Here is a thank you letter and pictures we received. I have more to post, but am running out of time!!!!
"With all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, I'm not sure I officially thanked you for sending a baking package to Jon. He did most certainly receive it and was so thrilled. It really made a difficult time more tolerable. I think the holidays in general were okay there, but the actual Christmas Day had some violence and I think he wasn't really mentally prepared for that.
He was home for his leave in February and it was wonderful to see him.... Thanks so much again for thinking of Jon and I'm so sorry my thanks are so late. If you are interested, I attached his latest email. He's really doing some interesting and different things now. It sure is a different world over there...."
Today I had a couple early missions and I was done with my duty day by 13:00 (1pm). The afternoon off it not only gave me a chance to take a nap but also a chance to think, and I realized I haven't sent an email to everyone in a long time. Ever since getting back to Mahmudiyah after my R&R leave I have sort of gotten into a groove. I rarely know the date or what day of the week it is.
My attachment to Delta Company has been going well. We have some exciting moments, but thankfully we have plenty of dull ones too. Last week I spent a few very long days on an Iraqi Army Compound teaching Iraqi soldiers "Combat Lifesaver" skills. (the Army's phrase for First Aid) I will try to attach some pictures of the classes. The classes went well. The Iraqis were very eager to learn. Trying to teach a group of guys how to initiate an IV is pretty interesting when the majority of them did not even know what a vein was before we began! They did a good job though, and not too much blood was shed as we practiced on each other.
Most of my missions are humanitarian in nature. We go out and help (re)establish businesses. Ranging from fish farms to little corner markets. We are literally throwing tons of money at these people. Honestly it can be a bit aggravating watching all these funds get handed out knowing that our own country is in a financial crisis. There are times I feel we are doing some real good over here, but a lot of the time I get the feeling we are pushing democracy onto a nation of people who don't really want it.
Today we went to a chicken farm. We were escorting a couple guys from the USDA so they could teach the farmers how to vaccinate their chicks. It is one of the many businesses we are funding. It is interesting and boring at the same time. I never would have thought I would be pulling security on a farm for 3 hours while we were dehydrating chicks so they would drink their medicine. It is up there with watching paint dry. Strange days! While the chicks drank their medicine we took a break and accepted Chai Tea from the farm owner's children. This happens a lot at the homes and businesses we visit. They love their Chai Tea here! Iraqis usually drink it out of the saucer. I drink it from the glass. I just don't want to end up wearing half of it....