Written on 8/7/08

Although this is my first trip to the Green Zone, I am impressed by the safety features and comforts that they have here. During my first deployment in 2004, the only liquid we had available to us was water. Now, I see the troops enjoying soft drinks with their meals. I know that during my last deployment to Iraq in 2006, we didn’t have many of these amenities due to the operational tempo. Though now, I almost feel like I’m in Des Moines rather than the middle of a war zone.[# More #]

My deployments to Iraq never brought me to Baghdad, though I still notice a lot of differences between now and then. It used to be common place to receive motor fire and rocket attacks on a daily basis on some camps, yet now these same camps have swimming pools. Also, the U.S. military ran the check points, the security inside the camp and the security escorts. Now, these jobs have been taken over by the Iraqi Army.

I am eager to move out to the areas that I once patrolled so that I can see the changes in those areas as well.