Thursday, November 03, 2005

Welcome to Iraq! - love, Haji

Well, history and pride and a cool series on HBO just does not buy you enough respect with the local Hajis. The 101st came to town and will take over this area as the 278th National Guard rolls out. For instance, there is a firing pit that we and the 278th have used for test firing before convoying. Well, we never had a problem. We even wave to the Haji shepherds that walk by as we pull in.

Not so gentle a reception for the 101st. Nope. Haji apparently didn't like their bravado and placed an IED in the firing pit which then blew the front end off a HMMWV. No one killed but one hell of a lesson learned.

I just got back from another multi-day mission to Balad, we expected some action this time since it is the closing days of Ramadan, but saw none. As a matter of fact, I was able to take a bunch of pictures (below) on the mission. On the way back home, we expected some action. None again, to my disappointment. But, when we rolled into the FOB, we were told that the 101st had been in the town we had just traveled through. One of their soldiers was killed. They just got here. Hopefully, the arrogance they had shown towards us upon their arrival will give way to good prudence towards the Haji.

On a lighter note, here is a collection of pictures I took on the mission. Click on pics for larger image. Enjoy.
Rare appearance of clouds in the sky. Soon the skies will change from the oppressively persistent blue to a depressing gray/white.

SGT Rawlerson on the .50 cal

SSG Cunninham, convoy leader


Evidence of Reconstruction

Iraqi school girls taken with my Salvadore Dali camera. Taken in the town that attacked and killed the 101st soldier. Before we (collectively) got here, this would have been a rare site.

An absolutely beautiful sunset Iraqi style. Photo unretouched.

Guard Tower.

Iraqi Women.


Blogger brainhell said...

Nice photos. I especially like the .50.

Blogger Edward said...

Oh heck. I hope that the turnover to the 101st is better than the impression I got from this post. They have to learn from you what is going down in you AO. Aren't they learning from the "left seat, right seat" joint patrols before full turnover? Do your darndest to educate them before any more are lost.

Blogger Dorman said...

We're in a unique situation as the vast majority of the 101st is not staying here. There will be a small element here for a while apparently and it is assumed that the 278th, prior to their prolonged departure, did the proper LS/RS ride education with them. But keep in mind that the pride of the 101st being taught by a TN National Guard unit may had been a factor. I am just guessing from my observations of the 101st's demeanor and not by direct observation of the turn-over process. I wish them the best too, dying over ego is truly not worth it.

And as a side note, 15 minutes ago, another IED exploded out near the firing pit. No further info at this time.

Blogger Carnealian said...

Great pics Dean! I really like the b&w power line pic. The IED's are a little too close for comfort.

Blogger InterstellarLass said...

Thanks for sharing all these photos with us. Stay safe.

Anonymous said...

Please let your home help you.

US talks to Bush?

Blogger Dennis McCafferty said...

Hi there. I'm a senior writer for USA WEEKEND magazine. I'm doing a cover story on U.S. men and women blogging in Iraq. I need Dean to email me direct at

I'd like to discuss featuring him and this fine blog in my cover package. But I don't have IM access. I prefer standard email anyway. Please send a line as soon as you get a chance.

If others reading this have a blog they do from Iraq and want me to take a look for consideration, feel free to email me.

You can verify that I'm who I say I am by googling my full name with "USA Weekend"



Blogger mattandriver said...

Cool, I hope it’s real and it works out! Just imagine what your old “friends” at a certain nutty Market, in a certain ’boro will think once you make the Big Time…….. I call that redemption.

Blogger Dorman said...

Opportunities are presenting themselves to me finally :) I have been asked to do some book reviews for Penguin Publishing. Working on the first one now which I hope to have completed within a week. Maybe there will be life for me after the Army.

Blogger mattandriver said...

GoD or man! (inside joke)

Blogger Robert Chase said...


Blogger Edward said...

Thank you for clarifying what is up with the 101st. The Screaming Eagles are a proud outfit. However, they had better listen up to you who are experienced in the sandbox. School of hard knocks is not the one to go to in Iraq.

Thank you too for protecting us at home from an ugly enemy. Congratulations on your being asked by Penguin to review some books. I wish you safe return at the end of your tour to a happy career back in the states!

Anonymous Wild Thing said...

Love the photos and CONGRATULATIONS to you! Tah dah! Fantastic!

Thank you for all you do and for serving our country. I feel safer knowing our troops (You) are protecting all of us by fighting the enemy and also bringing freedom to those that did not have it before.


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