The latest from the Iraq…

hello all, as i have previously stated, sorry for the mass email as i hate getting mass email. however, i don't have time to write everyone. just wanted to tell you about my day today.

i realized that i am in a war zone, but it became much more clear today. the 278 conducted a huge raid consisting of approx. 600 us troops and approx. 200 iraqi army. we took down a bad guy, (some sheik) which some believe is a major player. none of our guys got hurt, and as far as i know not a round was fired.

i was on another mission later today, so i wasn't able to go on the above one. i went out today to clear all our routes (of bombs and bad guys, IEDs, etc.) which is something i commonly do. however, as we were going through a local town on our return from the mission, so were the iraqi army from their mission. we were driving side by side with three of our vehicles and several of their's loaded with IA guys. we bottle necked in traffic, and then it happened. someone either fired at us or the IA; or one of the IA freaked out and fired for some unknown reason. we heard a few shots, then we heard at least 100 rounds firing all at the same time. the IA are a jumpy group. we looked for enemy targets but found none and never fired a shot.

but it was pretty freaky. i was surprizing calm. i just got my rifle ready and looked for something bad. i also made the vehicle commander ask if there were any injured (since i'm a medic). none that anyone knows of. but after the inital volley of rounds fired, into the air it seems, some other IA and iraqi police called for a cease fire and things returned to normal like it was a common thing. not 2 minutes later, a kid was smiling and waving as we passed by again like they always do.

so be glad that these occurances are not an everyday part of your lifestyle. when i first got here, hearing mortor rounds fire and hit and gunshots were something that alarmed me and i got 'ready for war'. now i don't even bother to ask what the explosion was i am so used to it. be thankful that you and our kids DON'T have to get used to it.

this 'war' is nothing like what other previous wars have been. i have it easy in compraision. however, the ignorace i lived in while in america – no matter how many times i watched 'saving private ryan' – is forever gone. be thankful that you live where you do, and aren't woken at 3 am to mortar rounds. also be thankful that america hasn't completely rejected God yet. we are more blessed than any other place by far, even with our problems.

just wanted to share my experience today and the lesson it taught me.

may Christ be very real to you.

don

All men die, some men never really live.