While the girls and I are still busy, busy with all that's going on at camp meeting, I thought I would post the first email update that Scott has sent while on this deployment in case anyone is interested but not on his email list. We are still able to talk on the phone daily (if not several times a day), and the girls usually manage to speak to him at least once a day. He is the sweetest, and we're all missing him MUCH, as Sarah especially likes to say.
I hope y'all are doing well. I've been enjoying the lovely accommodations at Fort Dix, New Jersey for the last few weeks in preparation for deployment to Iraq. Things here are pretty uneventful. Lots of in processing, signing forms, shots, and standing in lines, more shots, and more standing in lines, etc. I brought plenty of books and have just about finished them all.
Not much new to report. For the past week we've been in up armored humvee drivers training to include a rollover simulator. The simulator is basically a humvee cab and chassis mounted so that it can roll and simulate a vehicle flipping over in the event of an accident. We got the opportunity to practice sitting in the vehicle with all our gear as it rolled over a couple of times and then exiting the vehicle. Trust me, it's not as exciting as it sounds. It's like a State Fair ride without cotton candy or the colorful ride operators.
We're starting to find out a little more about our job in Iraq. I'll be working with a Civil Affairs Battalion. The Civil-Military operation is a little reported but critical aspect of the U.S. Military and coalition successes in Iraq as of late. We'll be supporting Civil Affairs teams that liaison with the local Iraqi populace and help the Iraqi government resolve their issues. The coalition forces are trying to get the Iraqi government to a position of self-sufficiency so that the Iraqi Government can address their peoples needs. These needs range from improving the security by killing insurgents to other touchy-feely, but extremely important jobs like providing basic services, keeping utilities running, providing education and basic health care. We help with the "other" stuff. In Army parlance, this work is called "non-kinetic" and is thus "non-sexy."
That's about all for now. I'm looking forward to getting to the range next week to start shooting. The Army does a real good job of making fun things, like shooting machine guns and assault rifles, tedious by loading us down with over 50 lbs of body armor (not including ammunition, first aid pouch, Kevlar helmet, backpacks etc).
It appears that we'll be in Iraq for a little less than a year. Hopefully I'll be able to go home for a few days before we leave to see my beautiful ladies. I appreciate all the prayers and support I've received and am eternally grateful for all my family and friends. I would be remiss is I didn't take this opportunity to thank my incredible wife. MB, like always, is doing an amazing job caring for our little ones as I prepare for my Mesopotamian vacation. Her love and care for our family is as always inspiring.
Okay, I told you he was the sweetest!! More from the Four Silly Sisters tomorrow....