From my sister, re my nephew...
Well...let me tell ya' some of the stuff going on over there. If you
remember when Sam was over there in 2003-04, communications were often shut
down when any Americans died or were severely wounded. Still happening that
way which is why Sam has only called twice since he's been there. Every
time he tries to call, the system gets put on hold (including Internet
On top of that, there are 2 phone systems in his camp. The AT&T phones with
cards that can be replenished are about a 10-15 minute walk from Sam's
place. When your day starts at 5 am and ends @ 10 or 11 pm, that 1/2 hour
walk is unbearable. So Sam uses the other phones. A card costs $20.00 which
should be good for an hour & 40 minutes. Unfortunately, using these cards
(non-renewable) takes 15-20 minutes just getting the connection.
Any way, Sam is suffering survivor's guilt right now. He's back on patrol
instead of being a radio operator (how did I know...). He was in the 2nd
squad but was replaced when he didn't leave with everyone else.[because of
his broken hand] Now that he's in Iraq, he's been placed in the 3rd squad.
2nd squad was hit by an IED last Thursday. The team leader took shrapnel to
his knee and broke his arm. The driver (who took Sam's place) lost one leg
but they're still hoping to save the other one.
Sam is devastated to say the least. He knows it's not his fault - even his
Sgt told him that. However, as he said, his brain can't always rule his gut
and he feels guilty.
Since communications are down so often, Sam has started reading again and
watching DVDs. If you're not too worried about being forward at work, see
if anyone has books or movies they'd be willing to send to Sam. After all,
this IS Iraqi Liberation Week according to Ken Mehlman, et al.
Sam gets one meal a day: dinner. They leave too early in the am to get
breakfast. Lunch is usually local food. Sam is among the guys who won't
eat local food. I don't know if he's heard too many Viet Nam stories about
ground glass in the Coke or if he doesn't want to risk Montezuma's revenge.
Then again, he could just relish being stubborn and not giving anything to
the people of Iraq.
They get in late, get dinner, and go to bed. Hell of a life.
neIN, Zone 5
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