Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Day 205 - Hot, hot, hot.

Yeah, whatever. We don't know what hot and annoying is - that's for sure. Yes, we have record breaking temps here - yes, it is somewhat irksome for my car to take an extra ten minutes to cool down from the heat, yada, yada, yada. Whenever I get to feeling that way though, I just look at the weather in Iraq and I think - 'oh, I don't have it too bad'. And they are dealing with crappy air conditioning - inconsistent power fluctuations - a strong hot wind that blows most of the time - and the soldiers over there have to stay in uniform during their duty periods!

It's funny because on our Yahoo ARNG message board, a lot of the ladies are saying that when their hubbies have come home for R&R - they have actually had to keep the house hotter than normal, just because they would freeze their hubbies out otherwise. On the opposite end though, some of the guys have been so thankful to finally have access to decent air conditioning, they have turned the thermostat even cooler - lol!

Anyway, I found this article in the Washington Times today that really put things into perspective for me:

Washington's too hot? Try Iraq
By Edward Cen and Guy Taylor
Published July 27, 2005

The mercury level in Washington crested at 99 degrees yesterday -- about
21 degrees below the high in Baghdad.

While Washington's summer swelter prompted complaints
from tourists in shorts, tank tops and flip-flops, U.S. troops in Iraq face
the desert heat in helmets, Kevlar vests and combat boots.

"If you're out on patrols and Joe takes his helmet off because he's got an
itch, it's a team or squad-level infraction," said Army Lt. Col. Barry
Venable, a Pentagon spokesman.

The security posture at most U.S. military installations in Iraq has been
reduced to the point where soldiers can wear soft caps rather than helmets
and bulletproof vests when on base, Col. Venable said.

But off base is a different story. Throughout the country, standard
security posture is for troops to be wearing bulletproof vests and helmets
and carrying M-16 rifle -- at all times. Rules can vary from unit to
unit, Col. Venable said, depending on the area where a unit is conducting
patrols, and a service member who does not conform may face minor
punishment from his immediate superiors.

Not counting desert-camouflage uniforms, heavy-duty combat boots or other
equipment, the average infantryman carries more than 20 pounds of gear with
him through the blazing heat at all times.

A soldier's helmet weighs three to four pounds, and his M-16 is about eight
pounds unloaded. The weight of bulletproof vests vary -- the older the model
the heavier -- but they typically average 12 pounds.

Army Maj. Flora Lee, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad said in a telephone
interview yesterday that her unit was issued "camel backs" -- slim backpacks
that can be filled with drinking water -- when they shipped off for Iraq.

"We have a plentiful supply of bottled water, because the water here isn't
potable," she said. "People are just reminded to drink all the time to remain hydrated."

Preparing troops for the Iraqi summers has been a concern at the Pentagon.
Marine Lt. Gen. James T. Conway said that the heat is "brutal" and that
commanders overseeing troops in Iraq have "been concerned about it from the

"It's a brutal region, especially this time of year," Gen. Conway told
reporters at a news briefing deep within the air-conditioned corridors of
the Pentagon yesterday.

The general said efforts have been made to bring the soothing comfort of
such air conditioning to troops posted in Iraq.

"There are air conditioners ... put into the barracks, put into the offices,
that type of thing, so although you're out on patrol and it's hot and it's
miserable, when you get back in, there is relief," Gen. Conway said. "There
are some very superb mess halls that are also air-conditioned that allow
the troops a chance to regenerate before they go back out again."

In Baghdad, Maj. Lee said, respite from broiling daytime temperatures can
occasionally be found at night. "The temperature does drop in the evenings a little bit,"

the Army spokeswoman said. "Sometimes, it will drop like 30 to 40 degrees."

Iraqi evenings, however, are cool only in comparison to the 120-degree
daytime highs. The overnight low in Baghdad yesterday was 90.

On a humorous note, here is a poem that is circulating the net that is credited to a Kentucky Army National Guard chaplain that is currently serving in the sand.

"I Do Not Like This Dust and Sand"
I do not like this dust and sand
I do not like it on my hands
I do not like dust in my head
I do not like it in my bed
I do not like sand in my hair
I hate it in my underwear
I do not like this dust and sand
I used to like the color tan
I do not like dust on my clothes
I despise it up my nose
I do not like sand in my face
Invading all my private space
I do not like dust in my mouth
I do not like it north or south
I do not like sand east or west
Nowhere is where I like it best
I do not like dust in my ear
It's hard to reach, I cannot hear
When it gets in my drink and food
It affects my attitude
I like it not with ham and eggs
I do not like sand on my legs
I like it not in socks and boots
Nor on my veggies, meats and fruits
This dust and sand floats everywhere
It dances in the desert air
I like a dust storm even less
Because it leaves a gritty mess
I want to leave this sand and dust
But until then in God I trust.
Pray for Peace


Erik Holtan said...

I swear today felt SO good!
I think it was only 110 today!

Anonymous said...

Melinda, I just wanted to say that I love reading your blog. I got it off AWW. When you first posted about your blog I have read everyday. You keep my hopes up. Thank you so much for writing and letting the world know what really happens and what our soilders are really going though. Thank you I look up to you.

AWW vice222


Melinda said...

I immediately fell into the sing-songy way I read "Green Eggs and Ham" to my youngest when I read the chaplain's poem...I am completely in awe of their determination in the face of all they endure.

Your blog is great, as usual.

Stacy said...

I just thought that I would stop by, as I have been extremely busy all morning, and just have not had time to visit your blog. LOL... Just one question. Are you working today or blogging?

OK, serious time. I like the poem. I don't like the fact that our soldier are going without power so often, and let me add about the HAJI internet. It has got to be the most awful internet in the whole universe. It must not be working right now, as my soldier is not online. I am thinking about taking the next plane to IRAQ to pay a visit to HAJI. Would you like to join me? I want to open up a can of whoop ass on him. LOL..

OK my time is up, I have to get back to work...

Jenny said...

Really puts things in perspective.