how things are going to run.
For those of you who are still under the impression that the the war in Iraq is a gun fight on the streets, well, its not. We killed the dumb ones (those that thought they could defeat us in a straight gun fight) years ago. The "war" that we are waging now is against things like corruption in the government, police, Iraqi army. One of the primary missions that we have assumed control of is to try and crack down on corruption in a business here in our AO (area of operations). Details of which I cannot share, sorry. Granted occasionally guys are getting into firefights, and getting hit by IEDs, but for the most part Iraq is safe. However, our lives are still in danger, so please continue to pray for the protection and safety for all of us over here.
My Thanksgiving wasn't bad at all. They served us a rather tasty meal of the traditional Thanksgiving affiliation. Turkey, ham, stuffing. The whole works, with exception of pumpkin pie. The meal was pretty good, but kind of strange. Everybody kind of sat there in silence, nothing really to talk about. I'm guessing we were all wishing we were back home with our family and loved ones. Not to fret, being separated from families is just another part of the job. Something that took me months to adjust to, but all is well now. I've adapted to being on my own and have learned to live with it.
Iraq is most certainly a very foreign country. I've had the blessings to experience the cultures of a hand full of countries around the world, and Iraq is without a doubt the strangest and most foreign place I have ever been to. There is no semblance to western culture or thought here. The people are very withdrawn and keep to themselves, only concerning themselves in the affairs of their families, which are massive. They aren't friendly or open at all. No where near approachable, just to talk to someone we basically have to corner them. The women don't look you in the eye and the men are the only person you deal with. The thought of talking to an Iraqi woman is absurd. We aren't even allowed to look at them. The only smiling faces are the kids, but most of the time they are just looking for handouts or doing some reconnaissance for daddy bomb maker. The children here are the eyes and ears of our enemy. When we go to burn our trash the kids swarm us. They are all down there picking through the trash looking for food and throw aways. If we are heading out to burn trash I usually fill my vest with suckers and tootsies rolls. I get a little jostling from my platoon mates for being to friendly with the kids but I cant help my self. It breaks my heart when I look at them because the only thing I think about is how these children have known nothing but war their entire lives. Any child between the ages of 1 week to 13 years old, have known nothing but big scary white men with guns in their streets and homes.
I appreciate all your thoughts and prayers, and your care packages. Christmas is just around the corner, so I'm just waiting for a wave of packages, because I know the folks back home are looking out for me during my time here. I love you all and can't wait to return home to share with you the memories and stories that will come out of this experience.

No comments: