March 24, 2008
Posting date: 3/24/08
Stationed in: Camp Taji, Iraq
Hometown: Quinton, VA
I would have to say that Iraq is the dirtiest place I have ever seen, or hope to see. When one thinks about the Middle East it is sand that comes to mind, not dirt. But oh boy, do we have dirt. Dirt on the ground, dirt on every single object, indoors and out, and the bane of my existence as a helicopter pilot, dirt in the air! Kuwait has its dust storms, and Iraq even has dust storms, evil conflagrations of Kool Aid-orange whirling dust. But here in the northern outskirts of Baghdad, we live in a world of suspended dirt; walls of dirt that reduce visibility to a half mile or less for days at a time and ground our aircraft. One has to wonder what the long term health effects might be of breathing in all this dirt.
And when the rains come here at Taji, we get mud. Mud like you've never seen before. The powdery dirt on the ground becomes a glutinous, slippery mass that covers everything, as far as the eye can see. It takes days to dry, and makes everyone a few inches taller and a few pounds heavier as they walk around.
When I go back to the land of grass and trees, I won't miss the dirt.