Thursday, July 31, 2008

Realities of war...

I want to first thank everyone that is supporting my brother and I. And also thank you for the support you are showing to all the Soldiers over here.

Well, some days are good...some days are bad. Today, today is a bad day. The only thing I know to do is sit here, type, vent, and listen to some sappy country/rock music......bad days...yeah. I think I'd rather have a boring day than actually have something to do like today. Unfortunately this is another one of those times...another one of 'those stories' ....another one of those times where when I get back home you ask..."what happened over there?".....and you'll probably get that response..."I don't want to talk about it." Damn, bro....I need my back porch right about now. I'm lost for words....the thoughts of what happened this morning...the series of events...and how we can do better are consuming me....In front of me right now is the wall of my chu/room. And on that wall there are pictures taped up to cheer me up on a bad, lonely of Courtney petting Otis on the front porch, sitting next to daddy at a restaurant, the family picture, my wife, and just don't can all be gone in a blink of an eye. I don't think I'm the best Medic in the world, maybe this is getting me ready for something crazy one day. Maybe seeing the things I'm seeing and being a part of is preparing me for something just absolutely crazy one day....kinda like the calm before the storm...even though it doesn't seem too calm to I started, I don't think that I'm the best Medic....but, but I just hope and think that when push comes to shove.....I'll be ready. I'll be ready to do the basics...I'll be ready to recognize what needs done. Warm, not cold. Loose not stiff. Less than one hour. None of that made sense to anyone but me...over look it.... It can all be gone in a blink of an eye....

Please pray for our Soldiers. Please pray for their families. Pray for us....

I wrote that earlier today...the computer messed up and I thought I lost it, but it saved thank goodness.

I almost want to start another entry....but I think I'll just keep this one going.

Will this day ever end? Well...will it? It's amazing how you can be just hanging around one minute, get a call the next, and your day just goes right down the tubes. I'm not talking about a call from the states...I'm talking about a call saying "Let's go!!" "Go here, go there, Soldier down over here, one coming in on a helicopter...eta 5 minutes" Whatever the case...we just pick up, get our gear, and go. Never knowing what will happen next. But, I guess we do it everyday in our lives and we just don't realize it until we're in a position like this. It gives a whole new respect to Emergency Reponse folks back in the states. You ever feel like just cryin.... you ever feel like your bad just won't end. I guess it will when your head hits the pillow...or does it? Does it end there? It should. But it doesn't always happen that way. I can't stand days that won't end. I shouldn't be sitting here right now. Selfishly I ended my day just a little too soon. And now that I think about it, I feel bad about it. I should be in uniform, standing somewhere else right now..... shame on me. Some days just won't end. I was talking to some Soldiers last week about what I do compared to what they do. Each of us wishing we had the other's job. It's days like this that will cause me to do my best so that they don't get the chance to do my job. If they only knew. If they only knew that we don't have bad days because we don't get along with each other, or the "Command" sent down some stupid crap that makes no sense. Our bad days aren't caused by rediculous things we hear that some of our other Soldiers in the Company are doing....silly crap. Our days are caused by reasons I can't say. Does that say enough? I talked to one of our Soldiers on the phone today, he asked me how I was, and I replied..."it's a bad day" and he responded "yeah, I feel ya." No he doesn't. No he doesn't. He doesn't feel anything. He's having a bad day because people are yelling at him for paperwork. That's it, paperwork. But, on the other hand, my bad day compares to nothing like what others are going through right now. My bad day is simple compared to others. So....I guess each of us have our own level of bad days. And when will they end? When will the day end? I have some bad days that happened a month ago....I'm still waiting for them to end.

Somewhere in Iraq
SGT Wormy Strader


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Technology is AWSOME!

Hello all! Thank you for your continued support shown to my big brother and I!! WOW!! I just checked the hit counter!!! We are over 4,000!!! WOW!! THANK YOU ALL SO SO MUCH!! Absolutely amazing! I just can't write what I'm thinking right now! WOW! Thank you!

I just have a quick note to share. Thanks to modern technology...well I think it's been around for a while, but I've just started to use it. My boss (NCOIC) introduced me to Yahoo with Voice. I pay $3 bucks a month for my own phone number and $.01 a minute for outgoing calls and I can call anyone I want, whenever I want. AND you can call me! SO, to all my friends and family, here is my phone number: 865-329-7456 SO, when you get bored, call me! Now, my computer is in my jail cell....I mean my room, so if I don't answer, just leave me a message and I'll get back to you as soon as I get a chance. I'm excited about it!! It's another way for me to keep in touce while I'm so far away. AND it's better than any phone card I can least I think so anyway. It's proven pretty handy here the last couple days. Oh, and I am 7 hours ahead of the East Coast....basically I'm in bed by 1600 (4pm). BUT I'll be happy to listen to voicemails when I get up in the morning. I am usually up by midnight your time, so if it's a late night and you call, I may be getting ready for work and be able to talk. Well, that's about all I have for now....I'm excited about my new found technology and I'm looking forward to hearing from folks....and if you are one of the many who we don't know personally but read the blog...I'd be happy to hear from you too!

Again, thanks for all your support!!

One another note: I visited the ICW ward at the hospital yesterday. They are really really short on a few items. So if anyone has any of the follwing items and would like to send them to me, it would be a GREAT help to the hospital and more importantly the wounded Soldiers.

Mini tooth paste
Tooth brushes
Men's deoderant
Bars of soap
Dispozable razors
Mini shaving cream - I've been told they come in one use packets?? GREAT TO HAVE
Flip flops - sizes 11 and bigger
XL/XXL shorts
XL/XXL boxer shorts
XL/XXL t-shirts

Once again so you don't have to search the blog:

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

Well, that's about all I have for now. I miss everyone and I can't wait to get home to visit.


Somewhere in Iraq
SGT Wormy Strader


Monday, July 28, 2008

Reality is a Killer, So is Boredom

Well, here it is another day in the beautiful, wonderful, sandy, dusty, WWWWWWWWWWIIIIINNNNNNNDDDDDYYYYYYYYY Afghanistan. Sitting around thinking, and that is dangerous when you are deployed. I will get to that later.

I left the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and came to active duty because I was tired of digging around in dirty clothes and patting down the nasty. I gave that up because I was also over the politics that surrounded every promotion people were picked. By how much ass kissing they could do, not how they manage people and situations. Knowledge does not always make you a good leader. Trust me!! Back to my point. Here I am in AfCRAPistan on guard duty. What is one of the duties? YOU GUESSED IT!! I get to HANDWAND and PATDOWN the wonderful smelling locals when they come on to our highly secure, you better have a badge or escort on my compound in the middle of the base. Yes, they come in refill the the water tanks and.........ready........remember I get to pat them down and do not have GLOVES..........clean the poopers!!!!! Oh yeah. The wonderful porta-johns. They are all in them getting in there. Oh, and there are the guys that dumpster dive before they hall of the dumpster to empty it. And here I was thinking I was done wanding and patting down the smelly and nasty. Boy was I wrong. At least I have been able to train some guys on the to do it properly, without doing the exact same way, just trained them on principle so I am not breaking rules and laws although to be on here you have to have a clearance and all that crap.

I have been getting emails and letters from people who say this blog has shed a lot of light on the life being deployed. I hope newbies, FNGs (do not ask if you do not know), first timers and the like keeping reading to see how this will effect you. Boredom. It will destroy you. Look at Jeremy's last post. What is he doing? What am I doing today? Being bored and THINKING. THINKING about being home and what we would be doing. Why? We think it will make us feel better thinking about the future. Yeah, I have to FREEDOM (did you think I was not going to mention her?) and get to think about that future. Yeah it keeps my mind off the ex wife and how she has not responded to the papers that were filed in court, but it is still dangerous. You have time to plan and think and wonder and miss. The thinking and the missing is the dangerous part. Actually all of it can be. You miss the family friends, the COLD BEER, the motorcycles, the ability to go where you want when you want, and that special time with that special someone. You are awake when they are sleeping...are they sleeping alone.....are they actually home.....who is there with them.......all that paraniod crap that will eat you alive and consume you. I am lucky that I do not have to worry about that. Most are not. You get to missing the things that made you happy and were part of every day life (we are not drunks, I was not referring to alcohol). When you start missing you, start playing what ifs and what abouts and where are and who is and when and why and who and when and why and who. It will eat you alive. Not staying busy and getting your butt kicked at work so you cannot leave early or even on time is a blessing in the end no matter how bad it sucks at the time. I am taking college classes (oh and scored 95% in one class and 100% in the other on my midterms; I am at 95% overall in both classes) to occupy my down time. I am watching movies (actually watching the seasons of Scrubs right now and it is GREAT!!) and sometimes that is a bad idea. You see someone falling in love, getting married, having kids, DRINKING BEER, having fun with friends. Once again, too much time will eat you up if you let it. The hardest part of being here is finding someone to call home to every day and share those feelings. Not everyone has that, not all admit they need it, be we ALL need it. I got lucky and found that person, yes it is FREEDOM!! We all have "friends" but how many of them are willing to sit and listen to how crappy or great or boring or dangerous or it is? How many are willing to listen about what you did today? How many are willing to listen to you talk about all the paperwork you did? I am willing to bet most have better things to do other than listen to you. We all need someone to talk to and we cannot always find that person. Why? Why does no one want to take 10 minutes away from the TV and listen just so we can feel better and make it easier being away from friends and family? I had someone that NEVER had time to listen to me and it made it worse. If you are that person that is relied on, suck it up and listen to crap you do not want to hear. If we can take the time posting on here for you, you have time to listen if we call. Now, I have ranted and filled you in on how boredom and loneliness will put a soldier in the dumps and drag them to the bottom, what are you going to do the next time someone calls and wants to talk. Who said that you have to be here to feel that way and get down from being bored? It would eat me up when I was home. Call a friend that you know that does not do anything and sits at home all the time and MAKE them go out tonight. Just go somewhere and hang out and bullshit about the world. You do not have to get all mushy and talk feelings and stuff, just hang out. Jay Prince was a great friend for that at home. A cold beer, a bar full of women and a lot of talking. Of course we always went home alone, but it was still fun. Now I am starting to think about things and it is making me sad. Oh and how about sending some soldiers some pictures of their favorite hang outs while all the guys and gals are there to remind them they have friends missing them at home. Take a picture of it raining, take a picture of the grass, take a freaking picture of YOURSELF, of a nephew, niece and for God's sake how about their kids. I get most of this and it really helps. The smallest things make the biggest smiles. My favorite pictures right now are one of my parents and Courtney on the front porch (it is hanging on the wall where I see it every time I leave my room and one of FREEDOM driving down the road and taking a self portrait. JUST TAKING A FREAKING PICTURE!!!!!!! They mean the world to us, all of us!! The smile that is on a face when I soldier opens that letter or email (you need to send it digitally and a hard copy to hang on the wall seeing we cannot print them here) is priceless.

Jeremy, I love you brother and although I have not it in a while, I could not be prouder of you.

Freedom, sorry I freaked out today, I just love you so much and was worried. Oct is soon approaching!! I am leaving here in 62 days or 5,356,800 seconds or 89,280 minutes or 1488 hours or 8 weeks to come and see you. I cannot wait for all that I have planned!! It is also 55 more days for the other important date (you know what I am talking about). I could not be happier that I have you and your love. It is what drives me everyday. I cannot wait to hear your voice again!! I am so excited that everyone likes you so much. I want to rant on and on about you, but I did that last time and most people will skip this part, but you better not. Awe what the hell.....I LOVE YOU and MISS YOU!!! Want me to do it again? I know, I am crazy and funny, but you do that to me!!

To the rest of you.....I love you all and thank you all for the support. I hope you take what we say here serious.



Sunday, July 27, 2008

Blah Blah BLAH

Hello all! To those that are checking out blog...THANKS!! You're about the highlight of my day!

I'm just writing because I don't have ANYTHING else to do...I'm bored...sitting alone....bored...staring at the wall. Wishing I was on my ninja riding a wheelie through town....sorry mom. OR I wish I was sitting on my back porch, smoking a cig, drinkin a beer. OR playing with Courtney..that would be nice. OR cooking dinner for folks I invited over. OR watching grass grow....sitting on the back porch, smokin a cig, drinking another beer. OR....ummm damn near anything other than sitting inside the base, trapped behind some big concrete wall with barbed wire on top. Life here can get so damn Life behind these walls can make a person stir crazy. I wish I was on a mission, or jumping out a plane, or sitting on the porch drinkin another beer....and another beer... ummmm....this sucks. We did have a couple 'calls' made the middle part of the day go by quicker than normal. I should have my pool put in tomorrow..that should be GREAT! Well, I am about done here for tonight. I'm sorry it's not that great. But welcome to Iraq. What can I say. At least it was a boring day and not another bad day. I'll be happy about that I guess. Well....till next time.

Somewhere in Iraq


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Whats the Title?

Here I sit yet another day in this wonderful country of Afghanistan. I got to sleep in and still got up at 0830. Why did I get up so early? Thats right, Freedom called. Ah, Freedom. Never thought that one could fall in love in so fast and so hard. Want to know what is stressing me out right now? Which ring do I buy? That is the million dollar question this week. I can buy one that is a little cheaper, or I can buy one that is a little more expensive and get exactly what I want to get. Or I can wait until I get home and buy one from the store. That is my stressor right now. Weird how some little things can turn into bug things when you are stuck far away.

The daily life has not changed much around here. I am still working decent hours. The work is load is up and down. The heat continues to climb higher and higher. At least they finally got our air conditioner working pretty good. Right now, 0900, it is 71 inside and 103 outside in the sun. Good stuff.

Today is the half day, which is perfect timing. Mom sent me a Bee from B97.5 and I am supposed to take a picture with it and get it in the mail today. That is going to work out because I need to send Jeremy and Freedom a few things in the mail. I am still a little sleepy so my thoughts are here and there and all over the place.

I am still working hard on my classes. I am still doing good. I signed up for another class that starts in a few weeks when one of the current ones ends. It is what I have found to keep me busy and not sit around bored watching movies all the time. There is only so much that you can do without going crazy.

Some really good news: 64 days and I get on a plane to head home for a few weeks. I am counting it down each day. It is going to be a special time. I promise that it will not be forgotten anytime soon. I will make sure that Freedom never forgets it. To be so head over heels and crazy in love is the best feeling in the world. I look forward to the phone ringing every night and hearing her call, even if it is just for a few minutes. The wonderful feeling that I get, the comfort it brings, and the smiles. It cannot be beat. Freedom knows when I get home that we will be getting engaged and we both cannot wait. We have already started talks about the wedding. We are trying to figure when and how we are going to do it. That should tell you how crazy we are right now.

Another amazing thing about Freedom is that I started talking to her the other day about me reenlisting in the army. I asked her opinion on where I should get stationed and her answer were the perfect answers. I asked her if she read a book about the perfect army wife answers because she was saying exactly what I wanted to hear. She said she was only telling the truth. It looks like I am going to reenlist to stay at Fort Campbell, KY. Freedom gave that golden answer: Absence makes the heart grow fonder. She was referring to fact that I will be deploying if I stay at Fort Campbell. We talked about it for quite some time and a few different times and she says she handle it and will support me every step of the way as long as we are together. I could not have asked for a more perfect answer. And some wonder how I fell in love so fast. It was too easy. I pray that it stays this way for a long long time!!

I can sit and talk about how perfect Freedom is, but I need to move on so I can take that picture for mom. I want to thank EVERYONE for the letters and the boxes that I am receiving over here. My brother and I cannot thank you enough. You have helped a lot of soldiers here. Not just us. I have gotten many letters in that mail thanking us. A lot of them have come across this website or WWW.ANYSOLDIER.COM and sent items to us. I get a lot of letters and emails thanking us for this site and how it is helping to giv e them a better idea of what to expect over here. I am glad that we helping someone. It really makes me good knowing that someone is benefiting from this. I have explained to a lot of people that this started as a way to communicate with friends and family while we gone and it started getting passed around. The more I hear of people reading this, the more excited I get. It is too hard to send out so many thank yous, but know that we are more thankful than you know. God bless everyone of you that is supporting us, no matter how you are doing it.

I guess I can share a little more on the exwife and the situation where I am trying to see Courtney more. I called my attorney yesterday to find out if they had heard from Christina's attorney and they have heard nothing. They only have 30 days from when they were served to reply or go to court. I would not mind it going to court, because in the end it might actually save me money. I ask that all you pray that I get more time with my daughter. I am worried that if this is not resolved by Oct that she is not going to let me see Courtney at all. I try not to think about it, but it is true. At least I get to talk to Courtney a little. Usually whoever she is with has her so occupied that she is too busy to talk to me. At least she knows I am calling to talk to her and that I miss her.

I need to get going and get ready for work. I do not want to, but I have to. I was hoping that Freedom would call back while I was typing all this just long enough for me to tell her I love her and miss her and there is nothing I will not do for her. She knows that includes helping her get back on her feet. I could sit here all day and talk about her and how much I miss her, but you do not want to listen to all that.

I had a list of all the things I wanted to talk about on this post, but I am too lazy to get it. Oh well.

I did go to Kabul again and took a few pictures I have posted here. I hope you enjoy them. Also, one day soon I will put up a post about the post here and little more details about life on BAF. You might need to remind me, but I will do it eventually.

The pictures: you can see how small the hallway is in my B hut. My just giving a look. Getting ready to head out to Kabul again. Meeting SEVENDUST. I was VERY excited about that one. An Afghanistan sunset behind my b hut.

Thank you again everyone!! Jeremy, stay away from Freedom, she is mine. You chose the wrong one that night. Get over it. Actually if it was not for you, I would not have met her. We actually talked about that yesterday. I love you bro and we will have that cold beer soon enough. First one is on me!!! Not Johnny or anyone else.

Thanks again and God bless you all for the love and support you provide.

Freedom I love you and cannot wait to see you and hold you again.

Courtney, you are my everything and daddy is fighting to see you every moment he can when he is home!! You stay a perfect little angel and daddy will be home soon.


HELLO ALL!! I'm sorry it has been about a week since we've put anything on here. THANK YOU TO ALL OF THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN CHECKING THE SITE AND SUPPORTING US!!

I do feel bad that I haven't had a chance to write more on here. I've been pretty busy lately. Doing a little of this...a little of that...and WHOLE LOT OF NOTHING!! I'm in a pretty good mood today. It's been a fun last few days. Oooo....I'm going to start on the "pool project" today. I'm going to start leveling the ground so I can install my pool!! I'm excited! We're going to shift our cook outs to the 'back yard' and hang out in the pool while we grill out. I can't wait....sitting in the pool with a near beer, getting out to eat a steak..then getting right back in. Ahh....nice! I'll put some pictures on here as soon as i get it installed. I'll try to get some before and after pics... Like John has been's the little things.

Well, I hope that everyone is doing great and that Sevier County isn't driving too many people crazy. I'm sure the traffic and tourists this time of year is getting to a peak. I keep running into people that vacation there, have gotten married there, or just went on a road trip up there. Hopefully when I get home, I'll have company from friends I've met over here. That will be nice!

Well life here in the desert is getting hotter by the day. The other day the high was 125. Yeah, it's pretty hot. If we go outside for 3 can feel the sweat running down your back. SO, we try not to spend very much time outside. Well....I don't have much more to say for now. I hope everyone has enjoyed me blabbering.

OH YEAH!!! I keep forgetting to write on here>>> The deer I 'killed'....I have gotten such a kick out that picture!! John thought it was real, I'm pretty sure my folks thought it was real, and I'm not sure how many others thought that I actually shot a big buck in the middle of the desert. IT'S A FAKE! That's one of those plastic target deer. The kind you practice shooting at with a bow and arrow...the Combat Stress guys had it in their office. My Navy roommate took some pics with it and gave me the idea to do the was fun. I'm not sure you can tell, but the M16 has a scope on it, I'm smoking, holding beer with the other hand, and standing in front his fake legs so you can't tell it's not real. I guess it worked! That's just funny...I get such a kick out it. Well, for those who thought I actually killed a deer over here....that's awsome!

That's all for now! Love you all and I'll talk to you later. HELLO FREEDOM!!

Somewhere in Iraq


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Another long day in Iraq....

Well hello!! Thank you to all those that have been checking the blog and showing you support for my brother and I!! Thank you to those who have left comments, and also to those that have simply checked the site! We appreciate it all!!

I apologize for the delay in putting a post on here. I know it's been about three days-ish. It seems like I really get the urge to put something on here worth reading and other days there just seems to be nothing to write. Then there are the days that I want to put stuff on here...but I can't. Some reasons why I can't put things on here....the Army's rules, it's disrespectful to those involved(injured Soldiers/people), and some things I just can't because it's too personal. But rest assured, I'll keep everyone updated as much as possible.

Another long day in Iraq....well, it was a long day...long, busy day. See here's on of those times that I can't say what because of Army rules. It was hot today. I'm kinda dehydrated and I'm doing my best to recoup before I have to get up in 6 1/2 hours to do it all over again.....I'm lost for words...I'm tired, worn out, and ready for my pillow. Hmmmm.....

On another note...I can't wait to hang out with Freedom and my brother when I get back home! I think there are only a few that truly understand how happy I am that my brother has someone incredible in his life. My brother is a really really great person, but sometimes it takes an more icredible woman to bring it out of him...well, as long as Freedom is around, we'll be just fine! I hope it all works out just like they have it planned!!!

Well,'s late, it's been a hard, long, tiring day and I'm definately ready to konk out. I'm all the time trying to think of something 'moving' to write on here to make people think and keep them interested. I'm kicking a few things around and hopefully I'll get my thoughts together soon. Till then, THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!

Love ya!

Somewhere in Iraq
SGT Wormy


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Lost for words.....

Well, again, THANK YOU TO ALL THOSE WHO SUPPORT THE TROOPS AND especially my brother and I!!

Lost for words......
HELLO FREEDOM!! You know....can I take credit for you two meeting??? We were on the way to the poker game and I was hungry so went there....but it didn't stop there...I'm pretty sure I got you to come over and sit with know what? WHO CARES! I'm so happy!! You just can't understand how happy I am to have my brother back! When he was with the spawn of Satan, (I know that's not nice...but that's about as nice as I could put it without getting nasty-sorry) he was such an asshole! She rubbed off on him like you wouldn't believe. Just about anyone will tell you that while I was in Germany...I had a brother...his name was Johnny Pratt...not John. It was rough. Me and him didn't get along at all. SO, you have no idea how nice it is to have my brother away from her and back close to me again!! Thank you for being you!! And yes bro, I like her too! John and I have been close again for some time now...and it's great! It's so so nice to have my real brother back!!

Bro, I can't even explain what's going on in my head....well, maybe I could, but it wouldn't be right....your email and blog post was unbelievable!! I'm so happy for you!! I wish we could have that cigarette and beer! This is the perfect time for a night on the back porch! Wow....there's so much I want to say..... Be strong bro! Don't let the Spawn of Satan get you down anymore, there is sunshine that will last forever right in front of you! No more dark, gloomy days. If you let her get you down, then she wins. At this point, that's all she can hope for. That's all she can try to do is mess up your sunny days and try to rain all over them. BUT, you can control that. Turn her off, and turn her away. It's hard. It is hard. It's hard to let go of someone you love. It's like no matter how long down the road you're always going to have a little (hopefully itsy bitsy) part that still loves her. There's that tiny part of me that still cares about offense Rach but it's pretty tiny, but none the less I still think about her from time to time and wonder how she's doing. Ask anyone....there's always going to be a part of you that cares for her. BUT you have to remind yourself about all the rainy days...and it will help you. The part about someone moving in and taking your place in Courtney's life....HOLD THE TRAIN! That little angel knows EXACTLY who Daddy is! She knows and LOVES YOU! SHE LOVES YOU BRO! If one or ten guys move in...she'll get used to "some guy" but NO ONE and I mean NO ONE will replace Daddy! It doesn't matter if some guy becomes a normal person at home...or here or there....I see the love in her eyes and that, THAT is the love that no one can take away or replace. And that love is for you bro! I'm so jealous! I can't wait to have kids! I can't wait to have a little red headed boy or girl looking at me with those big precious eyes! And if I love my child half as much as you love Courtney, it won't matter what guy figure is around...I'll still be Daddy! And I'll be the only man that gets those looks. Just like you are the only man that she looks at with those big eyes full of love and wonder. And if you keep up the effort to have her more and continue to show her that love and who her Daddy really is....those looks of love will never fade nor will they ever stray in another direction. One day, you'll be able to tell her what happened, and you'll be able to explain to her when she's old enough to understand....and just like we thank Daddy for moving to TN, she'll thank you for serving our Country and she'll thank for everything....everything! (Side note-interruption-rolling star-big-close-loud as shit-off post-all good so far) So hang in there bro! Hang in there! Everything happens for a reason. I don't know if you see the commercials on AFN but one that sticks out in my mind is this:
"Words to think about: We're so busy thinking about the doors that have closed behind us we can't see the ones opening in front of us."
Well, bro! You're finally seeing the doors that are opening in front of you!! And I'm so happy! I love you bro! And I'm proud of you! I'm proud of what you're doing! And I'm so happy that I too will get to see Courtney more often...hopefully. Hang in there bro!

I love you bro!

Somwhere in Iraq
SGT Wormy


What is this?

Almost ten years ago I thought I was in love. It started out great. It eventually got to where it was OK. Then it was rough, then it was good. Over the next five years there was talk about getting married. Finally it happened right before I left for Kuwait with Army Reserves. Shortly after arriving in Kuwait I was threatened with divorce. I lost my mind and was sent home for a short period of time to patch it up. The result was my little angel Courtney. I then returned to Kuwait only to come home to stay with all my friends six months later. A few months after that my daughter was born. Things got a little better then, but it was not what I thought married life should be. We lived with her parents while building a house. I got to the point where I filed for divorce. I was determined until Courtney was sick in the hospital. Then it was we were going to divorce and work it out. I walked away from someone I had met that was truly the perfect person for me. Over the next year it was kept a huge secret about our relationship. That was my first sign that I ignored. We saw each other when we could. Then it became less and less as time went on to the point of excuse after excuse of why I could see them. I decided I needed to go active duty with the Army only if I got the support from her that I needed. I felt it was there and I left. Shortly after leaving the amount of time we talked grew shorter and shorter. The fights more often than not. Then it came time for me to leave for Afghanistan. We talked for a long time about how one of needed to make the sacrifice for us to be together. I thought I had the support I was going to need when I left the USA. I get to Afghanistan and the "I love you"s stopped and there were no words of comfort to be offered. I would call needing someone to talk to in worst way and this was the one I expected to talk to me and support me, only to hear "I do not care and do not want to right now. I am busy and you are whining. Grow and deal with it. Who cares you read reports about people dying and being blown up." I became seriously depressed and upset and not sure I was going to make it through the deployment. Recently, events have taken place that have caused a little animosity. Now, my little girl tells me of someone coming over and I cannot understand her and her mom will not tell me what is going on, let alone talk to me about Courtney so I know what is going. Hence, I am spending all my money to ensure I have time with her when I am home. I get sick thinking about someone else in their lives. Is it because I do not replaced in Courtney's life, or is it because I do not replaced in her mom's life? Her mom has not sent one kind word, not one email, not one letter and not one picture. I know I cannot make her happy and I doubt she will ever make me happy. You cannot make someone happy that is not happy with themselves. WHAT IS THIS??

How about this one?
I wake every morning and have one thought in my head, Freedom (that is what we will call the mystery person for reason I am not going to explain for a few more weeks). Freedom is the first and last thing about before bed each day. Freedom is the one I feel God has set before me. I prayed my heart out for a long time for the strength to get through each day and to help me do what I have to do. I feel like God put Freedom in front of me a long time ago only for me to hurt and walk away from although I had VERY strong feelings for and was scared of them, mainly because I had free ticket to a foreign land were people will want to kill me. Each day I hear Freedom's voice I get a calm that has not been over me in a longer time than I can imagine or remember. I feel that God is giving me a second chance at love and happiness, although I am scared I will fail at this. Each time I receive a text message, voicemail, email, or picture, I smile from ear to ear and think my face is going to crack. My family really likes Freedom from what they know about her. They hated and/or disliked and did not trust the one above. Thoughts and talk of marriage are already being discussed along with the future and what it will hold for us. The support is there, as it never was from the one above. I am scared of the future with Freedom because I am not sure what it holds. I know I love Freedom and I am and will be happy with Freedom. Each silly picture that I receive is saved like it is the last I will ever see. Unlike the ones of the one from above that I started deleting. No one gives me butterflies, goosebumps or the feeling that I get from Freedom. I feel that I finally love someone that will return the love just as strong and meaningful as it is given. Freedom is at church each week, has a strong faith, cannot stand to and will not tell a lie, and is there every time I need someone to talk to. I am crazy beyond understanding when it comes to Freedom to the point that everyone that is around me on a daily basis has noticed a huge change in me and my happiness. What do you call that?

Recently I became suspicious that someone that is stepping into Courtney's life and her mom's. If I do not care anymore, does that make me heartless. If I am caring too much and worried too much does that mean I do not love Freedom enough? Does that mean I do not love Freedom at all? How can one person love two people, but only want to be with one? My heart was not truly faithful to the one above, but I feel it is and will be to Freedom. I have not said one negative word about Freedom, all the words of Courtney's mom are negative. That is mainly due to the fact that I am so unhappy with the one above and happy with Freedom. I am receiving support in pursuing the love I feel with Freedom and support to get away from Courtney's mom once and for all. I pray for strength nonstop, although I do not think it is going to be hard to start a new HAPPY life with Freedom (do you know how hard it is not type someone's real name when you are thinking and typing so fast, try it and see).

Freedom's birthday will be close to the time I am home on leave and I have a lot planned for that time. I have a lot that is going to be very special and mark the beginning of a truly happy life for us both. I skipped a lot about Freedom to protect a little of my dignity and her identity, but I must share some. I met her at the beginning of the year one night when I was out with my brother. When I met her I knew there was something about her that was going to change my life, but I was not sure what it was and did not want to fully acknowledge it. As time went on and I would come home on a pass I would make every effort I could to see her. Most of the time I was successful. The night she told me that she had feelings, as did I but did not want to admit it, I got scared and stopped talking to her for the most part. She told me that night that on the night we met that there was something about me that really pushed her towards me. Fate? Destiny? God? All three? You tell me! I never told her that I felt the same way. I can remember on the long drive back to Fort Campbell talking to her and wanting to tell her that I was falling in love with her but I was too scared to pursue it and did not tell her. So I told her we would have to wait and see what happens when I return instead of the truth. I was way too scared to start to mention it although she basically told me what I was thinking. That was the other sign that I need to throw out the old and welcome the new. It was time to break that leg and let the new doctor take over and let it heal (thank you for that one mom).

Like most people I know, they are too scared to start something new. Think about it for a second. Lets say that you have been working somewhere for several years. You know everyone. You hang out with them all the time. You know what makes them tick and them you. You know how to make them feel good. You know the routine because you have been there for so long. But, the job is going nowhere. You have reached your potential there. There is nowhere else to go. You start looking, just looking, to see what is out there. You find something better but you are too scared to do anything about it. You talk to family and friends about it. One example would be our dad moving is from NC to TN on pretty short notice. He took a chance and look at us now. Everyone tells you that it is time you moved on and did the right thing for yourself. You take that leap of faith and low and behold you have better friends, a better job, better income and you are happier. Remember how hard that was to with a job? Now try to do that with love (I FIND OUT ONE PERSON LEAVES A SPOUSE I WILL KILL YOU!!! If you are in a bad marriage that is different). That is what I am doing. NOT trying to do, but I am doing. Can you imagine the heartache and the pain that I am going through just to be happy with the person I feel God has placed in front of me? The heartache that is brought on by thoughts of someone stepping into Courtney's life and trying to take over when I am not around.

Here I have rambled on and on about moving on with my life and the challenges I am facing. You heard it here first: I plan on getting engage in October 2008 and married shortly after June 2009, so mark a spot on the calendar. This will be the homecoming I have always wanted. Like I said, plans, not set in stone. Lets back up to the homecoming thing. Lets imagine you have not seen your spouse for six months. You get off the bus and see all the families around you. Yeah mom and dad are there, not to degrade that all, but the one you want to see is not there. Then you notice her car and think you just over looked her. Nope, she is sitting in the car and will not get out. You walk over and hear, ready for this, you will not believe it, I used to tear up thinking about it, are you ready yet: "get in the car and lets go!" What? No I love you, I missed you, glad you are home? Hell no! You ask them to get out and you hear, here is another one, get ready for it......"look at what you did to me. I am not getting out. Lets go NOW!!" You take a step back, wipe the tear away and ask for at least a kiss and you hear, yep you guessed it, "GET IN THE CAR OR I AM LEAVING YOU!" OK, hormones must suck when you are six months pregnant, but are they really that bad. Do they last for four years? Does it take away all the emotion you ever had?

Every day I can get on the phone with Freedom and hear how much I am missed, how bad she wishes I would come home, how she cannot wait until I get home. Is that the way it is supposed to be? Or is it the other way around? Am I supposed to be told that I am a worthless father for moving 300 miles away to serve my country and leave a job that was getting worse every day and not going anywhere for me? Am I supposed to not have that someone special to talk to? I am not supposed to be missed? Do I no longer deserve to hear that I am loved? How about missed? Family and friends tell me all the time I am missed and loved. But is that really the same. Should you not be hearing it from someone that is loved in that extra special kind of way? I would think that being here would grant more love and compassion if they truly loved and cared about you. No excuses. I know the world does not stop for me or you just because I am not there. I know that you have issues to deal with. I am not saying that I have it harder or easier than you. There some things that are harder and easier for all of us. I do not have to worry about gas prices right now, you do. I do not have to worry about cooking and cleaning, you do. I do not have to grocery shop, you do. You do not have to read reports of ten soldiers dying and thirty others seriously wounded in one day, I do. You do not have to worry about being shot at, blown up, I do. You get a shower that does not stink like you grandfathers barn, I do (sorry that is really bothering me right now). You have a TV to watch all you favorite shows and relax at night, I do not. You have your family close and can go see them any time you want AND they are in the same time zone, or at least close to it, I do not. You can kiss your spouse and kids every morning and night and tell them you love them, I cannot. You have Taco Bell, I do not (I REALLY miss Taco Bell and Mexican food). You do not spend 12 hours on a gate over night and have to tell people they are not allowed to leave your compound and go to bed because the base is under attack, I do (yes it happened last week. I work in a VERY secure area and we are gated where we work and the rooms are about .25 miles away). You choose what you eat every day, I choose from a small selection that is about the same every day. My brother is in Iraq, I bet your is not (if so they are in my prayers and God bless you for supporting them). You get to go to the store and buy your favorite shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, cologne and so on, I do not. You get to worry about the recession that is headed into a depression, I do not as much right now. You have to worry about your job from time to time, I do not. As you can see, life is hard on all of us. There are some luxuries and pains that I would love to have right now. I would love to be home worried about gas prices but I am here for you.

Someone asked me the other day if I wanted to go home, not that my answer really mattered. I told them to stand there with $20,000 and a ticket and ask me to choose. At first it was a quick answer. The ticket. Then I started to think about it and we started talking. If I take the ticket, it is a round trip ticket. That means that when I get home the plane is coming back with someone else on it. Here I am with one child, the perfect women I already want to marry and the person taking my place could have a kid waiting to be born. I saw mine being born, why shouldn't he? I have someone that is perfect, loving and caring and his marriage is falling apart. If he leaves, then it will surely fall apart. You get what I am thinking here? So, what do I choose? I take neither. I tell them to send that money to a soldier that needs it. One that is injured and will need that money to support a family. Why would I leave when I life is going as good as it is and make someone whose life is falling apart or will miss the greatest thing in the world, a child being born?

I know that I went off track of the original idea of this post, but as I typed, I came to the realization that I do not need someone to tell me what something is. Love is hard to explain and to deal with at time. I know what I am doing. Christina does not know all this and if she would answer the phone and actually talk to me, she would know the truth about what is going on. That is not the point either, I just thought I would throw that in there.

Back to the point. Love is something that happens to us that we cannot explain. I was asked why I loved Christina before we got married. My answers were the worst the preacher had ever heard. Today if I was asked why I love Freedom and want to take that leap so fast, I am sure it would be a lot better answer, not that there are right and wrong, but the feelings are different. I have been hurt quite a few times in my life. I am sure it is not over and will not be until I am dead. We only learn from our mistakes in life and I have learned a lesson that took several years and tears and many many conversations with my family to realize. I feel that you should be able to wake every morning, think of that special someone, get a huge smile on your face and be able to start your day the best you can. I know I have found that and for those that have not, you will. I never thought I would ever be happy again, but guess what, I am happy and to its fullest potential. Someone is going to tell me I am crazy, I know I am. I know I am doing the right thing and will not regret it. You should something that make you feel the same way and go for it.

This post has turned into a very long one. It was to be short and only a basic comparison of things I am facing. It has become a realization of the truth and that I know what I am doing for once in my life. It is going to be hard at times because giving up something you have known for so long is not easy, and neither is giving up that job you have had for so long. I hope I have not bored everyone to death or talked about my personal life too much, but happiness like this and love like this cannot be bottled up for long. Freedom knows I love her and her me, but are not going to say it until we are face to face. This is goingto be hard for me because I want to tell her on a daily basis, many times a day, but I am not going too. I want her to see that sparkle in my eye and see the look on my face!!!

Thank you for the prayers and the support. God bless you all!!!

SGT John Strader


Saturday, July 12, 2008

GET ON YOUR KNEES....NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


For those that know what it means, we are going to Disney for NINE days later today or tomorrow morning early. If you do not know what that means, you need to email me. Google scans all emails and it is still considered sensitive info at this point!! Lets just say I got a woken up on my day off...not sure how to word was not "here".........lets just say another base is having a worse day that I am.

SGT Strader, John

Another day....

Well, here I am again...sitting here doing a bunch of nothing. Thank everyone for all the comments on here! They have been great to say the least!! My mail system is REALLY slow now, but thank you to all of those who have sent stuff that we've gotten and stuff that we haven't gotten yet! I need to update the Hall of's on my to do list.

Hey bro! GREAT JOB ON THE PT TEST!! I thought about making a little wager on who could have the highest score when we get home....?? My situps suck pushups should be getting better with all the working out I'm run...I'm workin on it...but that's a work in progress....slow progress. I hate running! BUT GOOD JOB!! I know you've worked hard on it and I'm proud of you!!!

Another day...we've had a pretty slow end to our week. Let's hope it stays that way. I've seen enough this week to last me a long time....long long time. My team up here is doing really good! We're hanging in there. Not really much to report on I guess. I did however buy a swimming pool for over here. Yeah, that's right...I said a swimming pool!! Hey, we have to do all we can to 'enjoy' our time over here. It's only a 10' round and 30 inches deep pool...something to sit around in on a hot day...drink a near beer, and enjoy a cookout. It should be a nice endcap to any stressful day. Hopefully it will be here in about three weeks...depending on the mail service. I hear everything in the states is going pretty good. The family is doing pretty good, the house is still standing and I got to hear my dog Otis on the phone today so he's doing pretty good too. I know he misses me and he misses getting to go to Lowes five times a week with me to see what's new and get some stuff for the house. I miss him too. There's nothing like having to clean a pound of dog hair out of the front of my truck once a week. Well....there seems like there's more to write but I'm not sure what....I called work today (O'Charley's-Pigeon Forge, TN) and talked to some new girl I didn't know....I got a kick out of it...I gave her a hard time and blah blah blah, I guess that's a long story but it was funny to me. Oh, Constance, if you read're in trouble for being late to work!

I wish I had some more interesting stuff to write on here, but that's about it for now. Nothing too interesting...well as far as stuff I can put on here.....

Well, to all once again, THANK YOU for your support and we greatly appreciate it!!

Somewhere in Iraq
SGT Wormy


Thursday, July 10, 2008


No I am not talking about passing gas (sorry, childish humor is the best). First of all I got up at 445am today and went and stood tall waiting to take a Physical fitness test. We did not start untilabout 530am. The push-ups were nothing. I did the minimum and stood up. Needed to save that energy. Next were the sit-ups. I passed those, but not quite as easy. I have had some real issues with sit-ups my whole life. I have never been that good at them. I have worked really hard to get to passing. About four weeks ago I went about 15 past the minimum, which I have not done in over ten years. I have come really close several times here and there, but never did that many. I have passed them a few times since I got to Fort Campbell, but usually it is barely.

On to the biggest and baddest feat of the day. Most of you know I am little chunky and was FAT last year. What most of you do not know is that I lost over 30 pounds in about 2,5 months last year. That put me really close to being able to go back active duty. REAL CLOSE!! I struggled with the idea of going active duty for several months then I heard about the bonus and I jumped. I got lucky and was able to "tape" in. That means by Army standard I was overweight and they had to break out the tape measure and check the body fat. I made it by the skin of my teeth and I have been that way since then. Well today I jumped on the scale and I have lost over 15 pounds since arriving here in March. I also dropped 2% body fat. I have not tried that hard, but the time has come to loose that last 20 pounds before Oct. I promised myself I would be under the maximum weight by the time I get home in Oct. There are a lot things I want to do (you know the special someone I have been talking about) during that time I need to my best.

I got side tracked there bragging about the weight loss. Oh, I am only 15 pounds from the original goal, so I upped it a little. Side tracked again. A lot of you know I smoked for a long time. Well that is only part of it. I also had a tumor removed from my right hip at the age of 19. That was just over 9 years ago. The last time I passed a PT test legitatmently was in 1998 at training for the Army. Last year when I was trying to loose all the weight I was running a lot. at least three times a week and at least three miles each time. Well, I took a few PT tests and I was really close, but never made it. Remember I mentioned the PT test a few weeks ago? Well, I ran my two miles in 18:30. That was 1.5 minutes too slow. That meant I had a LOT of work to do. I started running as much as I could and doing all I could to get faster. The air here is REALLY thin, dry and dusty. Makes running really hard on everyone. Everyone saw a big decrease in speed and test scores. That made it even harder for me being so far out of shape. Today was the test to see if I had been trying hard enough. I started my run and knew where I had to be at what times. I knew I had to be at four corners at 4 minutes and was there at 3.5. I knew I had to be at the turn around at 8:10. I was there at 7:45. Lost a little time but I was doing good. I knew I had to be back at four corners at 12:30 and was there at 11.50. Picked up the time. I knew I had to be at the chow hall at 15:30. I was there at about 15. That meant I had two minutes to get to the finish. SGT Howard, SGT Vogelpohl, and SGT Bahena would not let me slow down and I crossed the finished the run at 16:20. I had 40 seconds to spare. I was ready to pass out from not being able to breathe, but I made it for the first time in 10 years. You have not idea excited I was. I even called mom and dad at 11pm EST to tell them. That was how excited I was. Everyone in the office knew my struggles with running and everyone was excited to hear I made it. I owe a lot to those I mentioned above for the motivation and support. I also SSG Cundiff for kicking my ass to keep trying to improve. My next goal is 15 minutes. I know I can do it with a little practice and dedication. Sergeant Major Leyro come up to me this afternoon and was looking me over and asking everyone what was different about me. He then asked where the monkey went I told him I kicked its ass!!!! The PT test was keeping me from being able to reenlist. With the recent changes in my life, I will be reenlisting with the support of that someone special.

On to the next pass. I took my first test in my classes toward my bachelors in computers. I missed one question and that meant I passed. I was excited about because I came back to my room and did while I was on a roll. Today has been a great for me as you can tell.

Today is one of those days where credit needs to be given where it is due. What do we do when we are down and out? What do we do when we need help? Who do we always turn too? GOD!! We turn to him in times of need and not always in time of praise. I can promise you I spent all day thanking Him for the achievements I experienced today. I also thank Him everyday for the happiness that has been brought to me. Do you thank or just ask for something? Do you only pray for yourself or do you include others? I thank Him every day that brother has made it another day and I am not getting that call that something has happened. I thank Him for the new happiness and pray that my friend finds the strength to follow through with some very tough decisions. I pray for the families of the fallen, a lot of time by name seeing that I see the names all day. Try praying for someone other than yourself. Spend more time on them and less on you. Life is not easy for anyone and if they say it is, they are lying.

As I sit here I wonder how many people at home are sitting around in minimal clothing (I have ONE piece of clothing on right now) and are sweating profusely because the air conditioner is not strong enough to counter act the heat outside. I wonder how many people made that extra effort to express their love for those around them before leaving for work. I wonder how many people got up at 2am to happily answer the phone and talk to someone and just listen be glad they were the one that received the phone call. I wonder how many are willing to get up at 2am every day and tell someone just how they feel and how much they mean to them. I wonder how many stopped by the gas station and got that ice cold Vault soft drink (my favorite and not had one since I left the states) and that favorite candy bar. How many people prayed for the soldiers that are over giving them the freedom to work where they want, own the car they want, and pray and worship when and where they want. I wonder how many took the time to HAND WRITE that letter to that someone special and tell them how they feel and be able to write fast enough because they had to much to say. When is the last time you found a veteran and thanked them for what they did for you? Stop taking advantage of it.

I need to thank everyone for the support they are showing. I have been giving the blog address to all that send me packages I am hoping they are stopping by see us show our support. I cannot thank enough. There are some really great people out there supporting us. My parents are top of the list and always will be.

I have a lot more to talk about, but I need to get back to my school work. Know that I am ever thankful for all that is being done for us. God bless you all!!!!!!!

SGT John Strader


Monday, July 7, 2008

Are you ready...

First, I want to thank everyone for your continued support!! This site is an amazing spirit booster for me and I'm sure it does the same for my bro! THANKS!! I've gotten some more emails, letters, boxes, comments on here...thank you!! Speaking of which, someone wanted to know if we got enough scrub tops...WE SURE DID!! THANKS!! I think right now....we're pretty good...unless you want to review some of the previous requests and help out by sending some of that stuff.... THANKS MOM AND DADDY!! We got silverware, plastic-washable plates, some cool toys, and some other stuff!! THANKS!!

Time to get serious....I've had a bad day the next part...I hope it comes out like I want it to. I'm not quite sure how or what I want to's still rambling around in my head, but I guess I'll keep typing till I fall asleep or feel better.....

Well, I finished this post about two hours after I started it. BUT the devil didn't like it. Or on the flip side of that, God wasn't happy with it and wanted me to re-type it because my internet connection messed up and it was, I'll continue from where I left I have my thoughts a little better in line, so maybe that's why...either way, everything happens for a reason.

Are you die? Are you ready to live? Me and a fellow Soldier had a conversation after a 'long day' and here's kinda how it went. We were talking about the danger our Soldiers and other people over here face everyday of going on missions. He's a little nervous about doing missions. He said he wanted to go home and see his family one last time before he went on too many more....just in case.... Just in case....I tried to explain to him that you never never know when something might happen. When we go to sleep tonight, we think we're safe. Our little huts are our safe havens....right? Wrong. We never know when a mortar, rocket, or who knows what will happen. A told him what a preacher once said in the Sunday sermon...I'm not sure why I can't forget this but it comes to me from time to time..."You're not ready to live until you're ready to die." Think about it....until you make your peace with God and yourself, you're not ready to REALLY live. I also told him that 'everything happens for a reason' and I believe that so much, it's a tatoo on my arm. It's a reminder for those bad days and times when I just don't understand....everything...everything happens for a reason. I tried to explain to him that until you make that peace, you'll worry and be scared about the unknown. I told him I've made my peace. I've made my peace with God and myself. I'm living. I'm alive! Every morning when I get and go to the latrine, I try not to think about what 'might happen' today....with the constant reminders like gunfire, explosions, helicopters flyin's hard not to be scared. But I remember, I'm going to live today. I'm going to live to the fullest. Now, rest assured that I don't have a death wish over here and I'm not going to put myself in any crazy situations. BUT, I WILL get up every day knowing that I'm good to go just in case. Just in case...just in case rocket comes in....or mortar slams close by...or we get attacked on the FOB... I won't walk in fear wondering about the what if's. There are too many could be 5 miles off post or 150 miles off post...when it's your's your time. Grandpa used to say 'just don't be on the plane when it's the pilot's turn'....I'll probably never forget that one either. BUT, why do we think about these things in the first place? Probably because we see the aftermath of someone's 'time'. And that is probably what brings you to the stages of fear....I haven't had any bullets whiz over my head yet and I've only been somewhat close to an explosion, but I've looked death in the face....and it is a quick! QUICK reality check. It sucks....there's no other way to put can't help but wonder about all the what if''s I understood why he was worried about the missions and the endless possibilities....but I tried to explain to can't think like that. It's probably not the talk he wanted. The last thing someone wants to think about is not making it back. But not only us, but everyone should consider the what if's. I consider them...but I'm good. Like I said, I've made my peace, I'm living life....not scared of the other...

Take a quick second....ask yourself....are you alive? Do you wake up every morning with the peace of God in your heart and take your first steps in confidence knowing that whatever today may bring, you're ready? Are you ready for the what if's??

This is different from the first time I wrote it, but the message is still there. This is another one of those times where I wish I could say more. My mom commented and asked why I keep so much in and why I don't give more's not that I don't want would make it easier to get a few points across....but for the security of the Forces here, too many details will get me in trouble. Maybe I'll tell you about 'that day'.....or when you ask...I'll say 'I don't want to talk about it'......who knows.

The important part here is the message - Are you ready? Are you truly ready. Everything happens for a reason, and when it's your's your time. The question is 'will you be ready?' Are you ready for the what if's? Have you made your peace with God? Have you made peace with yourself? Trust me, the sooner you do....the better you'll feel. Hopefully it won't take a reality check for you to make that decision. I wrote this with a calm, collected mind and manner, but picture me now standing in front of you firmly asking "are you truly ready to die? Because if you're not, you're not ready to live! When you are ready to live, life will be just a little bit easier."

Please be with us. Keep us safe, bring us home to those we love. Until then, I trust in you for my future. I know I'm alive, and pray that if anyone that reads this is not really alive inside and out, then they will seek you. I hope they long for the peace that only your loving hand can put into our hearts. Please keep us safe, and again...I trust in you for my everything.

Somewhere in Iraq
SGT Wormy-Strader


Saturday, July 5, 2008

4th of July

Well, here I am again....still in Iraq....AND I want to say thank you to all of those who have shown support for us over here! I want to thank all who have thought about all the freedoms we have as Americans as we celebrate our Independence Day!! THANK YOU!!

What did I do on the 4th of July....what is a holiday like in Iraq? What do Soldiers do on the 4th of July?? Well for starters, we work. Over here there are no days off. There are no 'off days'. We can't ask the insurgents not to attack us because we want to have a little free time. BUT what we can do is this: we can make the best of where we are and do our best to have a good time. SO, what did we do? We worked....AND then we had a cookout! Actually we had a cookout yesterday and then the main event tonight. The main event included another cookout, karaoke, hanging out, and just having a good time. For me it included a six pack....of near-beer that is. WHICH doesn't help my effort to loose 15 lbs by the way. But we had a really great time. The only fireworks we had were two sets of sparklers we lit while we all sang "Proud to be an American" by Lee Greenwood. It was a nice end-cap to the evenings events. Other than that, no shooting stars, no other explosions, no interruptions....just a few hours of good times with friends.

I guess one thing people don't realize is that holidays over here are not what people in the States enjoy. I'm sure many many people had parties, get togethers, and went to firework shows. After all, it fell on a weekend. This is a pretty easy holiday to get through. Wait till Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years....those are much harder on Soldiers. I've been away from my family once already so hopefully this year won't be too hard. This is John's second time too I think. BUT that's down the road. I guess the point of all that is just to get you to think about all the liberties, freedoms, and great things you get to do as an American. In those times, please remember the Soldiers that have made it all possible and of those still in the fight for America's freedom.

On another note....I'm SHOCKED that only my dad commented on the deer hunting pic! And by the way THANKS DAD!! I got a great laugh out of the comment! I liked it so much, here it is:

AWSOME!! Thanks Daddy!!

Well, I don't really have much more to say for now...I guess. It's been pretty quiet over here for us anyway. My team is doing our best to stay busy with random stuff. I'm doing my best to stay busy in the gym. I'm doing my best to look 'better' when I get home. John really gave me some much needed motivation with his email to me. THANKS BRO!! He's 100% right, if I don't stick with this and do my best then I'll let myself down. Well, that's not in any of my plans! So hopefully I'll accomplish my goals before I come home. Well, that's about it for now. I need to update the Hall of Fame. I'll do that soon.

Till next time. LOVE YOU ALL!! And thanks for all the hits to this site!!! WOW!!

Somewhere in Iraq


Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Fourth of July!

I hope that everyone has a good Fourth and that Jeremy I do NOT see any fireworks. If we do, that means they are provided by the Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Lets hope for a quiet and easy Fourth for us.

Remember all the ones that gave the ultimate price for your freedom 231 years ago. Sorry this so short, but I have to get back to school work. I have a lot to complete and I want to get done today so I can start on next weeks. I will try to post again on Sunday.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

We's goin DEER huntin!!

First I want to thank all of those who have so kindly sent cards, boxes, and other stuff to my brother and I!! THANK YOU SO SO MUCH!!

We's goin deer huntin!!.....YEP you heard it right, I said deer huntin in Iraq! Now in order for this to make complete sense, you have to know that my brother and I have an on-going contest for the best picture while we are is the latest addition! And I must say that I'm going to take 1st place for a while until he comes up with something good......So me, another Soldier, and a Seaman(Navy guy-my roommate) were doing some weapons training today. It was another hot day in Iraq, and we had to go to the qualification range to keep up on our M16 skills. WELL....if you wouldn't believe it, the big deer ran right out on the range!! And yes, we shot it! Now, although it may look like I did some photo shop and put this together...I didn't. The flash of the camera kinda messed up the pic, BUT none the less.....beat this bro!!!

Well, Momma asked for a new entry...well, here ya go!! I was going to put some other stuff on here but for's the deer hunting pic!
More to come!
Love you all!
Somewhere in Iraq
SGT 'Redneck' Wormy

The Road Trip

FOBbit. In the rear with the gear. FOB rat. These are terms that no long apply to me!!!! I made my first trip off the FOB on Tuesday, July 1, 2007. You have no idea how excited I was to get to experience that. It was still office work in the end, but it was worth it. I rode with some CRAZY Marine Reservists from TX to International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF, I am not typing that out again so remember it) headquarters to pick up the wonderful and coveted NATO Medal. This medal is given to every service member who is here for 30 days or more. I have to go and pick about 1000 of these. I was crammed into a Toyota Landcruiser with three other people and 12 boxes of medals and certificates. It was an easy ride all except for the insane driving. Imagine the bumpiest back road that you know, now go about 50-70 MPH depending on how big the pothole you are approaching. Some of the road was even dirt and sand it did not slow them down. I know we have to go fast to deter the enemy from wasting an IED to blow us up, but it got hairy at times with the speed and people walking out in front of you on a constant basis. Speaking of IED and enemy, I found out I was on the second most deadly road in the country. We had NO issues, but it caused a hightened sense of awareness of what was going on around you. I took a few pictures of the trip and here are what I think are the worthy ones. The one of me is when I was waiting on my ride. Notice the camera case I rigged to my gear so I would have fast and easy access. I also included a picture of the country side I took while flying down road and got lucky on the shot. Notice the tents in the picture. We saw several areas like this and it reminded me of Kuwait and Iraq. The actual city of Kabul reminded me a lot of Iraq also. On the way back they got a call that there was fire fight about 20-30 minutes behind us and they wanted to go to it to make sure no assistance was needed and the Air Force female that was with us got really scared and almost started crying because she did not want to go. They made sure no assistance was needed and we continued on back to Bagram. I got a little excited and hyped up there for a minute just to have to calm back down. Maybe it was good thing.

Well, work is changing again. I am sure you have heard about the Navy female in my office and the.....well.......lets just say I am glad I was not on her shift and irritated I am now. My schedule is changing again on Saturday. I am back to normal work hours for now. I will be working 9am to 630pm for now. I loose a lot days off, but the shorter hours will make it easier for me to keep up with my classes. I am actually behind this week so far and will be spending most of my day reading and studying. The moving of shifts actually made me feel good when I was told why. Due to the high demand put on the awards section, that is me, I am going to work the same shift as my boss to help eleviate a lot of work off of him.

My little secret I have to keep for now is really going great and I hope it stays that way!! I actually got a few emails inquiring about it and let the secret out. Hopefully soon I will be able to divulge the secret and explain why it is kept secret right now.

I am waiting on authorization to post pictures of what my job is all about on here. I have a few picture given to me of the Commanding General pinning a Purple Heart on a wounded soldier in the hospital and what happened to him. Of course I will not give his name, but you will enjoy it. It brought a tear to my eyes when I saw the pictures.

My mom wanted me to elaborate little more on the little things in life that you do not understand we are giving up. I wanted to do a separate blog for that, but I am lazy and never have any time to get on here recently. Hopefully that is going to change with me going back to the other schedule. Tomorrow I want you think about everything you do and wonder if we have the luxuries you do. I will get into this more tomorrow.

Tomorrow expect a special post in regards to what it is and what it means to all of us and should mean to you!!