Just recieved an update from a friend who is a reservist, been deployed since the begining of the year:
(BIAP - Baghdad International Airport)
We signed over a majority of West BIAP to the Ministry of Transportation (MoT) on the 15th. I think I'll try to sell the pen that we used on E-Bay. Should bring about a buck-fifty. Not bad fo a $2 pen. Anyway, the MoT is very excited. They now "own" their airport and the key real estate around it.
An American soldier stole a car from an Iraqi Airways worker. Still working that one with CID. Yes... we're winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people one felony at a time...
Another American soldier shot up a car that was being driven by one of the Airport workers. Fortunately he wasn't hurt. I’m really getting to know the CID guys really well.
A surface to air missile (SAMS) almost hit a civilian 747 that was landing at BIAP. It missed and hit about 50 meters from the 353rd HQ building. I was there meeting with my Colonel when it hit. The Group is now convinced that the insurgents are gunning for me personally. It was kind of ironic...
I had dinner last night with an Iraqi family. The Father works at the airport as a blacksmith. When I told him that my grandfather was a blacksmith, he figured that I was OK. Very nice family, very nice meal. Chicken, rice and pita-type bread. No forks or spoons. 3 plates were put out for the family and you just kinda grabbed what you wanted. Very civilized, though. It was so nice to be with a family having a regular meal. Their house is fairly small, so we ate in the living room. During dinner, a Michael Jackson feature was on TV. It was in English with Arabic subtitles. One thing that we can all agree on: MJ's music is great, but he's a freak. The son, Ahmed, works for the Mayor's office & acted as translator. Very very nice family: father, mother, 3 sons, 2 daughters, one daughter-in-law. Lots of laughing, lots of food... I almost forgot that I was in Iraq for a bit. After dinner, the father brought out a hookah (aka water bong). I thought that I would hav e to politely excuse myself, but it was just loaded with an apple flavored tobacco.
I have met so many wonderful people here. Please know that the typical Iraqi is very thankful that the Americans are here. Even with our occasional blunders. Plenty of those on both sides. We just all need to keep in mind that very few Iraqis are shooting at airplanes, and very few Americans are shooting at airport workers. They just want to get back to something close to a normal way of life, and most of us just want to get home to our normal lives.
"I think I was trying to suggest something about the duality of man... the Jungian thing, sir."
- Matthew Modine, Full Metal Jacket (1987)