August 31, 2007

More from Camp TQ

We have had another incredible day here in Camp TQ. To come back a year later after my first trip here has been very remarkable, as our focus on this third trip has been to document the progress in Iraq. The progress is so obvious in all that we are covering here.

We started today with the Marine Public Affairs Officer who has arranged all of our interviews here and all the sites we have filmed. 1stLt Phillip Klay talked with us in front of the Main Building of the 2nd Maintenance Battalion (-) Reinforcements. 1stLt Klay talked about what we would be seeing next, about his career and progress he has seen in Iraq, and he shared a very emotional story with us.

He also shared a story about an incident in the nearby town of Camp Habinayah, Iraq in February 2007. Al Quaeda decided, as they have done in too many places in Iraq, to target civilians--women and children--in a criminal and evil suicide bombing in the town. Many Iraqis died and over 70 were injured.

As the 1stLt was describing the rapid response from our Marines and our medical teams, I literally had goose bumbs. That may sound strange from a grown man, but wait till you hear the interview. The medical teams responded quickly from the base, doing their best to save lives and rapidly treat the wounded. Our United States Marines lined up around the building to donate blood to the Iraqis.

Did anybody hear this story back in the US? Well we are now. Better late than never. I wish I could personally thank every one of those Marines and Medical Staff who saved the lives of many of the women and children who were targeted that day.

Needless to say, the people of Habinayah know who their friends are and who the criminals are.

AFter 1stLt Klay talked with us (by through us, with you the American people), we talked with CWO-2 John Simpson and Sgt Anglin. CWO-2 Simpson shared with us his 18 years in the Marines. He talked about the 2nd Maintenance Battalion (-) Reinforced, and took us to different sites where he explained how they supply the Marines and other military personnel in the Anbar Province areas with many different necessities and materials. He took us to what I can only describe as an almost all-outdoor warehouse: about a square mile of just about everything you could imagine. He took us to look at many different types of military vehicles, including some of the newer ones.

We also climbed to the top of one of Saddam's Bunkers--climbing up sand is something I was not planning on, but we made it to the top and down okay. Ithink Jim got some footage of us climbing. CWO-2 Simpson talked about what we were seeing in the surrounding area.

After we left the 2nd Maintenance Battalion, 1stLt Klay took us over to the 2nd Maintenance Company (-) Reinforced, where twenty-year Marine Veteran Maj. Ken Kelsay, CO of the Maintenance Company, discussed his career with us. He also talked about the different divisions that provide General Support for most of MNFI-West troops. They provide direct support to the Battalion and Combat Logistics for the Battalion, MITT and PITT (military and police transition teams--the American units responsible for training the Iraqis). They take care of electronics, fabricate parts needed, and operate the Motor Transportation Maintenance for just about any kind of ground vehicle, including Iraqi vehicles. He shared so much with us! It was fascinating to hear a behind the scenes explanation to see some of what keeps our military and civilian operations functioning smoothly. In addition, 16-year veteran CWO-2 Dawn Conklin from Wyoming (with family in Montana and Colorado), talked more about all that they and her team do within the Maintenance Battalion.

We then went to the General Support Maintenance Facility and talked with four Marines there about what they do. Cpl Brian Webb, Cpl Brian Sixto, Cpl Brian Temple and GySgt David Bargas (who has served for 12 years). We next went to the Motor Transport Maintenance Facility and talked with 12-year veteran, CWO-2 Rick Gilmore.

As with all of our trip, Jim Martin filmed all of this. Those of you who will be able to watch these programs on cable tv or on the DVD's will be amazed at what you see right on your TV's. But first we will get all the audio onto the Internet as soon as possible when we get back.

We have more to do tomorrow and we will report on that tomorrow night. Time for some needed sleep! :)

Thank you again for checking out this blog.




Essayez de tomber amoureux du soleil said...

Your story is a remarkable one, and I want to thank you personally for doing what you thought was right. For protecting your country and putting yourself at risk. You are truly my hero.

Tony said...

Any news on the dvd that you mention in your blog? Thanks.