Dear Family and Friends,
I have some great news and I am so excited to share it with everyone!
I was in Baghdad this week for a couple days of meetings. Coincidently, on the other side of Baghdad, Mick was sitting idly in his tent as his unit had just arrived in Iraq from Kuwait and had a couple days before they were to move up to their next training location. Getting him over to my location was fairly easy, but getting him back proved a bit harder. On the way over, he was going to take a “Rhino,” which is a big armored bus that transports our folks between bases in Baghdad. I was working on finding him a ride back.
Helicopters were all booked. No vehicle movements were going. Just when I had just about given up hope, I ran into two guys that I had known from previous assignments, and we got to chatting. Found out, they were only in the Green Zone for a ceremony and had a convoy going back in the morning! So, they agreed to take Mick back! So, we waited all night and Mick finally got on the “bus” at 2 a.m. and flew through the city and arrived to my location in the Green Zone around 3 A.M! We were able to spend about 7 hours together before he left to convoy back over to where his unit was. I can’t believe it – we spent 7 hours together!!!! It was 113 degrees in Baghdad that day. We mostly just sat and looked at each other, but we also went to the coffee shop at the Embassy and we ran into several people that we knew. So, it was fun. We went out behind the Embassy and took the attached photo. No, neither of us got in the pool – even though it was tempting! We are so grateful that everything fell into place and we were able to meet up. What a story, huh?
After one of the longest, hottest helicopter rides ever, I finally arrived back in Mosul at midnight, and Mick has now arrived at Taji for his week of more training before he moves yet again up to his destination. We are both safe and doing well, although it is a constant battle with heat exhaustion. The idea of 115 degrees is bad enough, but once you add 40 pounds of gear, helmet, boots, ceramic chest plates, etc., it is unbelievable how exhausting it is. Mick has to wear this gear way more than I do, so I really feel sorry for him. I’m comforted by the fact that he is in incredible physical shape and is healthy.
It looks like I am still on track to be leaving Iraq in the last few days of August. I am getting excited. I am ready.
Since I received this message, I regret to report that Mick and Juanita have split-up – another casualty of the war. – G.K.