JAG-ged Edge
Trial Defense Services (TDS) Deployed
By: Andrew Efaw

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Monday, 6-Dec-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Squatting--the good life

6 December 2004: Today I am officially a squatter. We took Ambeau to Doha to catch a flight back to the states. His wife is very pregnant in a high risk pregnancy, so TDS released him early. As you might recall, I am supposed to be in the what is considered to be pretty nice bay wing of one of the buildings (a step up from tent city)—where I am currently signed for a bunk—which one? Who knows. Instead, I am squatting in a room that Ambeau somehow rangled that looks like a bad college dorm room, but believe it or not has cable—India HBO, AFN, CNN International etc and a bathtub. We’ll see how long it takes them to figure out that I am here. The room is a filth pit and the workmanship is abominable. It prob. Has never ever been cleaned. It has tile and berber like carbet on the floor but there is not such thing as a vacuum that I have seen so far over here. Anyway, I am feeling pretty good not to be in a tent—even though the tents have build in wooden floors and A/C and heat systems. I have been in the bathrooms and showers in some of these tent cities and many of them are extremely gross germ factories. I am going to miss Ambeau even though I have only known him for a few days. He was a really efficient E4 27D that knew how to work the system and get the job done. He’s about 35 and about to be the father of his 4th. He volunteered for the army after 911. In real life he’s a wine expert for a restaurant. He has degree in philosophy and plans to go to law school in the fall.
My fantasy while I am here is to own my own green plant.


Thursday, 2-Dec-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Escaping Camp Virginia (sans duffels)

2 December 2004: One wonders if the nightmare is ever over. My tuffbox showed up but no luggage. But let me tell you about Kuwait first. Kuwait is like the moon. The ground is composed not really so much of sand like you would see at a beach but sand that is like ash after a volcano or like talc or like cornstarch. Very fine stuff. And for the most part it is completely desolate. It’s like being on a giant construction site that has been excavated and scraped clean. There are sidewalks at Arifjan but they make no sense. They seem to just exist make people walk at odd right angles across yards of dust. There is no grass to stay off so why sidewalk. Must be for rain. Anyway, last night by the time we left, it was dark. Darkness here does not creep up. It seems to literal fall with little or no twilight. I think maybe that’s bec. there’s a linear horizon with no trees, buildings, or mountains to break it up. We drove for about an hour on these buses. All I could see in the dark and through the curtains were lots of trucks set up selling things out of the back along the road. They all lit with these bar shaped neon lights. We arrived at Camp Virginia and got off and on the bus for unknown reasons a couple of times. My ID card was swiped (there’s a whole section of a Personnel Company with the “Swiping Mission�) and that’s supposed to start combat pay etc. They we got a little brief about “you are now in a combat zone.� Then we went to get our bags. That went down like this. Basically, an 18 wheeler pulls up in the dark and it is chalk full of identical green duffle bags and rucks. They form a twenty man chain under headlights and off load the gear into one giant pile. Then everyone looks for their stuff using flashlights. I found my black tuff box full of books pretty quickly. But once everything else was sorted out, my ruck and duffles were nowhere. An E-7, SFC Peterson a postal worker from MN, that is permanent party at Camp Virginia took me all over the place to look for my bags. Without them, I had no clean uniforms, underwear, towels, sleeping gear etc. By midnight, we’d had no luck, so he smuggled me into the permanent party tent with has what most be people call cots but the Army calls beds bec. they have mattresses. He gave me one of his pillows and blanket and I went to sleep.

The morning wasn’t much better, but at least you could see. I checked and rechecked with the Signal Bn that I came with but they didn’t have the bags. I finally made contact with CPT Emery and SPC Ambeau at Arifjan. They came to get me around noon. While I waited I wondered around Virginia. There’s like a little square with a PX and Green Beans Coffee and a Pizza Place and a Subway. I tried the coffee—awful. They’re all in these little trailers. The soldiers call the square “downtown.� There were a lot of Korean and Japanese soldiers running around. And there were some Fiji soldiers with Blue UN hats. Two of the Koreans talked to me in line for chow. They seemed anxious to practice their English. They are some kind of elite unit. Most of them were wearing HALO and or SCUBA tabs. I went to the PX and bought underwear. Around the camp at random are scattered porta potties and pallets full of water bottles. Less frequent are these trailers.



Wednesday, 1-Dec-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
KUWAIT!!

1 Dec 2004: I am in Kuwait! Yesterday was spent largely trying to convince unmotivated, uninspired personnel to do their job and get my deployment orders cut. It was a long long day. I think I made a few people angry, but sometimes that’s necessary to get the mission accomplished. It didn’t help that I had gotten in at 3AM the night before and felt like I had the flu which it turned out I did. Early this morning I went and got my weapon, loaded up my bags, and headed for the scales and the green ramp at Pope. I am traveling with the 50 Signal Bn from Bragg. All my bags were mixed in with their’s at Pope and I hope I see everything again. We had to wait about 4 hours in the load shed, which is really a huge warehouse with these giant homemade wooden benches that look like they’re made for troops with chutes on. As we waited, they served hot chow. I ate some bbq chicken and felt a lot better. Soldiering has changed somewhat. I walked around while we waited and no one was playing cards. Instead, everyone has gameboys or computers or those small dvd players. Instead of wallets of CDs, they carry mp3 players and wallets of DVDs. All around the load shack, soldiers were huddled around electrical outlets to power their entertainment. We flew on a World Airways MD-11. I was really surprised when before we loaded they told us there was a first class cabin for CPT’s and above and senior enlisted. And it turned out it was a very nice first class—tons of room, a lazy boy style chair, and individual TVs. It was surrealistic, however, to see a commercial jetliners so full of weapons—M4’s, M16s, 203’s, M9’s, SAW’s. We flew from Pope to Bangor, Maine. There we deplaned for a couple of hours while the crew changed. Bangor has put together this group of veterans and civilians called the Bangor greeters which come out greet every troop plane. They have snacks and free cell phones for soldiers to use. I talked to a couple of WWII vets—one of which provide air support for Monty at El Alemien and one which was a cannon cocker in the Hertigen Forest. They gave me a free Steven King book bec. King is Bangor’s most famous son and benefactor. After Bangor, I had a flu relapse and had alternating chills and sweats and a massive headache and considered death an alternative. From Bangor, we landed in Rhein Main and though is 5AM, they had a mini-PX that was open and I bought a pharmacopia of drugs—all of which I am now taking. 4 hours after leaving Germany, we landed in Kuwait City. Of course, there was no one here to greet me. We loaded onto little Japanese buses and pulled into a secured area to await baggage to get unloaded. The they issued ammo to a couple of SAW gunners per bus, who are acting as guards as we travel. In front and behind, we are being escorted by Kuwaiti MP’s. Little blue curtains on the bus must be drawn. We are on our way to Camp Virginia which I understand is an hour away. Never mind the fact that I need to be in Arifjan. I’ll figure it out later. BTW, Kuwait looks just as God forsaken in real life as it does in pictures. But surprisingly, it is cold—like 55. And they apparently just got some rain.


Saturday, 27-Nov-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Pictures of Training at Fort Bragg

Ready for Chemical Warfare . . . Sort of.
Body Armor & Helmet
My home for three weeks. It's looks worse in real life
View all 9 photos...


Sunday, 21-Nov-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
More more and more of the same

11/21/04: Today, I went to two hours of more CTT with the 818th. They had a guy who injected a real Atropine injector into bottle of water so we could see how it works. There?s a real emphasis here on what?s called the ?9 Line,? which is 9 line medevac request. That emphasis lets you know it?s the real deal. Later in the day, I went off post to get my flak vest with a name tag and rank and helmet band and to update my map bag. Another night, another movie.


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