Thursday, June 29, 2006

29 June 2006

Stuck in Al Qaim. Trying for a night flight. HOT here, 120+. when I get back, then I must get a night flight to Ramadi. No rest.

Monday, June 26, 2006

26 June 2006. From a French Mason

Received an Email today. Here is the English translation:

My Dear brother Charles,

I am a Freemason, from the Grand Orient of France (not in communication with the Mother Grand Lodge in England), and I received your news through our mutual connection Brother Roger Nette.

Your mission in Iraq, is very dangerous. I hope that our friends in the American Government will find a way to get you people out of the hornet's nest there, and then return the brave soldiers to their families.

We think that Democracy cannot be exported at the end of an M16 rifle, like a terrorist!

We think that Western-style Democracy can be best shared, by concrete examples of Freedom and secular government.

These examples can re-establish goodwill, with people of other cultures to move on to the establishment of a new political birth in their societies.

Take care of yourself my Brother,

Signed , Armand


What do you expect from a gimlet-assed garlic sucker? Raise one hand if you like the French. Raise two hands and you are French.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Some good news at last

Brother Charles,
Have you obtained the written approval to meet on the FOB yet?
Al A Sad will be the location of the first Fellowcraft Club of LSA#1, and then be empowered to to conduct meetings.
The meetings will be held upon receipt of the Dispensation, thru me, which will allow you to meet on a specified date, at a specified time, and for a specified purpose. More information to follow. The NY membership issue is still problem that needs to be resolved, between the Grand Secretaries of NY and Kentucky.

22 June 2006

Getting some good news from New York at last. We have permission from the Base Commander to meet. Meeting rooms are scarce, and difficult to schedule. There is a new chapel under construction, and hopefully that will relieve some of the stress. I still do not have my dual membership with Master Builder lodge #911, in Tonawanda NY. My home lodge (Bowling Green 73, Bowling Green KY) issued the document stating that I am a Master Mason in good standing, but there is apparently some confusion, about my Masonic status.

I requested the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of KY to issue a document, verifying my Masonic status, but this document must be requested from New York. I contacted the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of New York, and requested that he secure the necessary documents. SIX months to get a dual membership through is unacceptable. If we had a charter today, we could not have masonic meetings, because we do not have a New York mason present here on Al Asad.

From a brother in Reunion Island, Indian Ocean

Is this a great fraternity or what!

Dear Charles,

I found your e-mail adress during a time spent to internet navigation. (As usualy on Masonics web pages).
I was puzzled by your bravery which conduct you and surely some other Brethern to open a LodgeasLand Sea and Air Lodge N°1, in these country under war time.
But I think too that with will and a great love about our convictions theyr is always a way. You are then so a fine exemple.
I write you from Réunion Island a small french Island near Madagascar, in fact a middle way between Mauritius Island and Madagascar in Indian Ocean.For your information here, in these small Island there are 15 Lodges working under regular recognisation. All the regular Rites are used as Emulation, Scottish Standard Rite, York Rite, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, French Rite and although Royal Ark and Mark masonnry.
So I dont will ennoy you with this all. I only hope that everything is getting very well for you and hope and wish that all your wishes could find a réalization in a short coming time.
Excuse me for my english, but I do what I can....
Hope that you will find interrest to communicate with a Brother from a French Country. Keep care on you.
With all my brotherhood

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

20 June 2006

What a country! I have been endorsed for a second year here. The company apparently likes how I do this job. Good for them. I like how I do the job as well.

Night before last, I got on the Mongoose bike, and the rear tire was flat. I dismounted it, repaired the leak, and re-mounted and inflated the tire. Then I got on the bike yesterday morning, and the same tire was flat. As an old friend used to say "It would make a preacher cuss". So I dismounted the tire, and found a second leak, just an inch from the old leak. I patched the leak, and put the tire under my bed, so that the glue could cure. I will re-mount it today.

The heat is relentless, it has no pity. I would like to sleep with the air conditioner off, the humming is loud. But the night heat crawls across the desert, so it is too hot to sleep with the A/C off. I have to leave it running. This morning, there was a power interruption, so as soon as the power went off, I cut the master switch, so that the A/C would not re-start when the power came back on.

The company wants to send another man here. I can keep him busy, but the work load here is not unbearable. As long as I don't have to take any personal or sick days, then I will be fine.

The food here is getting a little better. Yesterday for lunch I had a breaded veal steak, and a boneless chicken breast. Supper last nite was Barbecued beef brisket. If I can just stay away from the Baskin-Robbins, I might lose a couple of inches here.

We still don't have a charter for our lodge. The Grand Lodge of New York is working on it. It has been over six months, and we don't have a clue as to when the charter is going to be issued. I still do not have my dual membership with Master Builder lodge #911 in Tonawanda NY. The required documentation has not been passed on. I had the secretary of my home lodge in Bowling Green KY, send a confirmation of my membership, and I sent in a photocopy of my 2005 dues card, but the Grand Lodge of New York requires a letter from the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of KY. I requested the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of New York to request the letter. I submitted my request for dual membership in December 2005, and I don't know when it will be processed.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

14 June 2006

What a day. HOT 115, but strong desert winds make it feel cooler. I went to the office today, got the reports in. Went to the laundry, post office, etc. Mailed in the forms for my visa, will try to go to Russia for R&R. Today is the Army's birthday, so the chow hall had a special meal. Prime Rib, lobster tails, shrimp. At least no one made us sing "The caissons go rolling along". Went back to the office, all is well. I was up at Blue Diamond on Marine Corps Birthday (Nov 10), and the senior marine NCOs were serving the meal in the chow hall. We had to all stand up and sing "Marine Hymn". GUNG-HO these marines are.

Been feeling sick, taking my pills for the desert discomfort. Got to keep my fluid balance up, and take extra salt pills.

Got an email about the Afghanistan project. I am still under consideration. The supervisor asked for another copy of my resume, so I sent him the link. I keep a personal web page, which is great, anyone can access my resume.

Found a letter from my mom, dated November 2005. She suggested that I keep a journal. Ironic, now I keep a blog. If I knew they were free, I would have started this blog a long time ago.

Getting some interesting emails. I asked to start a discussion group for freemasons. They did, and the page just took off. Many military folk, active/veteran/retired are interested in Freemasonry. I have already helped two individuals get petitions! how about that. The internet is doing great things for Freemasonry, it may prove to be one of the tools that keeps the craft from going under.

Time now 1000pm, I am monitoring the systems here. If I can keep it going, I can take it a little easy tomorrow. Also, it is not so hot at night.

Friday, June 09, 2006

An interesting Email from a brother in Cameroon

I got this email. Its a small world. I am an American Freemason, living in Iraq, and this brother heard of our lodge.

He works for the same firm that I do.Here is an English Translation of his email:

"I happily discovered that our wonderful craft has undertaken the marvelous undertaking work of establishing a lodge in Iraq.

Also, the beginnings of love of peace and unity in that territory.

I discovered also that you are with UNISYS. I work with UNISYS computer systems here in Douala, Cameroon.

Unhappily, UNISYS is stopping their activities here.

Saluting you with "Three times Three",

Charles Epee, Freemason. "Ned Collins Hope" lodge, Douala, Cameroon, United Grand Lodge of Cameroon

9 June 2006

Couldn't get a flight back to Al Asad last night. Will spend an extra day here at Blue Diamond. Should be able to fly back tonight. The system is still good. Just relax, watch some TV, wait for the flight.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

8 June 2006

Got the system back on line, WAHOO! It is bloody hot here in Blue Diamond. Ate a decent meal at the Chow Hall, now I have to get a night chopper flight back to Al Asad. Isn't life great when the equipment works?

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

7 June 2006. Supplemental

The computer at Blue Diamond is conked out again. I must fly up there, and get it back on line again. A night flight across the desert is always a hassle, but I like the adventure. With luck, I can get it back on line, and return here Friday morning.

7 June 2006

Last night, I broke the chain on my bike. Then I had to walk it home. Then I was up until 2am, repairing the chain. This morning, when I tried to ride the bike, the derailleur broke. Now I must replace the derailleur. What a hassle.

I found out last night, that I am for a lateral transfer to Afghanistan. This means more responsibility, and also that I will be flying back to the USA every couple of months to make reports. I don't know much of the specifics of the job, but it looks like a real interesting position.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

6 June 2006

6 June. Tuesday night. The days are so hot, that I prefer to sleep during the day, and work at night. It looks like I have a chance for a transfer to Afghanistan. Will find out more later. I like Iraq, and I would really like to spend another year here.

Monday, June 05, 2006

June 5, 2006

Greetings to all. It is morning here in Iraq. Will get up to 110 today. This place is like "ground hog day", every day is the same. You lose track.

All the best,

Sunday, June 04, 2006

My first post

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