Monday, June 25, 2007

Happy Birthday Dylan!

I know this is a bit early since Dylan's birthday isn't until the 5th of July, but I wanted to make sure this was in on time.
For those who may not know, Dylan Evan Roundy is my Grandson. He is turning one year old and is just the coolest, cutest guy I know. As luck would have it, he's been giving his parents some trials lately with some sickness and teething. As you can see, he's standing, and as I understand, is trying to start walking. His mom tells me that he will take a few steps then "chicken out". All in good time Dylan, keep up the good work.

Here are some pictures of Dylan. Enjoy!

Here are a few of my favorites. Dylan in the hospital with his first big "owie". A pic of him with his mom, and one of him in his crib. He is always so happy and smiling so big.

They're great when they're asleep arent' they?

Happy Birthday Dylan! You are the greatest. I love you.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Mad Max War

Remember those cool Mad Max movies? Remember all those neat made from scratch vehicles all those post apocalyptic warriors road around in? Well, life here in Baghdad has been reminding me quite a bit of those movies. I sometimes feel that I'm inside a Mad Max movie. Due to the insugent situation over here and the danger of the IEDs out on the road we have had to modify our existing vehicles and develop many new types of vehicles to help protect us from those threats. So many of these vehicles, or modifications to vehicles, really remind me of those movies for some reason. Take a look for yourself and see what you think.

This is one of the ubiquitous Humvees. It probably doesn't look like the Humvees you're used to seeing. You can see that armor has been added to it and a protected cupola for the top gunner. The other appendages are used in other ways to help protect the troops.

Here are a couple of pictures of a "Stryker" vehicle. We have some Stryker Brigades out here. There's also the obligatory picture of myself in front of a Stryker to actually prove I am where I say I am. See Cindy, I'm all in one piece and have been eating probably too well!

Above are a few pictures of some of the vehicles used by the engineers when they are clearing routes or responding to IED reports.

Then there are the "normal" vehicles that you are probably used to seeing every day. Troop trucks, bulldozers, Semi tractors. All of them have been modified to help them survive over here.

I hope you enjoyed the photos of some of the more odd looking vehicles we have around here.

By the way. Summer is in full swing here. This last picture was taken today just 10 minutes ago at almost 3:00 pm today. Happy Father's Day. 124! Gotta love Summer in Iraq!

Friday, June 15, 2007


Ok, this is kind of a ps. I don't know what happened with the fonts on my last post, so sorry for how it looks. Probably makes it difficult to read. I've tried to fix it, to no avail. I'll work on it.

I'd again like to thank all those that visit my blog. I'm having a good time doing it, and I like to read the comments that people leave. Thanks!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

And the war continues

WHAM!!!! What was that? I look at the clock and it's 5:00 am (that's 0500 for you military types). Shaken from my deep sleep by what feels like the trailer bouncing off it's foundation. WHAM! again! It all sounds much closer than it's ever sounded before. WHAM, again, another one! OK, this is just a little too close for comfort. I pull myself out of bed and take a peek outside the door. Looking for the usual; smoke, fire, big holes where buildings used to be. Don't see anything and it seems kind of quiet, except for the birds chirping. The war doesn't seem to be bothering them at all. So, I crawl back in bed, and just before I'm about asleep again. Wham! Wham!! They sounded a little further away this time, so I just stay where I am and think to myself, "Would someone just go out and kill those guys, I'm trying to get some sleep!" Apparently they did, or the bad guys ran out of rockets because it stays quiet and I'm able to drift back to sleep for a couple of hours. In the "morning" after I woke up, I went for my daily run. I kept my eyes open, looking to see where the rounds might have hit. Didn't see anything in my little "neighborhood", so I don't know where they shots were fired.

This is beginning to be something of a normal occurrence around here. More so than it used to be. It seems as if lately the enemy is really pushing back hard. Just a day or two ago (not sure, because every day is Tuesday!) there were four rockets that hit rather close to the office. Really shook the place up. And maybe it's just my imagination, and this is all strictly conjecture on my part, but it seems as though the bad guys are pushing back against the surge. Maybe they know that if they start causing more destruction, maybe some more casualties, then the "Blame America first, let's capitulate to the enemy as fast as we can and maybe they'll start being nice to us" contingent in Congress might work harder to help them win this war. The enemy understands, I believe, that the Reid's and Pelosi's in this country are looking for anything they can get to convince the rest of us that losing this war is our only option. I think that the enemy also understands that getting Congress to force us out of Iraq is their only option for success. General Petraeus literally wrote the book on counter-insurgency warfare, has experience in this theater and has a good plan in place to stabilize the situation. The enemy understands this and knows they can't win against us militarily. So, they will win on the home front (sound familiar?). It's the same story as the 1960s and, again, the liberals in this country can't do enough to make sure we lose again.

OK, I went on a little rant with that. Sorry, sometimes I get sidetracked. But things are happening over here that point to some good things on the horizon. They aren't going to happen over night, and there will be some blood spilled on the way, sorry to say. But, I believe that if we're not turning the corner yet, the corner is in sight and we've got the turn signal on. Again, this is just my opinion based on what I'm observing over here. Anyway, as my rude morning wake up shows, the war is continuing, and we are continuing to take the fight to the enemy.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Progress being made

Hey ya'll. I know, I know, it's been a while since I posted here. Sorry about that. Sometimes it's difficult to find interesting things around here to blog about. Today I wanted to give you all an update on how the fight's going over here. I got a little snippet last night at one of the VTCs (Video Tele-Conference) I attend. This was the Force Protection VTC that happens once a week and involves not only those of us here in theater, but people at the Pentagon, NAVEODTECHDIV in Maryland, the FBI, NSA, etc etc. A lot of those alphabet agencies. Anyway, as we were getting ready to sign off, Colonel Hrdy (not a misprint, really, no vowels) wanted to give everyone an update on what was happening. He said, and I'm paraphrasing here, "Don't necessarily believe what the media is telling you back in the States about what is going on over here. We are taking the fight to the insurgents. We are moving into places that we haven't been in for a long time and clearing them out. This is coming at the expense of more casualties, but it will pay off in the long run."

I don't know what the mainstream media is saying back in the States. I have no television over here, and even if I did we pretty much only get AFN (Armed Forces Network) which mainly consists of last year's episodes of regular shows and current sporting events. But I get the feeling that they are not really reporting what is going on over here. I believe they don't want any good news coming out of Iraq. Don't just believe me, here's a story from an embedded reporter that tells it like it is

Anyway, we are taking the fight to the enemy over here. With the surge, we have put many more troops on the streets, and we are doing a lot more "getting out in the field" and finding the enemy. That said, obviously with more troops coming in contact with more insurgents the casualty rate is going to rise. It's a terrible price to pay and I am in no way playing that down. But just maybe that's the price that has to be paid to help straighten this situation out.

I will be the first to admit that mistakes have been made in the way that this war has been handled. Personally I think that some of the very early decisions that were made were terrible decisions. One in particular was the decision to fire the entire Iraqi Army after the war. I understand that there was an immediate feeling that we should rid the infrastructure of all Baathists and Saddam loyalists. However, with the firing of the Army, there were now many thousands of highly trained, unemployed, and angry men in the country. Could it be a coincidence that the first IED attack occurred within a week of the Army being fired? Maybe, but I personally don't think so.

I've gone a little off track here, but this is all to say that though we never expected our overthrow of Saddam to end up in the occupation we currently have, it has turned out this way and we can't just leave it this way. The Iraqi people deserve better than that. We need to be here until the Iraqi government can stand on it's own and provide security for the people. The steps that have been taken lately, namely the surge of troops and the efforts to get those troops out among the people and off of the big bases is having the desired effect. Not as quickly as any of us would like, and it's coming at the cost of more casualties, which we also don't like. But good things are happening over here.

I'd like to thank everyone that's been visiting my blog. This has been a lot of fun for me and I certainly intend to continue blogging when I get home. Obviously on different subjects and hopefully in a much more interesting way than I have thus far. But, thanks for the visits, thanks for the comments (although more comments are always good), and to all my family and friends, thanks for your support and prayers. I really appreciate that you've all kept me in your thoughts. Thank you.