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Christmas Greetings from Baghdad!


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Greetings from yet another cool chilly night here in Baghdad. METREP is about 6C, clear and no wind. Its coming up 2100h local.

As usual, we're flat out like a lizard drinking here, so I thought I'd get this out a few days early......

From my house to yours, I wish all Allied Forces and all members on here, whether you're deployed, or doing your bit back on friendly soil, or whether you are a spouse, family, friend, or supporter of the troops, do have a most excellent Christmas, and a bright fresh New Year.

Normally at my house back on Bribie Island in Queensland this time of year, its warm and its summer. The Christmas tree would be up, the lights hung along the eves, and swims in the pool or the nearby Coral Sea, and a few cold beers at the Bribe Island Surf and Life Savers Club would be in order.

Not this year. We find ourselves on operations in a hostile and explosive land, with a strange culture, foreign language, different dress, and way of life you cannot even grasp the concept of unless you have been here. Its so full of hate and revenge by many who are out for blood, but with the average Joe caught in the middle of this at times, sickening carnage, only trying to make ends meet. You know, pay the bills, raise a family, just like in your own neighbourhood.

My home since August is in a run down old Iraqi Rebublican Guard Barracks, crudly fixed up to be a small piece of Australia. New wiring,  and new partitions between the rooms, gives me a 1.4 x 1.7 meter space of privacy, with a new real wooden door! The overall room is 7 x 7 metres, and houses five of us. We have a TV and VCR.

We also share this space with Rex the rat, who can be seen scurrying about on occasion, followed by a bombardment of desert boots, PT shoes, and once even a claw hammer. He seems to survive and thrive on our activities, slealing the odd jelly bean, jube-jube, or cookie crumb. He comes and goes as required, only leaving his calling cards behind as evidence. Some of Rex's friends invade other rooms, taste testing peoples fingers, and nesting on crotches of those asleep. Our Rex knows his limitations!

Near Rex's favourite OP, we have our Chritmas Tree, about 70cm high, all decked out with red and gold garland and lights. Its small, my sister Sandy, from Regina sent it to me, but under it, houses our presents all wrapped from home. We have a huge mirror on the wall, again decorated with red and gold garland, and off that hangs our Christmas cards, not only from family and friends, but from complete strangers, cubs and scout groups, school kids etc. It really makes one feel quite proud to see such support for us over here, so for any Aussies at large who read this, thanks.

Also thanks to many members on here, who I have never met, for sending Christmas cards and parcels to me, all which I have shared with my PL members. Your well wishes and thoughts do not go unnoticed. Again thanks. More thanks to the members on here who over the past 4 months have sent parcels too, all arrived safely and were shared as usual.

At times it has not been easy here, but comms with home via this means and even old fashioned regular mail makes a difference. It truly has been a most unusual 4 months almost to the day since we left the safety of Australia, and one day less here means one day closer to leaving this madness.

Even though we are a few days off Christmas yet, I can only visualise what it must be like in my home province of Saskatchewan, with all the snow, horror frost, and skidoo tracks running along the No 1 Hwy between Regina and Moose Jaw. So many thoughts of the years past. Also what it must be like back in the Sunshine Coast in Queensland too. Those hot humid December nights, with the call of a magpie in the morning, or after a rain, the barking of a green tree frog in our back yard. Now thats paradise!

I miss my home very much, I would rather be no place else then where I am now. We have a job to do here, and its long from being finished. Its been well worth the at times the 18 hr days, and in the past we endured the heat, dust, and the odd angry shot (which still goes on - every day is not a routine, and we must stay focused- ALWAYS), whether thats small arms fire, mortar or rocket, they've all paid us a visit, sometimes closer than we like.

Once upon a time, Baghdad itself must have been a beautiful city in the area we occupy. The Tigris River we've all heard about for years is close by, with bamboo looking long reeds all green on each side of the river. The other side of teh river also is host to the enemy, wher he sends his messengers sending us HE of all shapes and sizes. At the end of the day we respect him, as he is not stupid, and overall is a dedicated foe. Baghdad now is a city under siege from itself.

Secterian violence which includes murder, executions, kidnapping, extortion, with militia lead death squads (shiite and sunni) terrorising each other's neighbourhoods, plus mortar and rocket attacks. The IED family of horror is also into the fray. Random gun-fire and RPG attacks too. Its insane, but normal, its life on the edge in a city on the edge. The lovely landmarks are now unmaintained, the roads are horrible, the area is smothered in t-walls and razor wire with OPs as common as light poles.

AK carrying men in civvies, partial uniforms, and many different types of uniforms are commonplace. Bombed out buildings are common, and the place is dirty beyond a joke, and full of garbage. Although there is traffic, there are no road laws. Vision Escape from New York, Waterwolrd and Madmax, with a bit of BHD thrown it to match! It will be a while before a state of basic normality returns. On top of all this, the coalition is also being targeted.

Christmas here in my unit will be another day, but with a twist. we'll have a few pressies to open, lunch and dinner will be served up by the SNCO's WO's and Officers, and it gets better, all the picquets and duties for the day will be covered by us too. The Diggers will have a day off, their first since they left Australia. We'll take in the US USO shows, and our own Aussie version of the same.

Comms to our familes back home will be via the phone and INet.

Anyways, not to bore you all with this dribble, but again thanks to all for your support, and again do have the best Christmas of your lives! I will be, for I am with my brothers, brothers by choice!

Enjoy your family and friends, and sneak in the odd rum (can be substituted for ouzo, vodka, whisky, moon-shine, gin, mezcal, saki, beer, wine, or any other anything else you so desire) for me.

Regards from Baghdad,


PS excuse the spelling, eh!
Wesley (Over There) said:
Anyways, not to bore you all with this dribble, but again thansk to all for your support, and again do have the best Chritmas of your lives! Enjoy your family and friends, and sneak in the odd rum for me.

I, for one, do not think of it as dribble at all, Wes.  It is nice and interesting to hear the updates from you!  All the best to you and your PL members for the holidays.  Stay safe and warm.

Michelle  :cheers:
airmich said:
I, for one, do not think of it as dribble at all, Wes.  It is nice and interesting to hear the updates from you!  All the best to you and your PL members for the holidays.  Stay safe and warm.

Michelle  :cheers:

Not dribble at all, and I always do love getting your updates. Stay Safe Wes, and Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Good to hear your well.  Stay frosty and pass along a very hearty Merry Christmas to you and your mates.
Good piece, Wes!  Stay safe, have a good one there, and wishing you a good rest of tour and safe return to your Fam when all is said and done!

Good to hear from you Wes, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and you're mates.
Merry Christmas Wes, from my family to you and fellow soldiers.  :salute:
Merry Christmas Wes, and to all other Allied Troops serving overseas.  Be safe and come home safe to your loved ones who miss you all very much.
"Peace on Earth, and Good will towards men."
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Wes, to you and your mates :salute:, including Rex (horrors!! :eek:  I'm a PMed!!)
Been to Queensland (Port Douglas).....beautiful spot!! Also from SK.  :cdn:
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from my house to both of yours Wes. Take care of yourself and I hope you have a very quiet holiday season.
Merry Christmas Wes, I asked my friend who is heading out tomorrow to Regina to kiss the ground for you - hopefully one day soon , you'll be able to do that yourself.  It's a balmy minus 22 c right now in Saskatchewan.

Stay safe. 

Merry XMAS Wes from the very cold (-7) NWT.  :cheers: and  be safe
Wes, stay safe, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year! Glad to hear you're doing ok.

A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your mates. Stay safe my friend.


ps: still no snow here around Gagetown yet, and the temperature hit 6 degrees today.  ;D
Merry Christmas Wes and I hope the New Year is a great one for you. Stay safe and hope you get some pavlova during the holidays. :)
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year Wes...
Stay safe and thank you for the updates... :salute:

MRM says,"stick on the ice" and Merry  Ho Ho

Merry Christmas to you Wes and all the diggers over there, you've earned it.

Thanks for all that you have done and will continue to do. Have a Happy and Safe New Year.