I've been in Iraq for 8 days, and I have very little to write about. So I'll just touch on some of the basics, and hopefully once I get integrated with my unit I'll have some more interesting things to share. I am a little handcuffed here for a number of reasons; first, I am very OPSEC cautious, so I can't write about a lot of what I do or where I go, not because it's super secret, but because I'm a nervous nelly. Second, I don't want to write about anything that will give my wife or my mother a heart attack. Again, not because things are super dangerous, but because they both worry, so simple things that I find funny or interesting would sound like the toll of doom to them.
As I've touched on briefly, I always thought the heat would be causing me the most heartache here, but surprisingly it is not. It is the sand, the sand that I hate so so much. It is not like being on the beach, it is the finest sand you have ever seen, almost like dust. It swirl around in the air, it clings to every surface, and it invades your nose and mouth. I went running outside yesterday because it was relatively cool outside, and one of the Army's monster trucks drove by me and kicked up so much sand, it was as if a tidal wave of sand slammed directly in to me. Pictures a truck driving through a puddle and soaking you on the side of the, then turn the water to sand. I hate the sand. The heat, really not so bad. As they say, "It's a dry heat." The sand is in your eys, nose, throat, all over your clothes, and everything you touch, sit on, or lay something down on, inevitably covers you with a thin layer of fine sand. Sandstorms are frequent, making travel difficult by grounding helos and reducing road level visibility to several feet.
To the Army's credit, they have rapidly responded to the IED threat over the years, by developing a whole line of beastly new armored vehicles. If you have not seen some of these monsters, take a second to google image MRAP, Buffalo, and Stryker. Along with an infinate number of armored Humvees, these things are everywhere. I feel like I am on the set of Road Warrior. These trucks look like something a 10 year old boy drew in his notebook, and then was built by the Army. It's actually pretty cool; except for the sand they kick up.
By combining the trucks and the sand, I have concluded that the single biggest threat to me in Iraq is getting run over by a giant trucks during a sandstorm. Sandstorms are frequent, giant trucks are everywhere, and I have to walk everywhere I go on the side of the road. I sure hope I don't get hit by a truck.