Election Day

Today was a great day in history...
How do you men feel the elections today, (Thursday December 15, 2005) went down?


GIGotti78- Well my friend, to tell you the truth, I was not one bit surprised at the turn out with approximately 70% turning out to vote. What surprised me was the amount of Sunni Arabs that decided to exercise their right to vote. Not only that, but their reaction to reporters asking how they felt about voting. The vast majority felt very strongly about voting and for a lack of a better term felt bad for not exercising their right as a citizen back in January and October. That is a very good sign that all three major ethnic groups are participating. Also surprising was the lack of insurgent activity. In one of Iraq's finest hours, the insurgents did not try to darken the day but instead remained quiet. I can only hope that this trend of lessening violence will continue as the new Iraqi government takes effect and their security forces become stronger and more skillful.

Mr. Matt- I'm glad everything was quiet for the most part. Also, this country has taken a turn for the better as you can tell by the amounts that the voters have turned out to be from election to election. Quite honestly I'm looking foward to finally seeing this country on it's own 2 feet. (that means that I won't have to be here) :-) - - - I have a future at home not in Iraq.

A 6 yr old's concern

My six year old boy (Jason) has been very concerned about the safety of
the soldiers and wants to know how the soldiers stay safe. More
specifically he wants to know how you keep from getting shot.

Jen, Chuck, Jason and Jocelyn

GIGotti78- First, let me say you have a very smart son to be concerned in that manner. Their is no such thing in combat to be completely safe. That is why us soldiers train so much. Our training helps us immensely. We also wear protective gear like bulletproof vests that keep bullets from hitting us in the chest and also from hitting our back. Also, our vehicles have armor to help shield us from any bombs that may go off or bullets if someone tries shooting at us. Please let your son know that it is very touching to have someone so young be so concerned about our safety and welfare. We (soldiers) appreciate his concern.

Mr. Matt- Well, very good question Jason! We have to wear bulletproof vests when we go off base. Also our vehicles have been "up armored" which means that they put a lot more steel or other hard metal material on the outsides of the vehicle to keep the bullets from coming through the vehicle. If we were to get shot at. But most of all it's the training that we get on how to react when something like that may happen. We do stay safe. As safe as we can.


Christmas and Mail

1. Once a soldier is deployed to and reaches Iraq, how long does the processing take and generally how long is it before they have an address where they can receive mail or contact family back in the US?
2. What will Christmas be like for the deployed soldiers?
3. What type of housing is set up for the soldiers? In other words, what are the living arrangements for the average soldier?
I have tons more questions, but won't bombard you with them all at once. Again, any info at all is greatly appreciated.
Dariana, Military Mom

GiGotti78- We had our address to where we were going before we left the states. Our address even changed while we were in Kuwait and we got the update while there so we could get it to family and friends. But their are factors also involved. If they are Active Duty and whisked right into country, it would take a little longer to get or if they are Reservists and had a short train up all can play a role. As for how Christmas will be, Im hoping quiet. The chow halls will have a nice meal for us and Im sure they will be playing Christmas music to lighten the mood. I just hope it comes and goes because that's one more day down. Like in our last post, our living arrangements are better than I could have expected. Mr. Matt explains them perfectly in our last post. Also, dont worry about bombarding us with questions. The more asked, the more answered, the more truth gets out.

Mr. Matt- Well GiGotti78 summed up most of that answer. Though I know for myself I diden't give my address to my family until I got to where I was going just because I felt that I diden't need a bunch of stuff the second I got here. Though there is usually an opertunity (if you want to wait at times upwards to 3 hours) to make a phone call or use the internet. You can still contact home but mission and time always plays a role in that event. Ahhh Christmas... I hate holidays away from home. Some soldiers will have to work others will have time off but it's generally boring and it would be much better if the military diden't actually observe holidays around here cause it builds depression and home sickness in some soldiers. I haven't slept right in over a week and my appitite decreased a little. So I know it's that time of year. Housing has been answered previously. Though it could be a trailer, a building, a tent. The military makes sure that you the soldier is heated and/or cooled for the most part.


Playing 20 questions

If there was one thing that you absolutely needed that you did NOT have, what would you want and why?
What are the living conditions like for you?
Are you in the direct line of harm's way? Have you seen anyone in your squadron killed and if so, how did you handle it?
Do you plan to stay in your branch of military after your deployment is done, and if so, where would you like to be stationed? If you plan to get out, what would you like to do?
How have you been able to cope with being deployed and away from your families? How do you feel about other soldiers who have NEVER been deployed?
How often are you able to get on the internet? Is it difficult to be on long since there are others in line who want to send messages back home?
Have any of you been to Saddam's palace? If so, how did you feel about being there?
Do you feel your mission is being accomplished, and what else do you feel could be done?
Do you think the "war on terror" will ever be won? Do you think the US is doing this alone, or has there been sufficient assistance from other countries?
Are you guys (and gals) able to eat healthy and receive medical attention? How are you doing emotionally?


Wow, those are alot of questions and I will do the best I can to answer them. The first question is easy, BEER! While we are in a combat zone, their is no alcohol and unfortunately, we are not allowed to have any or face penalties. But man, what I wouldnt do for a nice, cold, Miller Lite draft. Hmmm, I can taste it now....aaaaah. OK, next question which is living conditions. Our living conditions where we are at are pretty nice. We live in modified containers that are different sizes. We have A/C units and I truly expected worse. Now, as for being in harm's way, no matter where you are in Iraq, you are in harm's way. Sometimes the insurgents will lob mortars or rockets at the bases and hope to hit something. You have roadside bombs that are our biggest threat and occasionally, they get brave for 5 seconds and shoot at you but then run when we shoot back with bigger weapons. I haven't seen anyone from my unit killed although we have lost a few guys. Being National Guard soldiers, we all come from the same towns and the few we lost have had a major impact back home. I didnt know any of the guys personally, but it still takes a toll on you. It really puts a perspective on what we are actually doing and where we are. As for staying in the military, I plan on finishing out and doing my 20 years. Since we are National Guard, I will be getting stationed right back in my homestate and going back to college to get my degree. Coping with being away from loved ones and friends is never easy, but this isnt my first time leaving home. I spent 5 years on Active Duty Army and have already done a tour through Bosnia. As a soldier, you learn how to cope with being away from loved ones and everyone does it a bit differently. As for soldiers who have never deployed I dont hold nothing against them if they havent got called up (in the national guard or reserve component) and the Active Duty guys really dont have a choice, its more like luck if they havent been somewhere since 2001. But if people tried to snake their way out and then stay in, yea I got beef with them. They are cowards and should just get out, they are wasted space for all I care. The internet is an easy question, a bunch of us went in a bought a satellite and we have service in our living quarters. Our unit also bought a satellite for the soldiers to use and hooked up computers to it so the lines are not that bad for our soldiers. Never been to any of Saddam's palaces and really dont care to. I would just spit on the floor anyways. Each mission is important and I feel we are making an impact where we are. Progress is made everyday in this country no matter what people say. Enough said on that. To answer the War on Terror question, just check out my personal blog, its linked to my name. As for eating healthy and medical attention, we have some very good chow halls and the base we are on has a hospital. We also have very good medics in our unit so if something were to happen to me, I have faith in them that they could keep me alive before I got to a hospital. As for emotions, I am hanging in there and thank you for asking.

Mr. Matt - MMMmmm BEER!!!! Alcohol tends to help one forget things. Sometimes we need to forget things. Then again I forget things all the time so maybe beer would be bad for me. The living conditions here aren't bad. We (on this base) live in Truck trailers that have been modified to appear as a regular room on the inside. White walls, liniolum floors, lockers, and bunk beds. 6 men to a room and about 4 square feet per person after the rest of the stuff in here. Harms way... truthfully if you are in Iraq your in harms way wether or not you know it. We have had a few people killed in our battalion. I diden't really know them that much and at the time it diden't phaze me all that much. Though, when I was at the funeral ceremony that was held here that's when reality smacked my in the head. The thoughts of them and the fear of that happening to someone that I was close with or myself. Well we are National Guard Soldiers I'm still contemplating on whether or not to stay in if I do I don't think it will be with this Battalion but if it is Oh well. I hate being away from my family currently... due to the fact that I don't like being that far from home I'm a mammas boy. As far as the soldiers that have never been deployed. The ones that are here now have their ups and downs. Yet I can think of one person in paticular that said "I'm flad I'm here because my home town sucks and I like the money." So... some like it others don't. Some of us purchased a civilian based internet system that is out of the United States with a jump from Europe. I'm on the internet in my room right now. I saw his palace I wasen't able to go inside because I was driving by. Though being on this base that we are on Saddam has been here. In a way it feels like "Wow we are where a historic dictator once was" but like everything else the feeling of aww goes away. As far as I see it the mission is being acomplished. With what could be done. The Iraqi citizens could start turning in myre of the terrorists themselfs to help us rid their country of the scum. The war on terror will be a forever going process. Though there is alot of assistance from other countries like, Britan, Japan, and Austrailia so moslty everyone is helping where they can. There are alot more countries here as well but those are the ones that stand out in my mind currently. We eat quite well everyday that is a morale thing... bad food the morale goes down the drain. We do have access to medical attention and the Prozac is working really well so I'm happy. :-D :-P

Our New tenant

Just so happens to be The Queen of Classic Rock from Hard Rock Raido Live and she proclaims herself to be the "Rock Bitch." Now I don't know about everyone else but Rock and Roll is some of the best music on the face of the earth IMO. Though, "The Rock Bitch" is also a survivor or Ovarian Cancer. Her blog describes everyday life of a deejay and her personal experiences. So please be kind and click on her blog. Cause we don't up date enough you've probally already read all the questions that we have answered and you still have 25 seconds to wait.

More updates soon. Please e-mail all your questions. Thank You.



Will we miss this place?

When you get back to America, what will you miss most about Iraq?

What's your favorite memory?


GiGotti78- Well Sheila, considering I am only at the halfway point, this is a tough question(s) to answer at this time. I really do not see myself missing Iraq per se, but the impressions of what I have been through here will carry for a lifetime. Being in a place as hostile as this has lasting effects, some good and some bad. I think we will have to re-visit these questions as we get closer to our departure and come home. I can tell you I WONT miss the heat!

Mr.Matt- There is only one thing that I will miss about Iraq though I can see it else where. The stary night sky. Clear, no clouds, very little light around you. You can see almost the entire galaxy. But other then that I won't miss a single thing. Come to think of it I won't even miss the night sky I'll have that at home too. I might be a little insentisive but that's just how it is. Chances are when I get home I probally won't talk about Iraq unless asked about it.

Interaction with Iraqi Citizens

How much are you able to get to know the Iraqi people? Are you able to interact with them and if not, is it due to language barriers?


I have had the chance to interact with some local Iraqi people and sometimes language/culture is a huge barrier. Their are a few Iraqi people who work on the US bases and these citizens know at least a little English. These people seem thankful for what we have done, although they are working on a US base so their view could be biased. As for the local populace who do not have the privilege to work on a US base, seem to welcome us for the most part. Any time their is a mission of any sort, the military tries to have an interpretor to help bridge the language barrier so that we can communicate with the populace and create an understanding.

Mr.Matt- I'm not a very social person. I would prefer to sit in the vehicle, say hello, and wave. Though there is a language barrier but, you can notice that both people in conversation atempt to understand eachother as best as possiable when there isn't an interpretor around. Though alot of the Iraqi citizens that I've encountered speak various forms of english. From Basic to complex, but most of them speak basic english.


Anonymous said...

Quite a few really good questions. Though the soldiers feel that anonymous questions should not be answered. Especially from our comments. That is why we have our e-mail posted on the left side of this blog.

Not only that one of the questions asked is a wolf in disguise. If we were to answer that question we would be violating OPSEC (Operational Security). That is something were not going to do. If you would like to see what Anonymous asked just click on the last posts comments. If you think that those questions should be answered e-mail then and we will do the best we could do.

Thank You, The Soldiers


Day in the life of a Soldier in Iraq.

Could you please give us a "day in the life of a soldier in Iraq" post? Describe an average day for you? What time do you rise in the morning...eat breakfast...patrol, etc...until lights out? I'm really curious as to what life is like for the average HERO on a regular day in Iraq.


Gigotti78- An average day for a soldier? For me, it is more scheduled than others. I work a ten hour shift getting off at 2 o'clock in the morning. I work in an office processing soldiers leave, pay and what not. I work in Headquarters Company. Now as for our soldiers in the "Line" companies, they really dont have a schedule. I have had the opportunity to get out and go on some patrols. Patrols take place at any given time, whatever the mission calls. One day you may go out at 7 in the morning for a few hours, come back and then have to go back out till o-dark-thirty, just to have to be up at 6 in the morning for another patrol. There are soldiers who run convoy routes to get supplies from point A to point B that can have them away from base for days at a time, on the road. As for lights out, that is purely up to you since their is activity 24 hours a day. You catch some sleep when you have the chance or go to the gym to work off some steam. Like I said, my job is pretty mundane and routine, others is hectic and fast paced. I am one of the fortunate soldiers so to say.

Mr. Matt - Same as above. I work the same hours as Gigotti78 in close to the same capasity. As far as the soldiers that do patrols, convoys, and perimiter security. It's not usually the same times because someone could say that there is a mission change and you have 25 or 30 min. to get ready. Then other times you know that you have to do, when you have to do it.


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