Well the day started off at 0530 with a wake up as we were heading for camp Bucca (no relationship to the restaurant in Minnesota) to spend some time with a medical unit of the guard that is attached to a Wisconsin guard unit. Flew in a Blackhawk again, as they are the work horses of the area. Have some pictures if I can figure how to down load them. Of course upon arrival we all got the joke about Minnesota until we countered with our #4 quarterback and we have a signed Jersey to prove it.
I did a 2 1/2 hour clinic on combative for the Wisconsin Guard, and they were great at learning and we had a good time. Have to say those cheese heads learn quick but we could not get them to get in the picture with a Minnesota flag. They did however love that fact that my lovely wife is a huge Badger fan with an email name and all to prove it.
The Chaplin that invited me to Iraq and I were taken on a tour of the jail, prison, detention center, whatever you want to call it that they have on the base. When you read the papers back home it seems small like a jail but if you could see the magnitude of the place you would have an idea what the guards did. It housed over 24,000 prisoners.
It is something someone should do a documentary on, To hear what our guards went through in guarding the prisoners and what the prisoners did by throwing ____ on them and how they handled it make you realize how much discipline the guards have. Realize the guards were infantry soldiers, whose job it is to project with force. They are now in a situation that they have to restrain from using force, not something they were trained to do. One of the many things that have been asked of these soldiers that tends to produce stress.
The living quarters were containers, but they said that the prisoners could make a weapon out of almost anything. The way they communicated was to take and write on rocks, and then when the guards were not looking throw them from compound to compound. They called it the rock express.
In addition they had a class 3 hospital there which means they can do any kind of surgery, so the care of prisoners was first rate. They even provide many with glasses that they never had at Uncle Sam's expense, plus a host of other things.
On every base that I have been on there is all kind kinds of equipment there. It is a massive amount of stuff. It is just like Vietnam, they are getting ready to leave most of it here, with the same excuse that it cost more to ship it home. One of the interesting things of being here is the similarities we went through 40 years ago.
We took the blackhawks back to camp Basra and then spoke to the EOD unit. That is the explosive Demolition Unit. Many of the troops here have the same thoughts; it is hard to stay motivated because it is the same old thing every day. Another combative class in the evening with the MP's (Military Police), some of them are State Troopers back home in Minnesota so I told them if they stopped me when I get home they have to give me a free pass.
Chaplin Morris, the man that brought me here, is really an amazing man. His love of his job and the positive influence that he has on these troops is very evident. He is everywhere with a kind or positive word for everyone.
You can really see the need for chaplain's over here and their positive effects on the troops. He is definitely taking good care of me while I am in his AO (area of operation).
Another full day tomorrow but no helicopter.
Salty Dog's letter from the sand