The Story of an American Soldier in Iraq

Life as a soldier in Baghdad, Iraq is definitely interesting and full of life changing experiences, like... being shot at and blown up! Yee haw, what fun eh?

Actually, it has its ups and downs, and as a journalist in the US Army (assigned to CJTF-7 Public Affairs) I've had the chance to see many things that others have only heard of through the news themselves - I hope you'll enjoy them too, through my eyes. ; )

Friday, July 25, 2003

April 11, 2003

Hello everyone!

It's been a few days so I figured I better write again. :)

At last report, we were supposed to be heading forward (again) but thisn morning we heard that plans have changed (again). Now we are again unsure when we'll actually move - rumors say anywhere from 1 week to a month, with 2 weeks looking like the most likely.

Anyhoo - not much too new. The pain in my hand and arm was diagnosed as carpal tonal (don't know how it's spelled...) and my hand is all wrapped up in a make-shift brace (that's already driving me up the was 'cause it tightens up on its own...). Hopefully the pain will subside, but until I can take it off please forgive any typos!
As nothing much is new, I figure I'll tell y'all about some of my fellow PAO soldiers ;) I've sent pics of most of them too!

First and foremost in my life here is Sgt. Amy Abbott. We went to basic and AIT together and met back up when I we were both assigned to Heidelberg. She's a wonderful girl - honest, trustworthy and wonderfully frank (telling it like it is). She's also about the best darned sgt I've ever had, as she will stand up to anyone who's threatening her soldiers and is dedicated to taking care of us too. She's from Alabama and Florida (moved back and forth) and has two brothers - ages 6 and 17 I think - that she absolutely adores.

In the photo with Sgt. Abbott is Sgt. Major McSpadden, our boss here and back in Heidelberg. He comes across as a big grump most of the time, but is actually very concerned for all of us (like your classic quiet, tough guy). Me and Abbott get in a lot of arguments with him though, cause we're all horribly bull-headed and stubborn ;) He's running day-to-day operations here and keeping order - kinda like a PAO mayor ;)

Another one of my favorite people (unfortunetly, no pic of her yet, but soon!) is Spc. nicci Trent. She's with then 319th Mobile Pubilc Affairs Detatchment (Army Reserves) from south Carolina. Back in the US, she's a psychology student working towards her masters. Here, she's exactly what I would imagine Ramona Quimby (from the Beverly Cleary stories) would be like once she grew up. Short and skinny, with blond hair and glasses, she can always make me laugh. Even when she says she's 'grumpy' I think she's about the cheeriest one here. Back at home she's got a very devoted fiance (they call each other EVERY night - a HUGE task here!) and two doggies that she dotes on hand and foot :)

Spc's Jennifer Nelson, Jenny Parsons and Christine Andreu are the rest of the girls.

Nelson is the daughter of a reverend and an 8th grade school teacher, which goes perfectly with her sweet personality. She's a real sweety who is always willing to give a hand, and some of her 'classic country' sayings with a slight southern twang make me giggle in and of themselves. :) Though I hate to say it (as she's only 28 now) I could TOTALLY see her being a classic 'mammy' figure from one of those old movies about southern bells once she gets older ;)

Parsons,is also a college student. A tall red head with green eyes, she reminds me (for some reason) of a classic country girl in a checkered shirt, braids and cut-off shorts. She does photography for weddings and such in her spare time back at home, but hasn't really spoken much of any family. She's a sweet, caring girl (usually the first to think of anyone who is ill). She comes across easily as being a little slow, but I'm still not sure if that's true or if it's just cause she's fairly quiet most of the time.

Andreu (photo called "chocolate") is from Puerto Rico and has a classic fiery latino attitude, being very supportive of good ideas, and very vocal about bad ones (but still VERY sweet and respectful to everyone!). She tends to stand out as the 'leader' of the 319th lower enlisted - not bossy, but not afraid to keep things how they should be either. She has a large adoring family back in Puerto Rico and a fiance in S.C. who's every word she dotes on. She makes me giggle a lot, not always purposefully - sometimes just 'cause she comes across as "cute" so often ;)

All the 319th girls come to me and Abbott for help on a lot of things, and it's making me feel a lot mre comfortable about the idea of becoming a sgt (maybe even while we're out here!). I get to be the 'leader' in a lot of situations here, when oftenI get stuck in the background among active army people (especially if they're really outgoing).

Besides photos of the girls, I've thrown in one of Sgt. Slaughter and SFC "kangaroo"Jansens. I've already written about sgt Jsnsons in one of my other letters home (if it ever got there in the mail anyways). Sgt. Slaughter is the only other person who can drive my 5-ton so he's my co-driver for most missions. Today's he's pretty grumpy (slept badly I guess) but usually he's a real joker. He's the kind of guy who is really quiet until he knows you and then gets out going. I was shooting photos of everyone out checking over their vehicles and he was cleaning out an air filter with my 5-ton's air hose. When he saw me taking his photo he 'posed' - what a goof eh? ;) He gets a lot of 'fan mail' from back home - his wife I believe, but hasn't gotten any packages yet (he blames it one me as the mail clerk - teasingly of course).

There are a bunch of others too, but I don't them quite as well yet, so maybe I'l talk about them some other day :)

Anyhoo, not much else to say, just wanted to shoot off a few pics. The last few are of me doing my laundry(fun, fun) and of the "nose art" girl I painted on my truck - she was almost done when an officer saw it and made me paint over it again :( Looked great though! The SGM thought it was a great idea, but our Colonel didn't agree. You can still see her sillouette there though, so I feel a little better.

So, I guess I'll sign off for tonight. Without us hitting the road after all, y'all can breathe a little easier I guess, but truthfully - things are starting to get a little boring here! Oh well, just start praying it stays cool too!! ;)

Love and miss you all SOOOO much!!!


PS - Mom - please, please send me one of those wrist brace things for carpal tonal as quick as you can! Envelopes seem to get here pretty quick and this will probably keep bothering me :( It's my right hand too!! Thanks ;) Love, Becky.

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