Fortunately, this post was long before Groundhog Day Syndrome had settled in, but it was a sad couple of days nevertheless. With everything becoming more and more static at Baghdad International Airport, 3rd Aviation Brigade stopped and had a proper memorial for its fallen. We began looking at what was around us in the massive complex of palaces that later would be known to the world as the Victory Base Complex. I got a first look at a building I’d spend a lot of time in the second time I went to Iraq. Read on …
14 April 03
Life continues its dull pace, but there have been notable events since I last wrote. On Saturday, a memorial was held for the men who died on the Blackhawk two weeks ago. They set up the proper display, a picture, boots, a rifle, and a flight helmet, for each one, and words of remembrance were said for all. It was a sad event. All six I had known, some better than others, but I’ll never know any of them any better. With the sun going down outside the hangar, we all said our goodbyes.
Yesterday, Dan and I toured one of Saddam’s palaces* with MAJ Wince and some other 4th BDE [Brigade] officers. It was amazing, especially when one considers it’s one of more than a handful. Flowers everywhere. Marble everywhere. GOLD everywhere. The man had entirely too much money. One room was destroyed by our bombs. It tore through the roof and two floors before detonating on the ground floor, turning everything to twisted steel, shattered marble, and black ash.
Seeing the way he lived, when his people were in such poverty, makes me even gladder we’re doing what we’re doing. These people need us, and we let them down 12 years ago. Now it’s time to even out the ledger.
To Be Continued …
* It turns out that the palace was Al Faw Palace, better known to most later as the headquarters of Multinational Corps-Iraq, the ground combat command for the ongoing war. When I went for my second tour from ’06-’08, we were attached to III Corps, which acted as MNC-I during the surge, and I spent a lot of time in that palace, which was massively cleaned up by then.