Monday, April 20, 2009

Easter Sunday

At some desolate Joint Security Station in Northeast Baghdad, Sgt. Erik Fardette and I had an early morning mission on Easter Sunday. In the chow hall this morning most of the Soldiers in JSS Istaqall were either at religious services or sleeping in for once, except a select few. 

Fardette and I queued up to receive our rations of cereal, warm juice and cold Pop tarts. I commented to the workers on kitchen patrol (KP), "No hot breakfast for Easter?"
"Nah sergeant, we are workin' on cookin' chow for tonight," said the unfortunate soul. It must have been an all-day affair because they didn't bother with a hot lunch either I heard.

Fardette and I sat down to enjoy our breakfast in the sparsely populated chow hall uttering barely any words to each other.  Most of the service members were quiet that morning, except one.

"Hey private! Git yer fuckin' feet off that goddamn wall!" screamed a stern-jawed first sergeant. Fardette and I quickly made eye contact, then glanced over to where the yelling had come from. The first sergeant glared at the private for almost five minutes while we tried not to bust out laughing.

There's always a rule in the Army when someone is getting yelled at - don't draw attention to yourself or else you can become the victim of wonton wrath. 

The first sergeant glowered insanely at the pitiful private for quite some time before my attention was distracted by the Soldier who came and sat down in front of us.

This Soldier was dumping his third sugar packet into a bowl of Frosted Flakes. He had about 4 more full sugar packets in front of him waiting to be added.

"Tony the Tiger on crack?" said Fardette. 

The Soldier just laughed while continuing to sweeten his bowl.

We finished eating and then went on our mission to Baghdad Island in the rain.  

Here are some of the pictures that I took while traveling around Northeast Baghdad during that trip.


BAGHDAD – Spc. Justin Dayzie, a civil affairs specialist from Kaibeto, Ariz., assigned to the 450th Civil Affairs Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, takes notes while talking to the security manager of a factory in Boob al-Sham here, April 14.  Dayzie and his team were assessing the factories to provide the factory owners with feedback on how to increase their employment and production. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Mark Burrell, MND-B PAO) 


BAGHDAD – Spc. James Powell, a cavalry scout and native of Fort Pierce, Fla., stands guard in the doorway of a water bottling plant in Boob al-Sham here, April 14.  Powell, assigned to Apache Troop, 1st Squadron, 7th Cav. Regiment, 1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div., provides security for civil affairs Soldiers while they are meeting with the bottle factory owner.  "We're assessing their needs by going door-to-door and factory-to-factory," said Spc., Trevor Gomez, a civil affairs specialist from Mesa, Ariz., assigned to the 450th CA Bn. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Mark Burrell, MND-B PAO) 


BAGHDAD – An Iraqi factory worker guides a sheet of metal into a machine while 450th CA Bn. and embedded provincial reconstruction team members talk with the factory owner and assess his business in Boob al-Sham here, April 14.  "We ask owners what their business plan is and just try to help them through that process," said Kaibeto, Ariz., native Spc. Justin Dayzie, a civil affairs specialist assigned to the 450th CA Bn. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Mark Burrell, MND-B PAO) 


BAGHDAD – Pfc. Gbenga Ayantade, a combat medic from Chicago, assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, gives an Iraqi baby a firsthand look at American hospitality April 9. Ayantade, who came to the U.S. in 2007 and is originally from Nigeria, helped keep the community safe by operating a checkpoint with Iraqi Security Forces during the sixth anniversary of the fall of Saddam Hussein. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Mark Burrell, MND-B PAO)