Sunday, March 27, 2005

Hot Tips

This week in the news...

Another week of San Diego-type weather, absolutely beautiful, just add a desert of dust and stir briskly with a little wind from time to time. It’s a gritty taste, but still rather nice. Green abounds as grass grows wildly and it is still fairly peaceful. Like 5 O’clock Charlie on the T.V. series M*A*S*H, some guy tosses in a mortar or a rocket here every Saturday night around 8:30. It used to be Monday at 8 but he must have had a scheduling conflict with terrorist school or something, evening classes. Probably a harmless looking farmer by day. Anyway, as usual, it was a dud.

Also, there was another HUGE column of dark-gray smoke blackening the sky again one day this week. Darn, spoke to soon, they must have hit another oil pipeline again, I thought. But turns out they have these 40-foot “ponds” of extra oil that gathers. When it gets full they get rid of it. By setting it on fire, of course. How are the gas prices over there anyway? We got oil over here to burn, apparently.

And now the good news of the week. The Coalition established a tip-line back in the early days after the successful taking of Baghdad. You could phone in a tip on a terrorist anonymously, you know. Well, that was a useless expense at first, but the Iraqis kinda dig it now and call in about 30 times a month. Bad guys are picked up, weapons caches recovered, and bombs de-fused before they kill. Up near here they hauled in cache of 70 AK’s this week. More and more pieces are fitting together.

But it is a different world here. This is a piece of an email from an old friend; he is a Marine to the south:

“Iraq is definitely a different country. The culture
here has it's own intricacies that at times seem quite
backwards from what we are used to in the states.
Right next door we have a man who has three wives and
about 6 or more kids. It is also a bit weird to see the
people caring AK's like they were a purse, everyone
has one. We've been told as long as they are not
pointed at us, that's ok. You should see the state of
some of these vehicles, wow. It is amazing they still
run.” Sgt. Lindsay


As mentioned by a reporter friend of mine, it is pointed out that these people find this new government thing very odd. They say they have been using the rifle to live life and war is a cultural pastime, you know, bullets instead of cookies for the new neighbor; especially if he has a nice herd or an oil well. They wonder if it really makes sense to try democracy. But the Kurds here in the north have already found out that capitalism makes for a far more friendly and comfortable living. I think it will and is spreading. Even if they keep an AK next to the purse. Hey, it’s a rough world out there.

Meanwhile, back at the shop. Speaking of oil, we change it now. Yup, yuck! I hate getting my hands dirty! But we have grabbed some oil and lube and annual service work to try to keep us busy because we are out of armor. So here are the pics,

There’s Earl and Nick, the foreman in Pic 1. After bolting one of the last turret shields, Earl tests the weaponry to see if it can hit a fly on the wall. Just kidding, we aren’t allowed to do that.

Pic 2, Servicing a Humvee.

Pic 3 Big rig, time to learn something new. A car holds about 5 quarts of oil. These things hold 5 gallons or more! And it takes 2 or 3 guys to get the tire off.

Pic 4 After we lube and change fluid and filters on the Big Trucks, we test drive them. This “convertible” was especially nice to test drive around the base afterwards in this beautiful Spring weather!

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