25 December 2008

Ho Ho Ho

Merry Christmas from Abby, the whole Bad Dog pack, the World's Grumpiest CA Team, and our merry band of flies!

I was up late trying to move my soldier around, and then again up early to get him on a convoy. I went back to sleep after we loaded him up. And woke to a pounding on the door.

I stumbled out of the rack, opened the door, and...

Oh Come, all ye Faithful...joyful and triumphant...

The Boss, knowing my inclination to ignore all holidays that occur while I'm deployed, and my resulting intolerance for Christmas music, had rounded up a band of carolers (complete with Santa hats). Well aware that a long night probably meant I was still racked out, he'd decided that the best alarm clock is...singing TOC rats.

Lunch/dinner/midday meal was very nice (ham! We got ham!), and there was fruit. There was something that looked suspiciously like Army-issued eggnog in paper cups, but that did not seem like a wise choice.

In short, a pretty good Christmas in Iraq.

Here's hoping you all enjoy a wonderful day with your families and friends/

24 December 2008

Administrative madness

Is trying to push a soldier out on emergency leave on Christmas Eve.

We live with a battalion from the 4th Infantry Division. We support them, and they have operational control over us. Administrative control (promotions, leave, awards, UCMJ actions) is retained by the CA chain.

So, we can see how, when a distraught family member initiates a Red Cross message and sends it to the soldier's mailing address instead of command address, there can be confusion.

Now, just to make things more interesting, the battalion we work for has been chopped from 4th ID to another Division (25th). But elements of 4th ID are in Iraq. So the Red Cross message got...sidetracked.

But...you know what? Nothing on God's green earth will get soldiers moving like a Red Cross message. You can call the biggest asshole in the US Army and say, "I have a soldier with a Red Cross message," and he's suddenly helpful. The lazy sprecialist napping in a corner will wake up, get on the phone and start moving heaven and earth. The lost lieutenant gets a clue.

I used every one of those folks, and few more. Got the message, got my guy a ride. We'll get him where he needs to be, as fast as is humanly possible. It's nice to see this machine work once in a while, even if it's in the service of sad news.

22 December 2008

[grumble grumble]

I finally dragged myself out of my nice cozy rack around...oh, well, suffice it to say it wasn't early. Not even remotely.

With nothing on the horizon until a 1300 "chat," I made coffee and stood on my porch, surveying my (limited) domain.

Things appeared...hazy. I climbed up on a pile of sandbags and looked across the helopad. Quite hazy.

Things developed. The weather progressed from slightly hazy to downright dusty. It's nasty - the dust doesn't seem that bad outside until you look down and realize there's a thick coat on everything. You go indoors to escape it, and realize it's working its way around the door, in through the air conditioner, around the taped windows.

Dust sucks less here than it did living in tents, but it still suck.

To top it off, it's thinking about raining. A few drops, now and again. Yeah - rain in the dust. Mud-rain.

Love this country.