Postcards from Tradocia

the long slope

We’re over the hump. Unbelievable, but we’ve been here for six months now.

When April hit, it was like someone flipped a switch in all of our heads; previously unspoken, all the desires of home came tumbling out. Almost every conversation now seems to be marked with at least one sentence that begins, “When I get back…”

Maybe it’s spring, the primal reawakening that animals know instinctively and writers have explored since the beginning. Maybe it’s that our company’s women have taken to sunbathing atop the concrete mortar bunkers, their midriffs and legs exposed, glistening with sweat and oil under the harsh Iraqi sun…*cough* Yeah. Somehow I don’t think that was what the force protection personnel had in mind when they dropped those concrete squares there, but Army life is full of new uses for old things.

Maybe it’s also a sense that, at least for us REMFs (FOB Rangers, pogues, whatever), the worst is over. Without going into specifics, attacks on stationary targets (as opposed to IEDs) in our AO are way down since January, to the point of being negligible.

The final factor is boredom. The crushing, mind-numbing boredom. There’s no way to fully describe the feeling of being helplessly trapped in what seems like a monstrous procession of identical days and nights, hemmed in by sand and concrete, living in scenes painted in a limited palette of Army green, sand brown, dirt gray, and blue sky.

In other news, I found mold on my toothbrush yesterday. Yuk.


  1. Spike


  2. Bob

    You are the man, keep your spirits up.

  3. Bryce and Lola

    great blog–we’re looking fwd to six months, too. your description is heart wrenching mind boggling..sorry about that mold on your toothbrush. barf. lots of love and prayers, g and g

  4. ma benson

    maybe it’s been six months…but to me it seems a lifetime…i miss you all too much and can’t wait for your safe return. i wish i could trade places with you all day by day one at a time to give you a break from it all. always remember how proud we are of all of you. love and prayers ma benson

  5. Bear


    Don’t forget the coolest description of us REMFs yet, FOBBITS.

  6. Mom and Dad

    Get a new toothbrush!

  7. Al's Girl

    Glad you reached six months – we just hit three. You’re getting there.

    Stay safe.

  8. TGM

    Outside the shire are you Mr. Froddo? Being a fobbit is not a good thing.

    11B Infantryman
    FOB Falcon, Baghdad, Iraq

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