Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Can I just go north to the bad place already?

If there is such a place as purgatory on Earth I am convinced that it must be Kuwait. I really have nothing against the country itself or the hospitality of its people, but this place just sucks...but the suckiness is more the fault of my fellow Americans than anything else...well, the weather is also to blame.

When I first got off the plane I was expecting the usual "holy crap I'm in a giant oven" feeling, but that wasn't the case. Even at 10pm at night this place usually has that "standing in front of a giant hair dryer" feeling to it but I guess Kuwait was seeing a bit of cold spell and it was only 100 degrees when we landed.

The temperature has since increased since we got here. The wind has also picked up which of course brings with it the sand/dust. Describing the drive from the airport to the camp plus what the camp looks like is difficult so I'll just use pictures. Here I am on the trip to the camp...

Yeah, that's totally me

And here's a pretty good picture of what Kuwait looks like...

Oh wait, that's the NICE part

And here's the lovely litte corner of Kuwait we're staying in...

This may be a slight exageration

In all honesty, I'm convinced that Kuwait is set up in such a way that you actually want to get up to Iraq as quickly as possible to escape the heat, sand, and silliness that is this place. I will refrain from discussing the assine rules and ideas that people have come up with here just in case someone from the Army reads this and tries to shut me down.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The adventure begins...or continues

This blog will now be shifting gears to one less about world events or links I find of interest to one more about the daily happenings in 1-14 CAV and 3-2 SBCT during our deployment to Iraq. I may still find the time to link to sites/articles I find of interest but I'm not sure how much free time I will have. Due to the current SOFA agreement with Iraq this has the potential to be either an extremely boring deployment with lots of free time or an extremely busy one in which my squadron jumps around a lot to hotspots where the Iraqi security forces have lost control.

I don't think I'll be lucky enough for the boring deployment.

Short history of the Iraq deployments of 3-2 SBCT:

OCT/NOV 2003-OCT 2004...3-2 SBCT started around Samarra in the infamous "Sunni Triangle". Tactics were developed and the Stryker was pushed to see what it could really do in urban combat. After only a couple of months, 3-2 was sent north to Mosul to replace the entire 101st Airborne Division. 1-14 CAV was sent to the west of Mosul to the area around Tal Afar. Near the end of the deployment, the brigade began to be split up with 1-14 going to the Taji area to conduct convoy protection along RTE Tampa and 1-23 IN being sent south of Baghdad to an area that would become known as the "Triangle of Death" (you get a lot of these "triangle" nicknames in Iraq) to clear out areas and help establish new bases. Unfortunately, I was not in the brigade at this time, but was instead wasting my career in the 502nd MI BN.

July 2006-SEP 2007...3-2 SBCT hit Kuwait knowing it would have some of its units split off from the brigade. 1-23 IN as well as 1-14 CAV would go to Baghdad while the rest of the brigade would head back to Mosul and gain 2-37 AR and later 3-4 CAV. Task organization is often confusing and a bitch. 3-2 would spend its first 5 months in Mosul before being replaced by the 4th brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division. 3-2 was ordered south to Baghdad to replace 172nd SBCT, a unit we had already replaced in Mosul and had their deployment extended 4 months in order to try and save Baghdad which was falling apart. In Baghdad, 3-2 regained 1-23 IN but lost 1-37 FA, its field artillery battalion. 3-2 would become the Corps reserve and move through each neighborhood of Baghdad clearing the battlespace. It felt like a giant game of whack-a-mole. Being the Corps reserve also meant 3-2 had to have a battalion ready to go at any time to deal with emergencies, and each of the infantry battalions would get its emergency mission. 5-20 IN would be sent to Baqubah to help pacify that city; 2-3 IN went to Karbala to help find some MiTT soldiers who went missing and ended up in a 24 hour firefight with an apocalyptic cult; and 1-23 IN was ordered to the "Triangle of Death" to find soldiers from 2/10 Mountain Division who had been captured. It was during this time in Baghdad that it was announced all units in Iraq would be extended from 12 month deployments to 15 months. Eventually, 1-23 IN along with the brigade headquarters and the support battalion would join 5-20 in Baqubah spending the last 3 months of the deployment defeating Al Qaida in what was supposed to be that organizations last stronghold. I would spend my time first as the S2 for 296 BSB and then the assistant S2 for 1-23 IN.

Aug 2009-???...3-2 SBCT once again sets out for Baqubah and the Diyala province. Or so we are being told right now. My squadron commander (who has been in the brigade for years) is in the habit of telling us that he has never left Kuwait going to the same location he originally thought he was going.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Wandering, but not lost

Not that anyone would notice, but I'll be in Europe for the next 2 weeks and may not be updating very much...because I've been obviously updating this thing regularly.

There may be postings of cool pictures from Europe...or not. I will do my best not to get so drunk I leave my battle buddy and get captured by the Taliban.