Thursday, November 24, 2011

Days/Weeks after SGT Moretti's Death (3rd Deployment Journal - 7/6/07)

Well, it's been almost 2 weeks since I've written in here and it's been a difficult 2 weeks. The last few days have been ok but memories of the death of SGT Moretti were brought up by her memorial service on the 30th of June. It was moving but I didn't have any tears until closer to the end of the ceremony. I think what broke me were older men crying and hugging each other. When you see 1SG's and SGM crying, it's like watching my Dad cry.

Anyway, I've been told I will possibly be going up to Baghdad later this month to relieve someone for a month. I am not really thrilled about it but someone has to do it and we really don't have many people. Either way, I still don't like that I have to leave my Marines, especially since I am in a SNCOIC billet. Most likely, I will bring this journal with me I can make entries while I am gone.

SGT Trista Moretti (3rd Deployment Journal - 6/26/07)

Yesterday wasn't a very good day and just goes to confirm my opinion that this deployment has been the worst. It started out okay and was pretty much a typical day. All the Marines left for lunch like we usually do and spent out normal 40-45 mins eating. On the way back we got to right where the living quarters begin and are about a dozen rows (ed: turns out it's about 18-20) deep. Off to the right we heard an explosion and lots of wood and metal explode in the air. It looked like it was so close but it ended up hitting one of the CAN's (trailer where we live) farther out. At first, we just headed towards the bunkers but Sims took a different path back that day so I said screw the bunker and ran to go find him. I searched in the bunkers I thought he might have been close to but never found him. It ended up he wasn't as far down as I thought he may be, we found him about 10 mins later. The choking, black smoke from the blast was so thick and when we got close, we were told to back away because the M16 rounds were "cooking off" and firing indiscriminantly in all directions. What we were told by SSG Nick Gleim was not good news, the rocket hit SGT Trista Moretti's CAN. No one knew the fate of her but we were all headed to the Company CP for accountability. Once accountability was finished, the only one missing was SGT Moretti. It took about 30-45 mins for them to confirm she died in the blast. So, at around 1250 local time on the 25th of June, SGT Moretti was KIA from a rocket attack as we were on our way back from chow. SGT Moretti was part of the SIGINT platoon and worked not more that 2 feet away from me every night. She had just turned 27 years old June 14th. She was not married and had no children but had told all of us that she wanted 5 children, she never got that chance. SGT Moretti was from New Jersey and came from and Italian family. I am not sure how, or if i even want to know, how they confirmed the body was hers since she was in pieces and I'm selfish to think I'm glad I didn't have to see it.

After we found out and were released, myself and Sims went down the area of the explosion and it was not pretty. We ended up helping Hoffman get some of his belongings out of his destroyed CAN (he was about 4 or 5 down from Moretti's) and bring it to Cotta's CAN.

The Capt decided to shut down ops for the night because a lot of people didn't get any sleep. A memorial service has been scheduled for the 29th and I'm sure it will be a difficult time for everyone. I tried to find something in the Bible to read but I was lost and just put it down. I wish I knew the Bible better so I could find a passage by a certain subject, but I can't. I hope and pray that her family stays strong, physically, mentally and their faith stays never ending.

I didn't know Moretti any more than a couple months but I will miss her at work. Rest in Peace SGT Trista Moretti.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

An Old Friend and Toxic Gases (3rd Deployment Journal - 6/9/07)

Jamie Southern, a guy I got to Ft. Huachuca on the same day, stopped by a few days ago to install some stuff. It was good to see him and talk to him since it's been awhile. Even though he is at Fort Meade we don't see each other very often.

On another note, we've had toxic gases coming from a generator into our work section. It has made some people sick, the worst has been blue lips and vomiting. I've been getting headaches and tightness/sore throat. It's pretty nasty, they've been having us do 3 hour rotations so as not to get too sick. Supposedly, the generator has been filled up w/ a mixture of JP8 fuel and oil. You can see the black dust accumulate on white paper cups or other light colored objects. And, on top of everything, KBR generator cant' be shut down until some stupid a** General approves it. The General is probably on a different base, a**hole.

I am really looking forward to going on a nice, romantic trip w/ Amy. We are planning to go to NYC and I hope to get maybe a limousine and have a nice dinner at a fancy restaurant. I really need to find a travel agent soon and get on the ball. The only thing I am really not sure on is how to get down to NYC after dropping off the boys at O'ma and Opa's house. Of course, I have yet to ask my Mom if she'll have time to watch the boys. But, we are going to try and do it over a long weekend.

28th Birthday (3rd Deployment Journal - 6/5/07)

Well, it was my 28th b-day yesterday but it was basically the same kind of day we are used to out here. A few people said happy birthday, Sims got me some cookies from the chowhall and one of Amy's packages arrived. Not really much difference between 25-29 except for 50 pounds or so. Found out about a week ago that I am a few lbs. over my max weight of 181lbs. I have gotten a little stronger w/ weight lifting and I am hoping I can get a nice bench w/ some dumbbells when I get back. I don't much like lifting but I think I can at least try. I do still need to start running but I haven't decided how I am going to fit it in my schedule. Since we have been going to lift during work lately I might be able to make myself get up and run before work.

I really miss the kids and hate that I have to be out here for the entire summer. I was really looking forward to camping w/ the family. I guess I can hope that the weather stays good enough for us to go when I get back. Sean and Ryan really need to get some outside time. The three things I want to do is teach (or get lessons) them how to swim, how to ride bikes and get them out camping for a couple nights. I think I'd also like to get Sean into Karate or at the very least get him a baseball glove and we can practice catching in the backyard. He needs to get into something besides video games. I think we'd be good staring w/ a tennis ball or racket ball. I just need to find a decent glove and break that sucker in. Seems so long when I think we only have 3 months left, sounds better saying 90 days actually. I will say again, I think this deployment has been the most difficult for me. I don't feel like I am working as hard and quality of life is much better. But, w/ the kids older, such a short time to get ready for the deployment and not feeling the camraderie I usually feel when deployed...it has made it a "different" deployment.

It really is ridiculous over here compared to the first time. Where, for two weeks, we lived in a landfill and the bugs were absolutely crazy. We had to either sleep in vehicles or w/ blankets over our heads in 100-120 degree weather. For awhile I didn't even change my socks because we couldn't take our boots off when we slept. I have to just sit back and laugh when I hear people complain about their A/C breaking. When we first came over we wore MOPP suits w/ helmet, flak, full combat load of rounds and weapon all the time. We had no internet, TV, A/C, hot chow (unless you count cooking MREs), etc. There was even a time when they started rationing water because of a shortage. BTW, the place w/ the landfill was called An Nasariyah (where Jessica Lynch was abducted while we were there). I wish I could remember the next town we went to but I believe it was called Numiniyah. Once in Numiniyah, we took a "field trip" to the city of Babylon and toured the museum. I forgot to mention that I received my Combat Action Ribbon (CAR) while in Nasariyah. I was on guard duty, when something exploded on the street about 100-150 yards away. The rest of the Marines ran to the barrier (berm) just in case suppressing fire was needed. It was pretty intense but I was actually laughing because we finally got to do something that Marines join for.

Anyway, thought I'd add some of my thoughts from previous deployments since I didn't have a journal then. I guess I might have some letters I sent Amy that could help w/ recollections but not sure how many, if any, we kept. This journal thing has been a great idea.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

3rd Deployment Journal - 5/25/2007


Holy crap! I can't believe how long it has been since I'e wrote in here. It probably has a lot to do with how monotonous the days are. I gotta say, in some aspects, this is the worst deployment I've been on. Sure, this deployment is safer, more ammenities but there are more cons to this deployment. For one, I only get to see all of my Marines once a day, at lunch. I feel the Marines I've been to war with are like my brothers, the only one I can feel the same about this time is Sims. Also, it seemed on the last deployment we had more of a brotherhood w/ the infantry unit we supported. I still have a great love and respect for 2/24 (2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment) out of Chicago. Those guys were awesome and I still feel great pride when I hear of their efforts.

Although, this is my first deployment where I've been right w/ God. I can only thank Amy for putting me on the right path to Jesus. I have prayed every night (actually, afternoon) before I go to sleep. I have even prayed for terrorist on occasion. I pray that just one will come to Jesus and accept His love. I haven't done as well reading the Bible this month as last month but I plan on fixing that. I really love the book of John and I think I'll read it again so I can get back into it.

I've received a few cards from my Dad. Of course, they've been kind of random, as usual, but at least he is making an effort unlike me. I really need to take the time and write him something. he said he has now been working at the olive oil company for 2 years which is a huge accomplishment. I hope he is doing well and can stay on his feet for good. I've really thought about how I can take care of him when he gets too old to work. Hopefully he still has a couple decades left but I do worry about him. My mom and Rich have Pam, Katie and I but my Dad only has me and I feel obligated to take care of him. I haven't talked to Amy about all of this but I don't know how she would take the idea of me wanting to take care of my father by bringing him under our roof, if necessary. I just don't know if he could take care of himself just on social security. One of these days, Amy and I will have to discuss it but I believe it will be awhile before we have the take action on it.

Friday, November 5, 2010

3rd Deployment Journal - April 22, 2007


We've been hit with rockets/mortars quite a few times since getting here on the 23rd of March (I believe). Just a few days ago a barrage of probably 15-20 rockets screamed in, killing a DoD civilian that was in a bunker. There are slots (like windows) in all the bunkers which are filled with sandbags. There was one slot on this bunker that was empty...the shrapnel went through it and caught him in at least the chest. The day after we saw the bloody handprint where he probably spent his last moments on Earth, God Bless him and his family. Just this morning Sims and I were watching Family Guy in the SCIF when a blast shook the whole trailer. Was only one round, but damn, it was loud.

I've been thinking a lot on setting up a nice vacation for Amy and I. Maybe drop the kids off at Oma and Opa's house and get Copper in a kennel, then hit the road. I don't want to give too much away just in case Amy reads this before we go. I am really looking at taking a full month off when I get back.

So, I have been working out with Sims to the tune of 5 times a week or so. My lifting weight has improved I still hate going to the gym. It's just not me, and I don't like lifting. At some point, I'm gonna have to incorporate some sort of cardio into my workout so I don't get any slower. I can feel my pullups getting stronger but I need to work on the running at the very least a month before I leave.

Being on the night shift now, I have been able to talk to Amy quite a bit more than previously. To tell you the truth, I miss my family much more this time. I can't really explain it but I am guessing it's because Sean and Ryan are getting older and more aware of what is going on. It hurts that I have to miss the entire Summer, I hope I can some time where school is out and take previously mentioned vacation.