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March 10, 2005

I see that Strategy Page and I get the same email...

When mortars land near your compound and you roll over in bed and think "still way off, I got another 5 minutes"

When you start humming with the Arabic song playing on the radio on the shuttle bus

Every woman that reports to your unit starts looking attractive

Every guy that reports to your unit starts looking attractive

You walk an extra 6 blocks to eat at the KBR (contractor run) [Kellogg Brown & Root ed.] dining facility to have the exact same food they are serving in your dining facility because you think it tastes better

You actually volunteer for convoy security duty because you still haven't seen the country yet

You start picturing your wife in traditional Arab dress

The contractors have more fire power than the military combat units. (This is true)

You take the time to add your lines to this list

You've spent $200 dollars at Haji mart on DVDs buying Basic Instinct, 9 and ½ weeks, and Body of Evidence just for the sex scenes

You drink the water from the tap because you want to drop 20 pounds in two weeks

Driving around in SUVs with weapons pointed out the windows and forcing cars off the road seems very normal to you

You can put your body armor and helmet on in the dark in under 5 seconds

When the organization you work for has changed its name more than 3 times

When you can actually talk to people in the United States on a cell phone, yet you can't get people on their cell phone a block away

When you actually spend more time writing e-mail about the dog in the compound versus how to conduct the fight in Najaf

Your idea of a fun Thursday night is to go to the Palace pool to watch the State Department folks get drunk, naked and try to pick each other up

When you actually get excited to get a package that contains 3 pair of socks, 12 bars of soap and a Victoria Secret Catalog

When you start to enjoy the rocking of the trailer every time the MEDEVAC choppers fly over

Continued in the Flash Traffic/Extended entry!

You memorized every episode from the 4th Season of Sex in the City

You enjoy the audience commentary while watching a movie bought at Haji mart

You see celebratory fire going over the compound at night and think, "wow the colors are so pretty" and want to fire back

Your thinking of buying real estate in the green zone

Your idea of sex is 20 minutes of Instant Messaging with your wife on the computer, OK, 10 minutes, who are you kidding?

You wake up and think Baghdad, I am still in friggin Baghdad

You make the new guy show you his count down timer just to make you feel better about your time you have left in country

You're in the Army and you start saying Ooorah

You're in the Marines and you start saying Hooah

You're in the Navy and you realize you are in the middle of the desert, the exact opposite of being in the middle of the ocean, where one might normally find the Navy.

You're in the Air Force, and you're on the plane home because an Air Force tour is too short to have been a long Iraq tour. Ignore this list, zoomie, you won't get it.

You only notice the stench of Haji funk when its not there

You plan on removing all trees and grass in your yard when you get home so it will look more natural

You forget there are other colors than brown that can be found in places other than power point slides

The temp drops down to 102 degrees and you shiver while reaching for your Gortex jacket

You have noticed a change of season, from long, hot and dry to short, cold and wet.

When you call home and your kids ask "Who is this?"

You call home and your wife says hello Bill (your name is Sam)

When you go on R&R [Rest & Relaxation, ed.], you duct tape your child to the roof of your car, hand him a pellet rifle, and assign him a sector of fire for the ride to "The Olive Garden."

When you can comfortably shave and brush your teeth using bottled water, but don't mind showering in the "non-potable" local water.

While on R&R, you look out the window and find Nature, which leads you to wonder who stole your sandbags.

When some of the contractors wear their DCUs (Desert pattern camouflage uniform) more properly than some of your soldiers.

When 12 hours is a short work day

You go Battle Captains!

When, During the BUA, "DIV asked MNSTC-I for the FRAGO that MNC-I was supposed to publish, but couldn't because MNF-I hadn't weighed in, since they were too inundated with MOD and MOI war-gaming the JCCs within the ISF to square us away!" is a valid comment and generates no questions. [If I explain that, it won'be funny anymore... ed.]

When you start using words like G'day mate, Cheers, and Bloody hell as part of your normal vocabulary

When you have your opinions printed in the STARS and STRIPES [military newspaper, not bad, actually. ed] more than 3 times

When the palace catches fire and instead of helping to put it out you grab a bag of marshmallows and start roasting

When you step into any office and there are 6 colonels, 12 lieutenant colonels, 15 majors, and 8 captains supervising the work of 1 sergeant. [this is only 1/3 over the normal peacetime establishment - though it's truly one sergeant supervising 8 Captains, 15 Majors, and 12 Lieutenant Colonels... shhhh! That's a secret! ed.]

When you end every phone conversation with "Out" [Heh. That's a hard habit to break, and I've been retired 5 years on 1 April. ed]

When you're ordered to get an air mission together on short notice because it's a "Hot priority" only to have the Major call back once he is in the air to ask "Does anyone know where I am going?" [Obviously a baby Major, not an Iron Major. There's a reason the rank insignia is gold - those who know, know/ ed]

When the weapon buyback program has become so successful that you have issued the same AK-47 to the Iraqi army 3 times.

When you can actually tell the difference between the sound of an exploding car and an exploding mortar. [Deeper boom for the car]

When on R & R you tell your wife that your weapon status is Red and your looking for the clearing barrel. [Loaded, and you are looking for the barrel you point the weapon into in order to (after unloading, d=uh) pull the trigger and *confirm* it's unloaded. Not everyone passes the d-uh test... hence the barrel. ed.]

When on R&R you go to Church and wonder why no one is wearing body armor or carrying an automatic weapon to the service

You see an indirect fire attack take out a generator and get angry at the enemy for not hitting the one that powers your computer

You see an indirect fire attack take out an air conditioner and your vigor to fight is renewed

You yell at the FNG [farking new guy - except it ain't 'farking'.] for shouting incoming when the rounds don't impact close enough to hit your tent with dirt

You know that you need to run inside immediately after any win of an Iraqi sports team to keep from being hit by celebratory fire

You decide for that for shits and grins - lets take a run around Lost Lake at Camp Victory to see if we can get shot at by the sniper

You never worry about oversleeping because if the morning call to prayers doesn't wake you, the daily 0430 mortar attack will (most mornings)

The highlight of your shopping experience at the PX is to see that they got in a new shipment of Schick Tracer razor blades

When you send out your laundry and your whites become grayer, your blacks become grayer and your DCU's become grayer - makes it easier to sort loads...

You get offended by people wearing clean, pressed DCU's

You decide that it is a better course of action to pull your blankets over your head than put on your body armor during a mortar attack - the woobee will save you and at least you are comfortable

You make a contest out of seeing who can wear their uniform for more days before becoming entirely disgusted with themselves

You wonder if the fish served at dinner really was carp caught out of the Tigris or Camp Victory's lake

You find it completely acceptable to pick your nose while talking to a complete stranger or member of the opposite sex

A rocket or a mortar really isn't a big deal until the crater it leaves is big enough to trip over in the dark on the way to the latrine

You go to a social gathering and intermittent gun fire or explosions don't even cause a pause in the conversation

Guy and gals who fought at Chateau Thierry, Peleliu, the Naktong River Line, the A-Shau, went up the Wadi-al-Batin, and rummaged around Mogadishu will see themselves here. Only the specifics change if you are out long enough living like this. Bosnia and Kosovo vets could produce a list like this, too - only it would have less mortars, more mines, and a lot more NGO's!

Perhaps Bill could find something along those lines...