Reactivating this blog
Critt Jarvis will be cleaning up the spam comments and such, as soon as possible.
Baghdad readies for Najaf
Update: Ali went to the hospital today and told me that the bridge near the ministry of health was blocked by American Humvees and armored vehicles and that there were many American soldiers, IP and ING members there. Cars are prevented from crossing the bridge on either side but people are crossing the bridge on foot and the soldiers are searching those who pass. He knew from his colleagues who live in different areas of Baghdad that all bridges except the Al Sinak bridge and Al Jumhooryiah bridge are blocked. Some people think it’s because some fights that took place in Haifa street yesterday, but my guess is that this has nothing to do with it, as there were many fights in Haifa street but the bridges leading to the area were never blocked. Besides some of those bridges are far away from Haifa street. I think that blocking the bridges come along with the preparations to launch the final attack in Najaf to avoid any unpleasant reactions that may come from his followers in Baghdad or any other party that may try to take advantage of this critical situation to inflame it furthermore.
Everyone here is waiting for the final attack and the end of this crisis. Most people I met are waiting for the moment when they can see Muqtada and his deputies in handcuffs, those criminals have been given a chance they didn't deserve in the 1st place.
Snip from the Comments
Janet in Venice writes:
the US soldiers are reporting in their own voices that it is creepy to wage war in the cemetery, with bats flying out of crypts, and graves sinking under their feet, but they are discovering weapons caches hidden in mausoleums, with photos of the madhi taken while training in the graveyard, so creepy or not, the enemy decided to desecrate the city of the dead by thier own choice, and wherever they hide, then that's where they'll be taken.
and every media organ in iraq ought to be broadasting loud and clear that the americans are going to refuse to harm the shrine of Ali, no matter how they are provoked, so if there's damage, they want the world to know now-- in advance-- that it will not be by their hand.
Families Of 1-18, in FOB Omaha
Hey, Philip. Stephen Nash was also born in Plattsburg...
Postscript: What happened to Superman and B18
Lois Lane reports:
On March 14, Joel watched the Adam Sandler comedy "50 First Dates" with some friends in an air-conditioned hut. It's his last memory of Iraq.
The next three days changed his life forever. He doesn't remember a second of it.
He now knows his commander sent him on a nighttime mission to scout an enemy camp. Iraqi insurgents had fired a missile near the Army post the night before and members of his platoon were sent to find their location.
Joel and five others took the lead Bradley Fighting Vehicle. He sat below in the troop cargo hold with two of his men, Specs. Tracy Laramore and Clint Matthews.
A solider's new life: Joel Gomez
Snip from Stacy St. Clair:
A solider's new life
By Stacy St. Clair
Daily Herald Staff Writer
First of two parts
Sgt. Joel Gomez awakes.
He is lying on his back in an unfamiliar bed. Through a haze, he sees his parents standing to his left. His girlfriend stands on the right. Why would they be there?
He remembers kissing them goodbye weeks ago when his unit, the 1-18th Infantry, was deployed to northern Iraq.
He wracks his brain for an explanation, but a clouded memory fails him. The last thing he can recall is watching an Adam Sandler movie with some Army buddies. When was that?
Joel Gomez, "I'm really, really lucky"
Snip from Stacy St. Clair:
'I'm really, really lucky'
By Stacy St. Clair
Daily Herald Staff Writer
Eight-year-old Julio Sanchez stands next to his uncle's bed and watches him go through occupational therapy.
The therapist is urging Joel Gomez to flex his biceps and hold it there. A simple task for most people, the exercise is painful and exhausting for the Army sergeant, who was paralyzed from the neck down in an accident in Iraq.
He grunts and scrunches his face as if he were bench pressing an enormous weight. Julio's eyes are wide with anxiety and admiration.
Joel sees his nephew's face and tries to lighten the mood.
"Are you watching my back?" he asks Julio. "Are you looking out for Charlie?"
Panic flashes across Julio's face as he admits he doesn't know who Charlie is.
"You don't know who Charlie is?" Joel responds, winking at the adults in his hospital room. "Well, you better find out. I'm counting on you."
It's a simple exchange that tells a lot about the circumstances of Joel Gomez's new life. Even in his debilitated condition, the Wheaton native displays the sense of humor his family always has known him for. He finds his close family relationship to be his greatest inspiration - but he often is their strength, too.
Christine is a fan of Vince Vaughn and keeps a blog.
Vince Vaughn Visits
20 July 2004 0123 Hours
The mission tonight was quite pleasant. My Section worked for eight hours in direct sunlight performing maintenance on one of our Bradleys. We scarfed down our dinner chow and sauntered to the barracks to finally relax. Of course that was not to be a reality that would last long. We received the order to conduct a night mission. Seeing as how sleep is a luxury, and this is not a five star hotel, we prepared our transportation, cleaned our weapons again, and did our Pre-Combat Inspections. Nothing significant happened tonight while we were out, that in itself is significant. I am beginning to believe that it is my Karma, and that is the way I want it.
For a lot of the soldiers that I have the pleasure of serving with, it is very important to them to be given an opportunity to prove their mettle is of high constitution. There are men who believe that the true character of a man is measured by his actions in combat. As a result of this belief, it is considered socially acceptable to want to make contact with the enemy.
But it is a double-edged sword.
I am not a war monger, nor do I ever put that façade up. Hello, has any one read my Blog? Nevertheless, due to the lack of another target, I have become the subject of harmless ridicule from some of my peers. I have missed direct fire contact with the enemy on several occasions by only a few seconds, hours, or a shift change on guard. It is uncanny, as if I were destined to not make contact and show my valor on the field of battle. I have no problem with that. If the enemy would dare show his face on my watch, I would vanquish him from my sight and render him unable to wreak havoc. But that time has not come, and with a little bit of blumen luck, it shall remain that way.
Back to my ridicule. Apparently there was a firefight in Bayji that lasted several hours a few weeks ago. The Bradley that I previously was the Commander for was in a well chosen position. My previous wingman informed me that B15 had a vantage point which enabled that crew to inflict the most casualties to the enemy forces. It was ironic because I had predicted that the Outlaws would make contact, as a Platoon, soon after I left. I was expressing concern because I did not want any more Outlaws to become names in the Grey box of the Stars and Stripes. It is with relief that I report that there were no injuries or casualties as a result of that contact. Now my peers are razzing me because the guy I switched with "stole my thunder", as they describe it. I do not feel like anything was taken from me.
The Platoon Sergeant for the Outlaws must have felt helpless. He was on "Rest and Relaxation" Leave in Germany when the firefight occurred, I know how he must have felt, to not be able to be there with his men on the day that they needed him most, since the accident.
The other day, I talked about how my section pulls security at an Iraqi National Guard building. Yesterday, some asshole blew up a VBIED, vehicle born improvised explosive device, across the street from where we were. It was only a matter of hours after I had left there when the device detonated. Luckily the explosion was not as devastating as it was designed to be. One of our soldiers got the living shit scared out of him, but there were no Americans injured.
Vince Vaughn was here, on FOB Omaha. I did not get to meet him, I spent too many hours out in sector inspiring millionaire celebrities to use their celebrity status to come over here and make us feel better about what we are doing. Do not get me wrong, I would love to have met Vince, the actor. He teamed up with John Favreau and created a wonderful movie that has a great independent feel to it, "Made". I do not understand what it is about a movie star that makes them seem larger than life. Here is a plug for the Army, "hey Netnerds! Want to meet Vince Vaughn in person? Join the Army. We will send you to Iraq, where you will spend 365 days burning your ass off for a three minute window to see Vince Vaughn, if you're lucky."
Now seriously, I would personally like to extend my thanks to Vince for coming over here to shake the hands of United States soldiers. His performance in "Old School" is legendary and has instantly included him in the "Let me buy you a beer" club. The risk he took was real, if not elevated due to his status. My soldiers appreciated the time he took to acknowledge our sacrifice.
Back to the point of this thing. We conducted a night mission, and it was good. I saw the Milky Way for the first time in my life. I took the time to notice the night sky while we were out. The stars are so bright here. There are not any clouds to block them out either. It has not once rained on me since early May, back on FOB Summerall. I really wish it would rain.
Some of the mothers have asked me about products that provide relief from the intense heat. My Mother, Bookworm, sent me some items that are awesome. But they will wear out over time due to the intense usage they will suffer. Any items that could supplement her generosity and increase the comfort level of soldiers here, would be warmly welcomed. Pun intended. I am very interested in the "cool snap-stick" thingys and everything else cold. Thanks for your support. All donations can be sent to me. I am pretty good at sharing, escpecially for a single child. Thank you so much for caring.
SSG Philip Jarvis
1st Battalion, 18th Infantry
FOB Danger, Iraq 09392
(note: our mail comes to Omaha from Danger)
SPC Rowell and Vince Vaughn
Superman needs support
I am Critt Jarvis, the father of SSG Jarvis. I manage this site for Philip, thus I set up email to come to me.
Going forward I will refer to your subject as Superman.
You gave me one example of "bureaucratic nightmares." For me to help, I need the whole list. Superman and family are dealing with a system problem. The list will illustrate what we are dealing with, and lead us to an appropriate intervention.
Here is how to help me help you:
1) Meet with Superman and his family at the hospital.
2) Ask this question: Imagine the bureaucratic nightmares are removed. What does the final outcome for Superman and family look like?
3) Don't leave the hospital until Superman and family have consensus on the final outcome.
4) Send me the list.
5) Tell your editor that you're about to get a personal demonstration of power blogging. (I strongly encourage both of you to read each and every post and comment on this blog. Begin here. You can chronologically step through the blog by clicking on the right link above the title of each post.)
Call me anytime 24/7 at home 781-925-9477 (Hull, Massachusetts)