SECOND TIME AROUND |
June 28, 2007
SECOND TIME AROUND
Posting date: 6/28/07
Stationed in: LSA* Anaconda, Iraq
Hometown: Quinton, VA
Three weeks down, only sixty-one to go! I was here before, in 2004-2005 for OIF II, and in the first few weeks of this deployment two things strike me:
1. Iraq in 2004 still had a "Wild West" sort of feel to it -- temporary buildings, very sporadic communications, few creature comforts, not a lot of institutional "garrison" rules. Now, three years on, the machine that is the U.S. military has consumed one and all within massive facilities and massive support infrastructure. In spite of the move to embrace counterinsurgency warfare and put combat forces into neighborhoods, the big bases continue to get bigger and more comfortable.
I had a friend recently call LSA Anaconda "Poguedishu", and he was right in a sense, but I'm not complaining. If an infantryman who kicks in doors seven days a week for fifteen months can go have a cappucino or an ice cream cone and buy something at the PX, good for him. When the first Burger King arrived at then-FOB Speicher in 2004, it offended my sensibilities, but no longer. It's the least we can do. As long as they can continue to hire drivers to truck the stuff in, go for it.
2. The entire AO* is much, much, much more dangerous! I knew that from watching the news, but now that I'm here again the reality hits home. Balad always received mortar and rocket fire, but now it's a constant rain of projectiles. One of the helicopter battalions received multiple mortar rounds in its central area the other day, with five wounded and multiple vehicles damaged. It was a miracle no one was killed. At Speicher in late 2004, we went weeks at a time without indirect fire. I'm afraid that this simple fact argues against optimism for the outcome.
LSA: Logisitics Support Area
AO: Area of Operations