I realize you probably get a lot of bullshit mail from quite a few jagoffs but I'd like to express my appreciation of your sites most especially the LBEH project. I myself didn't join up for any free rides and make an effort to turn down any handouts but I have a few friends that wouldn't have seen their families over the holidays in years past if it hadn't been for you. Thank you.
A little background on myself/my unit: I'm a 240B gunner/SAW gunner/ rifleman/ RTO/ alternate driver/ alternate Vehicle Commander in 2-1 Infantry Battailion 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team. We're a bit shorthanded lately hence my multiple duties. I sent in a video of us being drunken retards the night before we deployed riding bikes down stairs and stuff sometime in july/august timeframe and haven't really been online that much since then...something about 3rd world technology and satelites...bah I'm infantry they don't pay me to think.
Anyway as I said we're deployed right now in Mosul Iraq which is way up north on the Tigris. Since we've been here things have improved incredibly. Albeit we do have a ton of homosexual rules that have just now been implemented like we have bright-ass spinning yellow lights we have to have on our strykers at all times we can't cross over medians we can't drive on the left side of the road we can't give warning shots to vehicles that get too close to our strykers we can't load our belt-fed weapons (SAW 240 .50 cal ect...) unless we're in contact we're no longer allowed to search a house unless we have enough proof to convince our chain of command and our patrol speed was capped off at 35mph for a while. From a lower-enlisted point of view all those rules are just a load of bullshit that makes us feel like we can't do our jobs...kinda like telling a cop to do his job with a nerf gun. However when you look at the bigger picture all those rules are signifying that we're getting ready to turn the whole city over to the iraqi security forces before our unit redeploys to alaska sometime in august. I'm in awe of how quickly the Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police have stepped up and started shouldering the jobs we did when we first got here.
I read in the news earlier that Iraq is on the verge of civil war. I took a gander around the past few days of patrols...coulda fooled me. Is this civil war like one of them silent auctions? There ain't shit going on other than the normal drive around get shot at or blown up chase some ghosts for a while drive around some more routine. Maybe Mosul didn't get the message. Actually I think it's the news going for the big story again. I had the misfortune of being on leave during our unit's largest contact back in november. We had cornered some bad guys and moved in on them and they actually decided to fight back. So I see the news ticker that day on the other side of the planet...it says that 12 guys from my unit were killed and 20-something were seriously wounded. That's the last goddamn thing you want to hear when you're supposed to be relaxing at home enjoying your time off. So I flipped the fuck out.
See after a major incident our unit goes into a "commo blackout" until the WIA or KIA's family has been notified of what happened. No phonecalls or internet access. I was worried sick literally about my guys back here for 2 days until I finally got ahold of one of my buddies on an instant messenger who couldn't say much other than we had 1 KIA and 12 guys were hurt enough to go home he gave me the KIAs name and told me that the WIA wasn't anyone in our platoon.
I talk to my parents all the time and almost every time they have some insane idea put in their head by some guy with a 6 digit income and a double digit IQ about what's going on over here and how we should be doing things different. It's to the point now that the phrase "I was watching on the news..." is a conversation stopper. It pisses me off to no extent to know that my family is being scared shitless for my saftey for a fucking ratings score.
You have a good fanbase of veterans and current deployees you can use to get the facts straight on the major issues. Well I dunno about facts but you'll definately see the shit that's not made up for a paycheck. I'm off the FOB more than I'm on it and I get to speak with a lot of local nationals in person....well through a terp anyway. 99% of this city trusts us and is more than happy to help us out...and I gotta say I'm going to miss the chai tea when I leave...they just don't make shit like that in the states.
Anyway I can go on for hours and hours about this place and I have plenty-o-pics of the stuff we've done over here but I'll save your time. Once again thanks for all you do for our guys and keep up the good work it's greatly appreciated.
I keep up a blog if you're interested on reading up on my thoughts...it's mostly stereotypical 20-year old cockstrong infantry blather about this is bullshit and that's fucked but I try to keep it as subjective as possible. The downside is that it's on myspace (i know...) but the URL is http://blog.myspace.com/theultra4sshole
Have a good one.