"It is impossible to know who to trust here - the best advice is to trust no one"
|That is surely the best advice I got from the outgoing team, and if I didn't hear it from CI-Roller dude, I am sure he would have said it. Everyone here you work with wants something from you and has some scam they are trying to run. People show up every day with some urgent information we should drop everything in order to discuss. Most of it is crap, or recycled intel they were able to sell to the last rotation, or the FOB down the road. Or worse, they are from the "enemy/insurgent/AIF/ACF/freedom fighter/Abu dirt-bag/take-your-pick" and they are trying to figure out what we already know.|
There's LNs, short for Local National employee - we have all kinds on the base, cleaners, guards, a cook, etc. All seem nice, but ... they all live here, and they will still live here when we're gone, so they are easily extorted is my guess.
Then there's the local interpreters, man I haven't seen so much drama since Bosnia (yeah, SFOR14, you know what I mean) - I can't even go into it, but we had to clean house on these dudes. Shady.
Last but not least is the force we are supposed to train up and support. Mostly these are good dudes, some are real Soldiers. But there are some who are insurgent informers I guess, some are in it to make money one way or another. And every time they tell you something, the first thing going thru your head is, okay what is he getting out of this?
With all this your guard is always up. Everyone always smiles at you, says "Salam", seems to be so friendly, and so interested in you. "America, good, good." Man, I'm from the East Coast and I don't trust anyone who's always smiling at me. I always feel better when I'm with the Joes, and Tarzan or Shameless says "What the hell are you looking at?"
So, business continues to be good here. The days tend to blur together, especially when we have operations at night, or we get mortared when I'm trying to sleep. Nobody even notices the occasional gunfire anymore, the Iraqis shoot in the air for just about any reason.
So night ops, they suck, it is hard to see anything when we are speeding down a road, and the truck in front of you throws up dust everywhere. And then there's the roads that look like roads on the map, but, when you get there, there's no f'in road. Okay, its a rush too, especially if we nab a target, or grab a cache. That's one less chance someone innocent gets killed. And that's what keeps me motivated at least.
Speaking of night ops, I have to make my first product endorsement - Jolt Gum. This caffeinated gum is just what a Joe needs after a long day followed by a night mission. A special thanks to Jacki who sent us a bunch - the guys love the stuff and it surely kept a few tired drivers alert. And check it out, I found this when I searched for their link - Jolt supports the troops.
If you need more gum (and we know you do), rest assured all online orders shipping to a military address get bonus free gum. We always throw a bunch of free packettes in the box to help you when you're humping through the muck and need an extra boost.Now they really have my endorsement.
Good luck and get home safely.
BTW, we had a good Thanksgiving, and Thank You to everyone who has sent care packages, well wishes, support e-mails. We really are well taken care of by you all. Today we even got a few packages that had Christmas decorations, so we've started to put those up.
The care packages have been a big boost - a few requests we do have are dried fruit, since we have a hard time getting fruit, along with nuts (especially Pistachios, we can't keep 'em around) for protein, we do want beef jerky and popcorn, and baby wipes. I know other bloggers have said not to send some of these things because they are over stocked with it, but believe me, we don't get that stuff here.
Okay, I am going to try to end on a positive note, and that is I really am amazed at the stars here - they are so bright and clear. I love being outside at night (except when the moon is up [;) to gaze at the stars, they are amazing here. The only thing is Mars is always high in the sky, often right overhead, shining down angrily over Iraq. How appropriate.