Everything went well in the city. We were able to get the shot up, which happened to have the best Bit Error rate yet (very little packet loss). The set up was easy at first, then the generator went down on us. We tried everything to start it. I ended up tearing the pull cord out of the damned thing. The infantry company that was there had a BAT team assigned to it and the Gunny in charge saved our ass. He had wired the building (that we set up in) with power from a 60k generator so we had power but no American plugs. The Gunny lent us a Hadji power converter so we could plug in. The next problem was that we were getting shocked like a mother when we plugged in the UPS. Not just any shock, like static electricity, but the kind of shock you get from a full-powered electric fence! Turns out that Iraqi power is not grounded! So we had to ground everything so we don’t die and the equipment doesn’t fry.
After that turn of events we had to run the wire. I had my marines get out a pick axe and start putting holes in the walls to run the Cat 5 cable–they had a blast! Typical marines! We had to do this while they were still BATing the Iraqis, what a mess with the men coming in and out, mud everywhere!
We then programmed the router and the BAT computers and started pushing the info from the Iraqis to the server at Camp Fallujah. I had taken the contractor out with me and he was impressed as hell at what we did and how well the network worked. We are getting better bandwidth than any other BAT system in Iraq, because it is a dedicated line. We ended up getting done around 3 and then had to wait for the convoys to pick us up to head to the FWD and wait for the next convoy.
When we got back I had the marines head to Christmas dinner and then clean their weapons, due to the rain and mud (they ended up getting into a mud fight). I waited in line for chow, fresh turkey, ham, sweet potatoes, stuffing gravy! To top it all of they were playing “It’s a wonderful life.” Not a bad Marine Corps Christmas. Sorry I couldn’t be there with you hugging a sofa with the family around us…definitely next year though! That was my Christmas in 2004.