Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Little Break

Hello everyone! It's been a while... I've gotten a good taste of how crazy inventory-ing all of our gear is going to be. Very crazy. It took a little over two weeks and a lot of re-tracing my steps. I updated my gear tracker though so it should be a lot better next go around. (5 days!!!)

Exciting news... about a week ago we took small groups back and forth from the dam to go swimming. The water felt AMAZING and the marines loved it. It was a good morale boost for a proven tough week ahead. I'm glad we made the time for it. We also found a boat down there that does not work too well and we didn't use it for any boat rides, but we did hook it to a trailer and bring it to the FOB with hopes of fixing it up nice.

I'm sitting here eating White Cheddar Cheez-it's, drinking Arizona "Southern Style Real Brewed" Sweet Tea and watching The Office. That is what I call IDEAL. I'm pretty excited about this moment right now.

As another month wraps up it is hitting me again how fast time is going. I'm still enjoying it up here. I have such a unique opportunity with this battery and I am not taking it for granted. I'm already looking forward to my future B-Billet which is another 3 1/2 years long where I get to give back to the Marine Corps some and teach. I know for a fact this experience here will be the topic of many discussions.

The tough times we've had the past couple weeks has really brought us together and made us think about how we are running things. Here's an issue I'm learning. When you always win, you think about how you just won and therefore try to keep doing that same thing. Now, when you lose, you think about how you can not ever lose again. Therefore, after a while, the loser has the advantage because they have to force themselves to think outside the box and find a way to be better. Yes, I haven't gotten too good at explaining myself but hopefully you catch my drift. As they say, knowing is half the battle and realizing this will help us continue to see progress in the area. Speaking of progress in the area, the locals are starting to trust us more. We no longer have to pull information from the farmers. They are now starting to come up to us to talk about all kinds of good information. Also, they started telling the insurgents they don't want them in their town anymore because they only bring harm to the area. All of that means it is a very fragile state right now. We have to be very careful not to make any mistakes. The more we show we are here to help and provide stability to the area through training up the local police, it will only get better. The local police are much more disciplined than the Iraqi's were so thats at least one plus!

Alright well I'm going to run! Look me up on Skype as marinemiller29 or Roy F Miller IV. It's turning out to be the best way to communicate. Ta ta for now

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Questions from Julia...

"1. Do you ever to get to eat at Afghani restaurants?

2. Who cooks your dinner? Do you have a designated chef?

3. How do you work out? Do you have a gym?

4. Can you pirate films while on base? How closely do "they" monitor your computer?

5. What is your job on base in Hawaii?

6. How many officers are with you in Kajaki?

I'd like a full description for each question please. Three to four sentences should suffice.

Thank you! Love you! Bye!"

These were presented to me in an email a few days ago and figured if she had these questions, I'm sure others do so why not answer them on here.

1. No. Actually I don't even know if there are any Afghani restaurants. I know for a fact there aren't any where I am, its way too crazy for a restaurant to be around here. The closest I have gotten to Afghani food is the bread that a local guy brings us. He makes it in the bizarre outside the Fob and walks it up to us sometimes. Its pretty good.

2.We have two designated cooks. That is their job in the Marine Corps. They were attached to us before we left and take care of us for breakfast and dinner. We also have a SSgt who is my platoon sergeant, SSgt Robinson, that is an excellent cook so he usually goes down there and teaches them a thing of two about seasoning the food to make it taste better. I have nothing to complain about, I've been really impressed.

3. We do have a "gym." I need to do a better job at taking some pictures. The trick is I cant take pictures of the layout of the Fob so I will have to make sure to zoom in where you can only see the gym. It has two flat benches, a curling station, 1 set of weights from 15 all the way up to 100, a row machine, a few pull-up bars, a squat station, leg press, leg curls, a ghetto pulley system for triceps or lat pull downs and thats about it. It works.

4. This is a scary question. I haven't thought much about "them." I don't pirate films, Julia! I'm a good boy and pay for all my stuff. I guess if I really wanted to I could but it would take forever because the connection is pretty slow.

5. My job on base in Hawaii was Fire Direction Officer. When I get back it will be that, as well as Headquarters Platoon Commander until they move me somewhere else.

6. This is a funny questions because today I met my second general since I've been here. We get ALL KINDS of officers coming to visit for a few hours. Its definitely not uncommon at all. But as for the ones with a more permanent status... about 9.

Well, if anyone else has some questions please ask. It makes my writing a lot easier. Update on myself... I had my own room for one night only to be told the next day that I needed to move out because we have to leave that room open for VIP's that get stuck here. I argued it with some tact trying to get a good reason as to why we have to leave a nice big AC room wide open all the time when one or two nights out of the 6 months someone will be staying in there. I'm here for 6 months, they may have to stay 1 night. I said I'd gladly give my room up when they get here, but it was to no effect. After 4 hours of moving in one night, I got everything back out the next day. Except I took the furniture and internet with me. So I do have shelves, internet, and a bed. Just no privacy. Its okay. I really don't mind. Just wish I had known before I stayed up past midnight unpacking all my stuff. I agree with my commands' decision, just a little frustrating that the word didn't get passed to me until it was too late.

Anyway, I'm going to run. Hope everyone is doing well. Much love!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

More rank, more work

Well good evening everyone! I got to sleep in this morning (0730) because we didn't have any patrols going out for once, so I am writing you at 2200 instead of sleeping like usual. For the most part I've been able to sleep through the night. Though there have been a couple instances where my presence was needed while I was in bed and I had to go through that get up and get ready as fast as possible feeling. I don't like that feeling one bit. Rushing is never an exciting thing when you'd rather be sleeping.

So, check it out... its already June! How exciting! I'm sure time hasn't passed as fast for you as it has me but time its just whizzing by. The next few days will continue to go by fast as well because it is the beginning of the month which is when I have to do my CMR inventory. ugh! Not only do I have to verify all of our gear, but my CO wants to go through everything with me at the same time which means I can't just take care of business when I want to, I have to make sure his schedule is clear. Its really throwing a kink in my plans. I had a whole process in mind to knock this out in a few days, now its all kanked. It's going to take at least 10 days I bet.

I have been working out pretty regularly. The problem is that I've traded running for lifting. This means I may be getting stronger, but at the same time I'm getting a little flabby too. I just thought of this because I had an itch on my lower back and noticed my love handles seemed a little bigger. Running here is bad. All we can do is run in a small "circle" around the FOB about a thousand times and that makes a mile. Repeating the same route during a run is no fun at all. Thats also why I can't stand running on a treadmill. It drives me crazy! I don't know what I'm going to do. Maybe I'll start running twice a week or so. I'm not committing to anything yet until I run once and see how miserable it is.

Guess what? Something pretty cool came around these past few days. A mobile PX. Yeah, really! I didn't know we had these things. A ton of goodies came on a helicopter, they set up a little shop in the USO building and we were able to go in and buy all kinds of stuff. I bought Sweet Tea, some Hormel microwave lunches, Pringles, White Cheddar Cheez-itz, razor blades and a few other knick nacks. The Marines, including myself, loved it. What a great morale booster! Supposedly they will come once a month. That would be nice. I think almost every enlisted marine bought at least one pack of Monster/Throttle energy drinks. I cant believe how addicted to that stuff these guys are. It can't be good. They down them too. I bet within the next week most will have run through all of theirs and anyone who has any left will have GOLD to trade for whatever they want.

This past week we tried to get a swim session in for the Marines. They are on a multiple day rotation and we want to give them something to look forward to afterward. We figured jumping in a nice cold lake would be fun. It didn't go through but maybe within these next couple weeks we will work out the logistics and security to make it available to them once a week or so. I should have brought a fishing pole(not really)! We see some big creatures in that water. I'm sure its nothing compared to the creatures we have in the south though so I'm not worried.

Still waiting on a room. The guy whose room I am supposed to take cant get out of here! He's been trying to for the past week but can't get on a flight. I'm really looking forward to having some privacy. I'm done with this whole living in the open out of my bags. Heres what I need to do... the next chopper that goes through I should just tie him up and throw him on.

I got to do something else new!! We just recently got IR Illum for M777 a couple years ago. So new I never even learned about it in the schoolhouse. Anyway, we shot it tonight, its pretty sweet. We wanted to see how effective it was at supporting our Marines on a patrol. Not a big deal for most of you, but its kind of cool to say I shot it.

Well, I am going to cut this one a little short, just wanted you all to know everything is going well, I'm still loving it, and I miss you all a lot. I have done a VERY bad job at calling people. I actually haven't called anyone in over two weeks. Email really is the best way to talk so if you want to chat, try that route!