thelongestyear.typepad.com > His Longest Year

A few pictures from J.'s Longest Year...

Sentry

Sentry

 

Standing guard.


 

When the Team took one of the Kurdish batallions home, the officers held a picnic for them.


Mountains in Northern Iraq

Mountains in Northern Iraq

 


Tent City

Tent City

 


BBQ

BBQ

 

The team found a makeshift grill and enjoyed steaks left to them by an American Infantry batallion.


Tents

Tents

 

The infamous tents - they could reach up to 140 degrees in the heat.


Humvees

Humvees

 

They're kinda neat looking, but really don't offer much protection against anything. Not as formidable as tanks and strykers.


Kurdish

Kurdish

 

Their first batallion of Kurdish soldiers arrive for training.


Kurdish

Kurdish

 

Their first batallion of Kurdish soldiers arrive for training.


Kurdish Batallion

Kurdish Batallion

 

J. loved the Kurds. Most of them are former Peshmerga - Kurdish militia who fought against Saddam & his regime. They've been "scrapping" for years. They're incredibly courageous fighters (even the women fought in the militia). J. worries that the next administration will pull out of Iraq without getting the job done, and these guys will be left to fend for themselves against the many factions in Iraq once again.


Camels!

Camels!

 

Because no photo album of Iraq is complete without camels...


Sunset

Sunset

 


 

J. with Kurdish officers


Practice

Practice

 

Practice firing weapons with their Kurdish Batallion.


Practice

Practice

 

J. practicing w/the batallion.


 

Unlike Arabs, the Kurdish welcome American troops like celebrities.


Mosque

Mosque

 


Convoy

Convoy

 

Notice how far apart the vehicles are in a convoy, lest anyone hit an IED (so as not to get more vehicles and soldiers caught up in the explosion). J. was usually in the first vehicle in a convoy. Nice. (There are some things I'm glad he waited to tell me.)


Sheiks

Sheiks

 

Pronounced "shake" (not "sheek") - the Team met with elders of the Sunni village they patroled.


New Friend

New Friend

 

One of J's Kurdish friends who spoke English fairly well.


Air Assault

Air Assault

 

Before boarding for an air assault mission/training.


Weapons Cache

Weapons Cache

 

The Team and their Kurdish batallion spent several weeks with metal detectors and shovels finding and digging up weapons after Operation Swarmer. This was the booty from just one day of digging.


 

Kurdish batallion arriving for training & missions.


Going Home

Going Home

 

Another Kurdish batallion going home (they trained 4 batallions of Kurdish Iraqi soldiers in their time there).


 

A checkpoint hit by a car bomb. This is near an area known to harbor terrorists.


RPG

RPG

 

While J was on R&R, suicide bombers hit one of the Team's checkpoints with a car bomb. This is a sliver of the damage done by one of the Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs).


Car Bomb

Car Bomb

 

Car Bomb - The same checkpoint & some of the collateral damage from the car bomb (car pictured, right).


Johnny 5

Johnny 5

 

Explosive Ordinance Disposal (bomb squad) teams call these robots Johnny 5s. They were used to help clear the checkpoint of any further explosives.


Suiting Up

Suiting Up

 

Expolsive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) soldiers were also sent in to find and destroy any further IEDs (bombs). I can't imagine being the wife of one of these guys.


Kurdistan

Kurdistan

 

After training, the Team took the Kurds home to Kurdistan. Unfortunately, they didn't do any of their training here (it would have been safer).


My Cutie

My Cutie

 


Peshmerga Uniform

Peshmerga Uniform

 

The Kurds gave J and the Team each a traditional Peshmerga (Kurdish militia) uniform.


Ice Cold

Ice Cold

 

The Kurds in this area kept their food cold in the river.


Shish

Shish

 

The Kurds had a celebration by the river with J's Team. These are "shish" - lamb on sticks (kabobs).


Going Home

Going Home