Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Life in Baghdad

President Obama's visit to Baghdad

President Barack Obama made a surprise visit to Camp Victory, Iraq yesterday. He spoke at Al-Faw Palace to hundreds of Soldiers, and shook their hands. President Obama told us "You have given Iraq the opportunity to stand on its own as a democratic country. That is an extraordinary achievement."

I listened to President Obama's rather brief speech about
our progress in Iraq, and how we must transition Iraq back to the Iraqis, and the great job we are doing in Iraq.

He then shook our hands and departed.


Three Broadcasters got promoted last week. We now have Sergeant Anderson, Sergeant Fardette, and Sergeant Logue. We had a pretty cool ceremony. One of my buddies from my last deployment was able to attend.

Then, the ceremony ended. SFC Burke, SSG Burrell and SGT Risner were kind enough to take the new Sergeants outside for a smoking. Let me tell you, there is there is NOTHING in the world like rolling around in the rocks in Camp Liberty Iraq with your best friend, your rifle. We did push-ups, flutter kicks, and various other physical activities in the rocks. It was a wonderful end to a wonderful day.


SSG Burrell and I embedded with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division in the Zafaraniyah district of Baghdad. We stayed at Joint Security Station Zafaraniyah for several days, and conducted patrols (day and night) and a search and cordon with Paratroopers from the 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment. I learned Iraqi kids LOVE cameras. I also learned that they really don't see a lot of female soldiers. They kept calling me "Mister, Mister..." I taught them that I am "Miss." One particular print journalist thought it was hilarious that these kids were calling me mister.

This mission made me thankful for the rather plush living conditions we have here in Camp Liberty in comparison to soldiers on smaller outpost in the area. This particular JSS did not have female showers up and running, so I had to post someone outside the bathrooms while I took a shower. I was really stoked to hit the shower after a patrol; but come to find out there was no running water. I was pretty sweaty from wearing body armor for several hours, so I took a shower with bottled water. That was a different experience. They did get female showers up and running before we left. I don't think I have ever been that grateful to take a shower.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Specialist Fardette and I created an Anti-Huffing Spot, check it out.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Things don't always go as planned.

Things don't always go as planned. I learned this when I was in kindergarten when I intended on jumping out of a tree and landing on my feet. My bright pink cast on my arm was an everyday reminder that things don't go as planned (for 6 weeks anyhow).

18 years later, I still get reminded that things don't always go according to plan. I am not a country fan, but there is a song that sticks out in my head by the man of country, Garth Brooks."Unanswered Prayers" which contains the lyrics "Some of Gods greatest gifts are all too often unanswered...Some of Gods greatest gifts are unanswered prayers." I often think of this song when things don't go as planned.

SPC Johnson and I got a reminder this all week. On Sunday we got to the Helipad at 0600 to wait for our flight to Camp Taji so we can cover some stories out there. Apparently dust storms in Iraq hinder travel. The dust was rather thick in the morning. We could not see the sun, nor could we see the blue of the sky. We waited, waited, and waited some more. No flights left. We spent 18 hours at the helipad before we called it a day and went back to our comfortable beds and went to sleep.

We finally made it to Taji on Tuesday. We were ready to go on a mission with an Explosive Ordinance Disposal Team on Wednesday. We were under the impression that they would be conducting a controlled detonation of explosives found in a scrap yard. Most of the munitions were already spent, so they posed no threat. I was looking forward to seeing a controlled boom.

Then, we were scheduled to go on a patrol early the next morning. We got a knock on the door after I had already fallen asleep to tell us our mission had been scrapped. Needless to say, this is how our week went.

This mission served as a reminder for me that things don't always go as planned.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

You know you are in the 211th when...

1. You know more about SPC Anderson's husband than your own spouse. -Logue

2. Every time you hear a female voice, you think it is your commander. -Fardette

3. You have asked "Is there a whale in here?"-Logue

4. You get nagged at by your boss for NOT blogging. -46R's

5. You have been gone from your family for 5 months and have only received 2 weeks of combat pay. -Heise

6. The patch on your left sleeve doubles as a sniper target. -Fardette

7. You think "Alperinism" is a word

8. When coffee CAN cure your problems.

9. You laugh when you hear the words "Live the legend" (sorry SSG Edson)

10. You wake up to your neighbors snores/grunts at 2 a.m. -Logue

11. You're surrounded by questionable people. MAJ D.

12. in response to #11 You're a questionable person yourself. -UNKNOWN

13. No one here is from where you're from. SFC Q

14. You have a great sense of pride when you tell people you're the commander of the 211th MPAD. in response to number 12

15. You're XO was not only in the Civil War, but he documented it.

16. You're the only member of the original 211th MPAD still here. (I am thinking SFC Burke put this one up)

17. You think bad thoughts about the phrase "It's better to have it and not need it....then need it and not have it..."

If you have any questions or additional comments, please feel free to ask 1SG Martinez.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

You know you are in the Army when...

The Broadcasters have a board in the room, and we started a "You know you are in the Army when..." list. Many people wrote their thoughts on this board. So here they go:

1. You feel naked without a rifle. SPC Logue
2. You get a letter in the mail that says "Go to war, or go to jail." SGT Pflieger
3.You spend more time with your battle buddy then with your family. SPC Fardette
4. Your boots actually smell like rotting meat.
5. You ask your wife if she has her CAC card when you go to dinner. 1SG Logan
6. When a day doesn't go by that you ask if the person you just passed was a male or female.
7. When you're in another country and can't get away from Texans -SSG Burrell
8. Someone asks you where you are from, and you can't really say where....
9. You've been to many countries and never needed a passport. SGT Saslav
10. You're scared to pet a puppy.
11. It's o.k to give a kid some candy.
12. You actually gain weight on your year-long paid vacation to the desert.
13. You save empty water bottles to fill in the middle of the night.
14. You get excited when you think your roommate left you a bottle of lemonade. (see # 13)
15. When you mistake the smell of dust for perfume.
16.When walking to a bathroom counts as your physical activity for the day.
17. Your spouse asks for an AAR after anything you do...
18. Your spouse knows what an AAR is...
19. You can only be sick/injured between the hours of 0700-0900.
20. You develop a hatred for gravel.
21. You see more naked people before 9 a.m than most people see in a year.

If you have anything more to add, feel free to comment, and I will post it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

For the 1SG

1SG came into the Broadcast office and told us we had to blog today, so here it goes...

Finally. We made it to Baghdad. We are now in country trying to get into the grooves of our jobs.  

I have this roommate named SPC Johnson. If she is not on the phone, she is on the internet. I guess you can call her a social butterfly.  The funny thing is, she is always asking me how to spell something. Obviously she has not read my blogs. 

I don't see everyone everyday like I used to.  LT Douglas isn't even in Camp Liberty. SPC Soles and SGT Risner work in Division, so I never see them. 

I work in the broadcast room, so I don't really see alot of the Print guys, except when SSG Burrell pokes his head in the broadcast office and talks. I know he wants to be a broadcaster deep down. I mean, I can't really blame him for wanting to be a 46 Rock Star. 

I do a 3 minute radio news story Monday through Friday. Sure, 3 minutes of news does not seem like a lot. I  usually write my script, voice it, then edit it. It is a time consuming process, but I have gotten a lot faster at in the past week.  I have learned so much just playing with the editing system in the past week. It is encouraging to see my product improve daily, and learn new things. 


Saturday, January 31, 2009

New York City!

New York City

Yes, its true. The Army (more specifically, my commander) allowed four soldiers to venture off into New York City.  Although a good portion of my family is from New York, I had only been there one time. Anyhow, SGT Taylor, SPC Fardette, SPC Anderson and Myself went to NYC. We decided to go in uniform. 

New Yorkers are very nice to uniformed service members! We were in utter amazement when people came up to us to thank us for what we do. It doesn't stop there. People came up to us and asked us if we could take pictures with them. The three broadcasters were all interviewed for the news. Rather Ironic. SGT Taylor's picture was in the middle of Time Square for a quit smoking ad. Ironic as well. Needless to say we came, we saw, and we conquered. 

SGT Taylor, SPC Fardette, SPC Anderson, and Myself on the 80th floor of the Empire State Building.
Same Group in the Hard Rock Cafe in Time Square. (I look short next to SGT Taylor!) 

We went to Battery Park and had a lot of fun playing with these tiles that made chiming noises when stepped on.
I think the video says it all!