Greetings! And now, the latest news from Kirkuk. We have been “off the air” for the last two days. Email and telephone access were totally cut off. I couldn’t even get email on my private internet service--the government is pervasive. What that means is that a soldier was killed and so communications to America are restricted until the military can notify the family. Rather than one of the unfortunate guy’s buddies shocking the deceased family with an email or phone call saying something like, I’m sorry your son stepped on a landmine this morning. Anyway.
It’s been awhile since this has been necessary, so that is the good news. Speaking of which, I gave a lone soldier a ride home late the other night. He asked what I did and I told him I worked for the company that up-armors the HumVees. He told me how one had hit an IED the other day. It blew the engine right out, put a vehicle-sized crater in the road, and popped the rest of the HumVee back about 30 feet. Those inside? Not hardly a scratch he said, but a severe case of whip-lash. He uttered thanks for the ride as he got out and then a thanks for doing what we do. It makes a difference, he said, to have the armor on there. I know he’s right and I’m grateful to be able to know there is that degree of protection.
Another night recently I enjoyed an excellent desert lightning storm, it was incredible. And then a quick but heavy 20 minutes of rain. That really helped cool things down and knock the dust down as well. It’s been a beautiful Spring here, as far as those things go. I cannot believe the last month the weather was so nice. But the heat has been turned up this week. Even with these last few downpours, the dust is very quick to return. Moisture is not retained in the clay-like earth, it simply dries into the air or runs out into either the Tigris or the Euphrates, I guess. And the ground then quickly turns back to dust.
You can see the result when mixed with a good wind at this web-link, provided by my brother. There are five interesting pictures there. I haven’t seen anything that bad but can you imagine?
Pictured below: What soldiers play at a BBQ they invited us to and the some new trucks for the Iraqis