Here's a letter from my buddy Captain Tom in Iraq! Interesting read!
Things have been fairly busy over here for the past couple of months. I moved from B Company to Battalion Staff at the beginning of September and have been working as the Battalion Targeting Officer. I am responsible for intel collection and putting the puzzle together in our AO. It is rewarding at times but very frustrating and much more difficult than the infantry mission. I get a lot more gym time but I don't have as many Soldiers as I used to. I have pretty much come to terms with spending more time at my desk than on my Strkyer.
I, along with the rest the junior Officer corps, are at a decision point concerning our lives and careers, and if the Army and Iraq are going to be part of that. Uncle Sugar is dangling a 35k bonus as well as a few other incentive options in front of us. It doesn't seem to be slowing the exodus though. I haven't yet decided what I am going to do. I am passing on the bonus, which has a cutoff date of December 14. There is a general consensus that one and two (even three deployments for some) in five years is enough and the time has come to move on in other areas of life. Unfortunately in order for the Army to keep expanding, as is planned, or even to maintain our current strength, the Army needs experienced Captains to man key staff and command positions in tomorrow's companies, battalions and brigades. The contrast between 12 months of 14-hour days spent training in between 15 month deployments and the perceived 'comfort' of civilian life is constant. Most of us feel that we have served our time and now it is time to enjoy the benefits the rest of the US enjoys. Unfortunately, no one is stepping up in America to take over the role. 1% of the US population is shouldering the burden of this war and most of the 1% wants to be on the other side with not much interest being shown from the remaing 99% of the population. We all know we should stay because the Army needs strong leadership and this armed conflict thing isn't going away anytime soon. It's just that none of us want to be the ones to stay. I know I am encouraged each time I find another classmate of mine staying in. Everyone wants the comfort without the sacrifice and the sacrifice comes with little reward. More than the long deployments most of us are fed up with incompetent senior leaders, ridiculous micromanagement of operations, contractor profiteering and impossible regulations, orders and guidance within the Army. It is amazing that we have been able to make the kind of gains we have in the past 5 months with the huge amount of self-inflicted organizational inertia. And a lot of progress has been made since mid-summer. Our current area boasts a night and day difference. However, the situation is dangerously fragile. We lack the commitment to even define victory let alone achieve it.
Attached are some pictures of B Co from on operation right before I left. It wasn't all work, we occupied a lavish Iraqi mansion (only one I have seen in 7 months) for a couple of weeks. Thanks to everyone for your thoughts and prayers,
Hopefully we can elect a president with some big brass ones that can help Tom! Because if it weren't for guys like him, we'd be facing these scumbags on Main Street like the one in the post below!!!
Here are pictures from Iraq...