The Sandbox

GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire

Welcome to The Sandbox, a forum for service members who have served or are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned vets, spouses and caregivers. The Sandbox's focus is not on policy and partisanship (go to our Blowback page for that), but on the unclassified details of deployment -- the everyday, the extraordinary, the wonderful, the messed-up, the absurd. All correspondence is read, and as much as possible is posted, lightly edited. If you know someone who is deployed who might have something to say, please tell them about us. To submit a post click here.


December 08, 2008

Name: Simon H.
Posting date: 12/8/08
Stationed in: Iraq
Milblog: Army Poet 

It is my birthday today. Cold snap here. Damp and cool. Sky is grey like steel, although a little while ago a gleam of pale sun -- faint yellow like a boiled egg -- popped through the clouds. I am stuck in the north of Iraq after a short mission, and am awaiting transportation. The wind and damp air are gently blowing. A few puddles reflect the sky, which is similar in color to the gravel-strewn earth.

It is a bit run down and despondent here, as at a lot of the camps. Old Iraqi military buildings are adorned with faded murals and Arabic writing. But the run-down and shabby feel of the place suits my mood today.

I will lift my spirits with a coffee from the DFAC, although I am not really "down". I am travelling with Iraqi-American translators. They speak Arabic amongst themselves and with the other translators. I am responsible for their safety, and perhaps they resent the overwatch. I am removed from their language and conversations. Today I felt detached from them, as well as from the fellow soldiers around me. Not lonely, just more alone.

I am thinking of a girl.

I can't remember last year's birthday. I won't forget this one. It started with a morning flight in a helicopter. I thought, "My God, what an honor, what a privilege it is to serve on this day, away from home!"

My love for my country keeps me warm.

Framed POET helicopter

There is nothing like flying in a helicopter. Here is the rear gunner's view. On a clear day you can see off into the haze of the distance and wonder what you are doing here.


I wish you well, and a belated Happy Birthday! I hope the girl was thinking of you..

Dude Simon H,

Belated Happy Birthday to

Thank you for your devotion
to your job in the military,
and serving our nation.

I never supported the Irag
campaign, but support our

Think you will be home
sooner, with the new
Obama administration.

Wishing you some cheer
and comfort, with good
food, this Holiday

Dude Gregory,

San Diego, Ca.

P.S. Glad you Army Dudes
have those awesome Black
Hawk helos, unlike your
Marine brothers who are
in Chinooks, if they
haven't gotten newer

I wish you well and a belated Happy Birthday. I was in Bagram for my birthday last year.

You sound like Admiral Nelson. His zeal for King and country was enough to overcome thermal challenges.

Good Luck

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