Tom’s Daily Grind

My day usually starts around 9:30pm. I jump off the top bunk and get on my shower shoes, get my shower kit and towel, and head out to the community showers. The showers aren’t anything like MASH and they aren’t buildings either–they are mobile shower trailers with 16 stalls per trailer. They are nicer than some of the camp sites we have stayed at (pics will come later). The trailers also have six sinks in the middle of the trailer that separate the eight pairs of shower stalls. After I get cleaned it is back to the house, Building 223, where I talk to my roommates and get dressed. After some always enjoyable conversation I head out to the Palace/COC (Operations HQ). I check in with the outgoing watch and then head to late dinner and then hurry up to start my watch.

Work consists of watching the many communications links from our adjacent units and our command unit 1MEF. We have software that lets us know when something goes out and how long it has been down. I then have to contact our Systems office and find out the problem and estimated time of recovery. When that is complete, I log in the entries into our log as well as 1MEF’s logs. I also wait until the problems have been fixed and update the logs accordingly. I also am incharge of the Help Desk in the COC. I have four marines who fix the various computer issues that arise in a state of the art war-fighting center.

Around 5:30am, I head back to the chow hall for my last meal of the day, breakfast. One thing about the food out here? It is outstanding! For breakfast I usually have the egg chef make me a western omelette, and I get sausage and hash browns. Yummy! Then it is back to the office, where I wait for around 7am (0700) and the usual round of enemy mortars to land in the Euphrates river behind me. They aren’t very good shots, really. They have to run into their positions and fire as quickly as they can and run away before we lower the hand of pain on them. We can quickly triangulate their positions and fire on them with 155mm high explosive artillery, usually around 6-8 shot vollies. A 155mm shell is roughly the size of a 2½ foot long coffee can. I would not want to be anywhere near that display! Needless to say those little buggers don’t have time to aim, so we stand back and watch the show.

My watch ends at 8am and then I have a meeting at 9am. I then get my lifting partner, a Warrant Officer, who is a programmer and has the watch before me, and head out to the gym. We have started going to the gym about six days a week, this breaks up the daily grind! After the gym, I try to fall asleep and turn over a new page in my Iraqi notebook.

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