Jake’s OIF War Journal 7: Still in Jalibah

So where were we? Oh right, I’m in Jalibah. Land of exploding turds and an eventual Martian dust storm. Read on …

24 March 03

Still here at the airfield. We were only supposed to be here 15-20 hours, and it’s quickly approaching 72. The novelty’s beginning to wear off. Apparently, the ground war isn’t going as swiftly as predicted. But it is making progress. There’s “heavy mortar fire” at our next stop, Objective Rams, which is just south of the Karbala Gap. It’s kind of the staging area for whatever is going to happen in Baghdad, I guess. The command is there & it sounds like it’s still a little too hot for the birds. The medevacs have been up and down the whole time. Can you believe we’re also pulling out EPWs [enemy prisoners of war]? War is crazy like that.

Walking in

Troops walk the flight line at Jalibah after being dropped off by a helicopter. There was a forward armament and refueling point there and many casualties – American and Iraqi – received there initial treatment there. Photo by me.

Not too crazy here. I’ve covered a handful of stories and read a lot. Even found the time to tan a little bit yesterday. Ain’t war hell? I feel guilty, knowing the guys up front are seeing a lot of shit, and I’m just chilling away back here. Hopefully we’ll get moving soon so I can see it before it’s over.

Me at Jalibah. Photo and graffiti by me.

Me at Jalibah. Note the JSLIST chemical warfare suit. We wore these for the first two weeks of the war. They were hot in the day, but wonderful to sleep in at night. Photo and graffiti by me.

Talked to mom and dad a 2 nights ago. I never thought I’d hear their voices all the way up here. Now to find Josh, I guess his birthday’s 2 days away and he’s ion the middle of a firefight somewhere. Hopefully it won’t be the same for me. Mine’s in 2 weeks, and it [the war] would be 3 weeks old if the guns are still going. We’ll have to wait and see, I guess.

What we did to the runway at Jalibah during downtime.

What we did to the runway at Jalibah during downtime. Photo by me.

I took a piece of the runway and put it in my bag.* I hope it reminds me in the future that no matter how bad things get, I’ve seen worse. I just wanted a physical piece of this place, something I can grab later and think about all this crazy shit.

A UH-60 Blackhawk from 2nd Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment takes off for a mission from Jalibah. Photo by me.

A UH-60 Blackhawk from 2nd Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment takes off for a mission from Jalibah. Photo by me.

An AH-64 Apache lands at Jalibah after a mission. Chances are the pilots just blew someone up. Photo by me.

An AH-64 Apache lands at Jalibah after a mission. Chances are the pilots just blew someone up. Photo by me.

I’m sitting on a bombed-out runway that hasn’t been used since the 1st Gulf War. I sling bags of my own shit out into a minefield because there’s now way to bury them. Snipers walk by like it’s no big deal. Every kind of helicopter I’ve ever seen constantly flies overhead. I bullshit with pilots, and fearfully await word of any casualties. I haven’t had a shower in four days, and I just changed socks this morning. I see mines blow up and think “Gee, now I can walk out a little farther.” Sounds miserable, doesn’t it?

I’m having the time of my life.

To Be Continued …

* I carried that damn rock through the rest of my tour, and got told it couldn’t home with me when we got through customs in Kuwait. Lame.

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About Jake Boyer

Hi, I’m Jake. Here are some descriptors that apply to me: writer, photographer, soldier, husband, son, brother, sergeant first class, geek, father, runner, reader, Hawkeye fan, lover of LOST, fan of Elmore Leonard, Sports Illustrated subscriber. I like a lot of things and want to start writing about them again. I used to blog a lot, but now I do all my writing for the Department of Defense, either at my day job with the Defense Logistics Agency, where I edit Loglines, or when I moonlight as a sergeant first class with the Army Reserve’s 200th Military Police Command. I hope you like what I’m trying to crank out here! You can follow me at Twitter through my handle @jakeboyer.
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