Message from Iraq.

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I received this email from my former Company Commander Major Kulzer who is currently in Iraq and will be until April of 07'.

I hope you are well and having a good Sunday. Today I am just hanging out in my office. We have a sandstorm so all non essential travel is canceled. Things here are so far so good. The days go very fast but unfortunately there are many to go. The initial novelty of everything is wearing off quite quickly. This is dangerous and difficult work. The thing is that the vast majority of Iraqi’s I meet are good people just trying to get by and provide for their families. I have spent my time meeting with Iraqi Army and Police Officers, Tribal leaders, and elected officials. The hard part is that in each conversation they tell you some things that are true and some that are not, it is hard to determine which is which. My team is all doing well, they are very professional and take good care of me. I feel a lot better when I am traveling with my own team, than when I am with anyone else. We spend a lot of time out in the area so everyone is getting used to what “normal” is supposed to look like. As I have stated before, the living conditions for the majority of the people are very difficult. Our area has almost 50% unemployment so the economic situation is desperate as there is no social safety net. Everyone just does what they can to get enough food and water. Water is in short supply and we have built 4 water plants that are waiting to be hooked up to the electrical system. They have sat ready for 2 months and I cannot figure out why they are not being wired. Every time I ask they say it will be fixed in the next few days….sure…. The weather is heating up and most days it is over 100 so water is getting more important. In my last trip out we had to stop for a herd of camels to cross the road – there were 200-300. I was waiting for Lawrence and Ahab to come riding up to my gun truck.

Although it is counter intuitive, I feel better when I am out the gate and with the Iraqi’s. You read all the reports etc. with all the bad stuff that is happening and you forget how many people are working on making things better. Additionally, they are all excellent at negotiations so you always have to be on your toes. I have never had such complex and interesting problems to deal with. To give you perspective, these same tribes have lived on this same land for the last 4000 years. So there is thousands of years of rivalries, alliances, friendships, and conflict that does not meet the eye. We do not speak Arabic and are not from here, so there is so much you don’t know or understand that you are making decision with 2% of the information. It is crazy. But I have a couple interpreters that are very smart guys and help me to “see” the non-verbal communication and fill me in on some of the details. Each day is an adventure and very interesting. The other day we had “breakfast” with one of the local Sheiks – it was bread with a sweet cream spread, a very sweet marmalade, and a type of cream cheese. It was excellent. I definitely ate too much but what the heck, it was very good.

This week we have more of the same on the schedule, meetings, a little bit of travel, and some more meetings. I am going to take a crack at fixing this electricity problem. I doubt I will get it solved but hopefully I will get closer. I have included pictures from the week.

Should be back in the states April of next year. Long, long way to go. Good luck on the rifle season, I still wish you were here as you would fit in perfect on the team I have over here.

Jake

Jake is the solider on the left.
jake1.JPG


jake2.JPG
 
You were Army for a while?

Those are definitely ACU's they're wearing (I've got them myself, and they are comfortable). Nice letter and nice pics. I really appreciate you're posting it, it goes right with the info I got from my sources that were there a couple of years ago.
 
Yes after active duty Marines, I had a Marine Corps 1stSgt talk me in to joining his Stinger unit in Minnesota. 4 years reserve there, good bunch of guys.
 
Yes Tony, they have. They have also admitted that they can NOT deploy WITHOUT the Guard and Reserves, since certain essential units are not found in the Active Component.

When certain Active Duty units in Iraq start requesting certain Army Guard units for escorts, instead of a Regular Army unit for escort, I'd say yes, they have.

And this time around, there are Army Guard combat units involved. Some of those casualties you hear about in the Ramadi area, I can put names to, some of the wounded I actually know, some of the deaths are folks I know of.

We're also seeing a change of tune in priority of fielding of uniforms and equipment. We're real close to the Regulars for fielding now, sometimes ahead of them.
 
Shit, Tony, they wouldn't let me go. I came up for deployment in March 2003 and they didn't know if I was joking them or psychotic. All I did was offer to bring my own guns. They didn't want to find out, either, but came up with a problem with one of my Arthritis meds. I don't take that one anymore.
 
Thanks for posting it. I have heard alot of the same also. Gee D, didn't know you were a doggie also.[wink] Anything we can do for them? Also tell him not to eat the sheep heads soup if he is out eating with the tribes. [laugh] [puke2]
 
I asked Jake if they needed anything and he never replied with a list. What ever his guys need he will get it. He was one of the best officers I had the pleasure serving with, he always took good care of his men.
 
I'm always up for adopting more troops. If you hear of anything they need let us know. I'm also up for writing more letters and care packages.
 
MrsWildweasel said:
I'm always up for adopting more troops. If you hear of anything they need let us know. I'm also up for writing more letters and care packages.

Ditto that Derek, and thank for posting the letter. It was good to read.
 
Nice letter, D. I like reading first hand accounts like that. Thanks for posting it and the pictures.
 
Cool. Glad he has a decent supply. Just don't get Alan going on theirs.[rolleyes] If they do run across something they need let me know always willing to help out another unit. We kept all our bookmarks on what we've sent Alan so far and are ready for the next kid deploying later this fall.
 
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