Saturday, March 29, 2003

Not much going on right now - we have been sitting in the same place for a couple of days now. There's been lots going on around us, we have been watching artillery from two sides and rockets being launched from a third. Saw a few large aircraft passing overhead a couple of hours ago - probably B-52's headed northwest of us. Somebody's in for a bad day soon. We are supposed to be leaving here soon, and I hope that's the case. Pretty dull in this area, the view sucks and I'm ready to go somewhere else.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Added more pictures about this trip to another page here: Iraq pictures 1. They are mostly of the first day's drive into Iraq, and the repairs of the carnage that our antenna suffered during the first night's travel. It's a shame it was too rough to hold the camera, I would have loved to get some pictures of the crap we were driving through. We probably could have ended up on the cover of 4WD & Off-Road magazine. LOL!
That was fun. We left Kuwait on Friday, I guess. Drove all night, and are still driving when they tell us it's time to move. The very first day / night in Iraq, we were going over these roads that were usually just a set of tracks through the desert. We hit one ditch that had such steep sides that the bed of the truck bottomed out as we were driving out of it, crushing the exhaust for the truck's engine and breaking a 1/4 inch steel plate that was the main mount of the antenna. We didn't realize that the antenna was totally dead at first, we were struggling to keep up with the convoy. We ended up getting separated from our group and following another army convoy to the same meeting place later. The correspondent and camera guy didn't seem to give a crap that Bob and I had just been effectively lost for 12 + hours, they just wanted to know when the antenna would be fixed. Assholes. Not even, "hey, nice to see you're not dead" from them. That point really didn't hit me until I heard that some of the guys from one of the other maintenance groups got separated and ended up being ambushed. I didn't know who they were, but the situation is just a bit close to me right now... After we ended up with our group again, we had to find a welder to help us repair the damage. It took nearly 2 1/2 days working between movements to get the part re-welded, but we were able to get it fixed yesterday afternoon. The antenna is really beat up now, and there's a hole in the radome, but it's one tough little sucker. I'm more and more impressed with the system as a whole the more we use it out here in these rough conditions. Point is, Bob and I are now safely with our group, the antenna is working again, my boss got interviewed on the local NBC station and they did a brief feature on the truck. Apparently, one of the other bosses is to appear on the Today show and talk about the technology involved with this project. Sounds pretty cool to me, but for right now, it's just another perfect day...