Gophers Inner Circle: Coach J Robinson Reports from Kuwait Report #2

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Head Coach J Robinson is currently overseas in Kuwait spending time with US Troops. Please read J's entry and check back for more updates!

Salty Dog here
Well they were not kidding when they said they would keep me busy, Just got back at 10 and Chaplin Winn said we talked to over 300 people today. We started out at 0630 with breakfast. Boy do they eat a lot here, they never miss an opportunity to eat.
First up on the list was a Combatives seminar with about 15 Combatives instructor with a question and answer session then we did a little Combatives sparing on the feet helping the instructors be more aware of how important the pressure of moving forward and the placement of your feet. The Army is really trying to make Combatives a main stay  with their units but as in all program in the Army it takes the involvement of the commander to validate the program. If the Commander get on board and endorses a program it well go forward so it is important to get the support structure behind any thing you hope to accomplished here.
Meet with the Commanding Officer of the base right after breakfast and we had a great visit about Ranger School and the impact that it had on both of us. Many stories were thrown back and forth and we both validated the influence that it continues to have in our lives. The CO gave me a briefing of all the camps that we well be visiting and their location in Kuwait. It helped orientate me to our current location, realizing that Kuwait is about the size of New Jersey.
The MWR (moral welfare recreation) officer Ed  has been here so he shares info about the Kuwait's as a nation. About 3 1/2 million people live here but ruffly one and a half million are Kuwait citizen. The other 2 million are brought in as worker in all areas of the economy. The citizens of Kuwait do not work. They are given a stipend by the government and they hire out all their work, maids, servants, construction workers etc. I belief he said they get around 70,000 a year. They pay the maids about 210 a month so that gives you an idea how far their stipend will do. The locals  rioted during the Arab summer to the Emmer/King who gave them all a couple of thousand more on their stipend so Ed said everything now is OK.
Kuwait City is built up around the port but once you get a ways inland there is nothing but sand. It is about 115 today and its like being in a large sauna so I think it is great. When the Red Bulls got here in July some of them said it was 128. I noticed the heat when I stepped off the plane. Not the muggy sticky heat with moisture like Vietnam but more of like a blast furnace. It some ways it is crazy as you are in air conditioned building parts of the day then you step into the furnace.
We had lunch with the CO (commanding officer) of the Brigade that is here from Minnesota and the Sergeant Major. The SM was a wrestling coach in Grand Rapids and coached Jeremy Gaddens a wrestler that came to the University and later transfer to N Illinois with Dave Grant and became a 2 x all American. After lunch we spoke to the support Battalion that takes care of all the logistics on the base. A very necessary but thankless job and I told them that without  what they do this would not be a very nice place. The Sgt Major of the unit came up afterward and said the talk really helped one of his young soldiers who had just re uped to stay in Kuwait for another year. They are setting him for individual support so he can work on some college credits while he is here'
We are doing an all day work shop (8 hours) on Sat that deals with developing your own philosophy and goal setting. It seems from talking to some of the senior leadership the soldiers need some direction on what they need to be thinking about what to do once they get back to the states so they have a plan. Service men and women have on unemployment rate of around 23 % so the command is trying to integrate them to think about developing  their plan before they get back to the states
1800 (6 PM) dinner again I'm going to be 200 when I get back. We began the evening session talking  to a transportation company that runs convoys into Iraq to bring equipment out. A dangerous job as they go way inside Iraq, sometimes 12-1500 miles load up the equipment then head home. They can't go over 45 mph so its a long trip and always the danger of IED's (improvised explosive devices) so their bodies are on alert the entire way dumping adrenalin in the body. It takes time to come back to normal upon their return. They have about 21 days left before they pack up and head home. A stressful job as your (wired) up when out on the road then you come back into Kuwait and your almost back to normal, This cycle has continued the entire time they have been  here alternating between stress and stand down, stress (on the road) they stand down it takes a toll on the individuals.
We finished up speaking to a group of soldiers that were work on their financial skills trying to get their financial situation under control by learning some money skills. They were fun to interact with as they had already made the decision they want to development some financial skill to help them change their  life. The chaplains do a great job working with the many parts of the command that are here. It is inspiring to witness the impact and interaction they have with the soldiers.
Soldiers buddy up with each to watch out for each others welfare.... they call the person they are interacting with their battle buddy
It is amazing to see the chaplain's here and all the good they do with the troops on an individual as will as a unit basis. One of the Chaplain's bought a waffle machine and makes home made waffles for 800 troops every Sat morning. We are going there then and the troops tell him that the reason they make it here is the family feeling of those waffles. One said I just make it  from Sat to Sat looking forward to those waffles. Some on the troops e mail him with their order and time. 0800 regular waffles with blueberries. The most challenging thing is to find the eggs for the batter. The mess hall wont give him the eggs because they are contracted so he digs them up any way he can.......go figure.
I'm in the officer quarter but asked to be moved to where the troops are tomorrow. We are going off base so it is up and on the go at 0600. I know that the last day we are going to the naval base to ride on some boats so looking forward to that.
Have meet a lot of great young soldiers that make you proud of what they are doing for us. I tell then a line from Jack Nickleson and I change it a bit to get the point across for what they are doing for us.  " We sleep under the blanket of the security you provide and it allows all of us in the US to live a great life, from those in the US thank you
Salty Dog 6  out

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