Saturday, January 31, 2009

Day 62: Disney Drive

Disney Drive is the road (or sidewalk for pedestrians) that takes you everywhere you need to go around here.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Day 61: Chuck Norris...

Chuck Norris jokes are everywhere around here. I'll be sure to capture all the ones I find. This one is clearly telling us that Chuck does not approve of littering. :-)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Day 60: Barriers

Barriers, barriers, and more barriers.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Day 59: Running Shoes

Walking on rocks all the time has really torn my shoes up. They don't have my size at the little PX store, so I'm forced to order them online now. I hate not being able to try them on first. I'm the same way with jeans. I have to put them on before I buy them.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Day 58: Spaghettio's

I haven't had Spaghettio's in FOREVER! I was so excited to see this in a care package that I just couldn't wait to eat it. One problem... I don't have a can opener!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Day 57: Big Truck

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Day 56: Bus Stop

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Day 55: Little Green Cone

I just thought this cone was cute, and I wanted to share this totally random little thing I just read because it made me really laugh out loud: "You are on the bus when you suddenly realize you need to fart. The music is really loud, so you time your farts with the beat. After a couple of songs you start to feel better as you approach your stop. As you are leaving the bus, people are really staring you down, and that's when you remember: you've been listening to your iPod."

Friday, January 23, 2009

Day 54: Ground Guide

Have you noticed that I like to take pictures of signs?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Day 53: Up-Armored

You can see the new barracks we're supposed to move into in the background. Indoor plumbing!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Day 52: Keep Out

I wish I could just have a regular ol' doorknob!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Day 51: Combat Patch

The intent behind the wear of the combat patch, also known as shoulder sleeve insignia, is to recognize Soldiers' participation in combat operations. Once Soldiers report to their first units, they wear their command's patch on their left sleeve. When deployed to a designated combat zone, Soldiers may also wear the patch of the unit for which they serve with on their right sleeve. Here's some history of the combat patch that I aquired from Wikipedia: The 81st Infantry Division "Wildcat" is generally agreed to have been first U.S. Army unit authorized an SSI. In 1918, during World War I, the 81st Division sailed for France after training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. On their left shoulder the men of the division wore an olive drab felt patch with the silhouette of a wildcat - after Wildcat Creek, a stream that flows through Fort Jackson. When men of the other fighting divisions challenged the right of 81st soldiers to wear the patch, General John J. Pershing ruled that the 81st could keep this distinctive insignia. He also suggested that other divisions adopt shoulder patches of their own. This patch was officially adopted by the U.S. Army on October 19, 1918. By World War II, all army groups, field armies, corps, and divisions, as well as all major Army commands, had unique SSI. These SSI would often be created with symbolism alluding to the unit's formation. Examples include the 82nd Airborne Division, which included an "AA" on its patch alluding to the "All-American" soldiers from every state that made it up, and the 29th Infantry Division, which included blue and grey to allude to soldiers that made it up being from states on both sides of the American Civil War. Most US formations had unique patches which varied greatly in size and makeup, with the exception of US Armored divisions, all of which adopted the same patch (a yellow, red and blue triangle with a symbol for Armor in the middle). Each division then included its number on the patch to denote it. A few of the divisions added their unit nickname onto the patches, but most did not. Subdued patches and insignia were introduced during the Vietnam War and were made mandatory for wear on the field uniform starting July 1, 1970. In the early 1980s, brigades began creating SSI. Today most separate brigades have their own SSI, but those brigades permanently attached to divisions do not. A handful of smaller units have SSI (including US Army Rangers and other special forces groups), but most units battalion level and smaller do not have SSI. I am assigned to the 101st Airborne Division, and now wear the Screaming Eagle combat patch!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Computer Crash

My computer crashed on me. This time the hard drive is a real gonner, so I ordered a new one. Mail takes forever to get here, but I should be back online in no time. I'm still taking tons of pictures all the time, so I'll be sure to catch up with my photo-a-day as well.

Day 50: Drink Up

At every corner you'll see slabs of water in little huts. I keep a stash in my room too. Most of us do.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Day 49: Connections

Now you can see why the internet is so crappy around here.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Day 48: Green Grass

This is the ONLY patch of grass that I've seen since I've been here.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Day 47: Construction

This is some construction tape that I saw around a new barracks building we're supposed to move into in the spring. They're working as fast as they can to build new stuff here all the time. It seems like there's construction going on every where you look.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Day 46: The Broom

This broom and dust pan sit in the hallway of our Bhut. It never fails that someone will trip over it in the middle of the night and wake everyone up.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Day 45: Delivery

You can order delivery from Pizza Hut which is open 24 hours. The only problem is we don't have phones in our B-huts...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Day 44: Dairy Queen

It's not the best ice cream since we can't get milk over here, and they only have Blizzards, smoothies, and sundaes with a limited variety of toppings. It's better than nothing though!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Day 103: Ketchup

It looks almost normal, doesn't it?

Day 43: Connexes

Connexes are the big containers we ship all of our stuff in. They're all over the place.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Day 42: Traffic

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Day 41: Obama Headlines

The news paper that I picked up in the chow hall today was quite interesting. You hear so much about Bush and Obama on civilian TV and in newspapers all over the place, but I've wondered for a while now how the Soldiers feel. I mean, he's our Commander in Chief, so this REALLY affects us. Here are a few of the tidbits I pulled from Army Times today: 1. The majority of Soldiers feel that Bush has our best interests at heart and NOT Obama. 2. Only 34% of those polled actually approve of Obama's calls to withdraw troops from Iraq in 16 months. 3. Only 12% of troops polled are opposed to increasing Afghanistan troops by more than 12,ooo. 4. Six out of ten active-duty service members say they are uncertain or pessimistic when asked how they feel about Obama as Commander in Chief. 5. African-Americans make up the majority of Army service members. I certainly wasn't expecting the outcome of these polls, but I honestly say I pretty much agree with most everything I read. I think a lot of Soldiers fear a CinC that has no war or military experience. Will he really be able to lead without ever being a follower? I hope so. No matter what, though, he'll be my boss in one week. I'll follow any order, and do it without blinking. That's just what we do. He's in my prayers just like everyone else back home.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Day 40: Hand Sanitizer

The biggest scare over here is getting sick from one of the many diseases that can be in the water or food or air all around us. We wash or sanitize our hands at least a dozen times a day here. They won't even let you into the chow hall without stopping by the hand washing station first. It's certainly not a bad thing, but my skin is so dry and cracked now.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Day 39: The Appeal

Mom sent me this book. I've never read any of this guy's stuff, but out here I'd probably read anything. I'm still on the first chapter, but I think I'll actually finish this one.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Day 38: Medical Training

As a medic, I constantly have to work on my skills with tough training!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Day 37: Icicles

After just two days of snow it's all slowly melting away. It was beautiful while it lasted, but we had so many slips and falls. Even I ended up doing the splits down the steps in front of the aid station. My hip is still a bit sore.
Oh, and since everyone is leaving such nice comments about my father, I thought I'd share this picture of us with you...

Monday, January 5, 2009

Day 36: Speed Limit

I took this picture in the parking lot over at the hospital when I went to get the second shot in the three part series of Gardasil. You can see the building in the "MILITARY HOSPITAL" sign on the building in the background. I normally give and recieve shots in the clinic that I work in, but we didn't have this one on stock. The military now offers it to all female Soldiers under the age of 25, so I'm just under the wire. I think it's amazing that we have a vaccination to prevent cancer. It's a pretty expensive vaccination (about $375 for the series), so I'm glad that I can get it for free. The benefits for this far exceed the risks, but after hearing all the side effects from any medication advertised on TV I can see why someone wouldn't ever want a pill or shot again. I mean I just heard one the other day that had a side effect of increased gambling. What? I just see some big casino owner in Vegas as the funder for the research and development of that medication. If you have any questions about it feel free to ask. I'm pretty well versed on immunizations since it's part of my job over here. I'm one of those nerds that reads all the package inserts and publications that come out on the CDC and FDA websites.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Day 35: Copics

I ordered some Copics a week or so ago, and they've finally made it here. I've already started sketching and doodling. My head is overflowing with ideas. I forgot to get a 6" ruler, some sketch paper and a gum eraser though. I'll just improvise until I can get my family to send the rest of my sketch materials.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Day 34: Snow Day

Well, it's here! The snow has been falling all over the place. It's really beautiful. It's not really sticking too much since it's a little too warm, but there's more in the forecast for tomorrow. I feel a snowman wearing a helmet and reflective belt coming on...

Friday, January 2, 2009

Day 33: Rocks

Rocks! It's pretty much the only surface we walk on here. My ankles are constantly rolling, and I've fallen down a million times already. I'm super clumsy even without the uneven surface.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Day 32: New Year

Hello, New Year! It sure doesn't seem like it's supposed to be 2009. I'll be turning the big 2-5 this year. It's weird to think about it. I had so many ideas on where my life would be at this point. I was supposed to be married with a kid, one on the way, a fabulous career, and a minivan in the garage. None of those plans involved me being all the way on the other side of the globe wearing combat boots and carrying a loaded rifle every day. The Army was never apart of my goals growing up. It didn't hit me unil I was in my last year of high school. I already had scholarships and my acceptance letter to college framed on the wall. Then I saw the president on TV saying we had a shortage of troops. I knew if I raised my hand then someone else wouldn't have to. A mother, a father, a wife, a husband, or even a sister. My sister. Do you remember the draft scare? I just knew that if enough of us joined voluntarily then I would save the people I cared about most from being forced into it. I couldn't sit and wait to see if I was unlucky enough to have my own sister drafted and sent to war while I stayed home. It was then that I knew I'd be here. I've been in the military for over five years now. It seemed like I'd never deploy. At first I was afraid to, but then I became angry that I hadn't had my turn to join my battle buddies in deployment. Five years of being in non-deployable units wore on me. I felt like a bum Soldier. My friends were ripped away from their lives, friends, and families to muck around the Middle East for months. Some of them went two and three times while I still sat at home. I hated it. When I finally transfered away from the Air Assault School I asked for a deploying unit before my brain had a chance to even think of breathing. It was my chance. Less than six weeks after leaving that prison I was on a plane headed for Afghanistan. I finally feel like I'm where I'm supposed to be. The Army's pull on me has finally been released. I feel like I can go home justified that I've done my part. I didn't really know why I kept reenlisting until now. This is what I was waiting for. I think I'll finally be able to let the Army go. I can be normal again without feeling guilty or obligated or afraid. I thought for a long time that I'd retire from the Army, but I don't see myself fufilling my personal goals if I do that. My service will be complete. My dues will have been paid. And I can go back to being me.