Chief Wiggles -- Straight from Iraq
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The online journal of Chief Wiggles.
Saturday, July 05, 2003
I want to welcome those who have been showing up recently from VodkaPundit and other sites that have recently linked to Chief Wiggle's site.
If you have any questions for me or for the Chief, please feel free to email them to me, I'll pass along any for the Chief.
Just send your questions to plunge(at)mac.com.
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Friday, July 04, 2003
Two quick notes. First, you can now find links to all of the pictures on the right side.
Next, I have added a new blog to the blogroll. As you know, Chief is quite particular about the sites that he reads, he just doesn't have the time that some of us do. His blogroll reflects that. So, without further ado, let us introduce Incestuous Amplification. Strange, almost disturbing name, but a nice site all the same.
As mentioned previously, Chief Wiggles is considered the best Korean linguist in the entire US Army including regulars, reserves and guard. Because of this, he is on the constant look out for indepth and accurate commentary on the situation in Korea. With his limited time, he does not have the ability to read all of the various news sites online. His first shout out went to the Marmot's Hole, he know thinks he has found another site in Incestuous Amplification where he can find the coverage he so desires.
With that, I say, Anyong!
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Wednesday, July 02, 2003
FINALLY!!!! New pictures from Iraq are here! Chief Wiggles and the gang in all thier glory! Look and enjoy!
Iraq pt. 3
Iraq pt. 4
If you haven't seen parts 1 and 2, just click on the links to your right!
Pass it on to your friends!
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Wednesday, July 02, 2003
The sun thrust its cruel head above the horizon. Its super heated rays assaulted my prone body. As the sweat began trickle down my face, I cracked open one dust encrusted eye to look at the clock. It was 5 AM. I tossed and turned for a while trying to find a cooler way to sleep longer. But as the minutes ticked away, I became hotter and hotter. I gave up the struggle and rose to greet the day. I have been tired lately, due to the lack of restful sleep, which might be the result of going to bed late each night. For you see, I prefer to work late in the evening when it is cooler outside.
I have had a lot of reports to do lately, along with all the other things I have going on. I am the OCE, which is the operational control element, of the JIF, Joint Interrogation Facility, which means that I am the last person to see all reports before we send them up through our chain of command. As such I have to edit each report to insure its quality and correctness. These reports go up through all echelons of the intelligence community, which makes it important that we produce a good product. The reports are our product by which we are judged. Consequently, I do spend an enormous amount of time going through the reports to make sure that we are putting out the best possible product.
I went running this morning, as usual, around the camp through the sand and intermittent gravel. This creates quite a variety of services which to run through, from hard packed dirt, to loose gravel and deep piles off finely sifted sand. There is a loop around the entire camp which most of us run, not sure how long it is or how fast I am running. For some reason, even though we are at sea level, I am feeling like I am running at some altitude, feeling at times like it is hard to breath. Most mornings I feel rather sluggish as I attempt to run the loop. I usually try to run for 30 minutes, then I try to end up over by the living area, so I can do some pull ups, push ups and dips. I am not sure if I am losing weight, getting stronger or just perpetuating my tiredness. At least I am able to enjoy the coolest part of the day early in the morning.
I have to go down to the JIF this morning to continue my interrogation of a high-ranking Ba'ath party member. I have been working him for a few weeks now, slowly making some progress. As I mentioned before, I am using all my skills and abilities to break this individual. He is slowly coming around, giving up bits and pieces of information. It has been quite a challenge, to match wits with this guy. I am not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree but I am in control and have the keys to his existence here. It is actually an exciting game of tug-a-war, as I pull back and forth, releasing at times, to only snatch the rope up again to pull some more. I am slowly developing a relationship with him, to the extent that I want to and to the extent that it suits my needs. This might sound self-serving to some of you sensitive characters, well you're right. I have a mission to accomplish which I intend to fulfill anyway I can, within our guidelines.
Last Sunday, as I mentioned earlier in my journal, I went down to the pens to give a blessing to one of the high-ranking officers. When I arrived along with the Major, the individual was too weak to rise, so we proceeded to go to his tent where he was lying.
Upon entering his tent, we found him on his cot going through some kind of convulsions, his body at times becoming rigid and stiff. He was semi-unconscious and not able to talk or understand what was going on. I quickly went to my knees placing my hands on his head to utter up the feelings of my heart in hopes that the Lord would be able to put him at ease and in peace. I blessed him that he would regain his health and resume his life with his family.
After blessing him, we called for the medical unit to bring up the ambulance and a stretcher so that he might be transported down to the ER. I rode with him in the back of the Hummer, trying to calm him down. Many thoughts went through my head as I traveled the short distance to the medical emergency room; thoughts of life, family, death, loved ones, and friends. Thinking that this man was like any other person on this planet, with family and loved ones worrying about his status and condition. It was sad to see him in such poor shape. Upon arriving at the medical facility I left him in the good hands of the doctor, or PA, on duty. I was not too excited about their attitude but that was not my business nor my lane of responsibility. I will say more later about this.
I took last night off after 6pm, just feeling I needed to unwind. We all got together over in one of the tents down at the JIF, which has air-conditioning, to celebrate one of our interpreter's birthdays. Someone had snagged a copy of the new movie with Jim Carey and Jennifer Annison, called George All mighty, I think. It was so nice just to sit back and laugh for a change. Laughing can be such good therapy, amidst all the crap that is going on here. Laughing out loud is such a good release for the pent up emotions that have accumulated over the last few months. We try to make light of things, but this is a stressful environment we live in, under such difficult conditions.
On Sunday someone gave an excellent talk about finding our inner peace amidst the troubles of our times. Find the peace within, while the world spins like a top around us, with its constant upheavals. We live in difficult times, unpredictable at best, with all the complexities that humans can possible add to it. We really are so limited and so short sighted even though we perceive ourselves to be so perceptive and so intelligent.
If anyone in their right mind ever thought that this would be a cakewalk they were so mistaken. The complexities, the variables, and the intricacies of this country and this region of the world, would and should tell anyone that attempting to create a stable, free environment here would not be any simple task.
Ponder on that and I will comment on this later. Off to work. Take care.
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Hey folks! This is just to let you know that Chief Wiggles has sent me another round of pictures from the front!!!! We will have these up as soon as we can!!
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Sunday, June 29, 2003
Sunday, June 29, 2003
This week we have been working so hard, finally we were able to see some fruits to our labors, we were able to send 7 officers on their way, to their respective homes. The news came around midnight, that there was a chance for the lucky seven. We were hoping it was not just some sick joke allowing them to become excited by the prospect, only to have it yanked away a few hours later, which has happened. One of the officers was actually taken and put on the Happy bus as we call it, only to be taken off a few moments later, apologizing for the mistake.
When I heard that it was actually going to happen I raced, in my Hummer, out to the pen only to find they had been taken only moments earlier. For a moment I was afraid I had missed the opportunity to send them on their way. I zipped back to the out-processing area, to find them waiting in a tent. I was so relieved to find out they had not left without saying good by. I ran into the tent, throwing my arms around each of them one by one and in our own very limited way, we communicated the feeling of our shared happiness. That was a joyous moment, finally seeing some of our hard work pay off.
They were worried about their personal property that was taken when they were captured. Some of them had large sums of money, others had their car taken by the coalition forces, others just s watch or a special pen. The good thing is that we try to honor their claims, to find their stuff or compensate them with cash, for the things they are missing. We make every effort to insure we are fair and upright with them. For the most part we don’t even question their requests, we just honor them and make every effort to find out what has happened to their stuff. You can imagine what an enormous task that can be. Some of them were captured by troops that were just moving through the area, as they pushed northward, with out much regard for the individual’s personal affects. It is not like they have some great inventory handling system, to insure that everything travels with the prisoner to his final destination. The sheer numbers of prisoners that we have been handling along with the speed of the movement of troops, make it almost impossible to try to keep up with all the personal affects.
It was hot in the waiting tent, as you can imagine, with no AC or cooling fan. I went out to get them some cigarettes for the long journey home, a few bottles of cold water and some things to munch on. I also grabbed an interpreter so I might give them a few final words as they now begin the next phase of their life.
I told them that it was time to go home and get to work, working as an active participant in the rebuilding of their nation. They have been waiting long enough, now it was their turn to make a difference in any way they can. They have a new freedom that came at a cost, one they needed to work to pay back. They have a responsibility to be part of the positive solution in helping the coalition forces build a new Iraq. I told them to not be lazy, don’t just sit back and do nothing, don’t let the smaller but louder minority direct the course of their new nation.
They were so appreciative; expressing over and over their thanks for all that others and I had done for them. Yes I have to admit it was great seeing their appreciation, not just for me but also for the two majors who really made most of this happen. I applaud their tireless efforts in assuring their release. One female major in particular and one tall major that came with our group, have really been the driving force to make this glorious day happen.
I will never forget the look on the prisoners face. I was able to capture the moment with a camera, so I can reflect on it later.
Later during the week, my team got word that we were going to be able to travel south back into Kuwait City, to a large army base called Camp Doha. We had been working so hard lately, that this news came at a great time for all of us. As a team, we were about ready to hit the wall, if we didn’t get a break soon. All of us were just so ready to let our hair down and just have some good old-fashioned fun. The thought of getting away for a couple of days, doing some R and R, rest and relaxation, was just what the doctor ordered.
Thursday morning 8 of us jumped into 2 hummers, geared up with our full battle rattle, with Kevlar helmets, flack jackets, weapons loaded for bear, which was all required by army policy, so that we could travel south for a few hours to get to the camp. Tooling down the road again, flying high, doors off the hummer, yelling out tunes at the top of our lungs, feeling free and easy.
We got down to Doha, ready to p a r t e i. The army has rented a resort area they call the marble palace, that has a large swimming pool and a club house, with pool tables, coffee shop, a music room with instruments, large TV and more than anything AC, air-conditioning, cool air, acclimatized conditions, cold air that you can breath and feel. Wow.
We hung out at the pool, playing volleyball, drinking ice slushes and getting wet in cold water, what can I say. For a few hours I was able to forget where I was. I totally forgot that I was in Iraq or Kuwait, not even thinking that I was in a foreign country. For that moment I could have been anywhere in the US, anywhere but where I was. I ordered a cheeseburger with fries, listened to some good music, and just chilled out.
They were playing some good dance tunes, so I just couldn’t resist the urge to jump up and shake it up a bit. There was this big 300 pound black women already getting her groove on, so I gave her a run for her money, showing her that even an older white boy could have some dance moves.
After playing at the Marble Palace, we went back over to the camp to pig out on some junk food, like two full size pizzas and a full bucket of KFC, just for three of us, we snagged some ice cream just to top it off. What a treat and boy was I full afterwards, but I was not going to worry about calories, fat grams or any other road block to totally indulging myself.
We even went to a free movie, with AC, that you can actually feel as you breath, taking in colder air. Wow. I was not going to leave the building. Wild horses couldn’t drag me out of there. I was embracing the AC air, totally becoming one with my environment. I was eating it up and could not get enough.
We even had AC in our sleeping area. I didn’t care that I was on the top of a bad bunk bed, with a lumpy mattress, with about 100 other guys. I was taking in the air and loving every minute of it. What can I say; words just don’t do it justice.
I love AC.
The next day I was actually able to sleep in until 8am, which is such a rarity when I am back sleeping on the roof, being woken up by the heat of the sun at around 6am. I went to the gym and worked out for a couple of hours, took a long shower, and just had a great time. It was a huge gym, with everything you could imagine; volleyball, basketball, weights, treadmills, loads of equipment, and on and on.
I even got to eat some cold pizza from the night before, now it has been a long while since I have eaten cold pizza the day after. Nothing quite like cold pizza after a good work out in the gym.
All in all it was a great time for all, time well spent.
We cruised on back up north, returning around 10pm Friday night. It was good to get on back home, even without all the amenities of Doha. There are other things that Back at Camp Doha everyone has to wear their whole uniform, with blouse, which is our uniform top, which we don’t bother with up north. We had to salute everyone at Doha also, which is frequently because there are so many upper level officers and so many other people saluting me, it is a not stop past time, just exercising your arm up and down, which we don’t do back home. I couldn’t even wear my sunglasses on my head in the mess hall, what is up with that? Strangely, regardless of all the nice amenities, there seemed to be a gloomy cloud of negativity hanging over the whole place. Not quite sure what was the cause or origin, but I knew that I didn’t want to be affected or contaminated by it.
All in all I was glad to get back to my cot up on the roof, with all the dust and heat. Strange, I might need to get some therapy when I get home for this peculiar condition. Actually I was glad to get back to where the work is and where things really matter, the real things. Back where my mission is, my path to self fulfillment, serving others and getting the information that might save lives or help give answers to all the nay-sayers back home. We are all engaged in a good cause, the freeing of a nation of people, suffering under the ruthless rule of a mad man.
I was talking to one of the generals the other night, just having a friendly discussion about the war, the USA and the value of it all. We were discussing the cost to the American people of Operation Iraqi Freedom, in lives and resources. I was telling him how difficult it is for us to be engaged in Iraq and other places around the world. I told him that President Bush was under a lot of pressure and there were many people back home questioning why we came to his country to conduct this operation. He response surprised me, actually causing me to ponder for a moment the meaning of his words.
He said that as the leader of the free world and as the last super power, it is our responsibility and duty to help the other oppressed people of the world to enjoy the same type of freedom that we do. He said not just because it is our duty but also because we can. We have the ability, the resources, the manpower and the will. Our very nature as freed people compels us to want others to share in the joy of our free life style. We have sincere and genuine compassion for the oppressed and down trodden of the world. He said if you don’t who will. Who is going to step forward to make this dream possible to others?
The major is back. My roommate, my bunk buddy has just returned from being in the states for a couple of weeks. His wife had surgery, so he was able to return to the USA, to help her with the kids and the house during her recovery. He had a great time as you can imagine, being able to go home and spend some time with his family. He still hasn’t taken the silly grin off his face.
We are all so glad to have him back. He is my good luck fairy partner, partners in crime, my inspiration in many ways. He has the vision of what we should be doing here to help these people, which we are mutually share. We are on a crusade, a mission from God, to accomplish the Lord’s will in all that we do here. We both feel compelled to fill the measure of our creation through our small acts of kindness to the Iraqi people.
Everyone has their place and a role to play in the big scheme of things. We all play our part to bring about the Lords plan in bringing people unto Jesus. There is a purpose and a reason for most things that happen in life, but I have learned that I am not in charge of the plan. I am only a small participant with a desire to serve. I have a small role to play on the stage of life, with all its many actors and actresses. The audition was simple and only one question asked, “Do you want the part and will you do my will?” I answered, “Yes I will serve”. My only question in return was and is “What is your will and what do you want me to do?” How? Show me the way and lead me down your path.
There one newly arrived prisoner who is suffering from tremors. He also has a large round cyst or a tumor on side of his neck, which is causing him to lose his sight and be numb down one side of his body. Seeing him suffering, I had such compassion for him that I felt compelled to ask if I couldn’t give him a blessing on Sunday. I asked about their belief in health blessings, surprised to hear that they believe in them and that they would be grateful if I was to come over to give him a blessing. I recounted to them a story, a true story of an experience I had as a young boy at the age of 16.
One night I was woken up by the sounds of my mother screaming. I was alarmed and startled by her cries for help. She had been ill and was suffering from the pain of an excruciating pain of a severe migraine. My father was away on a business trip, so my sister and I found ourselves alone, feeling totally helpless. I grew up as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Mormon’s and I had seen health blessings before, but had never done one, thinking that perhaps I couldn’t. I knew that I had received the Lord’s priesthood, but felt too young to perform such an act. I thought surely there must be someone somewhere who can do this, but it was in the middle of the night. Needless to say, I decided to proceed with the blessing, not knowing what was to follow and what an impact it would have on my life.
I used the consecrated olive oil that we had in the house, to anoint her head. I then laid my hands on her head and gave her a blessing from my heart, the blessing of a son that loved his mother dearly, pleading with God to relieve her from this pain. No sooner had I finished praying and taken my hands off of her head, then the pain she was suffering from was totally removed. She was in absolutely no pain and was able to sleep peacefully through the rest of the night.
After telling the prisoners my story, they all agreed that it would be a good thing for me to do. So I am fasting today, Sunday, not partaking of food or water. I am planning on going out to the pens this evening when it cools off a little. I am anticipating a good experience. I am just wondering if I can go with out water until that time.
While out here in the deserts off Iraq, I have been thinking a lot lately about the characteristics of a good relationship. What constitutes a good loving partnership and what is really needed for a partnership to work? I have a friend of mine from my unit back home, who is out here serving some where in Iraq. He told me a true story about him and his wife that had a great impact on my life, one that I will never forget. He told me how much his wife hated him to be away serving in the army national guard, leaving her alone with the kids and all the problems of home life with out her husband. She told him that he is so finished with the National Guard when he gets home. She had expressed her strong inner feelings about what she thinks about him being in the military. That is not unusual for soldier’s wives to feel that way, but it is what she said next that totally astounded me.
She told him that even though she felt strongly about his involvement in the military, if when he gets back home and he feels that for some reason he feels like he needs to be in the military, then she would support him one hundred percent. She wants him to do what he feels he needs and wants to do, if that will make him happy. That was a totally unselfish comment, putting aside her own feelings about what she wanted, allowing him the free agency to chose what he wants. How unselfish. How truly amazing, that someone would put aside their own wants for the needs and wants of their partner. It wasn’t about the military, or what was right or wrong, or what was selfish or unselfish, or about her needs but all about letting her husband chose, to make a choice, to use his free agency. At no time was she attempting to force him to make a decision according to what she wanted. She wanted him to do what he felt he needed to do. She knew that was the path to happiness for them as a partnership.
I know that they both think and feel that way and would do anything to insure the happiness of each other in the relationship. Free agency, that is a big part of being in a partnership. Respecting each other enough to allow each to make choices and chose for themselves what it is they would like to do, never forcing or pressuring the other to get things the way one individual wants them. It takes a big person to give up their own needs and desires for the needs and desires of another. Unselfish love, unselfish desires, freedom to chose, freedom to allow others to be who they are and who they want to be, that is a big part of what make s for a successful relationship.
Well that is it for now, seize the moment.
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