Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas Eve

It's been Christmas Eve almost a day here now and it's been pleasant. No work, no worries. Yesterday I bought myself a little present, an iPod nano, and I've been listening to it most of the day. Anyone who knows me knows I'm a HUGE Apple fan but I've always been anti-mp3 player. They've always seemed like such a waste of money to me. The first iPods were something like $400 and all they do is play music. I just couldn't justify it. So a week ago when someone from 57th Trans let me borrow their iPod nano before a mission I had my gaurd up. I didn't want to like it. Well that went out the window in about 30 seconds. It's stupid easy to use and has quite possible the best sound I've ever heard dispite coming with just earbuds for headphones.

Naturally I was upset, now I wanted one. So I began doing my research online like anyone would. Turns out the iPod nano starts at $149 and offers 4Gb of storage space which works out to nearly 1000 songs. For $50 more you can get an 8Gb which holds 2000 songs. So I put on my best puppy dog face turned on the web cam and asked for one. It's nice to have a wife that understands how important music is. Oh and finally getting paid for our move to El Paso probably didn't have anything to do with it either. This thing is soo small though, I'm so afraid I'm going to loose it. It's almost literally the size of a credit card and can play for 24hrs without needing a recharge and then it only needs 3 hours to be fully charged again. It's easily been the highlight of my past couple days.

The big thing for tomorrow aside from trying to be able to watch the kids open gifts, will be building myself a better bed. That sounds weirder the more I say it but you all know I'm never satisfied with something the way it is, I must modify it somehow. We have such little room that right now I've built the bed high enough to put my gear underneith. The problem is I didn't have proper tools and it's starting to fall apart, which means one of these nights I'm going to crash through to the floor. Plus right now it's in the middle of the room. I went out and got a hand saw, a hammer and some nails (wrong ones gotta exchange them. Grrr) and tomorrow if all goes well I'm going to start building. Later tonight I'm going to get all the measurements I need so that once I exchange the nails I can begin work. Naturally I will take and post pictures. I'm really hating the formatting blogger adds to all my posts. Like the song lyrics, I had that broken down into paragraphs before I posted it, too bad it didn't come out that way. I think I need to check the theme for this blog. Maybe Diana can help me out. Anyway, Merry Christmas Eve everyone. I'll be online off and on tomorrow, MSN screen name jcpahman77. Drop me a line if you get the chance.

Where are you Christmas?

There is a song by Faith Hill with this title I've been listening to alot. I though I'd share the lyrics with you all now. I'll put up a full blog in a few hours.

Where are you Christmas?
Why can't I find you?
Why have you gone away?
Where is the laughter,
you used to bring me?
Why can't I hear music play?
My world is changing
I'm rearranging
Does that mean Christmas changes too?
Where are you Christmas?
Do you remember,
the one you used to know?
I'm not the same one
See what the time's done
Is that why you have let me go?
Christmas is here
Christmas is here
if you care
If there is love in your heart and your mind
you will feel like Christmas all the time
I feel you Christmas
I know I found you
you never fade away
the joy of Christmas stays here inside us
Fills each and every heart with love
Where are you Christmas?
Fill your heart with love.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

I've been busy, can you tell?

I had this whole blog entry written, twice now. For some reason either the internet or something else has made it not publish. So this is take 3. I've been on 4 back to back missions now and I have at least 2 more to go before I can try to get one off. I'm exhausted, my room is a wreck, and I'm out of clean laundry, but aside from that I'm doing well. I will post more again if/when I ever get some time. I am doing well and am looking forward to moving up in the ranks quicker than I originally thought, at least, it's a possibility at this point.

God Bless

Sunday, December 2, 2007

New Mailing Address

My mailing address is changing, my location isn't I'm still in the same place. Any mail sent with the old address should still get to me just fine, but from here forward here is my new address.

PFC. Pahman, Jesse C.
57th TC #43338 168th BSB
Camp Liberty, Iraq
APO AE 09344

Monday, November 19, 2007

Some additions to the room

Some things came in the mail today. I figured I'd snap some pictures and post them up. It took some work, the internet and my laptop fought me for a few hours now, but it looks like they're going to work now.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Two posts for the price of one

Hello again!

I know that it's been some time and many of you are anxiously awaiting news of how I'm doing, so I appologize. We've been quite busy out here and sleeping and working are practically the only things I've been doing for the past however long it's been.

Today, I got to be an escort along with some guys from 32nd Trans for 5 Iraqi contractors. They each spoke about 5 words in English so getting the work done became a challenge. All we really had to do was ride in their dump trucks from the gate to get some gravel, have it dumped in our motor pool and escort them back out. One trip ended up taking 6 hours, it was gruesome. No one along our way spoke a lick of English and no one that did had any idea what we needed or where we needed to be. The worst part is in order to cover our motorpool it's going to take some 300+ loads of gravel and it took all day to get 5, I thought the Army did things slow, WOW. So that was my day today.

The other reason for this post is I've been giving some serious thought to my future, long term planning 2 years and 20 years out. It's not the kind of thing I'm used to doing, usually I just wing it and see what happens but being a father, getting older, and gaining experience from my military career thus far has taught me planning helps. That all said, and Diana has been in on all of this by the way, the short term looks like this. Before I leave here I should make E5 Sergeant which means I'll be an NCO (Non-Commissioned Officer). That's as far as I planned on getting in my four years in the Army, I didn't know it was so easy to pickup rank as an 88M (we say 88 Mike). Starting in the next days to a week I'm going to be going to school, yes even out here there are schooling options. Some will be online, the Army offers correspondence courses that I'll be looking to max out, it'll make it easier to pickup rank, but additionally I'm going to be getting a civilian education, aka a degree. I haven't set my mind on what I'm going to get it in but I'm thinking a BS in CS (Computer Science) sounds like a good place to start. I need a certain amount of credit hours to make my long term goal feasible, I don't know how many so I'm just going to get as many as I'm allowed while I'm out here. My long term goal is to go through the Army's Green to Gold program and make a career out of military life. The Green to Gold program works like this. If I'm accepted, and it shouldn't be hard for me, my ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) test scores are among the higest in the Army, plus I'll be and NCO with a combat tour already; but if I'm accepted I get E5 pay two years to do NOTHING but school. I don't report for any duty, I don't deploy, I don't even need to put on the uniform for anything, for two years I'm a paid student. Once I complete my degree I go through some officer schooling and would begin my officer career as an O2 instead of an O1. By that time I'll be in for 3 or 4 years, likely 4 which would mean my base pay would be a little over $3700/mo. plus the housing, food and medical benifits. After 20 years in I can retire and will likely never have to worry about working again. At 46 years old, that doesn't sound too bad. The hardest, and I stress that it is the hardest part of this, is there are no posts in MI so it will mean being away from friends and family most of the year until I retire. I'll still get 30 vacation days per year and I'm looking into whether or not I can move home during the years I'm going to be in school, but for now, it looks like learning to live apart may become normal.

Love from Iraq,
PFC., Pahman, Jesse C.
United States Army
Camp Liberty, Iraq

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Friday, November 2, 2007

This one is going to be mostly photos, providing I can figure it out

So there was a promotion cerimony yesturday...

For the commander of 32nd Trans. He made Major, what a major pain. We had to stand there all pretty while some dude who's name I don't even know got promoted just 'cuz we technically are 32nd Trans now. I didn't even bother to put on a clean uniform because I had to go right from there to do some work in the motorpool.

I get promoted today in a little over one hour, stay tuned I hope to have photos. Gotcha suckas!!!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Maybe I was a little rash

A good night's sleep and some prayer has allowed a little bit of an epiphany. It seems to me that if my leadership knew I was having a conversation with my old platoon yesturday before they even left that it couldn't have been them that "leaked" any info. It has to be someone here tattling on me and misconstruing what I'm saying. So, I'll go on posting here and chatting much as I did, I'll just watch my tongue around the others I work with. I have a good feeling who it is, which doesn't really matter, I'll just make sure if I'm stating opinions that they are well formed and direct so that they cannot be twisted to be used against me. As I stated in my last posting I am doing quite well over all, staying busy working on the trucks and pulling missions when assigned to.

PV2., Pahman, Jesse C. (soon to change)
United States Army
Camp Liberty, Iraq

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Anybody else miss the simplier times?

I think this is pretty much going to do it for the blog ladies and gentlemen. It's becoming too much of a hastle. Everytime I have a conversation with someone back in TQ it "comes to the attention" of my leadership here. It's only a matter of time before they begin to read this too and pick and pry at what I'm posting and why. I can't keep watching what I'm saying all the time, I have feelings and opinions that I'd like to share but as long as they continue to be misconstrued and used against me it's just going to be easier if I keep them to myself. Heck it's only another 13 months, I'm sure I'll be fine. Know that I'm doing well and that the Lord is with me. He guides what I do and watches over me on missions. I am constantly praised for my hard work and knowledge and I am very safe but the hastles that come with simple comunications aren't worth it. I have a headache right now that would make a rhino pissed off. I still hope to be able to hear about how your lives are going, keeping up with the changing world so many miles away is a big part of what keeps me going, I just don't have the energy anymore to fight a battle I seem so destined to loose. I haven't even had the time to read the comments from the last post yet, I'll be doing that next. You all are in my prayers and I'll be coming home soon. God Bless and good night, for now, this is farewell.

PV2., Pahman, Jesse C. signing off
United States Army
Camp Liberty, Iraq

Friday, October 26, 2007

The quickest way to get the "are you a retard?" look

Clean your boots in the desert. Now normally I wouldn't do it either. Whoever made these boots managed to make the leather the exact same color as the sand/dust out here, likely not by mistake either, point being they rarely look dirty. Yesturday though I had to give my truck a bath, and not like just spray it down but make sure all the dirt was completely off of it. That's a tough task for a vehicle that sees desert combat traffic, has 48 tires on the ground and is something like 60' long from end to end. Needless to say, the truck got clean and I got dirty. By the end my boots were retaining so much water, from the hose that sprung a leak, that when I stepped I could see it squishing out of the seams. The hose was quickly patched -- with DUCT TAPE, so that instead of a stream of water to deal with I had a nice fine mist. I had mud on my head by the time I was finished. So yesturday and overnight I left my boots on the a/c unit to dry. The outside of it gets quite warm so it worked out pretty good. Today after doing some work in the motorpool I began the process of scrubbing the stuck and now dried on mud off. I got the most retarded looks. So many people asked, "why are you cleaning your boots?" To which they all got this answer, "so that they'll be clean". Anyway, not much has changed since the last update, just working hard and moving alot of equipment, just another day down, another day closer to being home.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

well I brought it on myself...

Never should have started counting the days between posts. The nature of military life is a schedule that is unpredictable. We're moving to the containers now to live. Sounds funny I'm sure but it's a more permanent living structure, smaller but it has a door. We're going to have roommates but it should feel more like a home than this tent has. It's hard to find things to post here, more and more the day to day of what I'm doing just can't be posted on the internet. I've started to get more mail from home, which is always cool. I'm hoping to get/make a desk in my new room so I'll be able to write back more easily. Things are still going very well and I'm looking forward to picking up my PFC (private first class) come the first. From there I'll pickup SPC (specialist) in May and then it's a downhill trip to sergeant. Aside from that I'm just doing what I can to fight boredom, that's the hardest part about being here right now.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Has it been two days already?

I think it's been two days now since the last update, I know the dates are posted on the blog but they're starting to blur, which is good, they're passing fairly quickly. I just wanted to let everyone know I'm ok. Communications here were blacked out, I can't say more than that, even what that means if you don't know. Just know that if I go away for a period of time there isn't always anything I can do about it. Watching the news during those times may give some answers but take anything they say with a grain of salt, you know how the news can be.

Monday, October 8, 2007

This first photo is out of the window of our 5 ton truck near the DFAC. I thought the way the dirt on the window made the backdrop look was really cool, plus the American flag on the window gives it an interesting contrast.

This one is just me driving. SGT., Trujillo was nice enough to snap a picture of me. She ended up using the wrong setting on the camera but I couldn't be happier with the way it came out.

Just got back from Rustam... Rusta.. oh I can't even pronounce it anyway

It was a pretty straight forward mission, take a peice of equipment there and pickup one they didn't tell us about. I'm starting to get pictures of various different things in the motorpool and eventually on the road. It takes a bit of work for me to get them ready to upload because of the slow internet but I'm working on it. We've got some formation thing to go to where 32nd is getting their combat patch, we're 32nd TC now so we gotta go. I'm fighting off sleep, I figure if I stay awake I'll fall asleep standing up and won't have to hear any of the crap. Then I'm coming back and crashing for a while. Whenever I wake back up again I'll start on photos. Unless I get real motivated before the cerimony, we'll see I guess. Stay tuned, and thanks for all the prayers, it went without a hitch.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Kelsey's Purpose

I meant to add this to my last blog entry but forgot and before I forget again I wanted to get it on here. I came accross this site, Kelsey's Purpose, on a bulliten from one of my MySpace friends. Her story is a sad one and it touched me deaply. Kelsey was born to divorced parents, her father deployed shortly after she turned one (if I have the story right) and she lived with her Mother. While Kelsey's father was away her mother remarried. Kelsey's father was on his way home from Iraq, when he called to say he was leaving the country Kelsey was ok, when he called to say he was in the states, she was dead. It turns out Kelsey's new dad had been abusing her for the past nine months and on that last occassion had hit her so hard in her stomach that she died of blunt force trauma. My heart and tears went out to the family immediately. The site tells the story better and also serves as the home for an organization that serves to help other children from abuse. I thought I'd pass it on, let's not let her death be for nothing, there is a fellow soldier who is now without his daughter after being away serving our nation, I can think of no greater loss. Let them know how you feel and maybe we can all work to make a difference.

just a mini blog entry for right now

This is just a quickie to address an issue I've noticed. First I'll put everyone's minds at ease, things are still going just fine over here, just the day to day stuff day in and day out right now, no real news. The issue I'm noticing is people trying to add me to their messenger programs. It seems the software is getting a little funky on my end. I'm getting requests from MSN and Yahoo! through Yahoo! and everytime I log in I get asked to add the same people. If I haven't added you and you are wondering why, it's the software, not me. In the meantime, you may just wanna e-mail me via I also have my snail mail (standard post mail) address for any interested

Send Mail to:
PV2., Pahman, Jesse C.
32nd TC #43338 168th BSB
Camp Liberty, Iraq
APO AE 09344

p.s. Mom and Dad Hand, I recieved your letter with the bookmark yesturday and will be bringing the bookmark with me on the road along with my Bible.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I may have titled this blog improperly

It's as if I'm a deployed civilian, except I don't get paid as much. I seem destined to spend my 15 months on a FOB, not that I'm complaining mind you, it means I don't have to worry about IED's and I get paid just the same. Still, if they wanted me to work doing nothing but changing tires and cleaning the trucks we could have saved alot of money and time on training I'll never use and just sent me over here in Nov. when I signed up. They keep telling me not to worry that I'll get the miles I need to get my license. I keep telling them respectfully that's BS, I don't go outside of the wire so how can I get miles? It's pissed a few of the sergeants off, that I don't think I'll go on missions, I just tell them I'm calling it like I see it. If you have a problem with the fact that I don't go out, I dunno, maybe you should put me on a mission. Then I remember I'm just a private and decisions like that are above my pay grade, best to leave it to those who know what they are doing. So for now, no news is good news. I wanted to get another post up so no one worries about me, there just isn't much to say that is any new from the last post. I'll keep doing what I do and posting when I can. Send me an e-mail or lets have a chat if you get time, I've got plenty and no where to go.

PV2., Pahman, Jesse C.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Another new home

I'm back to living in a tent, I think there are 20 of us in this one, the setup isn't too bad, AND the toilets here have running water, no more outhouses. Yes that's right I have moved yet again. I turns out that 2nd platoon had to get rid of four people, for reasons I'm sure I will never know, much to that end I'm sure I'll never know why they sent us when we were from a group of just 35 and they had 200+ up in Taji, que sera, sera I guess. I used to live in TQ, Al Taqaddum, and now I am in BIAP, Bagdad International AirPort. That's right ladies and gentlemen, good ol' Bagdad, and I thought driving through Fallujah every so often was going to make me go grey, I don't stand a chance now. Bad enough I'm practically bald on top of that. Things are much more laid back here though, fewer rules, it's as if we're at war and they actually let us enjoy our down time, oh wait we are. Someone needs to get a memo to the Sergeant Major over there at TQ. Anyhow it means for now I am away from my Army family, thrown in with another platoon, it better not be for too long either because I plan on picking up at least two promotions while I'm here and I'd like to celebrate with friends. The only real upside is I get internet on my laptop in my tent so I can surf where I want went I want as long as I'm not working. Stop in from time to time, I should be able to post more often now, but as for now, it's late I'm going to wrap this one up.

Good night.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

It is now 0100 El Paso time Wednesday. We stopped in Bangor, Maine to refuel the plane and are now headed to Ireland. It seems funny to relate my trip to Iraq to the Matrix but there was a perfect line that describes how I am feeling. There is a scene is which “Smith”, one of the matrix program people, is describing the early versions of the matrix to Neo; he says that the early versions were setup to be a perfect world, the human mind couldn't take it, it was as if we were trying to continually wake up from a dream. That's exactly how I felt in basic training and now I'm getting that feeling all over again. Our families got to spend a few hours with us today while we were having out bags inspected. It was surreal. Even now aboard a plane headed miles and miles away from home I cannot come to terms with the reality of being gone for 15 months. It doesn't help that from what I hear where we will be staying at first isn't a real fun place to stay. We should be living in 40-50 person tents with not much more than a Port-a-potty for a latrine. On the upside it's only for two weeks so I'll be ok. This laptop is already making things more bearable, they even have a power outlet near my seat on the plane so I can keep it plugged in. On a quick side note, what the heck is the point of a hot towel I never got that?
As I mentioned we stopped off in Maine for a few hours to refuel. It's obvious we've been stopping off there for a while now because they have a whole shop setup for the troops. They even had an area where if we left our ID cards we could use a cellular phone to call home, which of course I did. Lucky for me it wasn't too late at that point and I was able to get a hold of Diana one last time for now. We're flying on a DC-10 of all things, the upside of which is that it's capacity is like 350 people and we only have 225. Even with that we filled every storage bin on the plane and it still took some work cram things in. The rows are 10 people wide and there are a few TV screens for movies and TV shows. The food is tolerable, that said I've kindly decided to skip breakfast, I'll pick something up in Ireland, the dinner wasn't exactly top notch. They said it was pasta but you could have fooled me.
I know God is with me, I've had this odd calm for the past couple of weeks preparing to leave. I know it comes from the prayers you all have been saying for me and my family. I want to let you all know how much it means to me. I will need continued prayer, this is likely the hardest thing I've ever had to do. I picked up a book before I left, I'm looking forward to giving it a read. It's called something like “The End of Iraq: America's Incompetence has started a war that cannot be finished” That's not the exact title but I don't have the book on me right now. I've slept most of the flight so far which is my plan for the flight, I just wanted to get some thoughts down while they were fresh on my mind.
We have left Ireland now on our way to our final destination. I'm actually not even sure how much longer we have, another couple of hours at most if my math is right. I've completely lost track of what time it is wherever we are now, I just know it's 1217 El Paso time. It is dark as night outside which makes sense I guess since it should be 8 or 9 hours ahead of El Paso time. Everybody seems so calm, then again over 70 percent of my company has been deployed at least once before.
It is now 0855. We've been here since about 0230 and I've now had a good meal (REALLY good food) and a warm shower. The food and showers makes up for the living conditions, we are living in 75 person tents. Which sucks a little but then again, the tents are air conditioned and well lit. There are a few power outlets around the tent so I can keep my laptop charged, which is good because I only get a little over two hours on a full charge. To help understand the time difference it's just before 000 (midnight) back in El Paso, or 0200 for my friends and family reading from Michigan. This post is pretty well setup, there is a Burger King, an Outback Steakhouse, a Starbucks, and a few other little outlets I've never heard of. The PX looks quite large, the DFAC's (Dinning facilities) are clean and large and offer fantastic food and I am told there are a few places on base that offer wireless Internet access so I may be able to get a letter home or get on Yahoo! Messenger so I can receive phone calls. I'll keep everyone up to date when I can. I think for now I'm going to try to get some sleep. Stay by the blog, I will update it when I can.
0100 25 Aug 2007
Yes, I do sleep, just in shifts. It is unbearably hot during the day so we do most of our activities at night or at least after the sun has gone down. The best way to describe it is like being in your car after it has been left out in the sun for a few hours. Everything you touch seems to burn and the very air burns the skin. That's very much how it is here. At night, when we consider it to be cool, it is nearly 100 degrees and we walk around comfortably. The conditions aren't too bad, almost every time I've gone to eat it has been in my PT shorts and T-shirt. I am still looking for a place with Internet access. I'm told there are a few areas but I really haven't had too many times out and about yet. We aren't allowed to carry bags of any kind with us to the DFAC and it's a fair walk from our tent to anything of interest. I am planning on checking out the PX tomorrow and I hear they have Internet access there. Another great benefit I've found is midnight meal. Good food served four times a day means I may actually put on some weight. One of the Sergeants in my platoon came across someone that had just left the area I will be going to next. He told us the FOB there is actually very well setup and there are many amenities. I should even have Internet access in my room.
0632 25 Aug 2007
Fantastic breakfast, I'm getting used to the schedule here so far. We have two classes scheduled for today, one at 0800 and one at 1000, after that the day is ours from what I am hearing. I really must get near the Internet tonite, get this posted and make some calls home. This laptop is going to be a Godsend, being able to get my thoughts out like this makes it easier to cope with the distance and time. I still feel like I'm just away at a camp, I'm sure that feeling will go away once I get my own room. For now I have to be content to share my living space with some 70 other people and live out of my duffel bag, MOLLE, and assault pack. It's not a bad way to be it just forces us to live different than we are used to. Then again, if this is the worst it is going to be, you won't hear much complaining out of me. I can still see images of home in my sleep, like I am there. It was the same when I first went and went back to basic. I know the dreams will stop once I start getting more contact with home, for now at least my family is with me when I sleep. It looks like I'm up almost around the clock in shifts right now, it's actually working pretty well and it should mean I'll be up when you all would be back home. It's now 2145 in El Paso and 2345 in Michigan so the time shift isn't too bad, except it's Saturday here and Friday there. I finally put batteries in my camera and I'll be taking pictures when I remember to. I'm still just getting used to the way things are here but I kind of like it. Every one is real close, not in the sense that I can barely roll over without bumping elbows, that is true, but in the sense that everyone is going through this together. It forces you to get to know one another. I have a few Sergeants already that I can call friends and I like all of the people in my squad, so I consider myself lucky. I wouldn't mind a toilet that actually flushes but the showers are good and there are sinks for hygiene so staying clean really isn't a problem. I'm not changing uniforms much because we don't have access to laundry services where we are now but as little as we are doing combined with the number of uniforms I packed is making is ok. Oh one of the new guys in my squad went through basic the same place I did, D1/40th at Ft. Sill the cycle right after me. It's cool because we know almost all the same Drill Sergeants and went through all the same things at the same places, so we have something in common already and when we come back we'll have a deployment together too.
A quick little note, I went back and edited this to remove where I currently am from the post. You'll note I just say things like where I am and final destination, that is for security reasons. If you know where I am right now, good, if not call one of the other family members that may know. From here there is only so much I am allowed to say and I'm trying to make sure that I don't get it wrong this early on. I hope these classes today aren't too boring, or at least if they are maybe they won't be too long. It sounds like we'll be done for the day before lunch, which is like the middle of the night for you all back home. The best time it seems to get a hold of me is afternoon into evening. 3 PM El Paso time is 10 pm here which is perfect. The sun goes down around 1830 so it is fairly cool outside. I swear I'm going to find the Internet soon and call home. For something like $5 a day I could have it in the tent but I'm not really going to be here long enough to make it worth it. When I get my own room or even a room I have to share with someone else I'll get it there, even if it costs a little bit. I have a formation in a little over 10 minutes so I'm going to make sure I'm ready. I'll add more to this when I can get back to it. Remember always that I love you and am thinking of you. I will be fine in 15 months you'll see, I'll return home at least as well as I left it.
0123 26 Aug 2007
To give a little more of an idea of how hot it gets here, we were out for some classes for a while today and it was rough. We came back to the tent after lunch chow changed into PT's and the tent almost felt cold. The thermostat said it was 82 degrees in the tent and I got into my sleeping bag, that should give you an idea of how hot it is outside. It's in the 70's in here now and I'm nearly frozen, no one complains about the temp though, we'd hate for someone to think we want it warmer. We're going to the range here in a little bit, rolling out at 0300. They say all we have to do is fire off a couple of rounds to make sure our weapon still fires. I'm good with that, it's too dark to hit a target anyway and I don't want to be firing during the day when the sun's up. I already have my gear ready so I've got a few minutes to write. In the morning I'm going to try to goto the TMC and get a script for Allegra D. My allergies aren't all that bad but I'm really congested and I was acclimated to the air in El Paso, it's really thin because of the high altitude. We're a bit lower here so the air is thicker and I'm getting some rough headaches, I can feel that they are sinus though so I'm hoping an allergy med will take care of it. I'm still looking for a place to get the Internet My plan was to go out tonite but then they came up with this range stuff so that kinda nix'd that one.
1314 26 Aug 2007
I'm stuck on a night cycle, I'm sleeping more now during the day now because we are training at such odd hours. No one is complaining it really is hot here, and bright. It is as if this part of the world is closer to the sun or something. Sun glasses are a mandatory part of the uniform but none of us needed to be told to wear them. It's painful without them on. I'm going to the TMC in the morning for sure. We didn't get back from the range in time to make it this morning but the headaches aren't letting up and I need to get them taken care of. I'm good laying down or sitting, but once I stand up it takes a few minutes before the pain subsides, even then it never really goes away. I'd go to the PX or shopette and pickup some pain killer but the nearest one is at least a mile away. I may go tonite, we have a quick class at 2000 so I'll be up anyway, I just hope one or the other is still open much later than that. It is pitch black after about 1830. It's weird, if there was ever an area that needed daylight savings time, this is it. The sun comes up around 0530 and it's hot almost immediately. And it's weird, I'm fairly good at finding my way around with very few directions, I can tell where I am going based on where the sun is in the sky. The problem is once it is up it's just right overhead, all day long. There are almost no shadows to use for reference. It's nap time, I don't have anywhere to be until evening chow. It's really weird, I still only eat three meals a day but I tend to skip lunch. Midnight chow is the greatest thing ever. We should start doing it back home. Although I'd probably end up staying up all night. That only seems to work real well out here.
1648 26 Aug 2007
So, we were supposed to be going to a range tomorrow, turns out instead we'll be leaving for two nights in the field. It should go without saying that I'm looking forward to it. No a/c, No showers, only MRE's for food, we're only allowed to bring our assault pack, and no electronics. All of this of course means that I won't likely be posting this anytime soon. I'm still going to the TMC in the morning though, you'd better believe that. I'm on my way to dinner chow here in a minute too, then to the PX to get some field wipes or baby wipes whatever they have. It's retarded too because we're leaving tomorrow at 1500 spending the night out in some building, then training Tuesday and coming back Wednesday morning. So really we ought to just leave out Tuesday morning and do the training all in one day and come back. It isn't really worth staying out there but I'm going to keep my mouth shut, it could be a lot worse. People are already getting short nerves because while we are sleeping all hours of the day people are being loud and inconsiderate. It's not real hard, if you want to watch a movie or listen to music on your laptop put on headphones. There is a laptop on nearly every cot so it gets loud quickly. I never really got a laptop with good speakers, thank you Best Buy, so I have to use headphones. This should be fun. Someone is going to get really mad about something really stupid and start a fight or something, I can see it coming already. Too bad we're aren't allowed to bring any electronics or I'd get pictures.
1945 26 Aug 2007
I found the PX! It's a hike. Luckily there is a bus. I know I'm sure half of you were thinking I was going to say something like luckily I'm in the Army and I'm used to it. Screw that, it's too hot here to be walking too far when there are perfectly good air conditioned shuttles running all over the base. I picked up some baby wipes, cough drops because they help with the allergies, Advil for some headache relief, and Q-tips to clean my M-16. I'm thinking I'll pack in the morning, after chow. It'll be hot by then and I'll wanna stay inside anyway. Tonite after midnight chow I may try to post this up, we'll see. I won't get a chance for a while after this and I'd be able to make a call home. I think I may just do that. Thinking of you all always. I hope you all enjoy reading this, hopefully they all won't be this long.
0200 27 Aug 2007
Wow was I asleep. I almost couldn't be woken for midnight chow. Time to finish watching a movie so I can get back to sleep. I'll be packing and cleaning my weapon in the morning. Not much of an update right now but then not much has happened since the last update so, I'll be back in the morning.
0700 27 Aug 2007
Well the TMC doesn't open for sick call until 0800 so I have to wait for a little bit. I've eaten breakfast so that's one item off of the morning's checklist. All of us are so glad that later today we get to leave from living in the field to go live in the field. I was able to find the phones this morning, couldn't remember the country code for the US but I'll figure that out when I go back out. I'm thinking about taking the laptop with me to see if I can find some free WIFI out there somewhere.

1340 27 Aug 2007
I made it to the TMC. It is run by the Navy here. The funny thing too was they were so busy they barely even asked me any questions. It went like this:
TMC: What are you here for? Me: A prescription for allergies, I have been on Allegra D before. TMC: So you need a refill? Me: I haven't had any since November, since before I joined the Army. TMC: So you're here for a refill. Me: Ok, that'd be fine.
They took my vital signs, asked some questions about my medical history and checked my nose and ears. That was it, they sent me on my way with a prescription and a have a nice day. So, so far I have learned that if I want a/c, good medical care, food, and as many laughs as I can handle in a day, all I have to do is go to war. From what I hear about where we are going from here I get all of the above plus a two man room and as much free time as I can handle. Oh and hopefully about as much money as I could imagine for my pay grade. I imagine there will be things I won't enjoy, like this afternoon and the next day or so when we go off to play Army, that's gonna suck. I mean really, what is the point of taking a unit that is already staying in tents with little more than port-a-potties for bathrooms and sending them into the field where there isn't any running water at all, no a/c, and nothing more to eat than MRE's. My only hope is a big sand storm or thunderstorm. From the looks of things around here though it doesn't rain much so I guess it'd have to be a sand storm, somehow I get the feeling that'd only be good enough to delay our training not cancel it.
1907 29 Aug 2007
We came back from the field today. The training was good it's just not what we're going to be doing. Most of the training was geared towards running gun trucks and pulling security. From everything we've been told so far we won't be doing either of those jobs. All of what we learned was very good training it's just unlikely that we'll need any of it. My squad leader has been deployed three times and hasn't fired her weapon once yet, she's seen a few IED's but never needed to fire or get out of the truck to respond to an ambush. I finally got a good shower and a meal, if I don't fall asleep before my movie finishes I'll be watching a movie.
1132 30 Aug 2007
We had some more training last night and into this morning. It was about how to run an entry point and fire on a VBIED (Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device) should the situation arise. It was more good training, the only problem I had with it this morning was we were firing very close to each other, hot brass was bouncing everywhere. I had the collar on my ACU top up and the neck pieces of my IBA installed to help protect my neck but it happened anyway, I caught a round right down on my neck. It looks really bad, which works out because it feels like hell. I lost the skin in a few places where the round touched before it came to a stop. I'll be ok, this happens all the time, most of us have a brass burn somewhere, this is just my first. On the upside my team had the highest score on our lane and there were only two lanes this morning, so that felt good. While we were doing this training and for the whole rest of the day, all E6's and above have some other training at another post that is going to keep them out until midnight so I have some free time again. I think after lunch I'm going to buy a day's worth of Internet access and try and get a hold of friends and family at home. I've also learned that I should be able to call Diana free because she is in the local calling area for a military post (Ft. Bliss). I can call the post with what is known as a DSN number and get an operator there that can put me through to her. I'm going to try it this evening, last night the lines went down so I'm hoping I'll be able to get through. I'm getting really good at cleaning my weapon now with just baby wipes and Q-tips, but I can't wait until we catch up with the conexes that we sent earlier because they are supposed to have some proper cleaning kits in them.
0900 06 Sep. 2007
It has been a week since my last update and I must apologize. The last week has been very eventful, I am now mostly settled into a new home. The living conditions are a bit more personal than the tents we were in before although I still have 5 roommates. We've managed to create little 2 man areas out of our one room with our ponchos and I have my own wooden shelfing unit (about 2' square) to keep my clothes and things on. We've met and begun to train with the company we are replacing and they really seem to know their stuff. The best part is they were adamant about maintaining the trucks so we should be in good shape. It's funny too because they didn't really know who we were when we first got here, I mean what unit we were, so they were telling us that the trucks we'll be driving came from the 377th TC out of Germany. We laughed because that was us a little over a year ago. A few of my NCO's that are here now were even in Germany when the trucks were sent here. I wish I could tell you of the missions that I will be doing so that you may have a better understanding of my life here and what I'm doing/going through but I cannot. Neither can I tell you anything about where I am, not anything at all. I think I can take some photos but I can't send them home, I may be able to bring them home when I go for R&R. All I can do is assure you all that I am very much ok and doing fine. I do not yet have Internet in my room, none of us do, that is something that is being worked on and may be up to two months before it shows up. I think I may be able to get this posted, there are a few places near me that are getting Internet for us, but often I am not allowed to bring my own computer or files so for now I haven't been able to post this. It will get better, I will be able to have regular Internet access in my room before I leave, they have promised that.
1445 06 Sep 2007
Ok here's one that's going to set you back. I have 5 roommates right, who would have thought I am the one who gets up earliest. Granted, it is because Sgt. Carins comes by to see if I want to goto breakfast, nevertheless my other five roommates don't typically get up until about 0945 whereas I am up around 0600 or 0700. By that time I've eaten, dropped off or picked up my laundry depending on the day, and showered. My little section of the room is coming along very nicely. We've hung dividers up (I think I mentioned that) so that we almost have 3 small rooms within the larger room and I share a section with PV2. Hoel (pronounced Hole). All of us have bunk beds and naturally I am on the top bunk. I have plenty of places to hang pictures and cards just keep in mind the mail is painfully slow. I'd still like to get pictures that remind me of home, family, and friends. It's funny, the conditions here are better and at the same time worse than they were in basic. There I shared an open bay with 52 other guys, not fun, but we had a bathroom with like 8 stalls and 10 sinks. Here I share a section of a room with one other guy but the nearest bathroom is an outhouse about 250-300 meters away and the showers are just slightly further away. It's really weird packing a bag to go take a shower. Most of the 5 other people in our room I like, one has even been deployed before so he's got a lot of experience to give. Tonight if all goes well we are thinking about doing a little “night reconnaissance” to see if we can find another window a/c unit. Our area is close. We started with a double sized room and took down a wall between that and a smaller bordering room. The problem is that since the larger room was all one room originally it only has one a/c unit and the section that I now share with Hoel doesn't have an a/c unit. It's not hot enough to really complain about, but it is warm so we're going to see what we can come up with, maybe a few wall lockers and some lumber for additional construction as well. It sounds like stealing I'm sure, but as we say in the Army “steal” is an acronym for Strategically Transport Equipment to an Alternate Location. So tonight McDonald, a.k.a. Big Mac or just Mac and I will be going out to see what we can find. I'll update this again after that or in the morning depending on how tired I get.
0234 18 Sept. 2007
It's hard for me to put in to text the anger flowing through me right now. I think the proper descriptive word would be seething. Apparently there has been some sort of a situation with 2nd Platoon where they are now short on soldiers in their location. Now mind you I'm not talking about a situation where a soldier has been wounded or even killed, no this is more like people were caught doing things that has resulted in their being separated from each other. As such this has left 2nd Platoon short handed. As has been the norm, instead of drawing from the pool of some 200+ soldier stationed with the rest of the company the call went out to 3rd Platoon because as the award in the office states, we are the best platoon in the company. They have requested 4 soldiers, I have ended up on this short list of people chosen to leave. To compound things, add insult to injury if you will, the reason I have been chosen is because the battalion we fall under where I am now requires every truck to have a licensed driver in order to go out on missions. Back home in the states I was 18 short miles and a road test away from getting a full license. Were I to have one the fact that four soldier were leaving would be merely circumstantial to me. Now I have been dragged thousands of miles away from my family and friends and been told to risk my life for people I've never met and who seem to be so grateful that we are here, I am also being torn from my second family, my platoon. It my sound funny to hear me speak of people I've only known for months as family, these people are no less to me than my very flesh and blood, we all think of each other in such a manner. I told my Platoon Sergeant and Platoon Leader that I would be coming back, I fully intend to appeal this to the highest power I that I need to. They have both fought the move, along with my squad leader, who already is almost in tears over the prospect of loosing two of her soldiers to another platoon. It is going to be a very hard day when I have to say goodbye to the people I was counting on leaning on to get me through 15 of the toughest months of my life. Even now I have to fight back tears myself. There are people here I know would be prepared to give their life for me and I the same were we faced with a real combat situation. In fact I can't count the names on both hands. Where I'm going, I can barely even name five people much less five I've had more than just passing conversation with. Pissed off barely even begins to describe the emotions in me now. These people are the only people I know in this company. Now, like everything I went through in basic and my life prior for that matter, everything happens for a reason and ours is not to ask why, but this is not a fight that I will lose quietly. There are times when a stand needs to be taken, for me this is one of the biggest. Think of it this way, the Army has taken more from me than I thought I'd ever have to give. When I return from this tour, if you add in the time I was away for basic and AIT, I will have been gone for almost 1/3rd of Christopher's life and ½ of Matthew's. That's time that I will never get back. Time that no amount of money can ever repay. And for what? What is our great goal here? Where is the good we are doing? We are giving back a country to people who couldn't even manage to run it right in the first place. Mark my words and mark them well, this is not a war that will be over in the near future. The United States is destined to have troops here for a good period of time yet, I would wager 5—10 more years easy. And it's sad, yes I can understand some of why we are here. I've seen the children run out to the convoys looking for food and clothing, I've seen teenagers carrying AK47's, I've seen all of this and I've only been here a little under two weeks now. It breaks your heart to have to look at each and every one of them and wonder if any of them are planning on killing you that day. To know that within a moments notice you have the power and training to end their life and have been trained to deal with that. Don't think I'm not prepared either, don't think me cold or inconsiderate. This is the reality that is the Iraqi war. These people are fighting for not just land but their religion and they are prepared to pay the ultimate price defending it. Through all of this I keep in the back of my mind that parts of this land were where much of the stories in the Bible took place. Looking around, being lost for 40 years out here totally makes sense, wouldn't surprise me at all. There is nothing, no land features that would indicate one place from another. Just sand, deep sand, and not like there is on a beach. No, this is the consistency of moon dust and we have accordingly nicknamed it as such. There are places where it is so deep you literally have to pull each leg up out of the sand in order to take the next step. You can drop a shackle into and loose it forever. I have the opportunity to get on the Internet here every so often and I do when I can. The other day I was reading a post on a message board that I frequent where a fellow service member (Air Force) was showing how quickly thunderstorms can roll in on the base where he is stationed. He ended his post by saying that the water was so deep that someone, who in an apparent lack of common sense, drove their car into the “wash” and was swept car and all under and overpass and drowned. He said it happens so often that there is actually a law that if you lack the clarity to see that your vehicle can't make it through a stretch of road and emergency workers have to be called you have to pay the bill. A comment was quickly posted that “it was sweet to see how our armed forces were trained to have no respect for human life.” Three pages of back and forth with other members of the board and I had enough and snapped. I posted my thoughts and you know what, there hasn't been another post in two days. I ended my post with a simple thought that I will stand behind. If you have a problem with my opinions (i.e. That we need to be able to kill at a moments notice and not feel remorse, that at the end of the day admit it or not you need people like me out here fighting for the nation that this poster calls home and freedoms that they daily take for granted) that they should revoke their citizenship and kindly vacate the nation, we don't need people like you while we are over here risking our lives. I meant it then and I mean it now. Canada is not so far away and I hear they have good health care, pack your bags 'cuz if you're still there when I get home I'll do it for you, but you're going to meet my combat boots in the process, don't think I'll be kind about it. I don't understand our nation, I really don't. The more and more I learn about our people and politics the harder time I have calling myself American. We are not tolerant people despite what we have fooled ourselves into believing. We daily take for granted things like electricity and running water, both of which I barely have by the way. A while back now, I was getting a tour of the FOB from the company we are replacing, and one of their sergeants pointed out a window and said, “you see that M88 there (which is a tracked vehicle), that's the same M88 that pulled down the statue of Saddam. It's still in service and running missions.” Did you know in 2003 when we first started this war, before most people knew what an IED was that the doors on the Hummers were made of just vinyl and most times were left off? An up armored vehicle back then was one that had sand bags lining the floor to help keep shrapnel from coming up through the floor, that is if there was a floor left after the blast. These are the kinds of things that everyone of us knows. We willingly go out day after day and risk our lives. Some of the bravest people I have ever met in my life our now my best friends. John Kerry might just have had it right, if you're smart you goto college out of high school, the rest join the Army. No one in their right mind would do this and yet most of my leadership is on their 3rd trip to Iraq since just 2003. My team leader has spent more time here in the past 4 years than he has at home. I can't wait for the first person to talk badly about me because I am a member of the armed forces, you'll have to pull me off of them. The honor and dignity that comes from fighting for your nation cannot be described.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Screw football, I'm getting the kid a guitar!

For a while now I've noticed that Chris shares my interest in music and he often displays how well he can pickup a rythme. Today was another one of those instances. I started playing some music on the stereo and began to record with the web cam as the hillarity ensued. Hopefully these videos will upload properly, otherwise e-mail me and I'll send the files your way.

I got off easy this morning with the gas chamber. They listed a whole bunch of things that would prevent a person from being able to go through, I didn't think any were going to apply, but then they listed severe acne and I was off the hook. It's noted in every medical file I have since joining the Army and it was enough that during SRP (can't remember what it stands for but it's where we get our shots, etc.) they wouldn't give me the smallpox vaccine because they were concerned I'd infect myself. So this morning I stood and watched as the most of the company went through and came out gagging, an experience that I remember and hope I'll never have to relive.

I have begun to use the laptop for my blogs to get used to using it on a full time basis, this and the last blog were typed on the laptop. The last blog I typed in a word editor first then copied and pasted the text into the blogger. It's nice, this way I can blog without having to be right at my desk, I can even take it to work with me and blog if/when we get breaks. I've even started to pickup some sort of wireless signal here at home even though none of my neighbors have wireless internet. From what it looks like the antennae on this laptop is so sensative that it is actually picking up a resonance frequency from within our wired router and able to use it as a connection.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Tuesday, August 14, 2007
0232 Zulu

Not many days left. We have our movement order now, although I still cannot disclose when we will be leaving. Somehow knowing exactly when we are leaving makes it more real. It was real enough to begin with, but now it seems impending. There is a very small part of me that is looking forward to going. It feels good to be defending my country in a way so many only talk about doing, there is a sense of duty here that is hard to describe. I am honored to be going, it means I have reached a certain level of standard that is considered to be acceptable by the United States Army. Additionally I know that the sooner we leave, the sooner we can talk about coming home, even thought that understandably is only a small comfort. On a deeper level the area of Iraq that I will be seeing is not to far from where the Euphrates and Tigris rivers come together, areas that many feel are close to if not the exact area where the Garden of Eden once was. So in that sense it is almost exciting to go, to be so close to lands that are talked about in the Bible, to be able to walk and see some of the same places that maybe Jesus was himself.
The atmosphere around the company and home has been quite somber. No matter how much or little we do now, no one can get their mind off of the fact that very soon we will be boarding a plane that is destined to take us nearly 3000 miles from our loved ones. Somehow I think the kids can tell. These past weeks home have been a blessing. I still do not know how to put into words that little Matty will be able to understand. He may just be the sweetest, smartest little two year old I have ever had the pleasure of meeting and I have no idea how to tell him that very soon his father will be leaving for nearly the length of time he is old. I know only God can bring him the peace I pray for him, for all of us. Christopher and Emma say they understand but I am sure they still do not fully realize what it is I am saying. How do you describe to someone three or four years old that their daddy is leaving for nearly a year and a half. I cannot even fathom what that is going to be like for me and I have 27 years of age and experience to draw on, yet nothing I have been through seems that it can prepare me for what I am going through now.

I know that all things are made possible through Christ Jesus, these are his own words. I know that if I am meant to return home to my family that I will. Further I know we are not supposed to ask why, that the Lord has a plan, and it is good and perfect. Yet knowing all of this does not alleviate the aching in my heart even now as I look to the coming days and months. I think it is part of what makes us human. Something about our nature. If this is true then it must also be good, for God would not have built it into us were it not meant to be there.

Tomorrow we are going through a gas chamber, primarily to make sure our masks work but also because, from what I understand, it is regularly required by the Army. It is practically the only thing we are doing this week, I'm not even sure we are doing PT anymore. Under more ordinary circumstances this would be more than welcomed, but I'd gladly do PT if it meant staying home, as I think many of us would.

I guess in closing I will just say to all following along, know that I will be fine. The Lord has put me in the hands of good leadership and given me the knowledge I need to do my job and return safely. At this point I can only pray that those I am leaving behind will be as well off without me home. Until I write again, know that you are in my prayers, and please keep me in yours.

God Bless.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Getting ready...

Diana and I went to Best Buy yesturday. They were running a good sale on laptops and since I will have internet access from the "big sandbox" we felt having a good laptop for me to use would be important. It's a nice machine but already I need to exchange it. It seems a batch went out with bad sound cards and almost no sound comes out of the laptop, which makes the internal DVD player almost completely useless. Best Buy says they are getting more either Thurs. or Sat. and that I am welcome to one of those. I already had to play games with them to get this one as priced, see they had pre-installed some anti-virus software and such on it and were trying to charge $150 more than priced. I said I didn't need the software and didn't have time to wait for more laptops to come in, the sales associate spoke with the manager and they dropped the price. Personnally I find it preposterous that they expect you to buy something without even the courtesy to ask. I can understand if they wanted to make that an option, but forcing on their customers seems a but over the top. Anyway, it's a great little machine that should let me continue this blog and even send video home when I can.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


Never can Einstien's theory of relativety be more clearly demonstrated than at times like these. It seemed like ages waiting for the visit from my parents, then just as quickly as they arrived, they left. I'm left with an add void. It's as if there is so much I wanted to say or do and almost like nothing at all happened. The time since Saturday morning has been some of the best days I've spent here in El Paso and now it's gone. I escorted them to their plane, even as far as the gate, then got in my car to watch their plane fly overhead. Unfortunately, as it often does, the wind changed directions and their plane took off away from me; I never even got to see it leave. I know no matter how far away I get the wonder of the internet will keep us together. I will even have access while deployed and am hoping to be able to use a web cam to stay in touch. Somehow, somehow it's just not the same. I'm so glad they got to come down for a visit, I so wish I could see all my family and friends one last time before I leave, it just wasn't ment to be this time. I know if/when I deploy again I am going to plan ahead enough to make sure we can afford to go home for a visit. It's just too bad I didn't have what we needed to go this time.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Alot of Nothing

It was another fairly uneventful day. We did PT in the morning as per the norm and were instructed to return at 0900 for work call, also normal. When we came back at 0900 we realized that there wasn't any work to do. Instead of stand around until lunch, like we usually do, we were released until 1250 at just 0930. At 1250 we had to be at the Sergeant's Major accademy for another pre-deployment briefing. It was with the Chaplian for out Brigade and was probably even important except that the Lt. Col. had a voice that would make Ben Stien jealous and I promptly went to sleep, going in and out of sleep but not really hearing anything. I'm hoping tomorrow will be a nice easy day, again we don't have any work to do and Saturday starts our block leave time so it would be nice if they gave us a break.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

It's been a while again, lol.

I really must work harder to keep this up to date. I got a new computer and I'm making myself home on it before I leave. It was free so don't freak out, a former roommate of mine bought a system for parts. He said he had what he wanted out of it and offered me the rest. From the looks of it he only took the monitor and DVD burner, which is fine with me. It's an AMD Live 64 4200+ 2.2Ghz system with 512mb of RAM, a 320 gig hard drive, a 9 way memory card reader, 6 channel sound and on board nVidia graphics. The RAM and graphics could stand to be upgraded and once I sell my old system off I'll likely upgrade this one. So far I am very pleased though, my old system was getting, well old, and had managed to pickup some sort of bug. I could never find it despite running McAfee Enterprise edition virus scanning plus a host of anti-spam programs but now I get a clean start. I'll connect my old hard drive to this one and slowly begin to move files over I care about, as long as it can read it that is, otherwise I'll do it on CD-ROM's. That's pretty much all the news, I had another round of pre-deployment tests and shots today. Lucky for me I only needed one shot, too bad it was the second anthrax shot, those things hurt. As it stands now though I'm all set to go. I'll keep everyone as posted as OPSEC (operational security) allows, there is only a limited amount I am allowed to say.

Until next time, God bless.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

4th of July Car Wash.

A friend and I did some car work today. I helped him wire his Dixieland horns up to his truck (a.k.a. the Duke's of Hazzard horn) and he brought over a power buffer and some Meguire's car polish. I'm gonna let photos speak for themselves on this one, I didn't know a 23 year old car could look this good.

Note: This was supossed to be Wednesday's post but Photobucket was taking a LONG time uploading my photos.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

A little car tech talk

Still the usual nothing going on today. We worked until lunch and then took the day off, I slept most of the afternoon. So some playing with the VW was again the highlight of the day.

A brief background. I am no longer running on the original motor for my car. I instead have the motor from a '91 GTI 8v. The GTI motor runs high compression, 10:1 compression, and that requires premium fuel. Back in Michigan most stations stocked 92 and Shell was even nice enough to carry 93. The higher the octane number the more resistant the fuel is to combustion, the higher compression the motor the more prone it is to combusting the fuel before the spark plug fires, a VERY bad thing. So the higher the octane fuel the better up to the point where detonation is no longer occuring. Down here in TX premium fuel is 91 octane. Another factor to detonation is air temp. Warmer fuel burns with less compression. In english what this means is the warmer Texas air combined with the lower octane Texas fuel has ment my motor is running at less than optimal power output.

I went out in search of a good octane booster today, actually I was at Wal*Mart already and decided to check out their selection. Found some stuff by STP that boasted "the highest amount of MMT" and "barely street legal". None of that really means anything to me so I grabbed the product from Prestone. Their label says each bottle when added to a full tank of gas will increase you octane number one point. So starting at 91 octane one bottle would take me to 92 octane and so on. The icing on the cake letting me know this was a good choice was that it required photo ID to purchase. Of course I did not have a full tank of gas and had no intention of paying just to get to where premium gas is in Michigan. I had just less than a half of a tank of fuel and bought two bottles. I don't know how high a grade octane my motor will benifit from but I have run 94 through it before and felt an improvement over 92 so I was eager to try this out. By the time I pulled out of the parking lot I could feel a difference. I'm not sure how much faster it makes the car but the need to downshift to accelerate on the highway was diminished and that's good real world results.

Odds are good if you keep reading this blog you're likely to learn alot more about the internal combustion engine, it's just kinda what I do.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007


Not much to post today, mostly because nothing really happened today. In fact I think the highlight was when my car blew the upper radiator hose. Lucky for me it was just a pinhole leak and I was able to get home and borrow my wife's Audi to get a replacement hose. Honestly other than that it's been uneventful. Tomorrow is another normal work day but then we get Wednesday off for the holliday. Thursday we have to come in for saftey briefings before the extended weekend and then we have Friday off as well. I have big plans to do as little as possible, if all goes well I won't be let down.

Monday, July 2, 2007

It's official

First I know it's been a bit since my last blog. This was supossed to be a diary of sorts so that the reader could get an understanding of what military life is like. Of course military life is busy and there is only so much I'm allowed to post on the internet, so my posts have been few.

There is some news though, I got my paper orders for deployement -- I can't say to where, not on here -- and have already begun to pack. Friday I go in for a Barium swallow? Some sort of test for GERD (Gastro-Esophogial Reflux Desease). What with the stress of pre-deployment training a few weeks ago, packing this weekend and getting the cars up to Texas state saftey standards I plan on overloading that poor little machine. The Audi is finally all up to par and has it's DOD stickers so it won't need anything more for at least a year. Good thing too 'cuz I can't pick up my parents in my car when they arrive in a month, I only have a 2 seater.

I finally got to actually drive a HETs (Heavy Equipment Transporter System). Got 250 miles of bobtail miles, bobtail means without a trailer, and all but 18 system miles I need for my license. It's getting annoying not having it too 'cuz right now they won't even let me drive a Humvee without having a licensed driver with me. Oh right silly me most people don't know what a HETs looks like. Ok I'll try to put it to scale with words, I still haven't gotten a good photo that makes it look as large as it is. A common flatbed semi can hold 30 or 40 tons, which is alot of weight. A HETs has a cargo capacity of 70+ tons. The trailer has 40 tires and can steer, even if you've driven commercial truck before, you have to learn how to drive all over again with these trucks.

My little VW is comming along nicely too. I've got all the electrical gremlins tamed from the engine swap I did almost a year ago, I know not lightning fast speed or anything but it's done. Now I just need to replace the e-brake cables and uncobble some wiring for the reverse lights that got caught on one of the half-shafts so I can get my DOD stickers. The temps have gotten steadily warmer and there have been nights where at 9:45pm it's still 92 degrees. Cars don't like warm air, they reward it with slugish acceleration and sometimes poorer economy. I swapped a motor into this car for a better seat of the pants feeling when I planted my right foot so the warm air is upsetting me. I have a plan, not a great one, but I'm designing an air intake cooler. It'll be rough because my resources are limited but as long as it works I don't care.

Stay tuned I'll try to post more regularly.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Now I know why they call it "Hell Paso"

What a fun day. It's hard for more wrong to get squeezed into one day. I've been battling acid reflux for a few years now, a fairly bad case at that. Every so often I loose the ability to swallow, conveniently enough AFTER taking a bite of food. Today was one of those days. Like the times before I wait to see if it works itself out and then goto the bathroom to take care of it myself (I'll spare the messy details). I've been on Zantac (minimal results) and something called Acifex that they wanted me to take an hour before eating. Being in the Army though, I never know when my next meal is going to be, I just know there will be 3 in a day. So now they've got me on Prilosec OTC and Maalox but they want to do some sort of test to see if there is a virus living in my stomach acid causing this perpetual acid reflux (a.k.a. GERD). They couldn't do the test at the ER, I have to schedule it with my regular care provider, too bad no one in my unit seems to know who that is. Lucky me.

After the hospital I went to Autozone to pickup the parts I ordered yesterday, they had called to say they were in. When I got there it turns out they ordered some of the parts wrong and can't get the right ones until Friday. I told them to just refund the price of the wrong parts, no point in ordering the right ones at this point, I won't have my car on Friday anyway. It seems that both the Audi and the VW are destined to spend the weekend locked in the motor pool. So lets see if I've got this right, they are doing checks to make sure that I won't get into an accident with the vehicles I'm registered to drive yet they made the 1700 mile trip here almost without incident. How do they plan on my family getting out this weekend should there be a problem with one of the kids? I hope my NCO and Squad Leaders have 3 child seats in their vehicles because if we get stuck here and can't get out because one car doesn't have a working emergency brake and brights and the other needs an emergency brake, windshield, and reverse lights I'm going to be very difficult to deal with. Whatever happens come Tuesday I'm going to be plenty grumpy. Did I mention my acid reflux is stress triggered? Imagine how I feel right now. Sometimes I love the Army, others....

For now I'm going to end this rant. I'll post more later when my head clears a bit.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

4 day weekends -- a blessing or a curse

So the Army gives 4 day weekends for all federal holidays. Seems nice right? Turns out in order to enjoy your four day weekend all POV's (Personally Owned Vehicles) have to be inspected for saftey. All vehicles that the service member is registered to drive have to have lights, emergency brake, spare tire, license, registration, etc. checked to make sure we aren't going to get ourselves in trouble over the long weekend. For us, this includes both my car and my wife's Audi. Now, if a vehicle fails, my CO (commanding officer) will lock the vehicle in the motorpool and take the keys away until after the weekend. The fun began right away today, see Michigan doesn't really check ANYTHING on a car. All you have to do is show ownership to register it. Too easy. In the Army life is not so easy. My VW Scirocco got checked first. On the list of things I have to have fixed by THURSDAY!!! are a cracked windshield, a burnt out front turn signal, an inoperable emergency brake, and a reverse light sending unit that doesn't work anymore. Let's just pause right there to clarify the gravity of those repairs. Parts for 1984 VW Scirocco's don't just grow on trees. Back home, no problem, I had half a dozen people I could call and get what I needed. Here in El Paso, not so much. The cables and the switch for the reverse lights have to be ordered. Autozone tells me they can have them for me tomorrow around 2ish. Let's hope they come through. The worst part is the windshield. The prices down here are nice but they need 2 weeks just to get the glass in stock. So, I'm hoping that if I just get a work order for the glass they'll forgive the glass.

On to the Audi. 2 seemingly little problems here, the emergency brake handle won't lift and the brights don't work. This time Autozone can't even order the cables, gotta make some more calls. Turns out 1993 was a split model year for the 100s. Diana is making the calls for me and I have the car. Now a day is waisted, won't get the cables until sometime Thursday, this one is going to be close. I decide to tackle the brights after work, it should be simple. The fuses aren't blown and a quick check of one of the lights finds a burnt out fillament. To Autozone!!! $38 later I install a pair of Silvania's SilverStar headlights. I've used these before and the light they put out is stunning. Unfortunately this is NOT the problem. The low beams do look fantastic but nothing from the brights. Now I'll have to dig deeping into the electronics of a car I know nothing about. Doing so this past weekend nearly deadlined the vehicle, I pulled the wrong fuse and limited the car to just 2nd gear when Drive was selected. Not fun, situation corrected, nevertheless I'm leering of poking about where I don't belong. Anyone out there awesome with Audi's and just happens to be in the El Paso area (why oh why would you be here) I'd love the help. I'll get it if I'm supposed to, I just like to be more sure of what I'm doing.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

May 21, 2007 -- A history lesson

Hello friends and family, welcome to my blog. For those who do not know me well yet, this post is intended to give a little history about me and my family.

I am 27 now, as of May 17th, and the father of three and sole provider for our household. Due to a crashing economy and no real marketable skills, I joined the Army in search of reliable income. Now don't get it twisted, it's not like John Kerry would have you think, "those who are smart goto college, the rest join the Army." The Army has something called the ASVAB, I can't remember what that stands for right now but it's a set of apptitute tests. The english and technical section gets a score of its own known as the GT score. The top score is a 135 or 140, I scored a 130. Overall on the ASVAB I scored a 90 out of 100, so no, I didn't join because I wasn't smart enough to do anything else, it's that there wasn't anything else.

I signed up 01 Nov, 2006 and since then I've finished 9 weeks of basic training at lovely Ft. Sill, OK (scarcasm doesn't type well so to clarify, if I never have to go back to Oklahoma it'll be too soon). From there I was sent to Ft. Bliss, TX located adjunct to El Paso in the area where Texas, New Mexico and Mexico all come together. Ft. Bliss is where I did my AIT or, Advanced Individual Training for 88M10, Motor Transport Operator. Lucky me, my first duty station also turned out to be Ft. Bliss, TX. After a month with my first unit, the 377th Transportation Company, I was given time to get my family down here to on post housing. It was a 4 day trip involving 2 cars, 2 adults, 3 kids, a cat and a partridge in a pear tree. We made it without any casualties. Even my 1984 Volkswagen Scirocco survived against all odds. We are almost finished settling in, our household goods showed up just last week, hopefully when I figure out how we'll get some sort of live web cam setup so all you can peek in and see how we are doing.

Until the next update, and there will be plenty, take care all, and God Bless.

PV2, Pahman, Jesse C.
Ft. Bliss, TX