Aunt Myrt and Uncle Claude,
I just wanted to say thank you for the package you sent my way.
As you know, I am at a small Forward Operating Base just north of Samarra, Iraq. I have been away from my family since September 9, 2006 and am scheduled to finish this tour in January 2008.
My first tour was in 2005, and I operated in Baghdad for most of the year. I am an Explosive Ordnance Disposal team leader so my duties are always downtown and off the bases.
Whenever an IED (improvised explosive device) is found, we are the one's called to disarm it. I enjoy what I do, but never enjoy the gunfights. It is unfortunate that the media never mentions the good that we do on a daily basis.
A couple of days ago, we (my team) disarmed seven IEDs in a day. It was a busy day and our dedicated security returned fire multiple times while we operated. But, at the end of the day, we all came home unharmed.
Most times we don't even know what day it is.
Not all Iraqis are bad. Most just want an end to the violence and you can't blame them for that.
So the days fly by for us. Some good, some bad.
Comrades fall and we mourn them. Brothers are wounded and we envy the fact that they are going home sooner than us. And that is life in times of war. It is my hope though, that my two boys will live and work in a place of peace as adults.
I truly appreciate the magazines and such you sent me. The baked goodies didn't fair so well. They were all crumbs, but we still munched on them.
I now have enough sanitizer to last me the rest of my stay.
I hope this letter finds you both doing well.
With all my love,