DH’s latest update:
The wake-up call came at xxx this morning: throw your bags on the bus, you’re flying to Baghdad. Excited, we jumped into our body armor and loaded our remaining magazines with ammunition. Finally. During our time in Kuwait we had certainly acclimated, weathering sand storms, desert fog, and desert rain. Although the time in Kuwait may have been necessary to learn to function in the desert and stage our equipment for the trip north, by this point we all were ready to get on with our primary mission. After a two-hour bus ride, we strapped ourselves into a venerable xxx aircraft, the Army’s favored means of air transport for the past 45 years, and took off on a turbulent, ear-popping flight.
Once we arrived at BIAP (the Baghdad International Airport), we hit a snag. According to the original plan, helicopters would pick us up for the final leg of the journey, ferrying us from the airport to our FOB (Forward Operating Base). But gunfire disrupted our airlifts, forcing some of us to find an alternative to the air. The unit that we are replacing had a few humvees staged at the airport, so I hopped in what I later discovered would be the lead vehicle of a convoy down the notoriously dangerous Route xxx. Fortunately, Iraqi Army and U.S. soldiers kept a careful vigil on the road, and we sped to the FOB without incident.
We were heartened by the Iraqis’ high level of participation in the latest elections. Iraqi Army and private contractors are taking over many of the tasks that used to be the responsibility of the U.S. Army. Still, we cannot afford to let our guard down. About two weeks ago, the unit we are replacing lost a lieutenant to an IED. The gunfire at our helicopters this morning was another stark reminder that there is still a war going on, despite the recent electoral success.