Hearts and Minds -- DH's Updates
DH has continued to send regular updates from in Theater, which I dutifully pass on to friends and family. I will not share them in their entirety for OPSEC reasons, but I would like to share the jist of them with you.
DH and the other troops seem to be very upbeat and morale is high. These men believe in their mission:
While we rely heavily upon our veterans' experience, this tour (OIF IV) is very different in tone than the first three. "Hearts and minds" is our mantra -- without the willingness of the Iraqi people to take over where we leave off, our mission here will fail.
From the tone of DH's updates, I can tell you he believes in the importance of what he is doing.
In his updates, DH often notes that the insurgency seems to be focusing on the Iraqi Army and Police, which leads me to believe that the Iraqis are really taking charge of their own security--and the terrorists know this.
One of the aspects of DH's work that amazes me is the constant presence of weapons, fire, and blasts. Coming from the Northeast, neither of us is particularly accustomed to any sort of public display of weaponry, but I think the omnipresent Iraqi AK-47s would shock even the most hardcore member of the NRA:
When we are on our FOB, the chattering of AK-47s always lingers on the edge of our consciousness. The sound has become so familiar that we have to concentrate very hard just to distinguish it. Iraqi Policemen direct traffic with gunfire; insurgents take potshots at patrols. When we are on a mission, shots whistling overhead are background noise. We are starting to distinguish between the different types of explosion in our area of operations: a clean but muted burst is probably a controlled detonation of a suspected IED; a growling boom with lots of reverberations is likely a car bomb.
DH has been on a number of interesting missions, including a U.S. official visit to an Iraqi juvenile prison. The conditions he describes are heartbreaking, but at least our officials are trying to help the Iraqis fix the problems.
Well, DH is certainly no "fobbit" (one who seldom leaves the Foward Operating Base, or FOB)...he has been on many, many missions.
Although I think about his safety constantly, I am VERY happy with his platoon sergeant. This guy blows a bit of smoke, but when it comes to his job he is real high speed. When I first met him, he told me he was going to take care of my husband. Then, right before they deployed, he suddenly became DH's platoon sergeant. I think he engineered that.
My concern right now is that DH is getting enough sleep, especially now that the internet in his room is connected.
Funny side story--the FRG leader passed on a message from the commander for me to include in our newsletter. Apparently these room connections are not secure and the men need to be careful, of course, for OPSEC reasons...but we need to warn the wives that they should not send photographs (of the Desperate American Housewife type) they do not want sold on the Iraqi market.
Not that I was planning on e-mailing DH those types of pics, anyway! The most daring pics I'm sending are some pictures of my baby bump.
Thank you all for letting me share some of these thoughts! Please continue to support our troops!