Postcards from Tradocia

i should’ve taken the blue pill


I’ve only been gone for four months (since my last leave, anyway) and yet it might as well have been a hundred years. Case in point: I go into the grocery store and gaze in non-understanding at the Freschetta Brick Oven pizza. I’ve been buying Freschetta pizzas for years and it seems like they never came out with any new products – but as soon as I leave the country they come up with this craziness.

Luckily I’m not afflicted with severe driving habits – I don’t swerve under overpasses or drive in the wrong lane or scream at Mrs. Melobi to “GET THAT 50 CAL UP!” – but I do find that I have both a certain edge and a new calmness about me. In Best Buy today someone dropped something, and the noise did make me jump. I wasn’t quite hiding under the nearest display desk (har), but it was a reaction all the same. On the other hand, driving fast though close traffic hardly even makes me blink now; the danger just doesn’t seem all that acute. You ain’t got SHIT, Mr. White F-150! MY OTHER CAR IS AN M1037 SHELTER CARRIER!!


Snow was falling today, and my favorite kind: the big, fluffy flakes born on cold days that blow easily in the wind and fall straight and slow in the calm. The snow is a reminder of what’s different here: I ate at a restaurant, shopped at a store, drove a car, took a shower without shower shoes, carried a weapon at RED status (gasp!), watched the Maury Povich show (sometimes, you have to remember what you’re fighting for…the right to have awful daytime TV).

I’m lucky in that I’m not living on the razor edge between life and death in Iraq (as some are), but I’m close enough, close enough to feel that life at home really is different. We of the Signal Corps aren’t the point of the spear, but I hope that everyone takes away something from this mission: an appreciation for the mundane, and a sense of pride that “I was there, man.”

As I write, the snow falls down, and the beat of life goes on, here, and in the desert of Iraq, where the sun is just climbing over the sands.


  1. cindy

    We’re glad you’re home. Will we get a chance to see you and Kristeen? Cindy

  2. Spike

    ROFL re what you’re fighting for.

  3. TOM-The Other Mac

    The Other Mac likes your eloquence.

  4. Reski's Mom

    Enjoy your down time. Enjoyed your description of Minnesota snow – we tend to take it for granted.

  5. SGT P

    Masterful Matrix reference. “You give me any of that juris-my-dicktion crap, you can shove it up your ass.”

    It is odd how the alternate reality becomes so familiar after only 4-5 months. Remember how we talked about the “I was there” phenomenon? Glad to see its in full effect. I’ve made friends with some of the ING guys out here at the range. I feel like Kevin Costner’s character in Dances With Wolves, when he is trying to communicate with the Souix at the beginning. Conversations are slow and simple, but they are very friendly and genuine. I gave them some batteries and a flash light, to which they were very pleased. Tomorrow I am going out with them to the… get this… RPG range. I’m authorized to bring my camera too. Should be some good footage. Enjoy the Matrix, all too soon the operator will be getting you outta there.

  6. Seth's Mom

    Seth just shared your web site couple of day’s ago. Reading your journal entries makes a bad situation seem a little better. I am shareing your site with Seth’s Aunt Cookie in S.C. Thanks for the laughter.

  7. Erica

    Hope you are having fun. ;)

  8. SGT P

    The RPG range was sweet. I rode out to the range on the stereotypical LMTV full of Iraqis, in the back with all of them. It was a lot of fun actually. They were all very friendly and I think they liked the fact that I could have rode in a Humvee but instead chose to go with them. We compared the AK47 to the M16, which they are very fond of. They think the Ak is a piece of shit, but I told them that you can fire it a lot with little maintenance. They really got a kick out of handling the 203, which I demonstrated to them at great lengths. I got great footage of the ING taking their turns, and let them try the camera out a bit too (not the best footage). The highlight was that the Range NCOIC let me fire 2 rounds as well. The Iraqis were very impressed with my 1337 RPG skills. I hit the 200M target on my first shot dead center, then the second round kind of broke up in flight, which they blamed on Russia and not me. Anyways, it was a great day all around.

  9. Delobius

    To paraphrase Han Solo…SGT P at the RPG range? I leave for a little while and everyone starts getting delusions of grandeur…

    Sounds sweet as hell. Maybe I can get assigned to The Range…LOL.

  10. SGT P

    That would be sweet, but too good to be true. I’ll be lucky to stay out here past February. Don’t feel pressured to post anymore, until you come back of course! Say hi to Melobi for me. Adieu

  11. Mrs. Melobi

    Hi Pope. Delobius is out enjoying a day on the town with a friend and buying me my birthday present. He’s working on a new post–took the photo for it yesterday. Better prepare yourself now.

  12. Steve Smith

    I’m going through the same things, although I’m mostly used to being back home now. Defintely have the “I was there” feeling, and the lack of fear of fast crowded traffic (although it still amazes me how *quiet* and *light* my SUV is compared to the old Humvee, not to mention more comfortable and warmer/cooler).

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