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.

HOW ARE THINGS OVER THERE? |

August 20, 2009

HOW ARE THINGS OVER THERE?
Name: SGT B.
Posting date: 8/20/09
Returned from: Iraq
Hometown: Rockford, WA
Milblog: The Gun Line 
Email: hvygunner@gmail.com

I’m going to say it up front. I was a fobbit.

I was one of the Command Post guys. I had a set schedule, I didn’t go out on missions. I stayed behind when my guys went out and I manned the various communication systems that monitored them. I watched them roll, and waved to them as they headed out of the motor pool on their way to the Entry Control Point (ECP).

And I worried about them. I prayed every time they went out that when I came back on shift the next day, that there wouldn’t be anything other than the list of required checkpoints and the annotation that “BC13 RP JBB 0200 23/6, 34/33.”

Most of the times that was true, and even when there was a “significant” event, all my guys made it back inside the wire, a fact for which I praise God, the small unit leaders that motivated the men, and the men themselves.

Not bad for a bunch of “weekend warriors”, I’m thinking.

How was life over there?  Not really that bad, actually.

That isn’t to say it was a lark, or a walk in the park, but everybody stepped up to the plate and did their jobs with a minimum of angst or drama. We came to play ball, and we brought our game faces on.

I could complain about a great many things. I could gripe about the institutional food. I could bitch about the months on end where there were no days off. Sure, there were personality clashes, and there were the usual dysfunctional disconnects that you find in any unit that isn’t used to the ways of an Active duty unit, but, all in all, those memories fade as each day passes, and I prefer to concentrate on what I have seen in the “big” picture.

I saw every indication that it is getting close to the time for us to hand Iraq fully back over to the Iraqis. The “insurgents” are treated as criminals, and every day another force of Iraqis steps up to the plate to replace a CF unit walking the streets of the major towns.  I can’t tell you that they will be entirely successful, but I can say that I think that we are seeing the end of this, and it’s on a good note. America can be proud of what we have done here. I may not agree with all of the decisions made during the course, but, all in all, we have done good things, and I am proud to have been a part of it.

So, I did have an easy time of it, when my deployment experience is compared to that of many others. (I’m an old fart, my best work was done in support of the actual warfighters anyway...)

The real conflict was actually taking face in my own head, and in my life on the domestic side of the pond, and that is where the story of "Sergeant B" is found.

More later, as it settles in my brain housing group...

Comments

Very good info !

Appreciate the post and its good to hear things aren't as bad as they could be. It is also comforting to know that the war is settling down somewhat. Regardless of whether or not you were on the front, you still served our country. Much appreciated.

As I really don't know anyone personally involved in Iraq, it's good to know from someone that all the stories in the media are not true. While people like me are not disillusioned to the fact that it is rough in the Middle East, it is nice to hear encouragement--that things are getting better--from someone who knows. Thank you for serving for our country.

No matter what the job, it is still much appreciated, your service to our country. Every little bit is a huge help to us back home.

When this all first started my parents keep what was going on kind of hidden from me and my sisters but the more I heard about things at school and the more that everything was in the media I wanted to know what was really going on. It is nice to know that things are not as bad as it seems at times. And that progress is being made even if it is taking more time than was thought it would. Its cool that there is an end in sight and that everyone will be able to come home soon.

I hope you all come home safe. Thank you for serving this great country. Take care.

Its really refreshing to see another perspective on the mission in Iraq. It is good for the public to know that things are not as bad as the media may portray in some situations.Hopefully we will soon see that there is an end in sight, that with progress being made, all of our service personnel will be able to come home soon.

Stories like yours, though few and far between from what I've seen, are certainly comforting. Your service needn't be dangerous to be valuable and appreciated. Thanks.

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