Remember the questions about Saddam's money and where it went? Here
is a picture of another palace along the river. This guy spared no expense for a lot of palaces that he hardly even
went to. I do not have any pictures of his extensive complex in Baghdad, but will see what I can dig up.
Not intended to be a downer, but this picture succintly captures a wide
arrange of emotions. Way back in May, my company headed out on a mission when we monitored a mayday call. A MEDEVAC
helicopter had crashed into the Tigris River. I had the rest of my company continue on with the mission while I
became the on-scene commander from the air. Although it was a tragedy, it was comforting at the amount of support that
came pouring in. Literally within a minute of being on the scene, I was controlling two F-15 Strike Eagles loitering
at 18,000 feet and a long range search and rescue aircraft flying to the scene to assist. Quite an experience.
Back to the picture, we held a memorial ceremony a few days later for the
two pilots and one crew chief (mechanic) who perished in the crash. Here, their company commander pays his respects
to his soldiers each one of whom is represented by a pair of boots, a M-16 rifle, a flight helmet, and a pair of dog tags.
There were several heartfelt speeches and stories told and not a dry eye in the crowd. 9/22/03
BDA stands for Battle Damage Assessment. My only confirmed kills came
early in the war when my backseater and I destroyed four of these air defense systems within the confines of the airfield
where we conducted an armed reconnaissance. The system is actually a ZPU-4, a four barreled 14.5mm anti-aircraft gun
capable of firing 150 rounds per minute. It would definitely ruin your day! Luckily, we took them out before they
could be employed. 9/23/03
On The Road Again
Our division made its' way north out of Kuwait back in April and kept
going well past Baghdad. Surprisingly, the highways here are pretty much intact. Their "Department of Transportation"
is a little lacking though. A lot of potholes and asphalt that is crumbling. There are no rules of the road other
than the law of tonnage. The bigger and heavier vehicle always has the right of way. 9/24/03
As everyone might know, I celebrated my 30th birthday on September 24.
What better way to celebrate a milestone than in the middle of the Iraqi desert? At least I will never forget where
I was for the big 30! It would have been just another day, but we had twinkees and angel food cake along with candles,
whirl-a-copters, and paddle balls to play with. It was a fun and entertaining morning (since I am on night shift).
A Couple Of Old Men
A good friend of mine, Chief Warrant Officer Two (CW2) Jeff Raglan (he is
a pilot and safety officer in the company I used to command), and I posing for a birthday picture. Since we share
the same birthday (although he is older), I surprised him with a twinkee.
P.S. I apologize about the airbrushing on yesterday's photo.
I did not realize there was a tactical map on the table until I edited the picture. 9/26/03
Some of the forces over here live in tents. Others live in abandoned
palaces. This particular shot is courteous of some brethren from a ground brigade living in one of Saddam's smaller
palaces. Here you can see the exquisite dining room that was turned into a briefing room. 9/27/03
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