15 December 2010

OLD e-mail from Iraq

From the Soldier side: The other day I was talking to an older gentelmen...turns out he served during the Korean war.  We had never met before, but we quickly formed a "Vet's Bond" as I call it.  He was telling me how rough we must have had it in Iraq, and I told him: "Oh, but we had really good chow in the big camps and we had e-mail!" 

Later, I was going through some of my old e-mails I sent from Iraq.  At many of the little camps and FOBs I was at, we had to stand in line for hours to use the computer for 20 minutes.  And, often it would take half that time just to send a few messages.  I learned to type fast and send one e-mail to all my friends and family at once.  I did actually get a few e-mails back from a family member saying: "please take me off your e-mail list, I don't have time to read your e-mails."  I not only took them off the list, but I totally deleated them from my address book. 

Here's one e-mail I sent after just being in Iraq for a short time (spelling errors and all)

Baghdad update: OIF III (sent about Jan 2005)

We were talking today how a few of almost went Iraq with another National Guard unit just before the war started. Somebody said “you mean OIF I?”

And I responded with “No, they didn’t call it Operation Iraqi Freedom at first because they were not aware that the Iraqis needed to be free I guess…it was called something about looking for weapons of mass destruction.”

And that was today’s class on the history of Iraq.

We had another discussion the other night about some of the customs in Iraq. It is very common for a man to marry his cousin. As a matter of fact, before a woman can get married to anyone outside her family, all of her cousins have to turn her down. (she must be really bad)

This gets confusing when you ask someone about family. Is your father in-law your uncle or father in-law? And your wife’s brothers and sisters are now you in-laws. One thing that really does not work here is Mother in-law jokes. Because your mother in-law is often your aunt.

If a man is making enough money, he can have more than one wife…but he has to treat both equal. I talked to one guy who had 2 wives and 25 children and grand children. Now I never got around to asking if the wives were sisters, cousins, sheep or what…it was just too confusing. And…how does he remember all the names?

And they do really have camels here. I have talked to camel herders. I was not sure what they did with camels, but they still raise and herd them. I think they just have them for something to do. They sell and trade them and wonder around in the desert with them. They don’t really ride them anymore, but they do eat them sometimes. We suspect that is where they get some of the meat in the mess hall.
Life is so simple in California. We have small families and we can remember all their names, and mothers in law are not also an aunt.

Then there was the one Iraqi guy we were talking to one time. I asked the usual questions..."Are you married?" he said "no" so I continued with "do you have a girlfriend?" he responded with another "no".

So I asked if he was gay...and he said "no, I have sheep."

I gave up at that point.

Winning the Hearts and Minds of the Heartless and the Mindless

Perfume Palace, Camp Slayer, Baghdad, Iraq


Riley Carson said...

Ah, but a strange relationship with sheep... priceless.

TheNewMagoo said...

he said "no, I have sheep."

Are you sure you were in Iraq? Cos this could have been Wales...

CI-Roller Dude said...

RC, baaaaaaaa baaaaaaaaa

the only thing I can recall from my visit to Wales...was the nice pubs...and since they hadn't seen a Yank there in years, I never had to buy a drink.

Jay said...

You have a family member away on active service and you send a reply back saying how inconvient it is to recieve his emails ......Unbelievable.
A sheep would never treat you like that. Replace him with a sheep.

(Two sheep chating away while sending emails... "How many ram does your computer have?")

Red said...

"winning the hearts and minds of the heartless and mindless" LUV IT! I am so stealing that...hope you are well, Dude :D

CI-Roller Dude said...

Jay, Yep, I acatually had a "family" member e-mail me back and asked me to take me off my e-mailing list. Since that time, I have never, ever sent that person an e-mail and have tried to avoid any conversation in person.
However, I also had friends and my old Chief of Police tell me to e-mail them as often as I could to let them know I was OK.

Sorry Red, that's an old line...from the "Nam" days. We just recycled it for our war. But go ahead and take it. I saw it written on the wall at USMC camp I spent some time at.

Momma Fargo said...

Sheep. Was he from Montana? LOL

Anonymous said...

1. It's nice to have people back in CONUS that are interested enough to ask irritating questions.
2. About the only mail I got, first go round on operations, was requests for remittances relayed by my parents.
3. Lest this sound too much like a poor me story, very few of the unmarried troops got much mail.
4. Suspect a lot of their parents and loved ones were weak in the writing department.
5. Today's troops are a notch up, in all departments. Am watching kids who would have been shoo-ins, back in the day, be turned down or treated coyly by recruiters.
6. Was considered the fount of all knowledge, because I had a year of college.
7. Got to read hen-scratched letters and formulate pornographic replies.
8. You could tell who was who, during field mail calls. Most of us would be leaning back against our rucks, smoking -we weren't expecting anything. The married or engaged troops would mob the letter carrier.
9. The holidays were hardest for men that came from functional, Beaver Cleaver type families. Not too many of those in the infantry, back then.
10. Most of us were losers, for one reason or another.
11. The tepid attempt my unit made to celebrate the hols wasn't particularly appreciated -I can't remember much about it.
12. Have learned to enjoy the holidays through my nearly normal family.
13. Which leads me to wish you and yours a great Christmas and New Year.
14. Thank you for the reminder about DUI.
V/R JWest

Jay said...

CI your old Police Chief sounds like a good friend.