Council Me, Please: Pages From My Pocket

In this week’s edition of Pages From My Pocket: Reconciliation

This one comes from our time in the Surge. Post-Baghdad the Regiment moved to Ba’qubah in Diyala province. Diyala was where Abu Al Zarqawi had been hiding before the U.S. leveled him and his house. The continued sectarian issues in the region, coupled with the lack of employment and rule of law, were large factors in what was going on in Diyala at the time. This instability created rife opportunities for the Jaish Al-Mahdi (JAM – Shia) and various splinter groups of what was left of Al Qaeda in Iraq (Sunni). Diyala had become what we felt was a “mini Mosul” – most of us in the Regiment having been in and Continue reading

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QRF -This Sux: Pages From My Pocket

In this week’s edition of Pages From My Pocket: QRF

Ah – QRF; the Quick Reaction Force.  I’ve written a few brief blurbs about being on QRF here and here. But as goes, there are hundreds of other stories about being on QRF never told.

And from my leaders notebook circa 2005, here is one. Continue reading

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Purple Heart Day — Pacific Paratrooper

August 7th is National Purple Heart Day.

It doesn’t seem to be a day on calendars, there isn’t a card for it, and there are no cakes – nor should their be, if you ask me. What today is, to me at least, is a day to remember those who paid for their Purple Heart with their lives; to remember those who paid for theirs with their limbs, eyesight, organs, and blood; and above all, it reminds me of all the close-calls: the “could have been”; “might have been”; “an inch to the left”; or the “two seconds later, and…” moments. Continue reading

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Winds of Change: Pages From My Pocket

In this first edition of Pages From My Pocket: Change

Notes on the changing tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP’s) used by AIF (anti-Iraqi forces) Circa June, 2005.

Upon returning from Tal’Afar, but before we moved down to Rawah, we had done a number of patrols and missions in and around Mosul. Part of that was to assist the Brigade in gathering intelligence on the surrounding areas, some of which were just too ‘out of the way’ for them to have previously focused on. So while we got familiar again with Mosul, we also ventured east of the city to a number of towns (mostly friendly, with little or no AIF Continue reading

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Introducing the “Pages From My Pocket” Series

I recently spent a weekend overhauling the storage space under the stairs leading down to the basement and furnace room. Doing so allowed me to get rid of some crap I had been keeping stored that was of no real use. It also allowed me to rework my shelves in a way that gave me free access to the footlocker you see in the main image. I have been dragging this footlocker around with me since OIF III; from Seattle to Iraq and back, to Germany, Continue reading

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Can’t Make These Things Up

We had a sniper problem.  Plain and simple, what began as opportunistic or harassment fire escalated into a full-scale issue.  It all was at and around the Castle in Tal’Afar (the old Ottoman Empire fortification that ringed the central hill smack dab in the center of the city.)  Across the way from the Castle to the east was Al Sarai, Tal’Afar’s AIF stronghold and bad-neighborhood trophy winner.  In the fall of 2004, up at the Castle we occasionally had small arms fire directed at us from the winding endless series of alleyways and courtyards. It was horribly inaccurate and most of the time you just could still stand there. Continue reading

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Assumed Risk (Border Ops Part II)

This is in continuation to the assumption of risk piece I wrote about here.

It was May 2005, and we were about to rotate off of the Syrian border in Rabiah for the last time (so we thought).  We had been out at the border crossing in the outpost dubbed “Hotel Charger” for about a week. The next day our Troop Commander was due to come in with elements from First Platoon, who would relieve us. Ultimately we expected to be completely relieved of our duties in Tal’Afar because 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment (ACR) had been slowly replacing us in this area of responsibility.  We had been out conducting a number of snap-patrols during the nights to try and run border interdiction and counter-smuggling operations. On this last night we chose to remain in the combat outpost, preparing our gear and having a rest before the long drive home the next day. Continue reading

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Bringing Some History to History…

A long time ago in what seems like an entirely different life, far far away, I used some of the blood money I was making while downrange to procure something different. Something special. Something timeless, and unique.

I bought an original, unopened and forgotten by time, vintage bottle of absinthe. Continue reading

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V is for Valor

I have on occasion eaten my own words, and I am fine with that fact. Every one of us gets humbled at some point in time in our lives (sometimes over and over) and these moments hopefully make us better individuals. I talk a lot of smack against 3rd ACR, specifically the leadership of the Regiment, because they seemed hard-headed when we tried to impart knowledge to them as they assumed Tal’Afar from us. I have no real ill will or malice Continue reading

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Gone, But Never Forgotten…

Back when I first returned from OIF III, I spent a lot of time trying to forget stuff. But as time wore on, much like I counted down the days until the tour would be over, I tracked my time less by the calendar, and more by upcoming anniversaries of bad days and the departed.

Much like I wrote about the very bad day that was when I lost my gunner (which I have Continue reading

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