I am currently in Balad which is sort of the Chicago O'Hare of Iraq. I've been up for about 48 hours. I'm tired, dirty and a little spacey. My latest trip was supposed to take me from Liberty to Speicher. Speicher is the camp at Tikrit, Saddam's old home town. I wish I could say it was a pleasant trip. It really wasn't. In the middle of it the Army decided to kick everyone off of the chinooks in Warhorse (the camp at Bukaba). They dropped us off in the airfield which was basically a mud puddle with a port-a-john. It was freezing out there. No tent or anything, just mud. It gave me a chance to do something, however, that I never really do in Tucson: look at the stars. For the first time in a long time I was able to look at the night sky with unbelievable clarity. Orion was there and the Cyclades. it was nice to see the same thing I can see at home to make me believe for a moment that we are under the same stars at least. They eventually came back and picked us up. They had stopped to make a trip to Pollywada (which still sounds like a toad city Lewis Carroll would have created for "Alice in Wonderland"). If I ever have kids I'm going to create a land called Pollywada to tell them stories about. The people would obviously be called "Pollywadans". Tikrit sucked but the chow hall confirmed my growing suspicion that Camp Slayer really does have the worst chow hall in the CENTCOM theater of operations.
Well, I've got to wait for another several hours to catch a bird back to Baghdad.
1LT Jonathan L. Paton