Monday, June 29, 2009


An awful dust-storm yesterday. It was so bad here, that the storm made the news in the USA. The internet was out, and phones were out. the Airport was closed. Today, the air is quite a bit clearer. Still gray and depressing.

I have to return to Beledia, and do an install. The equipment checks out OK here, I just hope it goes properly at the site. I want to keep this job, for the entire year, and perhaps go for an additional year. I hope so.

I got some additional clothing and bedding from my family. This was a godsend. I even have an additional laundry bag. The laundry service here is excellent. With the sweat and the dust, clothing gets nasty fast.

I wish I could sleep more soundly. I have a difficult time falling asleep, and then I must get up a couple of times per nite, to visit the bathroom.

My supervisor gave us the whole day off Sunday (Thank you, Mr. Scrooge). I slept late, and I got a subway sandwich. I watched a couple of movies at the Rec Center. "Duplicity" with Julia Roberts. I also watched some political broadcasts.

I will not be taking any vacation, during 2009. I prefer to take my time off, in between contracts. I have a strange list of priorities:

I like to cook my own meals. When I am here, I eat what the Army tells me, and on their schedule.

I like to watch cable TV. I like to go to the store. Call me weird.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Back to Beledia

On Sunday, I flew to Camp Loyalty, about a 12 minute flight from here. I was lucky, and I found a soldier,with a John Deere Gator. I loaded my duffel bag, and tools, and he took me to the transient quarters. I checked in with the Army, and made arrangements to get a ride to Beledia on Monday morning. I got up at 0600, for the 0630am ride.

I got to Beledia, and found the system was not working. I decided to return to Loyalty. I checked in with the office, and my supervisor told me to get back to Beledia, and dismount the system and bring it back to Liberty.

I spent a difficult night, on a cot, using my shirt for a pillow. Fortunately, there was a general officer in residence there, so the Army sent a hot breakfast over for everyone.

I dismounted the system, and caught a convoy, back to Loyalty. I had gone three days without a shower. I stored the system at the communications warehouse, and went to the transient quarters. I took the grandmother of showers.

Wednesday morning at 0800, I went back and got the system. Then I caught a convoy back to Liberty. I opened all of the equipment cabinets, and found that one of the circuit boards had burned out. I was able to find another board, and replaced the defectiver board.

On Thursday, I called the NCO back at Loyalty, and asked for arrangements to be made, to shuttle me and the system back to Beledia.

Thursday was a HOT day, and I was outside most of it. I washed off the system, and stored it in the packing crate. We had a nice barbecue last night, I offered to buy all of the food and sodas, but one of my co-workers bought everything.

I am finally able to sleep much better. I was able to obtain some sheets, that actually fit the bed. I also got a package of more clothing and underclothes. Keeping a reasonable standard of hygiene in this environment, is difficult!!!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday morning

Went to the aiport last night, to fly to Loyalty base. Got on the chopper, and flew for 20 minutes. Then got off so the chopper could refuel! Then got back on the chopper, and taxied for 20 minutes, to the passenger terminal. Got off the chopper, weather hold! I got my firm to come and drive me back to the barracks.

It is now Sunday, and I must go back to the chopper pad tonight, and try again to fly to Loyalty base.

It is hot today, and dusty. But the sky is clear, and the choppers should be flying.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Saturday morning

In the last 24 hours, another 100 people have read this blog. I am amazed. I did not know so many people were interested.

Yesterday, was a HOT one. We had a bad dust storm, over the past 48 hours. The sun literally disappeared, and when the worst was over, the air was an eerie orange color. Everything had a half-inch of dust on it. We have been washing off the equipment, since the air cleared.

I assembled two satellite dish antennas yesterday, alone. It was hot and I sweated through my clothes. I have to drink 4 liters (a gallon) of water every day, just to keep up with the sweat.

I am delighted to hear from so many people, and especially brother Masons. I often get inquiries about Masonry in Afghanistan, but I do not know which bases have operating lodges. Best I can do, is refer these people to the Chaplain's office, and the recreation center. They can often provide the information.

I will be going to Camp Speicher, after my training and orientation is completed here. My firm has a house there, and my co-workers have informed me, that the quality of life there is good.

Last night, we grilled burgers and brats. I contributed a case of soda pop. The guys were up late, singing and playing guitar. Up till after midnite, actually. I got up early this morn, and picked up some of the trash from the revelry.

I would like to invite anyone who is interested, to follow me on

Just sign on to and follow cemab4y.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tuesday, the ides of June plus three (Ides of June is 13 June)

In the last 24 hours, 100 people have hit this webpage. I am astounded! I cannot imagine what it is that makes this blog so popular. I guess I will have to start posting more information.

I would like to hear from anyone who reads this blog. Feel free to leave a comment (This can be done anonymously), or email directly at

Hot and dusty today. Got my laundry. Tomorrow, I will go to the finance office, and get some US dollars. You do not need much cash here, but I would like to keep some around, just in case. Also I need to add some money to my debit card.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Finished my week

Sunday night. We get Sunday morning off, so I slept in till 1100am. Great. The air conditioner works fine in my trailer. This was an interesting week. I worked from 0800 to 1000pm Thursday, and it was rough. I got a pizza after work, and it was excellent.

I went to Burger King this morning, and tried to get a sandwich. My credit card did not work, so I went back to the office. I called the credit card company, and it seems that a retailer was hacked, and several thousand credit card numbers were compromised, so my account was closed, and a new number assigned. I explained that I was in Iraq, and I needed my account, so the closure was cancelled, and now I can use the old card again.

Last night, I went to the rec hall to watch "Law and Order". The music in the dance room was so loud, that I could not hear the program. I miss having my own TV in the room.

The food quality in the chow hall remains excellent. I am impressed, that the KBR people can do such a good job, in this environment. I am eating much better than I ever did, when I was on active duty 30 years ago.

I also miss Masonry very much. I have completed the year of suspension, and now I am eligible for re-instatement, and my friend R.B. Hooks Jr, will attend my lodge (KY) next week, and get my reinstatement completed. I still need a letter to be sent to New York and Massachusetts, so that I can have the suspension lifted in those states as well.

I am going to Camp Speicher ( pronounced SPY-ker) and I do not know if there is a lodge there or not. I plan to start a square and compasses club, if there is not one there already.

Believe it or not, I miss Afghanistan. The climate there is not as harsh, at least you have some elevation, so you do not broil in the sun. I drink 6 liters of water per day (about 1.5 gallons) and I still cannot keep my self hydrated. At least I can sleep well. I got some cardboard, and taped over the windows in the trailer, so that the sun rising at 4:30am did not wake me.

I installed a counter on this blog, and I am amazed that 50 or more people read this blog every day. I am astounded. I did not know I was so interesting. I wish more people left comments, and joined in on the conversations.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Another day here

Still having a hard time falling asleep. The trailer is cool, the air conditioner keeps up. We have our own power generator here in this compound, the generator is 100 yards from the hooch. Why in the world we cannot use the main power from the camp, is beyond me.

The food here is good. Iraq has better food than Afghanistan. Here the rice and pasta is not overcooked. There is California iceberg lettuce on the salad bar. The chow hall does an excellent job. We still cannot have eggs that are not fully cooked. This means no over easy eggs.

I have not yet received any postal mail. I ordered some items from the USA, and I am getting some packages shipped here.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


Had pizza for supper last night. Looks like another hot day here. If anyone is interested in the film "Brother's War", you can see the website:

I am not certain of the USA release date, I know that DVDs are available, possibly through

Monday, June 08, 2009

Monday morning

Had a barbecue last night, excellent steaks! We talked for some hours, about all kinds of stuff, mostly why the moon always keeps one face towards the earth. Had a difficult time getting to sleep, had to take some Benadryls (sp?), to help me sleep.

I have had the worst case of jet-lag, I have had in several years. I usually get over the jet-lag in a week or so.

I turned in some laundry this morning, and I will get it back on Wednesday. I am going to be assigned to Camp Speicher, once my initial orientation is through.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Made some changes

I have set up the blog, so that you can read my latest "tweets", on Twitter. Also, what I post here, will be repeated on Twitter.

I will see how it works, and adjust it if necessary.

First post to twitter

Hello everyone!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

A great day

Last night, there was a barbecue, and I was invited. I drove over to Camp Victory, but there was a dust storm, and I could not find the place. I just drove around for a while, and decided to drive back, before the darkness made driving impossible.

I went on a service call this morning, and helped with some repair. This job looks like it is going to be terrific, and I will be learning a lot about Satellite engineering.

The office got a 5,000 BTU air conditioning unit installed here, and the office is like a meat-locker. We will not be sweating in the office! I was going through the piles of junk in my room ,and I found a set of new bedsheets! I have been sleeping on the bare mattress.

I am about over the jet-lag, and I got a decent sleep last night. Problem is, the sun rises at 0415am, and the light and heat begin early.

I ate a decent breakfast, the chow hall here at Camp Liberty is decent. I had a good lunch, I will probably pass on dinner. Maybe I will go to the Recreation Center, and see a movie. Last night they showed "Frost and Nixon", but the dance music in the main hall, made it difficult to hear the film.

I met some people who smoke hookah, and I may attend their smoke sessions. Back at Taji, we smoked every night.

What a country!

HOT today

Got into the office early. It is going to be a HOT day. I will go on a service call at 1000am, and probably be there most of the day. I found out yesterday, that I will be going to Speicher (Iraq), when I finish the orientation period here. This is great, my firm has a house there, and I should have a good stay there. I still do not know about Afghanistan, I guess I will go there later this year.

Friday, June 05, 2009

New features here

I added a hit-counter, so now I can see how many people are reading the blog. I wish I had added that years ago. Also- I have added my blog to receive my Twitter "tweets".

I will be here in Iraq for about 90 days, and then I am traveling on to Afghanistan.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

On the ground in Baghdad

I got up at 0100, so that the luggage truck could get me at 0130am. Then I checked in at the terminal at 0200. The roll call was at 0300, and the bus pickup was at 0430. The airplane took off at 0600, and landed and Baghdad International AirPort at 0700. At 0930 am my supervisor picked me up.

I had lunch, and then went back to the office. I have the jet-lag really bad. So I will be off to bed.