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Its one hot week

Posted by Fork , 15 July 2011 · 220 views

I made it to my room after a long ride in a chartered bus to our 'hotel'. It was barracks used by the Soviet exchange officers Iraq used during the war. I followed the group into the elevators - my room was on the 10th floor of the 20 story apartment complex. I was roomed with Andy from Regina - like me army sigs reserve, Al - Airborne - a total nutcase, and my squadmate from Newfoundland, Gary. It was hot later that day - over 130F. Gary came back from his shift at the comms centre and basically took me on a tour of the apartment block. Went downstairs to the impromtu-CANEX, bought some beer, then I went visiting room after room - saying hi - couple of 'hey it's a PINKIE! (term for greenies like me). One guy I recognized from my trades training -Steve from Ottawa, told me that when they arrived the apartment building was a total mess and they spent at least two weeks 'scrubbin shit n puke and every other possible bodily fluid from walls, toilets, and ceilings.' I couldn't tell - the place looked immaculate - good ole Canuck living standards. :)

The following week was a blur of activity - some days I worked in the message centre at the UN HQ building in Baghdad, others I helped them setup the logistics area for field supplies at the back of the building.. 'My group' consisted of around 20 reservists from across Canada and we usually ended up with the shitty work of unloading supplies in the heat all day long. First week we were drinking 12L of water a day (4 - 4L jugs). We were sweating so much that we would get salt rings around our pits and all over our combats. At the end of the week, I remember this as clear as day. Steve and I were getting ready to head inside for lunch on Friday when he made the observation: "Eddy, did you notice that the regs are either Airborne or x-Airborne?" I took a look around - there were two colours of t-shirts. Purple or green. The infamous work Purple T-shirts were allowed to be worn by Airborne soldiers - in this case, just a sneeze below in skills and professionalism (and craziness) of our JFT2 folks. Most of the shirts were purple - apart from the greenies who were reservists like myself. Canada has sent over a regiment of special forces disguised as Signals and Logistics. Canada's cross-trade army allows the military to deploy troops who have a primary function but can be attach-posted to special 'service' forces like this one - in this case, they've sent over 500+ Airborne from across Canada.

The next day I was in the message centre but it was quiet being a Saturday. I called home on the M-SAT to my parents, a few friends, and then plopped down to sort the incoming SITREPS for the INTEL, I mean Logistics officer. A lot of our deployed detachments were being tasked to escort the UN officers in hot-spots - or flareups. Up north, the Kurds were being pounded by the Iraqi army now that Iran was no longer a threat - our guys often had to stand by while Iraqi tanks rolled through Kurdish villages and mowed them down - including children. To make matters worse, after an incident where a Canadian patrol protected a Kurdish family from Iraqi troops (7 vs 300) with ease, the Iraqi government demanded that we disarm or be expelled from the country. The UN, not wanting to loose face, asked for the first and last time, that Canadian soldiers do our patrols without arms. As I flipped from report to report, it was clear that the war wasn't 100% over, and that Iraqi Kurds were paying the price for having run a civil war in the north while the Iran/Iraq war was on.

Sunday at the end our our shift was a shocker as I came up to the command desk. Andy was already standing to one side, as was Steve. Some big tall MCpl informs me that I've been re-deployed to Az Zubayr and that I was to go back to my room with Andy and Steve and Wednesday morning we were to drive down south in a resupply convoy. I remember reading the reports on Zubayr - it was very hot but it was also close to Kuwait. I was also to report a corporal who was to be my detachment commander to get our vehicle ready. That proved to be an interesting few days...

Next entry - the party of parties, superman, barney rubble, and size 18 underwear.

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