The 10 Year Anniversary of the invasion of Iraq is upon us and I want to share with you some of my most memorable moments of the pre-invasion period. These are the stories my friends (my brothers and sisters in arms) and I still talk and laugh about.
In March 2003, I was 28 years old Army Captain stationed in Germany, assigned to the first Military Police Battalion (709th) that entered Iraq.
1. Scalped! Foolishly, I allowed a guy in my unit to give me a haircut the day before we left for Kuwait. He scalped me, blood flowed down the side of my head and I had scabs for weeks. But I saved $9.
2. Flying in Style to War. I flew business class in civilian clothes from Germany to Kuwait as I mentioned in my post last week. Then I rode in an SUV to desolate Camp Virginia, in the northern desert of Kuwait, where I prepared for war.
3. Sand Storm! I was walking back from a planning meeting at the Brigade to my Battalion located on Camp Virginia when I almost got swallowed up by a sand storm. I literary could not see my hand in front of my face. I had to lie down on the ground and wait for the storm to die down. There was sand everywhere……I mean everywhere!
4. Sand Storm Again! The next day half the tents got blown over; we had to dawn our goggles, grab the mallets and reinforce all the collapsed tents in the middle of another storm. Let me tell ya……March in Kuwait sucks!
5. The Stinky Lieutenant! There was this guy (A First Lieutenant) sleeping in our tent in Kuwait, who Jeff and I (Jeff and I were both Captains at the time) had to order to go take a shower. He was stinking up the entire tent. It was so gross…..we had to escort him to the shower trailer to make sure he used soap.
6. Bucket Washing. I washed my clothes in a bucket in Kuwait and Iraq. Well I washed while Jeff rinsed the clothes in his bucket. That is when we had water to do wash. The Lieutenant never washed his clothes. I guess he forgot to pack a bucket. Silly Lieutenant!
7. Skud Missles Attacks. Skud missiles attacks/ warnings in Kuwait were always interesting. We had no bunkers so we donned our chemical protective gear and lay next to the concrete barriers which are like larger jersey barriers. We laid there not knowing if the rockets that potentially could come crashing down on us contained chemical or conventional munitions. After a while the alerts became a joke- until the Iraqis actually started shooting them at us.
8. Irish Whisky? On March 17th, 2003 (A National Holiday for us Irishmen) I may or may not have drunk some Irish Whisky from the flask of a certain superior ranking officer. I plead the 5th on this one but is a memory I will never forget.
9. When You Gotta Go, You Gotta Go! On the border of Kuwait and Iraq, I watched a female sergeant put a poncho on, walk into the desert, dig a small hole with an entrenching tool (military shovel), crouch, and defecate in front of thousands of thousands of Soldiers preparing to enter Iraq. That was one badass sergeant!
10. Rolling In My Jalopy! I entered Iraq on Day two of the ground war, ten years ago today, in a soft skinned Humvee (Not armored), wearing a green foliage uniform and a Vietnam era flak vest.
I didn’t realize at the time…..but memories and friends for a lifetime. My only regret is not taking any of my own pictures.