Good Evening Everyone,
I haven't updated you on the goings on in our company. We are half way through our tour and we have established a routine. We fell in on a clinic that was very busy when we arrived. Actually, at the time it was the busiest in theater. This was partly due to the fact that a Brigade of soldiers from our State of Indiana was here and they were getting ready to leave and so we had a large number of soldiers who had let their medical problems go during their tour, show up at the last minute and seek care. In December and January our numbers fell off a little, but then this month we have experienced another spike as new units move into the area. So, our medics have stepped up and have been working long hours. I have been very impressed with our troops. Many of them have started taking college classes on line and are really working hard at achieving their degree. Additionally, about half of our troops have gotten into physical fitness. We have a large group of people who go to the gym everyday. It has been great for all of us as far as fitness goes and we are feeling great. As many of you know, I gained a little weight after my injury during my 2005 mobilization. I had five surgeries on my leg and as a result I was physically restricted and my tummy showed it. But since coming here I have to brag to you all that I have lost 42 lbs and am back down to my ideal weight. I am proud of that as I think losing weight is one of the hardest things to do. I couldn't have done it if I hadn't had such a wonderful accountability partner as I have in Bryan. Recently, Doug has joined us and it makes it even more assured that we will show up at the gym.
I want to clear something up. One of my recent letters, I talked about our heightened state of awareness after our last attack. I don't want to worry anyone. We are in perhaps one of the safest places that a soldier can be in, in Iraq. We had a period of time where attacks were minimal, so when we received mortars and rockets hitting an area close to our housing area, we were reminded of the importance of not becoming complacent. But rest assured our living areas are surrounded by blast walls and we are heavily protected. I don't worry for us as much as I do the young soldiers who leave the base and perform operations outside the gate. So, please don't worry about us. Medical officers are the first to hide under a desk or in a bunker because we are scaredy cats. Our medics are brave and generally laugh at us when an explosion goes off and we are the first in the bunker. The other day a door slammed shut and made a loud bang. I looked around and Bryan and Travis were under the desk hugging eachother. Travis was reassuring Bryan saying, 'Don't cry, I will protect you.' It was kind of embarrassing but that is how Travis is...he's a nurturer and protecter. Bless his heart.
Andy is still with the artillary unit. He did call and was a little peev'd that we replaced his under pants with women's panties but when I asked him if he was going airborne or did he resort to wearing the womens garment, he admitted to the latter. So, I just want everyone to know that...'ANDY WEARS WOMEN'S UNDERWEAR! ANDY WEARS WOMEN'S UNDERWEAR!!!
O.k so our maturity is a work in progress.
We have had some our ambulance platoon medics come up and rotate with us. I have been concerned that they will lose some of their clinical skills so we have them come up and focus on more of the clinical training so that if they are tasked out to another clinic, their skills will be up to date. We will be sending some of our medics down to the ambulance platoon and update their EMS skills.
The Iraqi elections are underway and so we are bracing for any violence that may come from that. We are praying that these elections are peaceful. We are also preparing for the implementation of the SOFA agreement which will start the process of sending our troops back home. This may cause an influx of soldiers to our base as they withdrawl from the cities. This would increase the demand of medical services, but I think we are prepared.
We were able to convince the Air Force construction guys to build us a stair case to the roof of our clinic. They asked why we needed access to the roof and our Sergeant told them that we needed access to the electrical wiring and satellite located on top of the building. But I think our true intentions were exposed when they discovered a row of laying folding chairs and a couple of bottles of Tropicana tanning lotion sitting in the center of the roof. They built it for us but I think we may have to give up space for them to come over to our tanning salon whenever they want. Knowing the Air Force they will have a hot tub a swimming pool and a putt putt golf course on that roof by summer's end.
Well, I want to thank you for your prayers and for checking in. Your loved ones are doing well here and everyone is safe. We all miss you guys and are eager to return to the States. We have developed a family bond here but nothing can compare to home.
I hope you are all well and you are in our prayers.