Thursday, September 20, 2007

My Typical Day in Iraq

20 Sep 07

In response to loyal reader Sean (AKA Instant Tragedy), here is my typical day. Please excuse the military times. I can't help it.

0500 I wake up in my 20 person tent. The lights remain off until 0730, so I have to do everything in the dark. I sleep in PT clothes (Army t-shirt and shorts), and as I climb out of my sleeping bag, I slip on my shower shoes. I have a little flashlight near the bed that I use to find the towel and hygiene kit from my duffel bag and I trudge my way to the latrine.

0505 The latrine is about 150 yards away. I walk out of my tent and stumble over stones and sand. There are these huge concrete T-walls for force protection and they keep out much of the light from surrounding compounds, but the moon is often bright enough to light the way. I arrive at the portapotty and take care of business before going next door to the shower.

0510 There are 6 small shower stalls and six adjacent sinks (try saying that 5 times fast). I have my electric razor charged up, so I do a quick shave and brush my teeth before taking a "combat shower."

0520 Each soldier is allotted 15 gallons a day for personal hygiene, including flushing the toilets and taking showers. They way this works is we turn on the water and get wet. As soon as we are wet, we turn off the water and lather up. On again comes the water and we turn it off again as soon as all the soap is off.

0525 Band-Aid change. I got a smallpox vaccination before coming and it takes about 3 weeks to heal. At least the intense itching, which lasted about a week, has mostly subsided. I change the dressing and carefully discard it before washing my hands again. There is still a live virus on the band-aid and scab, so you have to be really careful.

0530 Back in my PT clothes and shower shoes and stumble back to the tent.

0545 Now I use the flashlight to change into my Army ACU's, or my desert camoflague. It's long pants, long sleeves, boots and a hat. On top of that, I strap on my 9mm Beretta pistol and I'm off to chow.

0600 The dining facility has a sign out front. I'm not allowed to take a picture for security reasons, but it reads:


I show my ID and get in for a really good meal. They serve over 27,000 meals per day in this one facility, and they do an incredible job.

0645 After a leisurely breakfast, I ready myself for the one mile walk to work. It's cool in the morning, somewhere in the middle to high 80's, so it's a nice walk. The walk home won't be nearly as much fun.

Tomorrow: WORK!


Unknown said...

Now that's a morning workout.

Walk that mile to work ugh. It probably isn't bad at 80-90 degrees but the walk home has to be a pain in the ass.

So you have to be prepared for anything, even at chow. Wow.

Thanks for posting the morning and we'll keep YOU in our thoughts and prayers!

BTW: I am almost tempted to get in touch with The Wife and build her a blog.

Sean / IT

Anonymous said...

I was thinking that since the Dr. is up and running, that I do need my own!

Sean, I will welcome your help if I can't figure it out.

Honey, nice details - gives me an appreciation for being at home with my crazy family and au pair - at least I don't have to walk a mile to shower.

911siren said...

Oh my dear brother, I think the hardest thing/ the most wonderful thing I have read so far has been that you have to strap on a gun every morning. Hard because it must be a constant reminder that you aint in Mayberry anymore and wonderful because you have some means of protecting yourself.

Are you in a place where you hear gunfire? (Please do not answer if you are not allowed) I guess what I am really asking is; how safe is the area where you are?

In your 20 man tent, are you all officers?

Do you have a mailing address?

Love you Bro! Michele

Ps: A picture of you in your desert cams would be so great!!!