Wednesday, April 30, 2008

No title

I really don't have a good enough title for this blog entry. It's not that I don't know what this entry will be about.....I just can't think of how to put into two or three words.

First off, thank you to those who comment on here. And thank you to those who email us or send a message to our myspace pages. I check this site at least twice a day to see if anyone has left a message. It lets me know that someone is keeping up with us and we're not forgotten. Now I know we're not forgotten and everyone has busy busy days, and it would be silly to think that everyone sits around hitting the refresh button every five minutes to see if have added anything on here or not. I'm realistic. I know that everyone has thier day to day, and I don't think my day to day is any more important that anyone at home. BUT, the occasional email or comment (DAMN THE AIR CONDITIONER!!) is wonderful to read from time to time. Sorry for the outburst....I'll explain that momentarily. SO, for those that respond, thank you. For those that read and go on...thank you too! But, if you have an extra two seconds, drop us a line to keep our enthusiasm up.

IED.......did you read that entry? If not, stop reading this one, and take the 10 minutes to read, think about it, and re-read it one more time to catch everything.

If you missed the headline today, let me give it to you again.......

"BAGHDAD - The killings of five U.S. soldiers in separate attacks in Baghdad pushed the American death toll for April up to 49, making it the deadliest month since September. One soldier died when his vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb. The second died of wounds sustained when he was attacked by small-arms fire, the military said Wednesday. Both incidents occurred Tuesday in northwestern Baghdad.

A third soldier died after being struck by a bomb while on a foot patrol early Wednesday in a northern section of the capital, while another roadside bomb killed two American soldiers in southern Baghdad, the military said in separate statements...... "

I wish that I could say it's been a quiet couple days here in Mosul, Iraq. But it would be a lie. My team has been through A LOT the last couple days. Please pray for us, and others as lives are changing and families are hurting. My Soldiers are handling everything rather well so far. But it's only the 2nd week of being on the ground here. I wish I could say more, but I can't. Actually, that's all that needs to be said I guess. How many details does one need to answer the call to care? Watch the morning news..... I don't know that you'll see anything yet, but one detail in the first "Bahgdad" paragraph will change....very sadly.

Now about the air mentioned in the "IED" entry, my room shook when the IED went off the other day. Well, every time my AC comes on, it sounds a lot like the other day. Odd, I know, but still. I kinda jump almost everytime the damn thing comes on. With that in mind, I wasn't in my room to feel the blast earlier tonight. I'm not sure how many felt it tonight. But, many will feel it in the morning....

I hope, and I mean I really hope that no one thinks I write things on here so you will feel bad for me, my Soldiers, or any of the brave men and women that do the things we do in defense of our country. That's NOT THE POINT! I don't need your sympathy. And I'm handling everything just fine.... I write the things I write because I want people to see Iraq from a different angle. Not the CNN, or WATE 6 angle of things over here. But from someone with a different view. And my view is very very different of those in other places doing other things. Because I know that our Soldiers are doing incredible things for the Iraqi people. Building schools and all kinds of things for this nation. Unfortunately I see the outcome of a lot of bad things. I wish I was out there to take pictures of the good things going here...but I'm not. So am I any different from CNN and the local news.....yeah, I think so. I may only talk about some of the bad things that happen, but hopefully with the emotion and personal aspect of it you won't just look at the headlines, blame Mr. Bush, tell your buddy this war is b.s. and move on. Hopefully you'll care and look past the blaming part, realize there isn't much as an individual that you can do to end the war, and care about the Soldiers and thier families. So, again, sometimes the things I put on here is to get you to think.....

Hopefully I'll have some exciting stuff to talk about next time......

Love you all, and I miss being home!! I miss the motorcycle and car shows, and a good steak from O'Chux. You all take care, and be good!


Saturday, April 26, 2008


Did you see on the news today where an IED or a VBIED (Vehicle Born Improvised Explosive Devise...they put bombs in their cars) blew up on the news today? Did you glance at the TV and sucks for them, or humm and go back to painting your toes, or switch back to days of our lives....?? Or did you see where an RPG ( Rocket Propelled Grenade) hit an Army truck flipping it over injuring all inside? How long did you stop to think...damn, that's not good. Or did you even think about it at all? Did you keep doing what you were doing not out of inconsideration to what is going on over here and by no means was it because you don't worry about those people or were busy....or possibly just de-sensitized because you see it so often on the news. Of course you didnt see that stuff on the news.....but, response was different.

The RPG was first..."did you feel that?" 45 min later a phone call comes in....1-6 Soldiers in an IED blast....get ready! We rush to the CSH (Combat Support Hospital) to get ready not knowing what just happened...Heart thumping, nervous as shit because we have no idea what will be on the inside of the vehicle when the doors open and the injured get out... Is this the day that I will really see some nasty shit? 2-6 of our guys! OUR GUYS! It's not some Iraq insurgent that got what he deserved, but our guys! A tank and another large vehicle pull up....I go to the large vehicle...the automatic rear hatch opens....

Next.....3 hours later, sitting back in the office where Pat Sayjack and Vana White keep us entertained while we are not busy.... just finished talking to John about this and that, just sitting around in our comfort zone... The blast shook our building so hard, people that have been here for a while and are used to it, came out to see what happened. What was that!?!? A smoke cloud billows about a mile maybe two from our location... not much smoke...but some...we go up on the roof and look to see where the explosion took place..... minutes go by, we settle ourselves, and go back to the office....and wait. We wait with that same sick feeling in our stomach. What will be waiting for us? More blood and gore? Sick....sick because the thoughts of horror running through our head have no mercy....war has no mercy. So, we wait. We wait for the phone call that says "come help us get patients into the CSH". The phone call never came.

1800. My NCOIC bought a wonderful new's called a "magic jack" and I was in my room trying to get it to work so he could call his wife. Browsing the internet while downloading some software.... the blast rattled my door like a scared school girl was trying to get in a locked door with the boogie man after her....get it? Layman's shook the shit out of my hooch. So, this time I grab my video camera, go to the roof top. Finding the smoke this time was easy. About 8 miles away or so.... a fresh mushroom cloud was on the horizon. About a min of video, and I head back downstairs to the office and wait on a phone call. 1900...shift change....back in my room trying to figure out the "magic Jack" (awsome by the way....if anyone wants to buy one or two, I'll be happy to give them to a Soldier that will use it graciously) with my radio next to me just in case....then, a beat on my door. "SGT Strader, wanna help, we got 6 more!" Sure! I'm not gonna sit back while they need help. We scurry to the CSH...."what do we got?" 5-6 IA (Iraqi Army) Soldiers from the blast....not sure if it was an IED or VBIED, but whatever caused the mushroom cloud....caused these guys to be sent to us. Pictures from T.V. can't prepare you for this...the pictures we saw in training...we're good enough. The times they tell you to stay calm....calm my ass. If I could smoke out there....I'd chain smoke. I'm calm on the surface, but my nerves are out of control. I was expecting a few vehicles like earlier this morning....up pulls one Ambulance. I open the back doors, American Soldier gets out...."take him first, him second, third, fourth, and him last!" So myself, my team, and other Soldiers and Docs get these guys off the truck. My eyes racing...heart thumping....can't really hear too much because my brain just isn't processing all the chaos. My brain tells my arms.... "Get the litter off, get the litter off!!" too easy right....yeah, I did get enough practice with that part. So is it now?! Blood and gore? Dismemberment and disgusting??.... It was a pretty good sized mushroom much of this guy will be missing?

Now let's get one thing straight. I'm not afraid of the blood. I'd like to say that I'm not afraid of the nasty part of someone being messed up....let's re-think the situations I've dealt with before.... a motorcycle wreck in P.F., a car wreck in sevierville, my own wounds through life, people at the VA hospital....wait I know what it is.....none of those injuries were blast injuries that cause a person to be blown in half....or be missing an arm, leg, or both. None of those injuries included the patient yelling in pain in my not so good left ear.(thanks John) Only one of those incidents required me to actually think and re-act. So, is it the blood, NO. Is it the gore and nastyness.....maybe. Is it a fear of "oh I don't want to see it, please no!".....No, it's not like that at all....I want to see it. I want to know how my body and, more so my mind will react. It's kinda like jumping out of planes for a living.... you tell yourself you can train to do're ready for it....but when it comes time for you to stand at that door for the 1st time... butterflies are THERE! But after you either jump or get kicked out of the's usually ok.

So, re-cap: RPG: lucky guys! No serious injuries that I know of. No blood, no mess.
1st explosion: "Controlled explosion"
2nd explosion: Nothing traumatic. One gash to the head...interesting drain tube, other injuries....bad to the patients...but not worth talking gore, no bloody mess.

So, did you see the news, stop for three seconds and say a prayer for our brave guys fighting day in and day out. And I promise's every day....either small arms or big blasts. Everyday something. Someone, somewhere stopped and said a prayer....I know that because 4 hospital beds are empty and 4 Soldiers are back at their unit telling the story to thier moms and dads and loved ones about how they survived their vehicle being blown upside down by an RPG.

Somewhere.....thank you. Thank your for your prayers.

So what's an IED to you?
Hopefull it's not just an unnoticed daily headline on CNN.

Somewhere in Iraq,

SGT Strader

Friday, April 25, 2008


I forgot to include these pictures of the rain in the last post, so I am doing it now. I know that some of you have heard me talk about the rain and the flooding. When it rains, it pours and floods FAST. There is not much to say about these other than it sucks and makes it hard not to walk through water. Thank goodness I have waterproof boots for those days.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tobi Keith/Exercise/"Black" Ops

Was not sure where to start this blog. There has been a lot that has been going on. I guess I will start with Tobi Keith. We have known for a long time that he was coming, and he finally did. On Tues night he did an unscheduled concert here on BAF. He was unable to make it to two other FOBs due to weather, so we got to benefit from it.

They made all the white hicks/hillbillies/rednecks work the concert. Working the concert consisted of waiting for VIPs (Generals and Colonels) to show up so that we show them where to sit in reserve seating, and guess what, they did not come. That meant that the guys that I work with got the front row. We had a blast.

Last night Tobi came up to our office, as do all visitors, to sign autographs, take pictures and sign the wall. I am not sure if I told you before, but the wall in the office full of autographs of people that have came and visited Afghanistan. As you can see, I got my picture taken, although not a big fan like others were.

Now I bet you are wondering why people are all dressed in black. We were all trying to be like SGT Howard (aka Token). Just kidding. Earlier in the night we were having cigar night, as you can see by the picture, and SPC Stephens decided to come up and ankle SSG Cundiff. She ran off laughing and we swore revenge. We dressed in all black, some idiots painted their face, and went hunting for her. As you can see, PFC McCollough could not decide what to wear. He was worse than a damn girl.

We hunted for hours for her and never found her. We hid in bunkers waiting on her to come by, we walked around, did everything we could think of and never found her. Come to find out the next morning, she was hiding in her room and had some one lock her door from the outside so it looked like no one was there. We had forgotten about it until today when she stuck her finger in my egg salad while I was eating lunch and decided to get her after all.

After we gave up on finding her, we decided to get innocent SGT Bahena instead. We snuck into his B hut and knocked on his door. When he opened it, we attacked. With a laundry bag over his head we tied his legs and hands together and had a great laugh.

Most of us have decided that it is time to get serious about loosing weight and looking good for wives/girlfriends/ex-wives and whoever. We have started going to the gym each day during our lunch time and working out really hard eventhough we are still doing PT in the mornings. I can feel a big improvement in myself. Running is getting a lot easier and I am running a lot faster for longer distances. We have been running longer distances each time. We are working up to running the 8 mile loop around base. They have been trying to get to run all this week, but I am not ready. Hopefully, by the time that I come home, no one will recognize me from all the weight loss. I have about 25 more pounds to go to get to where I want to be.

Work is getting a lot easier too. I have learned more than I could have ever imagined. It has about gotten to the point where my boss does not even have to answer question and lets me handle the section on my own. I have gotten my soldiers trained up and they are doing better each day. I am really proud of them.

I get to talk to Jeremy a lot too. It is a local phone call for us to call each other and we do almost daily. He called and asked for shaving cream and the next I had a box in the mail to him. I can't believe that there was not one can of shaving cream here or there. I got mad ordered us some off the internet, so he is good and will not need any for a long time. He seems to being good and I will never say enough how proud of him I am. We have had our problems as brothers, but I am glad he is here. I could not ask for a better brother. Oh and the bastard will get to see Tobi Keith too and work on the medical detail assigned to him in Iraq. Not sure when that will be, but I am sure it is soon.

We have been getting boxes from groups and churches and you should see the faces of the people in the office when we get one. We read all the letters and write letters in return. It is great knowing that we have so much support out there.

Speaking of support, our parents are the best. They have sent us some things that have really been great. I know that for me, having "paint" and foam insulating tape will really help. I was so excited to see that stuff in the box. I am going to work on that today while I have a little time off of work. Mom and Dad have done so much for us that there is no way that we will ever be able to thank them enough. Mom has jumped through hoops to help me with Courtney's birthday present, finding Orange Mint Lifesavers and getting some slim jims over here. You have no idea how many people come in the office looking for slim jims. The guys in the office usually take most of them and hide them for themselves. I am not a big fan, but they are. You would think it was crack or something. Oh, and mom sent me some Kool-Aid single use thingys, and people are trying to kill me to get them. I have to keep them hidden as well. I almost forgot/did not want to admit, that the last box that mom sent us, I was supposed to send some things on the Jeremy, which I sort of did. (that sentence was long and messed up) Anyway, I was supposed to send the peanut M&Ms to Jeremy and I was so excited when I saw them that I put them in my desk. They have been in my desk for a few days and this morning opened them and shard some. Some one noticed the sticky note and asked who Jeremy was I realized that they were for him. I almost felt a little bad, but I will get him some to replace them. Actually, I might just order him some right now. Nah, he will be OK.

I was trying to say that you all need to pat my mom and dad on the back. They are doing so much for us. I love them and miss them and one day I will be able to pay them back for all that they have done in such a little time. They have set the standard and we will see if they keep it up.

To everyone else, thank you for the prayers and keep them coming.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

War is real...

Well, I saw my first battle field injuries today.... I didn't have to treat the guy, but those who did, took care of him. He was in good hands. When I took him off the bird, he was pretty close to gone....surprisingly it wasn't quiet as difficult to handle as I expected. I can still see the guy's face clear as day in my head, but soon, it will go away. It brought this whole thing to new level. I've seen someone die before, but this was pretty different. In training they teach us so much, not realizing how true it really is. First hand, the shit's for real! In a way it kinda sucks that someone wasn't a better shot.....because if they were, we wouldn't have gotten this guy as bad off as he was....he would have been dead instead. I don't quiet now if that's right to say but he asked to get shot. He made the decision to be an insurgent....and with that comes the risk of getting your ass kicked by American Soldiers!! Yes, it's true when they teach us that if you shoot or wound the enemy, and they don't die, you treat them as a Soldier. And that is exactly what happened. The field medic did a pretty good would I react to that situation in the field....I don't know.

Well, that's about all I have to say about that.

SGT Strader

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Iraq is my new home....

!Well ya'll, I finally made it to my final destination...Mosule, Iraq. Let me be the first to tell everyone that I'm safe. I'm not going to be running missions, leaving the base, or doing anything crazy. I have a VERY slim chance of even firing my weapon. Now, I would love to come home and tell some awsome stories of how me and some infantry guys kicked some ass....but my stories will be much much different...if they get told. Although I may not leave my 2 sq mile area, my group has a challenging year ahead of us. My job will be to get patients off the helicopter (the bird) and take them into the ER where they will receive treatment. That's about it. All the training on how to save lives, kick ass, and be a real Soldier more than likely will have to wait for another day. I'm sure most of you reading this are saying "good, too bad, but good." My roommate is a Navy mental health guy. He seems pretty cool so far. He plays guitar and I my first thought was of this skinny nerdy guy (flames on guitar) and it was gonna suck. But he has surprised me so far....not a skinny nerd but a married family man that seems to be pretty smart. Enough about him....

My trip from Kuwait was a REALLY interesting one! The first night in the airport area we were lucky enough to find ourselves on an a flight we didn't have to wait very long for (not usual at all-many delayed 2 days delayed). So here we are, on the plane, ready for takeoff...1830ish. Down the runway we go....we almost get to the point of lifting off the ground when the pilot taps the breaks...then SLAMS on the breaks...for the second time in my life, I thought I was going to die. The airforce guys were yelling to hold on, we were like "OH SHIT!!" I thought for sure we were going to run off the runway, nose dive into a fire ball....BUT we finally got stopped not far from the end of the runway. All over right? Not quiet....they opened the back hatch of the plane-cargo loading area- to get off and check the plane. Natually smoke from the breaks half filled the cargo/passenger compartment(C-130). Then the airforce guys get back on the plane...yelling "GET OFF!! GET OFF THE PLANE!!!" Oh shit!! I survived the stopping, now the damn thing is on's going to blow up now! GET OFF THE DAMN PLANE!! Luckily they opened the front door(crew door) and a handful of us went out the front.... so what happened? Supposedly engine 4 had a problem and when a light came on they had to stop. Then because of the speed and weight, the breaks got so hot hey basically melted on the runway...making it look like something may be on fire, or might catch fire. So after about an hour of standing between runways looking at the fire dept and the crew mess with the plane, we got on a bus. About 2 hours later we were finally released from the situation, got our bags, and found our temp home. A tent with 10 Soldiers in least this time we had a bunk and not a cot. So two days later, we left for Iraq. And now here I sit....tired, bored, and falling asleep.

I miss everone and hope all is well. I told my mom some things I would like and I'll share them on here as well: Crystal Light drink powders....Crystal Light really knows what they are doing. They are AWSOME! Any flavor basically. The OJ is prob the best. If you have friends that don't use baseball/softball gloves or balls that would be cool-they have a league here, chocolate is always a plus....I have a love for P-Nut M&M's.....Oh, and I realized that none of PX's here have the gel shaving cream....please please Gel Shaving Cream....moisture plus or sensitive skin is what I normally use.

Well, I'm done for today. I've been taking pictures and videos of stuff and will be sending them home soon...

I miss you all and can't wait to hear from you!

Viper Medics!

SGT Strader

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Well, here is my best shot....for now. It just sucks that the camera is hard to take pics with and was kinda shaky....gotta time up.

Ok, next day....more time to write...So I couldn't think of much to was hard to come up with this shot, and I wish it was a little more clear....BUT, the 9mm, M16, suspenders, green nit hat from a care package, sunglasses, and shower shoes is what you're getting for now. I'll think of something better when I get some better resources.

We are about to pack up and head north. I got most of my stuff packed last night....I'm waiting on the retention office to open so I can re-enlist for another 6 years of fun. Making my total time of commitment left of 7 years. But by the time I get home, it will be 6 again. Well, I'm not gonna make this too long.....I'll put another one up here soon

SGT Strader

Friday, April 11, 2008

You Can Do It

Jeremy is claiming that he is going to out do me on the pictures. Well, if he does, we will try again to have the better picture up. This can get interesting and be enjoyment for everyone else. You all my get some good laughs out of this competition if he makes it that way.

Enough of that though. The rainy season is here and today is the first day of sun in over a week. It was great today. I left early today because today is "low battle rhythm" day and took some pretty good pix. I hope that you enjoy them. The mountains got fresh snow from all the rain we had here. They were gorgeous today. Hold on, I am going to run outside and see if I missed sunset.

I missed it. Oh well.

We are finally caught up in awards. You have no idea how much stress is lifted off of me and how better I feel. Now I am bored to death though. I was given a large task to complete by the end of the day tomorrow two days ago and I did not think I was going to be able to do it. I had to change a lot of things in the database and I had no idea on how to do it. I spent two very long days focusing all my energy and efforts on it and finished it yesterday. I did not have the first clue as to what to do, but because it had to do with a computer, I figured it all out. I was emailing people and walking around looking for help and no one could help me. I was so excited and proud that I got it done. My boss was even amazed that I got it done. He did not think we would be able to do it, and I proved him wrong. His boss wanted all the reports changed and how things were logged changed and we made it happen. I went further than was asked and made it even better than was required.

Enough bragging for now. It is "Fat Friday" and we are getting ready to go eat some pizza.

One thing that I forgot to mention. Yesterday morning we had a fallen comrade ceremony. There was a soldier that was killed in action and before they shipped his body home, they drove it down the road while "Disney Road" was lined with every soldier, sailor, airman, and marine on post. It was very hard to watch that, but it makes you realize the sacrifice that is made. Please remember all my fallen brothers and sisters in your prayers and their families.

People are still asking what I mailed here. For now it is the same things: orange mint lifesaver, homemade cookies, the small slim jims (original and spicy), single use kool-aid (I don't want sugar free), disinfecting wipes, and other small junk food. Oh and letters and pictures of home. Never have enough of those.

Jeremy and I talked about it, and Mom and Dad are doing it, and we are suggesting that you mail one box to both of us. Mail it to one or the other and we will send what belongs to other on to them. That way you are only paying shipping one time. We do not have pay shipping for ANYTHING that we mail each other, no matter the size. I know that mom is mailing me a box and I sending what she tells to Jeremy. It is too easy.

I want to thank you all for all the support and all that you are all doing for us. Here is Jeremy's address and mine again:

Jeremy Strader



APO AE 09334

John Strader
CJTF-101, CJ1
APO AE 09354

Until next time:


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Settling in...

Well hello everyone. How is life back in TN? Life here in Kuwait is absolutely horrible!! It's hot, there's sand everywhere and I mean EVERYWHERE (on and off my body), it's windy(more sand), there's nothing to eat other than nasty chow hall food, bombs come in every day, there's nothing to do, and my Unit is bunch of idiots.....

WOW! Did I have you going? It's not bad here at all. It is hot but it's a dry heat so 90 feels like about 75-80 with a nice wind blowing, sand....yeah it's the desert but it's not in my ass....yet. Windy-not too bad it's more like a nice southernly breeze. Now the other day it did pick up, but it wasn't too bad. Food....WOW!! We have a taco bell, burger king, starbucks, KFC, two other no name places, a hot dog place, and the chow halls are AWSOME!! I understand it when people say you can come to the desert and get joke. And most important, the only explosions I hear come from the porta potty. There are some really loud generators, but other than that, we're good.

I've figured out how to call home for free. That's nice. Johnny I'll try to call as soon as I can get to the phones. It may be free, but it's a pain in the ass. We have to have a buddy everywhere we go so I have to find someone that doesn't mind going and sitting in line while I wait to use the phone. And then sit around longer while I'm on the phone. That's the only thing that holds me back from calling more. I found myself in an office today with a phone so I took advantage of it and called John. Sorry it was like 230 am USA time. Plus I didn't know how long I would be in that office. Anyway.....given the opportunity, a buddy, and a phone, I can call home for free whenever.

I don't think I'll get the 5 day blues or whatever John's talking about. I'm surrounded by too many fun people and have too much to do and look forward to for anything to get me down. We've some training that's keeping us busy, Jana, my wife, will be in the states tomorrow!!! YEAH! And that's day five or something so I'm pretty sure I'll be ok. One thing that does suck, she flys on Thursday morning and lands Thurs night....well that's early Friday for me so although she'll get there "tomorrow" I have to wait until Friday to talk to her and everyone.

OH, everyone keeps wanting to know what I want people so send...well John was right. The little packets of juice to put in our water is PERFECT!! We got a care package and it had....hold on, I kept the empty packet in my pocket for the last three days so I wouldn't forget.... "Crystal light sunrist, classic orange, sugar free on the go" Is awsome! Best Orange juice we've had yet! So any others in this line will hopefully be just as good. I got two of them in my care package, I haven't drank the other one yet...I almost feel like I should wait for something special to drink's that good. Anyway, I'm going on about a drink powder. Something else to think about sending.....and I say think about because they're expensive. Two way radios like the ones I got at Bass Pro. The ones I bought were $40, Midland, 22 channel, (not waterproof-I think) black radios. Myself and a handful-small handful are going to be seperated from the rest of the unit and we want to make sure we can keep in touch at all times on the FOB if necessary. Oh, and the always loved cookies! Ummm!

Well, I think I'm just wasting time now. This is getting really long. I'm gonna put some pics on here and head to dinner....oh and I'm working on out-doing John's pic in his boxers. Believe it!

OK, OK enough for now.....

Love and miss everyone!!

SGT Wormy

Monday, April 7, 2008

Mom's Request

The main part of this post is to fulfill a request by my mom. A few days ago we were sitting in our rooms and PFC McCollough decided that it would be funny if we only had on underwear, boots, socks, everyone a different hat, IOTV (flak vest) and weapons and took pictures to send home to wives and girlfriends, and ex wives. So, we were dumb enough to do it. I sent the picture of only me to my mom and she has asked me to post it on here. I did not want to get flooded with girls coming after because I am so hot with my ghost white legs, boxer briefs, and just plain sexy legs. But after a little convincing, I gave in. Anything to make mom happy.

I also promised the other guys the pictures of them would not end up on here. I guess I lied.

Jeremy called me twice yesterday. He is in Kuwait and has been there since Saturday. He seems to be in good spirits right now. I just hope he is warned about "day five" blues and crash. I keep forgetting to tell him about it when he calls. It is nice that he is so close and call me so easily. There is only 1.5 hour time difference for us. I hope that he keeps calling. I am very proud that he finally made it to this part of the world. He called yesterday while we were doing News, Weather and Sports. We do that every morning to update each other on what is going on the world. We all take turns doing it. I got to make an announcement that he made after he called. Later in the day he called and I was not in the office and told the soldier that it was SGT Strader looking for SGT Strader. It kind of through the soldier off. I walked in right before he hung up and I got to talk to him for a little while.

I finally had some time to get my work caught up yesterday. It felt so good to get so much done. Well, it is time for breakfast. I hope to hear from everyone soon.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

What Day Is It??

Here I sit again in the B Hut with nothing to do. Earlier in the week I had pink and now it is strep throat. This is so much fun. I just love not getting to work. It puts me so far behind and makes it harder on other people in my section.

I found out that we have themes for certain days of the week.

Malaria Monday: We take our Malaria pills

Taco Tuesday: The chow hall has sorry excuses for tacos and burritos

Weapons Wednesday: We have to clean our weapons for inspection on Thur morning

Fat Friday: We eat all of anything that we want. This past week it was pizza and mountain dews.

The other night we got a little stupid on taking pictures. One guy said for us to strip down to underwear, put on our flak vests, hats, boots and weapons and take some pictures. To say the least, the pictures are very funny. I am not going to post them on here, but if you want to see them, just me know.

Well, I am going to sit around and watch some movies and twiddle my thumbs. So much freaking fun I can barely contain myself.

I hope to hear from you all soon!!!

Oh, I got email from Jeremy at 930pm EST that said he was in Ireland. He should in Kuwait pretty soon. I will let you know when I hear from him.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Rainy Day Off

I finally got a day off. It is not as exciting as I was hoping. It is 10am and I am bored to death and it is giving me too much time to think about things and people that I am missing. With it being 1am for everyone at home, I can't just pick up the phone and call and talk to anyone. That part really sucks for me. I guess I have more time to write more and think of things that I keep forgetting to mention.

For one, I my own little "Disney" here. The main road where we all live and where everything is Disney. I get tired of saluting nonstop while walking down the sidewalk. We are hoping that General Schloesser will stop it when he takes over in a few days.

I have been working pretty hard cleaning up the mess that the 82nd Airborne left for us. They left files lying around everywhere and we have to figure what is going on. That is a huge project by itself. I also get several emails a day wanting to know the status of awards and I have to search for them and try to get back to the people. At the beginning of the week I have over 50 emails that I needed to follow up on and I am down to about 30 right now. But, with taking a day off, I am sure that there are going to several more for me tomorrow. My section has already developed some pretty good relationships with some higher ranking people. For example, PFC McCollough helped out a Colonel and a Lieutenant Colonel with some things that the 82nd dropped the ball on and it paid off pretty well. Yesterday the Colonel called McCollough and asked if we had anything that needed picked up in Kabul and we did. He brought it back to us and had his soldiers carry it up to us instead of telling us to come and get it. It was quite a bit of NATO medals. He told PFC McCollough that is what happens when you help some one out.

We are even developing relationships with people in Kuwait and Germany. This wll be beneficial later on I am sure.

We have been having some pretty nice weather too, except for today. It has been raining for several hours, which makes me a little happier I am off today. Another good reason to be off today is that the laundry service must have lost my clothes. It was supposed to be back two days ago. We are only allowed to turn in 20 items at a time. I went ahead and turned in another bag yesterday and I hoping to get it today or tomorrow because I am out of clean underwear and t-shirts and my PT uniform is starting to smell really bad.

A little not so good news. Yesterday we ran over 5 miles for the first time since I got here. I was struggling quite a bit throughout the run. When we finally got back I did my normal puking. But this time it got worse. A few minutes later when we were doing our cool down stretches I started getting dizzy. I continued on until I started blacking out and hypervenilating. It really scared me and my platoon sergeant. It took me a while to calm down and catch my breathe. That has never happened to me before and I hope it never happens again.

Also, I went to the doctor the other day and I had pink eye for the first time in my life. Of course it spread to my other eye. The doctor told me it is going pretty bad here. Atleast if I get it again I have the drops and don't have to go to the doctor again.

Jeremy called me at work the other day. I am assuming he is on his way to Kuwait, if not there already, so that he can get to Iraq. They changed where he is going again. Now he is going to be outside of Mosul instead of at Mosul. I just hope he is careful and with a group of guys that now what they are doing. It also makes me feel better having a prior infantry guy who was in Iraq as infantry telling how it works with the medics. It made feel a lot better when he was explaining it to me the other day.

I putting some pictures on here in random places for you to see. These mountain pictures I took yesterday. I had to climb up on a bunker in the morning to get the shots. These are all from right outside of my hut. Yes, I am living on the "wire", which on the outside of the post. On a clear day, you see a small village on the side of the mountain. When we have another clear day, I will setup the tripod and zoom in on it and get it posted here.

You have PFC McCollough on here before.

Here is a picture of the SSG Cundiff showing his best side.

And here is one of SSG Butler taking a picture of me.

Well, I am going to try and find something to do on this long boring day. If I can find some paper, I am going to handwrite a letter or two. I am wanting to get one out to Courtney as soon as I can and today is the day to get it done.

I hope everyone at home is doing good, and until next time AIR ASSAULT!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Well here I sit again, bored out of my mind. The last few days before going to a world unknown to me an many more that are in my unit. The Army's motto is "hurry up and wait"....well, I'm there.....waiting. Although, I will say each sunrise and sunset that I get to see in this beautiful Texas/New Mexico sky is always worth it.

We got our weapons back today....and the rest of our gear. Two steps closer to getting on a plane. We're getting ready to ship out soon. I swear I had a thought but I just lost it......

Bro, I hope that you're doing well. I also hope that my shack is a little bigger than yours....that looks like it sucks.....tiny little thing. My location changed again. I'll be in Northern Iraq at a Camp near Mosul. Just like in Germany I'll be separated from the rest of the Company. Well, that is as of now.....

So, my trip back home last weekend was a blast!! It could have been better though.....we were so so close to getting Jana (my wife) to TN before I left. I know Jitka and Johnny were not happy....not mention myself. She'll be in TN sometime next week. Johnny did a pretty good job at making sure I couldn't walk by the end of the one night.....I barely stumbled my way to the car...... I got to spend some really nice time with my parents and friends. It just went by way too fast. There were so many people I didn't get to see while I was home. Fred, people at O'Chux, and other friends will be missed. To those I did get to see, it was nice to see everyone. I hope everyone made a few more good memories. Johnny and my dad got the Ninja back up and running....THANK YOU!!! I got to ride one and a half days.....ending with a ride home in the rain. A safe ride home that is..... no wrecks that time. It's amazing what a little spill will do to calm your nerves. I had a wonderful time while I was home. And we'll all do it again before you know it. To everyone, take care. I'll see you all sooner than you think. Next thing you know, I'll be throwing a coming home party..... till then, I appreciate all your thoughts and prayers. And as my brother said....people are asking what I want....I have no idea. I told my mom that I have developed this "pregnant woman odd craving" for peanut M&M's and peanut butter M&M's.

Well, I'm gonna close this off for now. Thank everyone for a wonderful trip home. Mom, Dad I love you! Johnny and Jika, I love you too and take care of little man... Jana, I love you too! And I wish I could have seen you before I left....I really really hope that you enjoy your new home....both the house we've built for us, and the new surrounding and life we're giving you. Johnny has strict instructions to take care of you....hold him to it. Anything you want, you tell him and he'll get it for you! And don't argue like you did in Germany. :-) Ok, ok....everyone take care and I love you all!

Jeremy Strader