Postcards from Tradocia

incoming and outgoing

(Written 5 November)

Lots of explosions today.

Of course, I chose this morning to completely break down my M249 to clean it – after only a few days in the humid environment, various parts had already started to rust (I kept it almost completely dry in Kuwait because of the sand and low humidity). So there I am, happily scrubbing away, when I hear a boom through my headphones, and I look up to see the window blinds rattling. Already I’ve learned that the blinds are the difference between a neighbor slamming his door and an explosion; if someone slams a door, the blinds don’t move. If something blows up, they do.

I glance out the window – nothing around me looks damaged and no one’s running around acting crazy, so I shrug and go back to work. Then another boom. Then another. OK, I’m a little worried now. I toss my body armor on and hastily reassemble my weapon. Another explosion rattles the window – this time it seems close. Geez, I think, are they making a big assault here or something? I lace up my boots and head outside to the concrete bunker between the trailers. Herndost and another guy see me there and think it looks like a good place to be, so they join me. Then a couple of sergeants from the 256th stroll by as if nothing’s happening, and say, “Hey guys, that fire’s outgoing – ya’ll are fine.”

Of course it’s outgoing – thinking about it, I realize that the explosions are coming in close succession, and all from the same area of the camp. Much too accurate and rapid to be insurgent mortarmen. The artillery – must be 155mm howitzers – keeps firing, and even from my position it’s loud, shaking the trailers with every shot.


  1. kelly

    Hey Alex, reading about Camp Victory I came across and interesting article in the MIT Archives-it was posted October 19
    “The Army

  2. cindy hoppe

    I keep thinking about how long it must have taken your Grandpa’s letters to reach home during WWII. I’m still amazed that you can post something in Baghdad and we can read it almost instantly in Minnesota. Be safe.
    Love, Cindy

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