Thursday, May 12, 2011

No Wasted Wake-ups

Much of what the 352 is doing is too sensitive to blog about and many of our conversations end up sounding like this:

Hey did you get the box of ___________ that I sent?
Well, where are my pictures?
The box is still in the office. No photos allowed in the office.


Hey I want to see a picture of the Keurig in action!
Too's in the office.


So I sent you a million Derby decorations. I need photos please!
I used them to decorate the office.

And so on and so forth. I don't get many specifics over the phone (which is fine with me because the last thing I want to be responsible for is putting our troops in jeopardy. Which reminds me...I had to stop listening to CNN altogether last week because the press corp just kept pushing for more details on the Osama bin Laden raid. Listen people...the military very rarely spills the beans about an operation...especially a covert operation. Take what you have, be thankful for their generous release of information, and go home. Do you want to be the journalist who wrote a story that got a servicemember killed? Yeah...I didn't think so...).

But a couple of ceremonies have occurred over the past couple of weeks that I can actually blog about.

The first was the "patch ceremony." This event officially recognizes each man and woman in the unit as combat veterans and free to wear the Shoulder Sleeve Insignia (SSI), or "combat patch." Each deployment's combat patch is different and for Neal, this is his third. He originally thought that only Soldiers on their first deployment would be recognized and receive the combat patch, but they included everyone. While Neal is more concerned with others than himself pretty much on the daily, I was glad to see that they extended the ceremony to all of the Soldiers in the unit.

Second was the transfer of authority over the CRY Yard (Container Repair Yard) in Balad. I would try to give you some background on the CRY Yard (it cracks me up when the military does this...when you spell it out, it ends up being Container Repair Yard Yard. Kind of like Headquarters Headquarters Battalion or Higher Higher Headquarters. Maybe the DoD should invest in a thesaurus next)...but this 1:27 video by 1st Lt Jon Hatcher, 289th Quartermaster Company in Charge & Contract Officer Representative for the CRY says it so much better than I ever could.

Last month, the 352 conducted a ceremony that officially turned the CRY Yard over to the Iraqi authorities. Three Iraqi leaders were on hand to speak and several awards were given out. Our commander also said a few words and thanked everyone involved for doing such a good job.

The plans for shutting down Iraq are being finalized as I type. It leads to a lot of uncertainty for the 352 and the families as this is unlike any other deployment. Instead of gaining new resources throughout the year, these Soldiers are gradually losing them. Neal tells me that Internet will most likely be phased out by the fall and several restaurants on base have already closed. For me personally, it's a frustrating process, but when I watch the above video and think about how we are finally leaving a country better off than when we entered, I take a breath and know that WE GOT THIS!


  1. aaahahahah Headquarters Headquarters... that ALWAYS makes me giggle. SO silly :)

  2. Yes I certainly wish the press would shut up. It irritates me that they don't get it.

    I am normally a very positive person, so the fact that this continous probing for unsafe details makes me irritable is saying a lot.

    It is sad for Neal that he will be losing more and more resources but at least his task is to get soldiers out and back home.

    Thanks for all the things you do share with us.

    Don't forget to wear red tomorrow everyone!

    that is all

  3. Seriously, though, I'm so glad you said it. I get so tired of the press corps pushing for more info! I beleive there are SOME things that we DON'T need to know!!! I don't think it's safe for us or our national securtity. SO THERE.
    Off my soapbox.
    And YAY for finally leaving Iraq and I PRAY they can keep it up there! Without the US.

  4. It really is a monumentous deployment, but I can imagine the constant loss of amenities will be difficult.
    I have my own CRY yard, but it generally entails me, on my deck, trying to read my book while my neighbour hurls insults at me...

  5. It's really is an amazing process. But don't you just wish they would leave every form of communication in place until the very last second?!

  6. The military kills me. Especially since some "words" are acronyms: LES - Leave and Earnings Statement (pay stub for you civies), and then you have stuff like CONUS - CONtinental United States, which I dont even know what the heck you call are we supposed to know which one is in use?? Haha!! Cracks me up!

  7. It's definitely time for the press to move on!'s headlines are still about Osama. Time to get back to focusing on what is currently happening not what already HAPPENED. Give me some news I can use already.

    When does Neal officially get back? I could do the math, but the thought makes my head hurt.

  8. I was reading about the withdrawal last night. Not sure how I feel about it. Hmmmphh!
    Have a great week!

  9. Jobs for 450 people. That is worth noting.

  10. Hey, Ally, is this the blog that disappeared? I got it twice. Too weird.

  11. I hear the theme to "Secret Agent Man" in my head as you describe your conversations.

  12. Being the last ones there and having to "close up shop" is definitely going to be a difficult job! I know when my husband was one of the first in Baghdad and they had NOTHING set up (obviously!) it was so hard to have any communication. That was the hardest. Make sure to send him some stationary so he can write at least!!!

  13. I wish I had sound on this computer but I'll have to return later to see this video. And I agree about keeping certain pieces of information private. I feel as though we're so accustomed to having endless pieces of information on just about anything imaginable so it's difficult to keep anything hidden anymore. But it's okay (and preferable) to keep certain things from the public.

  14. Great blog post....loved the's good to know that our soldiers are truly making the world a better place! I know what you mean about the acronym thing...I'm glad you find humor in it though b/c it drives me bananas! We have CAC Cards at work....CAC = Common Access Card...CAC Card = Common Access Card Card


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