Thursday, April 15, 2004

Turning Into A Soldier; Jesus is Coming (so rumor has it in the headquarters)

15 April, 2004 1800 Al-Kut TV Station

We’ve gotten word that we’ll be moving again – this time to An-Najaf, one of the holiest cities in Islam. We’ve got another long road march ahead of us through hostile territory. An-Najaf is the suspected hideout of Mutadr Al-Sadr and second focus of U.S. forces next to Fallujah. I can only get spotty news reports from my shortwave from China and France, some BBC, and one bible radio station out of the U.S. with a preacher frantically preaching against immorality and the U.S. and the inevitable coming of Jesus. “God, I hope Jesus doesn’t come while we’re here,” Murphy said as we listened to the preacher. We were listening because the station just finished playing Bush’s State of the Union address.
‘Yeah, if Jesus comes back, I hope he waits until after we get back to Germany,’ I said.
“If we ever get home,” replied Murphy.
Today, nothing much happened. The best part was being able to call you! You were on the bus to France, or already in France, I think. I didn’t want to tell you that we were moving again, but I had to just in case you didn’t hear from me for a while. It was so good to hear your voice, even though it was only for 5 minutes. I hope you are OK and staying strong. All I want is to come home to you Nora, I’ve never wanted something so bad in my life, and I never thought the stakes could be so high just to get home. It feels like we’ve been playing Russian Roulette for the past year. You think you’re used to it, and then you got to collect yourself for another road march, and another length of time you do not know the length of.
Rumors circulating now say Bush wants 1AD out of Iraq and back home by June 30. I haven’t been able to confirm that. I’m not getting my hopes up at all though. Today I went with the LTC to Camp Delta. Sitting there in the sun, you look at our trucks and look at our faces and realize we’ve turned into soldiers. Not the spit shined, wet behind the ears, U.S. Army dog and pony show soldiers, but just soldiers – the kind we imagined our elders were long ago, but in more definable wars – Vietnam, WWII. ‘So this is what it’s like,’ I thought.


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