Friday, December 31, 2004

Gag Order

I have been ordered indirectly to cut communication due to OPSEC so I must not post any details--just comments and where I am and what I am doing! Oh well--

Sunday, December 5, 2004

Phantom Fury (Al Fajr) Ends

Operation Phantom Fury officially ends though there still is sporadic fighting outside the walls. We continue to recieve casualties in drips and drabs though there still is a sniper problem in the city. The surrounding areas remain burning though as the sky still glows at night and the smell of the place burning is still strong.
We are continuing the construction of our 'station' but we are making progress and it is almost done. Today, members of a US Marine Sniper Team in from Fallujah, borrowed our picnic table to clean weapons. They were very friendly and motivated! We were allowed to take pictures of thier weapons, the lethal Barrett Mk82 and the Springfield? They also told us stories of thier adventures cleaning out the city. I've included a few pictures.

Friday, November 19, 2004


Arrived at Fallujah--the place is very hot--the city is burning and gunfire everywhere. I wish I had a decent Camera

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Going to Fallujah

It is midnite in Baghdad Iraq and I am on the phone with my wife. "Good news honey, I am going to Fallujah!". A very long pause on the phone, then from the other end, "how is that good news?".

"I will be with the Marines!" Uhrah!!! She doesn't beleive it--but I have been told this afternoon that I will be going to the new startup base Fallujah. I am very excited about this assignment. I wanted to be with the Marines (as I am a Marine) so I know that this will be interesting.

Sunday, November 14, 2004


We flew last night from Houston and the flight was absolutely horrible. 400 KBR folks and us piled into an MD-11 with domestic seating (they are not as wide). It was a 16 hour flight and I felt like every minute sucked. We landed in Germany for fuel but they would not let us out of the plane (that would have required visas so..). I ended up with a cramp from my nose to my toes.

We flew into Kuwait International at around 2 am local time. We are to be shuttled from the airport to an undisclosed location on the Persian Gulf. The location is nice but worn down badly. No bathrooms are around so you can imagine that we had to improvise. The sunrise over the gulf was pretty dramatic and was momentous for us. The airspace restriction in Iraq is playing havoc with everyones travel. We don't stay long in Kuwait but we are split up to better enable our getting in to Baghdad. I am due to travel via MILAIR alone. Should be interesting.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Last Dinner at Home

The war is heating up. Daily report tells us that Mosul is now in uproar and Baghdad is still closed but we are leaving anyway because we are priority. Kris tells us that all LZ's will be hot. We leave tommorow at 10pm but that means we will form up at 2pm to pick up our orders. We head to the airport at 5pm for the 10 pm flight. Kris says 'lives have been saved' and we know what that means. We will be finally making a difference in this conflict. We have a late dinner but we only discuss small talk. This one's wife, that one's kid. We all have our mind elsewhere and we all drink too much. I don't know about the other guys but I know I am scared. Some of the other guys are blissfully ignorant but I am not--I worry alot about my wife and kids---I know the mission is good, but the finality of leaving the Continent weighs on me.

Next stop is **** via ****. Over 20 hours with the *** guys and no drinking allowed to maker the flight easy. No smoking either so that means us non-smokers will have to deal with the smokers climbing the walls of the aircraft within 3 hours after takeoff. The anticipation of it all is painful. We don't want to leave but at the same time we want to get it over with. Everyone is nervous, even us 'battle hardended' vets who have been here before. I think having no intel is better that too much intel.

We have a really nice dinner and get drunk very quietly. Some of the single guys go out, the rest of us go to bed early. I call my wife.

Tommorow will be a busy day. I wonder if I've made the right decision. Yeah, of course I have.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Waiting to Go

We're all completed here in Houston. Did some NBC training and drew our 'war gear' (Helmet, body armor, gas mask). We were supposed to leave today but we are delayed by the Fallujah Offensive so now it's sit around and wait in our hotels. It's a little time to finish packing, getting the last few things we need and of course, have a few beers before we go the land of 'no beer allowed'.

I am eager to go and get this thing rolling. Waiting around gives me to much time to think about my family......

Tuesday, November 9, 2004

Day two is done!

Hey all--Day 2 is done and we're halfway there--signed the contracts,
went over payroll and benefits, emergency procedures, company guidelines, uniform regs, rules, saw some great orientation pics of the various bases. Kris from *The Company** is great--he has been very patient answering our zillions of questions (some are admittedly pretty dumb but I guess not new to him).

I also got 2 more sets of the khaki utilities so should be set for the sand. Most of the guys with our group have never been in the military so myself, a former airforce guy, a former Army guy, and a Navy guy (hey all the services are covered here) have been taking the lead on the deployment tips--the 2 officers with us are acting as the command leadership and is pretty strong so things are pretty squared away and organized. Kris is a former Army Warrant officer so I (and the other military guys) understand him pretty clearly--we translate to the rest o the group and things get done pretty quickly. Even Kris admits were a pretty squared away group.

Generally things are shaking together pretty well here and I am getting excited to get on with the mission. Evidently we are a priority mission and we get a lot of questions from the other civilian contractors waiting to go over (some have been here 6 or 7 weeks waiting for the big 'bus ride'). It seems us (the firefighters) and the PSD's (Personal Security Details) get priority in the chow line and just about every other line in site.

The guys are a great bunch of guys here. Besides the obvious adventure and financial gains to the mission, all are here because they want to serve the country in a little way and we are very spirited. We do have a tighter group that seems to get along pretty well--Dan is from St Louis and is quite a riot--he's already organized the class into a group where we vote on issues such as how much beer to drink before we get to Iraq (where there is NO alcohol--don't worry honey, all is in jest at this
point-we're kinda too busy and all of us are extremely broke. They call me moneybags because I have $16). We got a guy who actually served with me at Bogue Field in 89! We call him pork chop for his prolific pork chop (astonishingly he runs pretty fast and although getting the situps done was tough he has giant arms and pumped out the pushup). He is also a very funny guy. LA is the mexican guy from Jacksonville. He is 44 and easily the most fit in the group. He did 102 pushups (as a reference--I got out 65). Have Paul from Cleveland (he tells me Ohio is as bad as every makes it out to be-but he's a Bushie so I like him! As a side note, we all asked everyone who was present who voted for who and Bush won 20-1 --the lone dissenter being from Florida no less). Got "Jersey Jonas" who is really tall and has a very Sardonic sense of humor. He is lamenting that he must shave his mustache--a former Navy guy with the
Golden Shellback credential! Boston comes, of course, from Boston via Kuwait. He was Army firefighter that saw **The Company** in action and put a resume in the second his enlistment was up. He doesn't say much else because "he is still in shock over the Red Sox winning the world series".

As I get to know this bunch, I am reminded of my military days--all a bunch of characters! Believe it or not, there was another guy with the same last name as me
but he did not make the trip--too bad that could have been fun and I've never seen that in my life, even in the Marines. We will be together until we get to Iraq, then we will be split up according to our skills, certs and needs of the Army/Marines. I am told since I am a former Marine, I will more than likely be at one of the Marine bases (Mosul, Kirkuk, Fallujah) but that will depend on what needs are going on when I get there.

Anyway--I'm off to dinner, a phone call to my wife and family whom I already miss very much and then bed--we have another busy day tommorow--We have a Security Briefing all morning and then we get a cash disbursement as we prepare for our Military Briefings on Thursday. **The Company** prohibits pictures inside the processing center but I will try to get pictures of the group when I can.

Sunday, November 7, 2004


Well, today was travel day and it was really tough--Yesterday (sunday) my parents had an "early thanksgiving" for me and I ate way too much--My wife and I spent the rest of the evening doing what most happily married couples do in this circumstance--

After an early wakeup call we strolled on over to pick up my parents and head on over to the airport-After a long wait and some very painful and tearful goodbyes, I loaded up on the plane and flew into Charlotte. After a very short layover in Charlotte, I was aboard a CRJ to Houston.

While on the plane, I met 4 other guys who were also in my "class" heading to Iraq. We met and chatted about the upcoming mission. I have decided that I like these guys. 1 was from near my home town, one was from Charlotte, one was from Ohio (where he informs me it is really bad economic wise).

When we landed in Houston we found another guy in the back of the plane with us. We picked up 2 more while looking for transport to our hotel. 1 guy came from antartica and another was just out of the army.

All and all an eclectic group--

**The Company** has quite a huge operation here. The people are really nice and the group I'm going over with are a great bunch of people!

Kris from **The Company** assures us that we are in safe zones over there and after looking at the 'classified pictures' of the bases, they look to be fairly comfortable.

We have classes all week and **The Company** takes us out to dinner on Thursday evening. We are expecting to leave Friday but that could be Saturday or Sunday night depending on **The Company** and the combat operations (As of this writing, BIAP is closed and everyone is held up). Hotel room is really nice and things look to be on track--Easiest way to describe things is that it is just like being in the Marines again--

First a phone call home and then I am going to go to bed right now because I am tired==up at 5 am everyday for classes--so I wanted to get caught up on sleep.

Wednesday, November 3, 2004

Election Results and Airline Tickets

Well, the election is in and all in my house are relieved. While I still think what Kerry did in 1971 was not only wrong but treasonous, I do respect his decision not to legally persue a recount and sent his legions of lawyer minions to disrupt the electoral process. I think what he did had class and was the right thing for him to do--maybe there is hope for the Democratic Party after all...

While watching the wrangling going on this morning, Fedex arrived at my door with Airline Tickets to Houston. It is really going to happen. All this time in my preparations, it never really occured to me that I was going to go. Oh when I was in the Marines, I used to deploy all the time and quite enjoyed the travel, even if it was under hostile conditions. This time however, it is a very heavy hearted decision to go. I do have 3 children now so leaving them is very very very very very very difficult.

I think of the thousands of families here in the US that must endure the same agony. I think of the other families of soldiers from the other coalition partners who must also endure. Finally I remember our courageous Iraqi brother that struggle to rebuild their country among the insurrectionists and terrorists that threaten to destroy everything in Iraq (and in the US if they had thier chance).

I think of the families of the over 1000 fighting men who have died, the 70+ civilian contractors who have perished, the 3000 of 9/11. I feel that all this death cannot be let to go to waste. Maybe I am an optimist, maybe a fool-but at the very least I must try for my kids sake to do everything I can do to play whatever part I have to to end this conflict. If that means I go to Iraq to do a job that will give one of our soldiers a rest, then that is what I will do.

The election results make it much easier for me. The majority of US citizens believe as I do, that Presidnet Bush has the right idea and vision.

One can only hope at this point. I leave on Monday.

One of the fire departments I am going to is already busy on thier base--check that out here

Monday, October 4, 2004


Sent off the first of 2 large packets last week. Mostly insurance forms and ID paperwork. Recieved my passport and sent a copy of that 2. Ordered uniforms as recommended by Company. Last packet is my medical evaluation (it's pretty extensive). That I'll be doing next week~~meanwhile, this week I've got to secure some things with my business here and make preparations to take my kids away for a long weekend. My oldest is 14, he doesn't really mention my trip much. My 9 year old girl was upset at first but we discussed it and she is better about it. My 3 year old son does not understand, but he will be hardest hit I think because he won't really understand why I'm gone. Fortunately, the company has mandatory leaves scheduled at 120 day intervals, so it won't be a solid year like the military guys are having to do. I decided to take them out for the weekend to the 'special place' (an amusement park).

My wife is really unhappy about it but she is accepting of it. She understands my motivations (and it is not money). Still, she is apprehensive about the violence. I am too but the company is not new to this kind of thing. My major concern is the election and it effect on the situation. I'm afraid a Kerry presidency would incite even more violence as the terrorists would think that they are affecting public opinion here in the US. As a Veteran, a Bush supporter and someone who takes honor and patriotism seriously, I think a Kerry Presidency would be pretty disasterous and I may not go if he is elected. (I may be more needed here as I feel the terrorists would strike here, especially if Kerry pulls the troops out of Iraq before the country is stabilized). Anyway until that occurs, I move toward the date I leave preparing to go~~

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

How it all Started

I am a fireman (firefighter for you politically correct types) and have been one for a while. While I am self-employed, I have been looking for work as a fireman--I love being a fireman. There is just something really rewarding about it--it's challenging, difficult, sometimes tedious work but not since I was in the military have I felt such reward. When the opportunity arose to work, as a firefighter for the US Military in Iraq, I jumped at the opportunity. Not that I really expected to be offered a position.

Much to the chagrin of my wife and family, I was offered the job and after careful consideration I accepted.

My interview was over the phone and a little strange. They were more concerned that I understood that I was going into a combat zone. The interview went very well and I was told that I would be informed of an offer within 3 days. The next morning I recieved the offer via Fedex(?!).

My wife and I began discussion about it--that was the toughest part. I would be away for a year. It was worth discussing. the money was pretty good, benefits were excellent, and I would get to come home every 4 months for 10 days on the company. In return I was to be in Iraq, helping the military guys by doing facility fire protection. The challenges included the heat, constant threat of violence, kidnapping and shootings (sounds like Brooklyn in the summer). I'm not too worried about that-this was Green Zone work--the hardest challenge would be being away from my family.

Of course the really important part of the job would be that I can support the effort there to rebuild the country. My own way of contributing to this war.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004


ok--So here we go--If you're a peacenik type or someone wanting to save the whales, I'm sorry this is not the blog for you. This blog is about me, Jim and my mission. I will explain later but I've decided to set up this blog so that my friends, my loving family and my children can track my life over the next year. Like many have done, I am preparing to deploy to Iraq. I am not with the military because I am a 'specialist' and a contractor.

Now I know that contractor's are being beheaded (as my wife, mother and mother-in-law remind me on a daily basis) but, while I admit causes me alarm, I am not an innocent as I understand what I am putting myself into---

Because I am a contractor, I am going to be under some restriction for security reasons. My wife, has requested that she not be named and for my own security (for the obvious reason that civilian contractors are a target) I will not give out my last name. If you are a friend or family, you are here because I invited you and you know who I am--if you just wandered in, I am just Jim and I am representative of many who have decided to do this (insane?) thing that I am doing. Some background first, then on to my crazy blog name later.

I am a US citizen age 38. I have 3 children and am married. I am a military veteran of the US Marines from 1985-1992. I am a Gulf War (the first one) Vet but did not see any fighting. I own a business (Internet Related) that is more or less successful (I am not a bazillionaire). I am a licensed pilot, I love baseball and taking my kids to amusement parks.

I am due to leave after the US elections to go to Iraq. I am obviously very nervous but I will go (barring any outside problems) because of several reasons.

You may ask 'why someone with a family, would do such a thing? Put themselves in danger, in a warzone where it appears that utter chaos reigns. That is a fair question. Many may think it is the money. While the money is pretty good--no one who does not believe in the mission of the US in the middle east would go--no matter how much money is offered. That is my main reason (fault?). I beleive that a free and democratic Iraq, would only benefit the world. I understand that the terrorists want us to say 'no way, not me, I'm not going', so I am going to go-just to be defiant!

More later---time now to organize my thoughts and send off a copy of my passport to my employer--

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Upcoming Vote

Well, I was hoping to know how the election turned out before I left for Iraq but it now appears that the Traitor Kerry is lining up 10,000 lawyers to sue the American Electoral system to a standstill. My largest worry is that the Traitor Kerry will leave us high and dry over there subject to the murderous whims of the Monster al-zarqawi.

On a lighter note--took the family to KD for the weekend. Last big vacation with the family for at least a year. It was quite fun but at the same time a little sad for me....

Got my pre-deployment physical this week, don't expect too much trouble there. Just a lot of probing and prodding (if you've been in the military you'd understand). Also have a lot of things to get settled before I go in November. News today showed a KBR employee killed by a random mortar attack. Hate that random shit. Polls look good for Bush at this point. I'm hopefull.