Only a few days and I will basically be on my own. Luckily, two of my NCOs are going to stay another year, so they know what is going on. Should be a challenge this year. From the looks of things, I will be spending my first month or so rebuilding bridges that have previously been burned, while maintaining those bridges that are currently hanging on by a thread. Good news, though, a friend from Baghdad should be coming up here to visit soon. Will be good to see friendly faces. Also, looks like I will be able to enjoy one of my first Iraqi dinners this weekend. So I guess the gastro-intestinal odyssey begins!
For those of you that don't know, I have had stomach troubles since, oh, about the time Motrin came out...only they weren't aware of all that stomach trouble it would cause if you weren't eating or drinking anything for weeks at a time. They used to give me the stuff by the bottle-full when I was wrestling at West Point. I was losing 20-30 lbs a week, so I wasn't eating or drinking anything...all the while the Motrin was working magic on my knees and havoc on my stomach. I have been taking Prevacid or Prilosec ever since they were prescription only drugs. Only difference now is I have to pay for them...and they don't have any remaining at the base I am on. Hmm, should be fun. Luckily I have about a weeks supply left.
A funny story about Arabic translations. One of the Generals I was working with couldn't come up with the phrase "They can't look past their Noses" in English..so he decided to just say that they were cross-eyed (from looking at the tip of their noses). Also, the idea of Combined Arms to describe all of the branches of the Army working together does not translate into Iraqi culture and language. It takes about a 2 paragraph statement and a matrix to describe what we say in two words. Supposedly, if you translate it, it turns into mixing your arms...like mixing as ingredients in cake batter, and your arms on your body....pretty funny. Another phrase they don't understand is "If I were in your shoes..." They would reply, "But I am in my shoes" while looking down at their feet.
Except for a couple of meetings tomorrow, I am basically off for a few days to collect my thoughts and figure out a plan how to accomplish all of the tasks we need to do, while keeping the peace amongst all of my people so they don't kill each other. Should be a fun experience. I guess I am in a Battalion Command-like position...all of the responsibilities, without any of the fringe benefits!
Until the next time...