Sunday, June 29, 2008

Christmas in June

Well, hello everyone! As always it's good to be alive, and thank you thank you thank you for your support!! This email is for those who have recently donated your kindness to us!

Christmas in Iraq.

WOWEE!! As you probably read the mail system here in 'somewhere in iraq' was down for about a week. I was expecting a few things from my folks, I think the other Soldiers were expecting a few things too.......BUT WOW!!! Thank you to those who sent boxes to us! I think we had 5 or 6 boxes of stuff to open. It really was like Christmas. I gave one box to two people over there to open, one to a couple more Soldiers to open, I opened was awsome. Just to see the faces brighten up after a long day of the Soldiers in my unit was AWSOME!! We got sheets for our beds, bath towels, candy, beef jerky, new socks, DVD's, blankets, soap, shampoo, other personal requests(thanks mom and dad!) gosh I can't even remember everything!! It was great! It really really was. Thank you! I'm not sure people realize how great it is to get stuff in the mail. Especially random goodies and stuff that we just can't get over here. Just think, if you have last minute itch for something on your way from go to Wally World or Kroger or where ever and get it. We don't have that option. We're very limited on the stuff we can aquire. So again, THANK YOU SO VERY VERY MUCH!! I will update the Hall of Fame soon. I forgot the names of the people that sent stuff in the office, but I will update it soon! THANK YOU!!!

Now, if it's ok....I'd like to request some other items that we and the injured Soldiers in the Hospital could use.

Injured Soldiers first:
1) T-shirts, shorts, underwear, socks. When they come in they are usually in uniform....well we usually have to quickly cut that off of them. So it leaves them stranded with nothing to wear but gowns and sheets. It would be great to have something to give them. Extra event t-shirts, plain cotton shirts(colored or white) from Wally World, $3 shirts on the clearance rack.....again nothing expensive or extravagant.
2) Calling cards to call home with.
3) Disposable razors.

Items my Soldiers have asked for:
1) Calling cards to call home with
2) Family Guy shows (DVD's-used, burned, whatever-we like family guy.)
3) A couch cover - we have an old old couch in our office that's hard as crap to sit on.
4) A guitar...again - not expensive! Acoustic...maybe one from a yard sale or one you don't use anymore...

THANK YOU SO SO MUCH again for all your support!! We also want to express that if anyone knows someone else over here and they need something that we can help with, PLEASE let us know. We want to help others just like others are helping us. Our PX is getting better at having the basic necessities so if you know about another group that needs something, please let us know. I just can't express how much we appreciate everything that people are doing for us. And if there's a chance for us to help and pass on the support to someone else in need, we will. From the 407th, my brother, and myself....THANK YOU!!!

Somewhere in Iraq
SGT Wormy


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Email to Jeremy

I thought I would share an email that I sent to my brother. Some will not make sense, and I am not going to explain it because it is personal and between us. There are areas filled with ................ that means I took something out that is no one's business but ours. Once again, thank you for the support, and for the support from the strangers who we only know names. We appreciate all that is done for us. Like Jeremy said, the little toys (thank you from some mom; the playdough went over well) really help with the days. Mom, I am still waiting on that helicopter!! Squirt guns and stuff like that are really nice. We are asking for some bowls. Plastic tupperware or whatever. We have a lot of people that eat oatmeal (speaking of which, I am dying for some GOOD oatmeal, organic or all natural or whatever I can get) and instant noodle and mac and cheese and we never have any bowls or silverware. If I have a real spoon, I would be the happiest person in the world right now.

Well, here is the email:

I am not sure to say to you other than, welcome to a life that you never wanted and always wanted! When I was 19 and met Christina I was excited that I had found someone I thought I could make happy and be happy with. I thought that way all the way up until I left her and we were divorced. Life is a roller coaster that we cannot control and there is no need in trying too. We can see the error of our ways, pull the brake and tell everyone with us to hold on only to derail around the first curve and take others with us and leave some behind. I have thought about all of this a lot. You have to remember I start work at 1am with two or three people in the office with me for the first 8 hours of work and up to 30 the last four hours. That in itself is a roller coaster (looks like I am writing my next blog for the most part). You find something that brings joy to your life and happiness and after a while it gets boring and you long for something greater and challenges you have never faced. One challenge I have thought for years is a two week vacation. The first day someone takes me somewhere and drops me off, with me not knowing where I am, and I find a way to get home. I thought of the tiniest detail down the to the amount of money in my pocket. A challenge like or unlike this would give you a story to tell the next time you are talking over a beer or to your grand kids down the road. What I am trying to get at is that the longer you allow boredom to control you, the greater risks you are willing to take. Just like when you learned to do wheelies on the motorcycle, you would not stop, then it got boring and you tried other stuff to get that rush. I think we both approached the army looking for that rush, that danger and all the challenges in it. We both found something that we are very good at and the Army is it. You have not realized it about yourself as much I have of myself. I know that you want to do more, but you are making a difference even if you have nothing to do. I read the reports all the time of people doing great things out there and I want to be there too. But I have to remember that I putting a medal on someone’s chest that has deserved it. Napoleon started this way back when he gave troops small pieces of colored cloth to reward them because that was all he had to give them. The tradition has carried on and I helping give someone that boost of morale to help them continue what they are doing or to make a family proud when the soldier receives a Medal Of Honor posthumously. This is not about you, it is about us. We are two brothers that walked away from a life we know and love into something we did not know. I knew the day I signed the papers in October where I was headed, but did not know until I got here what I was going to be doing. You signed papers thinking you would do one thing, and you need to thank God you are as safe as you are. You have experienced more in a few months than most will experience in a lifetime. You and I both have faced more danger in a few months than we have our entire lives. We might not have those stories that get us free drinks all night, but we were here, we came, we saw, and we conquered the hardest task life has given us. We walked away from all that is known and expected every day to strange difficult life. You are dealing............... I am trying to start and maintain........... Every day the thoughts go through my head about ways to get home. I can go to the hospital and complain about my hip and maybe get a plane ticket, but I be damned if my little brother is going to stay gone longer than me. I am here, I am proud and I will continue to pray on my hands and knees every morning at 1200am to God while I wait for SSG Cundiff and PFC McCollough that I continue to have the strength to carry on with a mission that HE has put me on. I did not choose it, it was chosen for me. We have some of the most supportive parents in the world. Hell, they will not take money that I demand, insist and have to cuss about to get them to take it whether they need it or want it. They would rather short themselves and support us here than they would take our money and help themselves when we all know they need it. We are no better than the guy sitting next to us, but we sure as hell try to be. We are both stressed, just like the thousands of other brothers and sister we have here. No one is immune, no one is better than the next. From the top to the bottom, we all stress and have hard days. That is why you stay so busy when you are gone. Too much time and you think too much just like you did. Now, what can you do to stop the irritating, depressing thoughts? Start writing down and budgeting for challenges and goals when you get home. I have a small list in my head, and I will not fail at one of them. Failure with this is not an option. Just like I have to work so hard to get into shape and loose weight. I am going to pass a PT test before Oct if it kills me. I will also loose twenty more pounds before I get on that plane. I will know if I am ready for another....... I will make more changes and reach more goals before I get home in Oct and succeed at even more by June 2009. You are a great soldier, a caring person, someone that EVERYONE loves, and the best brother anyone can ask for. You tried your heart out to come to Afghanistan, and I am glad you did not make it and I sad you did not make it. Afghanistan is now more deadly for troops that Iraq. Per person here, the death percentage is a lot higher than there. That was great news to me. That meant there was a less chance of you getting hurt there. I am now in more danger than you and I could not be happier (I am NOT suicidal so don't think it). We have both been successful in our own little ways. It has always seemed to me that life is easier for you, but you hide the downs better and you seem to try harder than I do. I just complain, and you do something about it. I envy you for this and try to be more like you in that way, and not to mention people know you and love you everywhere you go. We are brothers, brought up under the same house under the same rules and the same expectations. I am lazier than you and cannot stand manual labor. You know more about some things and are better at some and the same with me. We are the very different people who are the same. I do not know anyone here who has a brother that is willing to put his life on the line and fight so hard to go to war with his brother. You get kudos all the time for being there and fighting to get there. Mom and dad get even more for being so strong with having their only two sons in war zones. You have a goal to look like a big stud when you get home. Keep it up, although I can still kick your ass, and see what happens. You have a goal and cannot let yourself fail or you will beat yourself up over it for a long time. Just like me not listening to you and Gann trying.......... If only I would have listened......... Life is not easy. The road was not paved for us, and it never will be. We are bumping along hoping we make it to where it gets smooth. We will get there, we just have to pave it ourselves and not wait for it to be done for us. As far as friends go.......

I miss you brother and I know how you feel and it is not easy. Get on your knees and pray until you cannot think anything else to be thankful for. Get up. Then get back down and pray for guidance and wisdom with the current situations at hand. It will get easier. I promise.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

HOT summer nights!!

Hello all!! I want to again thank everyone for their support for our troops and especially my brother and I! THANKS!!

Well, last night I wrote that we'd be havin us a cookout tonight....and we's did!! MAN IT WAS GREAT!!!! Charcoal, plastic plates, sliced tomatoes, lettuce, onion, grilled corn on the cob, macaroni salad, friends, no big explosions, ribs, burgers, hot dogs, and STEAK!!.....oh yeah and near beer....ummmmm a recipe for a good night in Iraq. We had a great time! It was well worth the money that we spent for a taste of home. I think for a little while there.....we were somewhere else....not Iraq...not a warzone...somewhere else. It was nice. It was really really nice.

As we sat around after all the grillin and eatin were done one of our Soldiers sneaked up behind us, and hit us with a water fun...she borrowed that one from someone else. SO the thought came to mind...I hope it doesn't seem like all we do ask for stuff...but if anyone wants to go to the Dollar Store and pick up a couple bags of water balloons, a few squirt guns (not to be greedy, but the bigger the better-revenge is sweet!), and any other water launching devices would be GREAT!! And while you're there....if it's not too much trouble....a small, cheap grill set(spatula and big fork) that would be AWSOME!! We turn our steaks with plastic forks most times. Like my brother's the small things. The small things like being able to cook a good steak and hang out with friends....I just can't explain brother really said it right. It's the small things that keep Soldiers sane over here.

On another note, I can't just sit here and pretend that nothing happened today. I'll have to keep that story for when I get home....and decide when someone asks..."what did you do over there?" ....I'll have to decide whether or not to tell that story. Please, please say a prayer. There are families and friends that need them oh so badly. I'm not one to bark very often....but if you think you had a bad day......there are some that will never forget 25 June 2008....unfortunately.

Billy Ray Cyrus - "Some Gave All"

Somewhere in Iraq


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Blah blah blah......

Well, HELLO! I hope everyone is doing great and their summer is getting off to a great start!! My summer is GREAT!! Nice days in sun with friends....going swimming in the lake after work...bonfires at the lake...some cold drinks on games with buddies....grillin some steaks on a charcoal fire....holding my girl's hand everywhere we go....chillin in the camp chair for one last smoke before bed....and who could forget the fireworks next month??!!.....ahhhhh my summer is going GREAT!!! QUICK SOMEBODY SLAP ME! OK back to reality....the sun is here that's no joke...the lake bit was last summer...bonfires too(last summer)...yeah we have near-beer on ice, eh hum... I can neither confirm nor deny if I play poker with the boys....grillin some steaks tomorrow night! "girl" is an M16 rifle that goes EVERYWHERE I DO...she's my honey! chair is right outside my room-it's the icing on the cake, each day is completed with a smoke looking up at the stars and the moon wondering if John is looking at the same moon I am.....AHHH...the 'fireworks'....booms day has nothing on this place! you may not see the flash but we measure size on how hard the ground shakes...and trust me, the ground DOES SHAKE....SO YEAH! My summer is starting out to be fantastic!! The only thing to make it better would be uhhhh oh yeah, to be home! BUT we're making due with what we've got.

WOW I got to the blah blah blah before I even wanted to....Thank everyone for their support and all the things that you're doing for my brother and I!! We greatly appreciate it!! Speaking of John...lucky guy!! Your mail is still working! For those that read and remember that I look forward to 1800 everyday(mail call)....I haven't had anything to look forward to for the last couple days. They are under-going some logistical changes in getting our mail to the there is no mail for about 5 was day 3. I hope it's only 5 days! The little things....MAIL!! Mail is great! There I go again..thank everyone for all your support and everything that you're doing to support not only us but all the Troops and their families!

OK dokie....blah blah blah.....well that's about all I got to say about that. I'll be thinking about 'the little things' as well. I also have a ummm a funny picture idea, but I need my roommate's help and he's not here...I'm workin on it. know I really don't have anything else interesting to write.

I do want to thank all those that read the blog daily to see what we put on here. It has grown to be a part of my day. I check at least twice a day to see how many people have been on here. I know, I know it throws off the number some, but I take that into account. However, there has been quite a few people check us out lately. THANK YOU! I almost feel like I have to write something everyday or everyother day. I don't want to disappoint anyone. Well, again, THANK YOU!!!

Somewhere in Iraq

SGT Wormy


Monday, June 23, 2008

Been a While

I am sorry that I have not posted in quite some time. I have been busy and tired. By the time I get back from work, I go straight to bed. Most days I do not east dinner because I am too tired.

Some of you know that I have made some tough decisions recently and it has my mind preoccupied. I have not been able to think of anything to write on here for some time. I have gotten some great support from family and friends regarding some things I am having to do with situations at home. I have also found a tremendous amount of happiness recently that I can't wait to share with everyone when the time is right. Some already know the cause of my joy and happiness, the rest will have to wait until later.

It is now about three months until I get on the plan home to see all that matter to me. I will be on a plane headed to wonderful East Tennessee to see my precious angel Courtney and to explain and show you all my new reasons to be happy. Sorry for the secrecy here, but there are several reason that I have to be like this. If you want to know, just ask me. You know my email address. Or just leave a comment and I will tell you. See what I am doing. I am trying to find out who is curious and trying to get more comments on here.

Life here is not that bad right now. Most of you saw on the news where there was well planned prison escape. That was a few hours south of me, but it is still causing me extra work. There have been a lot of attacks on the US and Coalition forces here since then. Plus they are going out and looking for these guys to put them back where they belong or help them find Allah.

My mom asked me to put some pictures up on here of Afghanistan, but I have not been anywhere, and there is not much going on here to put up. I was going put up a video on here, but I decided to wait until I buy a video camera and then do it.

Other than the normal stuff, it is all the same here for me. Work, sleep, eat and do it again. Mom also asked me to do a continuation of the small things in the life, but I have not had time to think it all out. I plan on doing it again some time soon.

Jeremy put up a post about our dad that had me crying like a baby. I could not have done it any better. I was FAR from the perfect son. Getting caught with girls at the house when they were gone, smoking....uh....well......cigarettes, yeah, cigarettes and doing other things I was not supposed to do. But you know what, dad was there to put me in the right direction. We both owe dad a lot. Jeremy talked about the car starting for the first time, well he did that for me too, only mine was a 1969 Chevelle Supersport. We started it with straight headers and it was the loudest thing I had ever heard. I almost peed my pants I was so excited. There are some things you will never forget about your parents, not to mention the ass whoopins to keep us in line. We hated them then, but respect them now. Trust me, Courtney gets hers when she deserves it. I can ever remember practicing baseball in the front yard on Howey Bottoms and dad would be pitching and we would miss and DAD would hit the truck. Of course he would move it after he hit it. I can't tell you how many times me and Jeremy hit the truck when he was not around. There were a lot of things we kept from them and over the years we have admitted too. Like me shooting Jeremy in the head with a BB gun. Dad has really been there for us and we will never forget it.

I got some letters in the mail yesterday, three actually. All three from complete strangers. One from some one that got the address from the blog. They did a search fro Bagram living conditions and found the blog. She is Air Force and will be here in November. She is going through the tough times of realizing she will be away from her two kids and husband. Say a prayer for Rebeccah that she will remain strong.

I have also gotten two boxes from complete strangers. I cannot thank them enough. They got the address from Jeremy and I both are on there and cannot thank everyone enough for the love and support. The sad part is that the one that is supposed to love me has not sent a thing. You all know who she is.

I am going to get off here and try to catch some sleep for work. I will work a longer one this week and work on "The Small Things In Life" by mom's request. I have some thoughts for it.

Until next time.......

SGT Strader, John

REMEMBER: Do what you always did, and get what you always got!! (thanks Mom)


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Hall of Fame!!

Well, hello to all and thank you for checking out the blog to see what's been going on! We really appreciate the support!! Not much happened today....I got an IV....not really we did some IV training and I got stuck twice....small price to pay to keep up with our training. Other than that...nada. Another 'good' day.....OH and it was HOT today!! About 113 degrees!

The next part of this is designated to all those that have sent us care packages and have shown some AWSOME support!! I know you don't ask to be recognized, but this is a way for us to show just how much we appreciate your kindness.

Hall of Fame

1) Mom and Dad - Numerous 'stuff', goodies, cookies, pictures, stuff and more stuff!!
2) Lisa S. - Beautiful postcards from Alaska, and goodies.
3) Barbara S. - Stuffed animals, hygiene stuff, and goodies.
4) Harvey and Marianne S. - Magazines, awsome postcards of Minn., scrub tops and goodies.
5) Barbara D - A really sweet letter and some humor.
6) Karen G. - Scrub tops, pillows and pillow cases for the wounded Soldiers.
7) Matt S. - Flashing lights for the Ambulances.

Thank you all so so much for your support!! We and other Soldiers really appreciate everything you've been so kind to give us!!

Somewhere in Iraq
SGT Wormy

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Father's Day.....

Hello to all! I want to say again thank you to all that support my brother and I. I'll say it every post because the support cannot be thanked for enough! I got some care packages today that were AWSOME!! Some lady in Germany sent me an email...totally random and asked us what we needed. WOW!! Thank you so so so much!! We got a whole case of pillows and some very cute pillow cases! I told her we needed some scrubs...WOW she sent a whole box!! THANK YOU SO SO MUCH!!!

I'm gonna get right to the subject tonight because it is kinda late and I got caught up in some 'stuff' and didn't get to my room till late. Dad, I apologize for not putting on here Happy Father's Day! I really felt bad about it. And i still do. AND, I know it may be 3 days after....but here's to you.....

Father's Day....hmmmmm wow! A day to celebrate everything about dads. Well, for those of you that know me well, he's Daddy to me. Some people say that anyone can be a dad but it takes a man to be a father....or anyone can be a father but it takes someone special to be a dad.... I'm not really sure which way that saying goes but my Daddy is everything anyone and everyone would love have! I grew up being scared of my dad....which is a good thing. I attribute that fear to most of the man I am today. He taught me to respect others and respect myself, he taught me how to be a good person, he taught me how to love by loving the same woman for over 25 years now, he taught me lessons in life that only a father could teach, and he helped raise me to be the man I am today. I remember back in NC when we lived on Howey Bottoms I just couldn't wait till I was old enough to mow the yard, I helped him in the garden planting beans and corn, I complained when he made me pick those beans... :-) , the firewood we used to cut and haul from woods behind our house....standing there in awe as he used the chain saw...yearning to one day be like him and cut my own firewood, helping him build an addition to our house, getting those deserved whoopings after a night at the bowling alley, coming home from long trips from Ohio and pretending to be asleep so he would carry me in the house, sitting outside roasting marshmellows with Grandpa and Grandma Schramm in the old tire rim, going to Sonic for icecream before the fireworks show in Monroe, and who can forget the night Hugo hit our house....that was exciting! Moving on to TN....the hardship of just moving to TN alone was such a huge feat for our family....we were poor....there's no other word for it. But you know when I realized that? YEARS later! He made it seem like everything was fine and dandy. Presents were still under the tree at Christmas, we still went to Ohio to visit, we still had three meals a me everything was great. Not a thing in the world was wrong....Daddy kept us together. The memories of going to Ohio and him teaching me how to milk a cow...that's right, no machines, just my two hands and bucket to catch the was amazing...Grandpa's farm was so much fun! The bulls, the milking, stealing eggs from the chickens, sloppin the pigs, cleaning the crap out of the ditch in the milk room....good times. Daddy, remember that time when I was a Philip Harrel's house and we wanted to go hunting by ourselves and you wouldn't let us? I threw such a fit! You were protecting me. But then remember our first deer hunt together at Phil's...and that fox came right over our head sniffing us out... Then what, three years later sitting on the hill in WV above the Oak Place....BOOM! Then that deer came running right at us...BOOM BOOM!! My first deer! We did that together. Thank you. Remember when you used to pick me up from work REALLY late at LG's on the River? They broke so many laws letting me work that late and that many hours...but that was still picked me up every weekend. Moving on to high school and stood right there and supported me through all the things I went through....getting engaged, buying a couple new trucks.....wait...I need to back up. I would say we were as close as a normal father and son until my junior year of high school...maybe it was the summer between junior and senior year...we bought the Roadrunner!!! The Roadrunner was the beginning of what has become the best father and son relationship anyone could ask for!! Everyday I'd come home at 1130..hurry up and eat...maybe...then WORK WORK WORK on the car right up until 3:15 when i would run in the house, shower, dress, and scurry to be at work by 4pm....Every single day my senior year was spent getting closer to the man that molded me into who I am today. Every afternoon for 3 and half hours was ours! Father and son...workin on a car...loving every minute of it! Well, except for that day when I accidentally backed over the trunk lid...I thought you were gonna shoot me... I think we were both close to least we hadn't painted it yet. OH, and the day we started that engine for first time!! You were like a god to me! You got it going...remember we had the thingy....the uhhh...timing thingy...we had the spark plug wires backward on the thing... and it wouldn't start, then you put them on right and HHRRRRGGRRRRR!!! DAMN that thing was loud!! That was one day I did NOT want to go to work! We had that one gallon can as a fuel supply because the gas tank was lying in the yard...AWSOME! The car was the best thing that I have ever bought! And people wonder why I won't sell car shows they ask me what I want for it.....priceless! You can't buy the love that went into that car. Ever. Moving on....several successful hunting trips later, a roadtrip to buy another car, graduation from college....then another big step in my life....You never said no...we never sat down and had a heart to heart about it, you never once questioned it....I joined the Army and left for Basic Training two weeks after graduating college. You and mom stood behind me 100%. From that day til and mom have supported my Military career without question. When I volunteered for Germany... not one negative word...I don't count the uhhhh 'don't have too much fun' bit.... :-) AND OH MY GOODNESS the fun we had in Europe when you and momma came over...that was fun! Then when I returned from kinda hit me.....I found myself doing those very things you had taught me so many years ago....helping you garden so you didn't have to, mowing the yard, going and cutting firewood so you wouldn't have to, working on my truck, workin on the bikes....and we can't forget the biggest project....I was building my own house this time around. But! But, I would still be shaving drywall with a puddy knife if it weren't for the intelligence of my Daddy. I'm convinced that there is nothing....NOTHING that you can't do. And if you're not sure how to do'll figure it out.....and pretend like you know what you're doing. :-) My house is absolutely beautiful! I owe so much of that credit to my daddy! THANK YOU! You also stood by me when it came time to get married. That was a feat in itself. I don't mean that in a bad really was a pain in the butt. BUT, you stood by me dad, and told me to follow my heart. And I did. And you supported me again without flaw. Thank you! Thank you for working so so hard in trying to get Jana here before I left. Thank you. As if all that wasn't enough....I volunteered again to do some more sight seeing with the all probably guessed that I volunteered but I didn't admit it until sometime after I got picked to go. And this time it wasn't a 12 month vacation to Europe. Iraq is a lot different. BUT, once again you stood behind me and you understood WHY I wanted to come here so bad. You understood and said nothing against it. I came to realize that I probably should have waited until John got home and then volunteered to come over here so at least one of us would be home....I'm sorry for that. I'm sorry to put you all through so much worry and times of uncertainty...we'll be fine. Thank you again for you support!!

Well, that was a little walk down memory lane....Daddy, I love you! And I'm sorry I missed you on Father's Day. I hope it was a blast. I know we've talked since then, but I just wanted to tell you how special you are to me. I couldn't ask for a better father. I couldn't ask for a better man to look up to and try my hardest to be like each and every day. You're my everything I want you to know it. One of my goals has always been to make you proud to be your son. I hope I never let you down. I love you Daddy!


Somewhere in Iraq
SGT Wormy


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Roof-top

Hello everyone!! Again, I want to thank everyone for their support, emails, comments, and nice words that have been expressed to us and our family. It's been a pretty nice week here in Iraq... is that possible? Sure.....why not? I'm sure I speak for the both of us when I say we are looking forward to getting some of the 'special requests'!! Mail is SO SO NICE! Americans for the most part hate going to the mailbox everyday to see what bills, notices, or other 'junk' is in there. Here....OH it's a different story. Out mail room opens at 1800 (6pm) everyday and I'm there at 1755 at the latest unless I'm on a call or caught up doing something else. I'm there everyday to see what has come for my troops and me. It's like Christmas morning everyday! I get up everyday and start the countdown to 1800 to see what came today. So again, thank you to each and every one of you that has sent something or is going to send something. We appreciate it more than anyone can say!

Life is going pretty good. I'm still working out in an effort to impress when I get home....I hope it works. I'm trying to keep my strict diet...but man I love to eat! And I love good food....even though the good food is somewhat a problem...I still find something everyday that is hard not to eat. It's funny, the DFAC (Dining Facility) will have potato salad here on one bar, BBQ chx on another, baked beans on another, and french fries on another hot bar....I'm probably the slowest person to find what they want to eat and sit down for chow. I have to do at least two circles around the chow hall to see what I can put together for a good meal. Enough about food.... My work days are going pretty good...not too busy for the last few days.... Someone could say a lot about what we do....sit and wait. Just like the civilian ambulance squads...sit and wait. Slow days are good days. It would be foolish to think we will have all "good days" but for now it's going well. My group played in a soccer tournament the other night....indoor soccer. I was the goalie. I did ok...the score was 5-3. We did loose but it was fun. We are playing another soccer game tomorrow afternoon. That should be fun! Speaking of soccer....if anyone has any used/old shin guards....that would be nice. I should have taken a picture of the shiner I got the other night on my hurt. But no pain, no gain right? The indoor games were 4 on 4 and the outdoor game tomorrow will be 7 on 7. One of our guys played on a team that got 2nd place on the FOB overall. Well....I think that's about it for this part....

The roof-top....

Ahhh, the roof top. It's a nice place to kick back and relax. A nice place to do some thinkin. It's a place where you can be amused by aircraft coming and going on the flightline. With a backdrop of Mosul, the sun going down, and a C-130 landing it makes for a pretty sight. The roof top can also be a source of information. Usually when a big boom goes off, we run up to the top and see where the smoke is coming from. It's hard to describe the feeling you get when we go up there, see a mushroom cloud, and wonder how long it will take until we get a call to help. It's a feeling of uncertainty....lives are changing....chaos is errupting on the scene....bodies here, bodies there... and we sit, waiting for a phone call to do our part. Sometimes the explosions are followed by small arms fire. That only makes our minds race more....what's going? Sometimes we are 'lucky' and are actually on the roof top when things go "BOOM!" It reminds us that we are in Iraq, that's for sure! But the roof top can also be a place of peace or fellowship. Not all times and things have to have a bad spin on them.... sometimes we go on the roof to just 'get a way'. It's a place you can go and think, read, or just reflect about the day's happenings. We use the roof top to smoke and just talk sometimes.....everyone needs a roof top. Somewhere to get a way from everything else that's going on and just chill. It's nice to just go up there and think about other normal stuff.

Well, that's a quick glimpse of the roof top....I was thinking that I could write something a little more interesting....but it is what it is. Some entries I really like, and some are just ok...why? I don't know. I guess if nothing else maybe you can just see one more 'thing' that we live with, use daily, and understand another part of our lives over here.....

Well, it's late and I need to go to bed....hmmmm, I'm going to bed and most people are getting off work, fighting traffic, or actually home cooking dinner. Ummmm home cooked dinner...a couch to snuggle on afterwards....a back porch to sit on and enjoy a cool summer dog to pet, and remind me that everything's gonna be ok....a late night movie with the wife before king size big soft, big John said...the little things.

Love you all!! Take care and until next time....

Somewhere in Iraq
SGT Wormy


Friday, June 13, 2008

Special Request

The special request is that if you leave a comment, please leave your name. You do not have to register and all that, but PLEASE leave a name so we are not guessing who left us a message. If we do not know you, who cares. I personally would like to know who to thank. Some one left a comment on my last post about knowing what it is like to give you heart for ten years and I have no idea who it is.

I also need to add to the request of items we want. KOOL-AID!!! Never have enough and everyone always wants mine and because of the person I am, I share and give most of it away. We want single use packets. We do not have sugar we can get to make half gallon jugs, so please keep that in mind. My friend, Joe Fiore, found some generic ones at Wal-Mart with half the sugar and they are better than the real deal and half the price. Thanks for being cheap Joe. You found me a new favorite. My favorite flavor is Fruit Punch or Tropical Punch, but Kool-Aid is Kool-Aid.

Oh, speaking of plastic ware to eat with...Jeremy would LOVE a cheap set of silver ware. His Soldiers keep asking for and wishing they had some real stuff because most of the time they don't get to eat in the dining facility due to what they do. Usually they have to grab their meals and run back to the office in case a call comes in. There are about 10 Soldiers in his group. I can't give the exact number but that's pretty close....

This post is not going to count towards the record post in one month for those of you that know we are trying to break 14 posts in one month.

SGT John Strader
aka John J. Rambo
The arm pit of the world: Afghanistan


Not quite there....

Hello all! Again I want to start by saying thank you to all of those who are showing their support and checking the website!! WOW!! Almost 100 hits in two days! I think the word is spreading.... that's awsome! THANK YOU AGAIN!!
Wow bro, that was a pretty good post! I liked that one a lot! So much of that is true and people just don't realize it. Not to try to steal your thunder, but a good comparison is the post about IED's. People hear and see the war on the news, but so so many don't stop and think for even two seconds. They see it.....ummmm....ok....and go on. I guess we shouldn't REALLY expect people to know what we go through because they aren't here....but sometimes explaining the craziness is helpful.

Well, it is pretty late and I need to go to bed. BUT, for those who wonder what I look like....I've got a picture to put up. The post is called 'not quite there' for a reason. I mentioned some time ago that I've started a pretty good workout program. And with the possibility of coming home soon, I'm gonna step it up even more. SO the pic is a kinda goofy one of the beginning stages of working out. I took some more pictures today, but I'll have to think of something good to write to go with them. So, this is me.......

Thank you everyone sooo soo much again. If you think about something that you would like one of us, or even both of us to write about....just ask. If you are curious about a particular thing over here....I'll try my best to explain what it is you want to know. For security reasons, I may not be able to but I will try my best.....

That's all for now!

Love you all!

Somewhere in Iraq
SGT Wormy


The Little Things In Life

Well, I was given order by “General Mom” that I better get another post up on here soon. Since then, I have been thinking about what I should write about and I thought it at breakfast while I was griping to my Private First Class McCollough and then I get to work and “General Dad” called and I lost my entire train of thought. The train went into a tunnel and got stuck and it is messing up the entire supply of thought. It all started with an email to my mom asking for an attorney that would be willing to help me from here. I want/wanted an attorney that will help me ensure that I have all the time I can. I was all for this until my dad called and said he talked to my old attorney, who said she would be more than willing to help me. Now, I am not so sure that is what I want to do. I had decided I was going to be strong and put Christina out of my life for good this time and get more time with my precious little angel. After dad called I called Christina and tried to talk to her about all this and all she said was she promises I would have all the time she could give me. I also told her my parents would be able to have more time with Courtney and I wanted her to make that happen on her own without us having to spend money on attorneys. All she would do was say that would do the best she could and now she has to call her attorney and ask for advice. All I wanted from her was for her to love me and follow me wherever the army sent me. That was too much to ask and I am determined to find someone that is willing to do that. I know that I can, but it is hard to give up ten years of your life. I am really worried about letting someone else be part of Courtney’s life and it hurts me even more to think that someone will take my place in Christina’s life and try to be a father to Courtney. If I could get past that part, I would be OK. That is the only thing that is stopping me from making a decision and actually doing it. It will be hard for me to do, but I know that if I want to be happy, I have to do it. Christina and I fight all the time and she is showing no support or love to me. People that I barely know show more love and support than someone that I have loved for nearly ten years.

I guess that is enough of my personal struggles that are making life really hard on me. I am finding comfort elsewhere, but that is not ready to be discussed yet. Those involved in it, know and that is the important part.

I am going to try and go back to the original idea for this post:


When you woke up this morning, what was the temperature in your room? Was above or below 90 degrees? Were you wearing what you wanted to wear or were you stripped down as far possible just so you were cool enough to get a little sleep?

When you got ready to take a shower did you grab a flashlight so you could see and not kick oversized rocks on the way down the hall to the shower? Did you walk five minutes with that flashlight to your shower in pitch black darkness, outside? Did you break a sweat getting there? When you walked into the shower did you see twenty other guys taking a shower (OK ladies, no comments on how you wish)? When you turned on the water, did the smell of the water remind you of the milk room in your grandfather’s barn? Did smell make you think you needed another shower to get rid of the smell? When you got done showering and went to shave and brush your teeth, were you bumping elbows with the guy next to you because the sinks are so close together? Did you walk five minutes back to your room in the dark so you could ready for breakfast?

Did you walk ten minutes to breakfast with a seventeen pound M16 on your shoulder? I am willing to bet you ate whatever you wanted or got in the car drove to the fast food place on the way to work. When you got ready to eat, did you have to wait twenty minutes until it was your turn? Did you decide what you wanted from the stock in your cabinets or were you given a small selection of nothing that sounded good? When you finally sat down did you have to open your silverware out of plastic? Did you check to make sure there was a plastic spoon, fork and knife, or was there something missing? Did you eat off of a paper tray? Did you drink milk that has a shelf life one year? Was your orange juice the same way? Was the box/carton/jug in English or Arabic? Did I have a huge supply of cereal to choose from? Sure, but often can you eat cereal not get tired of it?

When you decided it was time for dinner, did you wait late enough that you had to choose between sleeping and eating? When you sat down to eat, did you have a sharp knife to cut your meat or were you using a plastic knife that would barely cut and give and eat with your finger? Were the mash potatoes real or instant? Was the gravy real or instant?

How many times in your life have you read a report and seen pictures of a vehicle being blown up? How many times did read about three out of four people dying? Did you say a prayer? Did you remind the church to keep them all on the prayer list? Did you thank God for the sacrifice? Did you imagine what it would be like to be that family member who just lost a loved one? How did you cope with it? Forget about it? Dwell on it? Talk about it? Or was it just another day at work?

When the fallen soldier was being driven down the rode in his casket, did you have a tear in your eye, or where you complaining that you lost a little sleep? Did you proudly render that brother his last salute or was it just a formality? Do you have a board next to your desk with every fallen comrade listed out next to your desk to remind you every day of why you are doing what you do?

Did you remain positive no matter how bad things were and how stressed you were? Did you go to sleep last night worried about the father from north with two kids, a wife, mother and father who was killed/lost a leg/arm/eye or his life? Did you worry about the family he left behind to serve his country? Did you worry about the four year old who does not have a father now? Are you going to tell him his dad was a hero because he did saving his brother in arms? Are you going to answer the phone and be put on the spot when the Department of the Army calls with the father listening while they ask about his nineteen year old soon and you tell him he lost both legs? What do you say to the father who suddenly starts sobbing? How do you tell him he is alive another day but will never walk again?

How often do you seek challenges in your life? Here is a challenge. The next time you stop for fast food, do not go where you want. Go somewhere out of the way and when you order, get out of the car and go inside. Wait in the longest line and when you get to the counter tell them to surprise you. Do not choose what you want. Tell them your friend/mother/father/son/daughter/spouse is overseas and you are doing in tribute to them. Take what you get and eat it and be happy. Sit down with a complete stranger and talk about anything. Can you do it? I do it almost everyday.

How often during the day do you call a loved one? I am willing to bet you call on the way to work and/or on the way home, although you will be there in a few minutes. Today, do not call ANYONE. Call no one. Do not answer the phone. Change your voicemail to say you are taking a day not talking to family in honor of all the soldiers here who are stuck in the middle of nowhere and can only call once a week. The next day, only talk positive and tell them how much they mean to you and how much you love them. On the same day, do the same with email/myspace or what ever it is you use to communicate on the internet. Some soldiers rarely have access to such a luxury. When you stop at the gas station and pick up your favorite snack and drink, buy one for a soldier. When you have enough, mail it to a soldier you do not know. If you need some one to mail it to, ask some one and they will know someone who is out there getting shot at every day and could use the moral boost.

I am not bitter, I am proud. Am I having bad days? Damn right. You do and I am no different. Are mine worse? No. Do I feel like I am the only one that is wrestling issues on my own? Never. Do admit I am having a hard time? Everyday. Do I seek guidance? Yes. That are what parents, brothers, and friends are for. That is what God is for. Do I give advice to my friends? Yes. Do I heed my own advice? Rarely. Do I seek strength and guidance? Everyday. Am I asking for prayers of strength, wisdom and courage? You bet!

I am not bitter I am here. I could not be prouder of why I am here. If you want a little history of what I do, search for the history of military awards and it will point you to Napoleon. I encourage you to read the history of that and of the Medic. Jeremy is saving the lives I am reading about everyday.

Am I safe like I was in Kuwait? NO! I cannot explain, but there have been shooting stars, and little pieces of metal flying at us. Can’t forget about the “tunnel rats” either.

Life here is not easy for anyone. When there is a package that comes with pictures and articles of home, everyone knows about it. Someone left a comment asking about what we want and the address. The address will be below and here is a list of some things that I am wanting: pringle stix (NOT the chips, I hate them), orange mint lifesavers, beef jerky (thanks for the homemade Joe and Marie), letters, pictures, fans, encouragement, prayers, strength and support, and hard candy.

We all seek that encouragement that can only come from home. We also seek reassurance for those difficult decisions we have to make that will affect our lives for a long time to come.

Until next time, God bless you all and keep us all safe.

John Strader

CJTF-101, CJ1

APO AE 09354


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

What to say...?

Well, hello all. I hope everyone that is keeping up with us is doing GREAT! God has blessed me with yet another wonderful day here in the desert. And I say that smiling...if you could only see it. Today wasn't too bad...we have had a couple busy days and I've been pretty worn out so I have only checked the site and went to bed. Today wasn't too bad. On the request for an address and list of goodies that I'd like....well....I'm honestly not sure what kind of goodies I would like...I think the element of surprise is great. I got my camera so I won't be needing another one of those.... hmmmmm I don't really know. But what ever you decide will reach me at this address:

Strader, Jeremy
407th Medical Company (GA)
FOB Diamondback
APO, AE 09334

I'm in a mood, but i don't know what I want to say.....I wish I could wiggle my nose and be home for day. That would be nice. Yeah, that would be nice...... Don't you hate it when you have something on your mind and just can't get it out? Hmmmmm......Iraq can be boring sometimes. Oh so boring. I know mom and dad are happy I'm bored. John prob gets some relief from it too. I prob won't have cool stories of going "out of the wire" or riding along and an IED blows up next to me.....what makes one story better than the other? Stories of going on 57 missions back and forth to the same place...knowing that the whole time you were on those missions the whole goal was just to stay awake? Never getting the chance to fire your weapon or treat someone. Maybe you can tell of a story of an IED going off 200 meters ahead or behind you...that's cool. And you can tell about how bad you had to go to the bathroom so you "went in a bottle"....that's kinda cool...I guess. I mean 6 hours straight in a hwmmv....I'd prob have to go too. Maybe you can tell others about how you were standing outside one night and you looked up and saw a shooting star...but it wasn't a shooting star, it was a mortar...nice and close, right over your head, and bright.....or maybe you tell about this one night when you were standing on the flightline watching a special C-130 getting some very precious cargo...and as you stood there, a shooting star really did jet across the sky. That's a good story. Or maybe you can tell about one night when you were walking to the latrine a fairly big explosion went off...IED, VBIED, SVIED? Does it matter? I guess at that point you can make it whatever you want to. It probably happens so much that you really could make what you want to. Do you tell about when you used to sit on the roof and watch a city burn in the distance with helicopters flying around like mosquitos protecting those on the ground? Or how about those nice evenings on the roof with helicopters buzzing overhead....and it makes you think about when you were a kid watching those war movies or MASH and wondered.."do helicopters really do that? Do they really fly that close over a base? COOL!" Yeah, it's about as cool as I thought it would be when I was kid. What other stories make yours better than the other guys' stories? Stories of poker nights with the guys? Fighting mosquitos off in your office all day, worring about getting malaria? Do you tell about how you got to ride in a blackhawk for morning warmups and safety checks? Or do you really show your cards and tell them about how close you were to stepping on a rocket that was only half blown up? Do you tell people that the rocket, not 5 min before, exploded 10 feet away and that other half was the part that didn't explode? Do you try to explain what it's like picking up the phone and being given a two minute warning to a helicopter landing with 4 urgent patients? Or even better....there's 5 casualties coming in a tank, and 4 in hwmmv's. What do you think when you ask someone..."what did you do over there?" Sensitive right? Maybe....or not. Maybe I don't want to have to explain how the convoy just wouldn't stop so I could I respond "I'd rather not talk about it." Pretty cool huh. I've never quite understood the whole secrecy thing behind that question. I didn't understand why that couldn't be answered with something...something. I'm beginning to understand. I think if someone wants you to know what happened over here....they'll prob tell you. Now at this point I can't tell you either so don't ask. I have a wild imagination so I'll leave it you to decide what is fiction and what is only half true..... maybe the convoy did stop?

Well.....I felt like rambling....and I think I got it all out. Like I said, got my camera so I'll be putting some pics up on here soon....I've got one that I'm excited to put on here, I just have to take it'll know when I do. Oh, and bro...since I have my camera now...GAME ON! The next funny pic will be up you better be thinking of how to beat me.

Well enough for now....I do want to say thank you all for your support and I hope that each and everyone of you continue to check us out. Thank you for your support!! And Ms Lewis, if it wasn't for you, I would probably still be fighting to finance my house, so don't short-change yourself or your abilities. THANK YOU!

Well tah tah......if anyone sees a flyin squirrel, say hello...more rambling....

Somewhere in Iraq
Out here,
SGT Wormy


Monday, June 9, 2008


Hello all! I first want to thank everyone for their support for my brother and I. The blog has been pretty active lately. Thank you!! I really really appreciate everyone's support and kind words about the 'Let Us Pray' entry. The words of encouragement and comments are what keep us going. I'm not sure if anyone understands the anticipation and enjoyment we get from checking the blog to see who has stopped by and took the time to comment back to us. I think I check my email about 20 times a day no kidding. Emails are great! Again, THANK YOU!

I am so excited about something else...I got my camera today!! YEAH!! I've been waiting about three weeks for it to get here....not mentioning any names....Johnny....just kidding. Well anyway, now i get to share even more with everyone! Although I may be only be able to post my face and some other small things on is still nice to be able to capture my experiences....well some are good to remember....others I'd like to have never been a part of.....I'm trying to keep this positive.....I got two packages today! The camera and some other stuff my dad sent. THANKS DAD!! ;-) I got some beautiful pics of my wife...some of Lukas, and some of Courtney! AWSOME!! I also decided last week to buy a Nintendo Wii. Got that yesterday. Hey we may be adults...we may be Soldiers....we may be in war zone...but dang we gotta have something to take our mind off where we are....and the new Wii is the new attempt to do that.

Well....not much more that I can think of right now...I've got some late night duties to take care of so I better go.

On that note....please say a prayer. Right now....there's some people that could really really use them......thank you.

Well, till next time....till I think of something else to 'expand' on.......I have a couple ideas but I need to think about them a little more.

Love you all!!

SGT Wormy

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Short Hello

I hope that everyone has enjoyed what Jeremy has written for all of us on here. I ask that you take this serious and pray for us. I am having a real hard time right now dealing with being gone from my little angel. I have not handled a few situations with her mom very respectfully recently and I am ashamed of myself for the way I have been acting. I ask that you pray for me to have the strength that I need here to continue to be a good leader and the best father I can from here. Every couple of months it really hits you hard that you are so far away from those you love and those that love you. This is one of those times where I am feeling weak. Just pray that I will find that strength again soon. I keep three things in mind at all times and they are what are helping right now: 1. In all the way acknowledge Him and He shall direct they paths; 2. I can all things through Christ who strengthens me; 3. Ask and ye shall receive. I keep these in my mind at all times and I have for years and it has helped me through very tough times in life.

On a lighter note, I passed Jeremy's last post on through emails. One person specifically was the Chaplains office (right next to mine) and they are getting a lot of responses from those they sent it to. It is getting passed around on post and a few promised they are going to check this out. It appears that some one has because were about 100 hits today.

I keep forgetting to tell you I start my first college class towards my bachelors degree in Computer Information Systems with a concentration in Homeland Security. My first class is going to be History of Western Culture and start on 30June. I am pretty excited.

I miss you all and hope all is good at home. We are praying for you because we hear about the economy and the gas prices all day. Please stay safe and we will be home soon.


Let us pray...(Note)

I just wanted to say that I made a few additions and changes last night to the entry below. I understand that it has been sent to a few people here and there. Hopefully most will check this site and see the corrections, additions, and changes. They aren't that big, but I think most importantly the additions add a little more touch.

Also, this entry will not count towards the monthly count.

Out here,
SGT Strader - Somewhere in Iraq -

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Let us pray.....

Dear Heavenly Father as I come to you now in a time of quietness, please hear my prayers. First please forgive me for where I have fallen short of the glory of God and where I let you down in my daily walk. And please forgive me where I have not been a beakon for you, shining your light to others. Please Lord forgive me of my sins so I may come to you in prayer with a clean heart and mind.

Next Lord, I want to thank you for this day. Thank you for letting me wake up to live another day on this beautiful earth you created. Thank you for everything you've done for me Lord. Thank you for keeping me safe through the night. Thank you that no mortars landed on the base last night while we were sleeping. Thank you no rockets or bullets made it on the FOB. And thank you that this morning when roll call was called each and every name was followed by a "hooah" and no one was lost during the missions yesterday or last night. Thank you for keeping my family safe so far away. And thank you for keeping my brother safe in a foreign land not far from here. Thank you for all the blessings and all of the great things you are doing and are going to do in my family's lives and my own.

Next Lord I pray for the brothers and sisters around me. I pray for the Soldiers that I work with everyday. Give us the strength, the knowledge, and the courage to the best we can each day as we carry out our mission. I pray for the Soldier that is going through a divorce. Help her Lord, help her to see what you her to make the right decisions and please hold her in this trying time so far from home. I pray for the single Soldiers that although they may not have kids or a spouse back home, they still left loved ones behind to be here with us. As it may be the first time they have been this far away from their parents and loved ones. Help them through the stressful times, sleepless nights, and painful days here alone. Also please Lord, be with their parents and families. The countless moms and dads worrying about their sons and daughters. Bless them too Lord. Give them peace and understanding. Hold them close as they too have had an incredible feat to overcome knowing that their precious little babies are in a war torn country with endless possible outcomes. Hold them close Lord....bless them with reassurance that their sons and daughters will come home safe. I now pray for the two men who left their wives and children. Take them in your hands and hold their hearts close to yours as they carry a strong face but inside they must be saddened by not getting to hold the precious children they love so much. Help them each night as they lay down for bed not to be troubled or loose sleep because they couldn't tuck their little angels in and kiss them goodnight. Be with them as they lay there cold and lonely without the warmth of their spouse to keep them warm. Warm their hearts dear Lord in absence of their loved ones. Give them rest so they may be able to have the energy they need the next day to lead us into whatever situation may arise. And I pray for their wives that they too will be held close to you. For they will need your strength as well. They will need your help as time passes to cope with their other half being gone for so long and being so far away. Thank you Lord. Thank you for the spouses that support what thier loved ones are doing. Thank you for the undying love and devotion they have for their spouses. Thank you for their words of encouragement. Please help them to understand why we have to be gone. At first it may be easy, but time will make their hearts and minds grow weary and lonely. Please help them understand that it is for the better that we travel so far, and do the things we do. Again Lord, please bless the Soldiers around me and their families. They need your reassurance. As do I. Please take care of my family. Keep them safe in their day to day so that I may return and enjoy many great things with them.

Lord I pray now for those who do not understand. I pray that you open the hearts and minds of those close to us....and those we do not know at all. I pray that you will open their hearts and minds to see that we are here by choice. Help them understand we made the choice to stand for our country when others wouldn't. Help them understand that it is not easy for us to be away from our families. Help them to understand that it is hard to be away from those we love so dearly. If they only tried to understand that it's not easy missing a year of our children's lives. It's not easy to's not easy to hear a voice on the other end of the phone and not turn over to go to sleep without first shedding some tears into the pillow because our hearts are melting. Help them understand that we love pictures....if pictures were only pictures...a picture....but it's so much more than a piece of paper with some printing on's memories that we missed out on....memories of the ones we love the most......growing up, grinning with birthday cake from ear to ear, having fun finger painting, smiling, blowing bubbles, playing in the water of a front yard kiddie pool, walking a dog, blowing a kiss to the camera, getting hugs from grandma and grandpa, running in the yard chasing a soccer ball, posing for the camera with one had on her face as if to be saying "pa where's daddy?" them understand that what we do is not easy. Help them understand it's not easy watching a 4 year old grow up in pictures. It's not easy seeing the family sitting around for dinner at a big table with a home-cooked meal and a glass of wine. Those are memories and times we'll never get to a be part of. We can't get that time back.....we can't get that time back!!.....BUT Lord, although it may not be easy for us, let them see that the pictures, the phone calls, the letters, the emails, the packages....they are what keep us going. They are the motivation that keeps us up when the world is down. It is those things that make days go by quicker so we can go to the mail room at exactly 1800 everyday to see if anything has our name on it. It's those things that make us stay after work for an extra two-three hours so we can call home at just the right time. It's those things that make us get up two hours early for work so we can chat on the internet when our loved ones get home from work and it's 0300 over here. It's all those things........all the things that keep us driving forward even though they tug at our hearts from time to time. And most importantly help them understand that we do this for them. It's not for me. It's not for a cause. We are here for them. We're not war's about the man next to you. It's about the 2 year old nephew in Ohio that has no idea what we're doing but his life and future will no dought be changed by what is happening right's for the two girls that graduated high school last week and the local news broadcasted it online so their dad could's for the waitress working to put herself through's about our moms and dads that want to live out the rest of their lives in peace and confidence that they will continue to be free and live the retired life they've always's's about a nation that was ruled by a dictator and threatned our's about the people we help everyday become a little closer to "freedom". It's not about us Lord. Lord help them understand. Help them understand it's about them.

Forgive them Lord. Forgive those who have foolishly lashed out and made harmful comments and statements about the brave young men and women that do their best to keep a free nation free. Forgive them for the bad things they say. Forgive them for their lack of understanding of why we do what we do. And when they do lash out, let it not hender or disrupt our ability to complete our mission. Help us to be strong and courageous. Help us to understand them Lord just a little bit better so when they do lash out we'll understand it's only out ignorance and lack of heart for those that put their lives on the line everyday....for them.

Lord I ask again that you protect us. Keep us safe from harm. Give us a clear head to think with so when the going gets tough, we'll remember who to lean on for understanding and guidance. Please keep us safe Lord so we may return to those we love with honor. Lord thank you again for everything you do for us. I love you, and I trust in you for my future for whatever happens I will always know it is your will.

I ask and pray all these things in your name Lord, Jesus Christ


Somewhere in Iraq
SGT Wormy

Monday, June 2, 2008





How can anyone argue with that? True colors. If someone has the audasity to write and/or say one word about someone's service to thier country.....that really shows everyone else what kind of person they really are. I wish I had time to write what is in my head....but I have a PT test in the morning....6 hours from now.

Tomorrow will be a good post....I'll finish thinking about it through the day...........

Damn bro....we'll be fine....we'll be fine.

Love you bro!

Somewhere in Iraq
SGT Wormy


I promise I'm not trying to cheat on the count by making this so short.....(14 - month)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

I just read what Jeremy and I am always impressed with what he has written. His writing skills are for better than I ever imagined they would be. Good job bro.

Well, I have a little explaining to do. I put up a post a few days venting and bashing on someone when I should not have done so. It was childish and uncalled for, but the results were a lot more childish. There were some vulgar comments that were left and I am sorry if anyone saw them. I had to block all comments for a few days to let things calm down.

What Jeremy was talking about brought up a very good point about some sad things bring pleasure to others. It is very disturbing for me see someone getting joy out of others suffering. We have one of the main hospitals in Afghanistan about 3/4 mile from where I work here on BAF. Everytime I go down there I see several local nationals at the hospital awaiting care from our doctors and medical staffs (I am not the one that has to go to hospital. I have soldiers that have to go for random things and I am there to support them.). I see everything from grown men and women to babies that are needing medical care. I spent a night in the hospital "guarding" an enemy combative. During this long shift I saw several kids that were treated and continued to be care for by our own. This was very encouraging for me to see. I have seen men, women and child that were victims of land mines put here by the Soviets and from abuse for supporting us here. It is sad to know they cannot walk out in their own yard for fear of coming across a land mine that has been there for years and the recent rain and wind brought to the surface just enough to be a danger. We have had several land mines go off in close proximity to my living area recently. When they off, it scares the crap out of you. Just the other day a buddy was on roaming guard (walks the perimeter looking for things out of place and wrong) and he witnessed a young man stepping on a land mine and literally blowing his foot off. My buddy could not believe what he saw and wished he had not seen it.

We have also been busy with Purple Hearts for the injured and the fallen. I cannot tell you how many people have been killed since 10Jun, but it is not pretty. I was talking to a friend of mine from another base today and she told me that one of the reports she had to send the other night was a close friend of hers and her husbands. I am dreading the day that I open my email and see a report with a name that I know and can put a face with.

Tonight I was put on the spot in front of my Sergeant Major and Lieutenant Colonel about a few awards and policies. During the discussion, or ass chewing as it is commonly referred as, he showed me some pictures of an IED attack that happened very recently. It took all I had not to tear up after knowing what the out come was. I knew the outcome in grave detail and it was hard to see the pictures knowing what I do. Anytime someone is injured, whether it is a broken toe or a leg blown/torn/shot off, I see the report in detail and know almost exactly what has happened. Sometimes I loose sleep over it, sometimes I have to talk about it, and others we try to act like we did not see the report. Last night and tonight were a couple of those nights that I am glad that I have people I can call and talk to and receive kind words of support.

Mom called me twice today and she had bad timing the first time. I was in the middle of the report and could not really talk at the time. But I called back later and talked for quite some time. I did not tell my mom that I was bothered about I had read earlier in the night, I just wanted to call and vent a little on what is going on with my soldiers. She talked to me not knowing that I had read some really disturbing things, although she knew that I processed some Purple Hearts.

It is nice to know that I have friends out there that I can call and talk about nothing and get the relief and comfort that I am seeking without asking for it. Joe Fiore is one of those friends that I can count on for a funny email and boxes of goodies. Joe has found out that his time has come to go to Iraq again and I will be giving him the support that he is giving me. His wife has been nice enough to make some homemade beef jerky to send over here for us. I can tell you that entire is waiting on that box. There will be fights for beef jerky when it gets here. It is not often, or at all, that someone gets some homemade jerky.

I have a few friends that are going through divorces at home and they look to me for support because they know I have been through one that was not very pretty. I am glad that I can still be there for my friends although I am so far away.

Back to the reports. Every time that I read one, I wonder if Jeremy has seen what I am reading. I really get concerned that he will have to se some of this stuff and it will get to him. I am asking that all of you pray for us everyday. Not just Jeremy and me, but all the troops here and the families they have left behind.

I had a very disturbing comment made to me the other day that has really been getting to me. I was told that it is selfish for a man to leave his child and go to active duty with the army. I was told that is was even worse that a man could leave his child and the ones he loves to go fight a war that is not his. This was very disturbing to me and to others that heard me talking about this. I have enough respect for person that said and know they were mad not thinking that I will not name names, nor hint to who it was. That part is no one's business but my own. Just know that when things like this are said, it strikes a nerve in a soldier that will induce rage beyond and hurt beyond anyone's understanding. Please remember that there are people here that are proud of what they are doing, no matter how small. Everything that is done supports some one else and means something to many.

When I brought this conversation up, I was asked by a senior officer and NCO what my response was. I was sad to say that is was uninformed and childish because of the anger and hurt that is caused. I was then asked why I am here. The response was selfish, patriotic and greater than me all at the same time. I am an awards clerk for the eastern part of Afghanistan. That means that any award higher than an Army Achievement Medal I process (most do not know what that is, but it is the lowest you can get. I have already seen Medal of Honors, which is the highest and is only presented by the president). I responded by saying that I owed it to my country and to those that went before me and served and those that have died for the freedoms that we have today. I also explained that I am trying to do my part to ensure those freedoms remain intact. The selfish part is that I wanted to be here to make the extra money, remove my self from debt, and try to provide a better life those I love and give my everything she deserves and more.

With her birthday only a few days in the past, I am proud to say that I gave her all I could for her birthday and a lot more than she will ever need. I do not think I have spent near the money on a Christmas than I did on this birthday. I made sure she got all that she wanted. Next year I will be able to provide even more for her. And every day in between. I just hope that one day she will understand why daddy had to go to the big mountains to fight the bad men with all his friends.

I received pictures in the mail from mom the other day and could not wait to open them. That was a big mistake to do in a busy office. I had to go hide in the corner and wipe the tears away while I looked at the pictures of my only child growing up. She is my everything and I miss her more than anyone knows. Leaving her to go to Fort Campbell was not an easy decision, but it is one that I made and I am proud of making. I am able to provide more for her and her mom and I am trying to make their life as easy as I can from so far away. I did not miss one chance to see Courtney while I was still at Fort Campbell. I never missed a weekend with her and even tried to see her more. Every moment that I spend with my angel is a blessing from God and is cherished more than anyone will ever know. There is nothing that can bring joy to my heart than hearing her tell me she loves and misses me. I try to call every day to hear that.

We all know that life in the US has not stopped because we are gone. We all know that there is a huge issue with gas prices and the economy right now. We all know that we have to come to home a messed up economy and things will not be the same. We are thankful that we are not there and feel really bad for ones that are and are having to deal with it. I know that jobs in Sevier county are starting to suffer. Some people that mean a lot me are feeling the wrath of the oil prices and the jobs going away. That is going to hit home really hard for a lot of us. Those of us with government jobs can only hope that our cost of living is increased to meet the needs and the current problems in our economy. Those that are in control need to step up and do something about it. It is also time that us little people step up and do something about it. The time to do it is in November. I am on the other side of the world, and I promise that my voice will be heard on the Tuesday in November. Do your homework. Do not vote for someone based on race, sex or anything of that nature. Go on beliefs and what they plan on doing for your life. Look at who will do the most for the economy. Place an educated vote and not one based on color or sex. I also encourage you do a little more homework and look into the Fair Tax Act. I am not trying to preach politics. If you know me, you know I hate it. But it has come to a time where we all must be heard. Forget about your political party affiliation and go with what is right. I have not voted the party two times in a row since I was eighteen.

This has turned into a novel that could have been split up into enough emails to break the record of fourteen that is currently in place for one month, but I had a lot to say in lieu of all that has happened to me in the last few days and what Jeremy brought up. I am not going to go back check for spelling or grammar or missed words. You can get over it. I stayed up late tonight know that I have to get up early just so I could speak, or type, my peace while it was fresh on my mind. I promise to unblock the comments in a few more days. I am waiting for a few things to cool down first. Actually screw it. If some one wants post negative on here, hopefully they will put a name to it so everyone knows who it was. I will delete vulgar language though and Jeremy will do the same.

Once again, I have to thank everyone for the support that we received. Misty and her family have been great in their support. Our parents cannot be touched with the support they provide and all the things they have done in a few short months. If they keep sending boxes at the rate they are going, the post office will be out of boxes and mom and dad will be poor from sending so many.

I cannot wait until Oct when I am home on my bike and able to get away and just relax. Oh, and mom got a new bike and I am still waiting on pictures of it. One day she will graduate to a Harley. One day I will too.

OK. I stayed up an extra hour plus for this and now it is time for bed. I miss home and everyone there. Thank you for the support and keep it coming.