Out of Iraq, But Not Done

I’m in Kuwait, sort of on my way back home. I got in last night, and since then I’ve been fighting with terrible internet connections trying to coordinate meeting up with my next assignment. Around 9:45 a.m. I had some luck, and now I’m sitting in an internet cafe making the update rounds.

My last day in Iraq was punctuated by a huge rainstorm, and a vomiting man sitting next to me in a C-130. What a way to end things.

The way out was interesting. After just a few days at Shocker, I’d come to really like it and the people there. Both the officers and the enlisted men (they were all men, the only women I saw were contractors) were friendly and hospitable. The sergeant I was traveling with said Shocker had a good feel because it was on the periphery. No one asked to see my ID, because with just over 100 soldiers it’s pretty hard to miss the guy who needs a haircut.

Contrast that with Camp Delta, where security scrutinized my paperwork every time. Which, by the way, is hilarious, because I know for a fact some of those who looked at it couldn’t read it.

I needed razorblades, so I went to the PX, or post exchange, to pick some up. The man guarding the door with an AK-47 took a few minutes to review my paperwork, and then he let me in. I bought my razor and went back out to grab my backpack, which I wasn’t allowed to bring in. I was waiting for someone, so I decided to chat with the guard.

“Where are you from?” I asked.

“Uganda,” he said, with a thick accent.

“How do you like it here?” I asked.

He tilted his head sideways like a bird.

“Do you like it here?” I asked again.

“Cold,” he said.

I got that the money isn’t that good, and that he has a child with a girlfriend, but that was all we could communicate to each other in 5 minutes of talking and gesturing.

So how much did he get out of my Department of Defense letter? I have to wonder…

But here, I’m back in a sea of Americans, with a friendly New Hampshire escort taking me to lunch. What a difference a border makes.

I’m not done, but things are winding down. I’ve got a story to record, and then one more to do on this unit, the 197th Fires Brigade, before I head back. The window is definitely closing, and it’s been one hell of a ride.

2 thoughts on “Out of Iraq, But Not Done

    1. Couldn’t hear it over the roar of the engine, but I could feel his body tensing up each time he threw up. I was concentrating on not following suit — rough ride.

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