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Episode 11 — Perspective

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29 Nov 08

Combat Outpost Meade, Iraq

The first rain drops hit the tin roof like a handful of shot thrown on a metal floor. Slowly at first, then more steady, the rain was sounding more like it was here to stay with each passing minute. This would be our first true water test of our new accommodations. The results were as wet as a car wash in April in Seattle.

It was a miserable day. Everyone’s CHU (Containerized Housing Unit) leaked, each in its own unique way. My CHU leaked furiously through the rough-hewn hole made for the air conditioner. The water ran down the wall and into an outlet, yet the electronics hooked into it miraculously survived.

My floor was flooded and was covered with the mud that washed off the roof and into my CHU. The office CHU didn’t do so well, either. Leaks were everywhere, and we were running a serious risk of getting shocked until we turned the radios and electronics off.

Others had leaks in their rooks and water pooled in concave areas. Guys were up on their roofs with brooms and mops, sloshing the water off to stop the constant drip, drip, drip. After a few hours we got things cleaned up pretty well. Then we had meetings to attend and chow to get. Crossing the COP meant getting your boots caked with the dirt and clay mix that is a hallmark of this area. Those nicely mopped floors we just cleaned quickly became muddy. What a miserable day.

At the nightly update we heard more details about the IED that struck an up-armored Humvee in our battalion today about 10 miles from our own patrol today. The initial report was that the soldier had a broken arm, a broken leg, and some cuts.

The soldier was flown to the Baghdad C*A*S*H by Medevac helicopter. Tonight he is in critical condition with both legs having been amputated, along with a broken arm and lacerations. The IED explosion had been much worse than we had originally thought, and this soldier had miraculously survived.

As I put the news out to the team tonight, and looked around at the somber faces, I realized what a wonderful day I had been given.

Jedi 6, out…

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