Friday, July 31, 2009

Iraq Update

So, I've talked to Kelly I think maybe four times since he arrived in Iraq. He called this morning which was a nice change. It was nice to talk to him when I'm not half asleep so I can actually carry on a conversation. Apparently the Chief (his friend the Warrent Officer) has a DSN phone in his office that Kelly can use. With a DSN phone you call a number and they connect you with someone locally (Portland or Salem) who then forwards the call to the number that you are trying to reach. Usually you have a 20 minute time limit when with out warning they just disconnect you. Fortunately, for some reason, the phone he uses doesn't do that so we are able to have a nice, long conversation.

He is at a base called Al-Assad and is getting situated in his CHU (his conex home). He said it is a little bigger than the one he had in Afghanistan but has less in it. He is busy buying things from the group from Texas that is leaving. I know that he bought a bicycle, and a TV and DVD player. Apparently they have AFN (Armed Forces Network) cable in their rooms. He is trying to find an antenna for his laptop that he can put outside to pick up the wireless internet signal so he can finally get on the internet. The signal isn't strong enough to penetrate the metal walls of his CHU so he's hoping an antenna will help and he wants to get it before he starts paying $60 a month for internet.

He told me that his jobs at this point are:

1. He is the NCOIC (Noncomissioned Officer in Charge) of the convoy academy. Working with the Texas Guard (who are leaving) to coordinate the transfer of the academy to the Oregon Guard. He will be making sure that they have instructors and making sure that they are doing what needs to be done.

2. He is the NCOIC for the BNOC (basic noncommissioned officers course) doing test administration. He taught this course for several years while he was with the Military Academy.

3. Assisting the Chief who is the "mayor" of the CHU and is responsible for 400+ housing units.

So, needless to say, he is busy! It has been, of course, extremely hot there with temps well above 100. They have also been having sand storms which make life pretty miserable.

Hopefully, his time to be out on convoys will be very minimal. I know that he will be out there sometimes but the less the better. Especially after reading today that soldiers from their group who are at a different base have already had two roadside bombs go off. Thankfully no one was hurt!

So, that's the most that I know for now. I will write more when I know more!

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