Archive for October, 2007


October 29, 2007

Someone mentioned to me that it was going to be Halloween soon in the good ol’ USofA. I’d seen a sign up at the Dining Facility advertising something about Halloween, but to be honest, I had forgotten about it. Understandably, the military does not want soldiers to be dressing up as people they’re not supposed to be, which is why we wear rank, nametags, and a person can get in trouble for wearing someone else’s rank or nametag. The idea of Halloween got me to thinking, though.

No St. Patrick’s Day or Valentine’s day. Those state holidays like Veteran’s day or Memorial day, or Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, all come and go, pass us by here in Iraq, with perhaps a ceremony presided over somewhere on the base for half an hour. Nothing exceptional, since we don’t take days off.

It’s odd, but it’s necessary. But I will miss the odd Labor day, or even the unofficial ones like Halloween. Trick or Treat!


Operational Pause

October 23, 2007

Wow. I was doing so well, but now it has been almost three weeks since I posted last. I would like to give a variety of excuses, but I’m a bigger man than that, so I’ll own up… I have been derelict in my duties to the readers of this web page. I will begin posting again more often now that I am more or less settled.

Speaking of being settled, I have already gotten some of my stuff. I have my little alarm clock with two alarms, which is necessary for me. I have this bad habit of not hitting the snooze alarm, but turning the alarm off. I’ve seen those alarm clocks that move when the alarm goes off and have considered getting one. Perhaps I wouldn’t need two alarms if I had to chase just one! If you have any experience with these, let me know.

I have enjoyed watching the Cowboys play here as often as possible. We keep a TV on, but turned down, in the office so either sports or news programs are on and repeating all day. This means that in just a few weeks I’ve watched more sports than I have in the entire time I’ve been overseas with the military. I think this is a good thing. When you work the long hours, you have to take your enjoyment any way you can get it.

Speaking of enjoyment, I have started to write some letters on paper. It has reminded me of when I was in Basic Training, and I would write on paper every night to a different family member or friend. I have tried it a couple of times so far, and I’ve forgotten how much more time it takes to write everything out in print than to type it up and hit print. There is something strangely comforting about writing with pen and paper though, almost romantic. I use that word in the adventurous, antiquated sense. I hope you understand what I’m talking about.

I encourage everyone to write a paper letter to someone else in the next month or so. Like the journaling, I have found it to be relaxing and helps me order my thought to see them on hard copy. I think there is something special about receiving mail that most people don’t understand, but soldiers do, especially in this environment. And, it only costs $.41, or whatever a stamp is these days. I haven’t paid postage in a long time, so I apologize for being so out of touch with the Continental United States. I find it funny to catch myself trying to write lol or :) with a pen.

And of course, I look forward to any of your emails or letters, and now have an official address here. Please send letters and packages to:

SPC Mark T. Mansfield
B Co, STB, 1AD
COB Speicher
APO AE 09393

As I said before, I have enough people sending me packages already. But please send packages with my whole office in mind, to “Any Soldier,” and then I will make sure the single or less loved soldiers will receive the goods. I hope to hear from you all soon.

Vroom, Vroom.

October 5, 2007

So I got to do some driving in a HUMMV over the past few days. Those vehicles are beasts, let me tell you. The speedometer only goes up to around 70, but there’s nothing better than flying down a three lane road at 40mph, passing the convoy, the gunner on top going, “Woohoo!” and screeching to a halt to block some traffic so that the convoy can proceed. Rolling over some sand dunes while explosions and gunfire are rattling off, and the radio crackling with frenzied voice traffic could be close though.

Of course, I only say it was fun because it was training, because if I was doing the same thing in actual combat conditions, I’m sure I’d be scared witless as all this happened, but at least I now know such manoevres are possible. The fact that it was almost 130 degrees out dampened spirits a little bit, and that I hadn’t had a shower in 3 days made the vehicle smell a little bit, but this the Army stuff I signed up for. I am lucky to get to sit in an office most of the time, but then to also have a chance to do the fun training. JAG Corps, hooah!

All Army grandstanding aside, I am glad to be back in the relative civilization that contains running water and a chow hall.

I will be moving again soon, so I will post when I have some time and opportunity. Hope to hear from you soon!

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