Thursday, January 27, 2005

Leading From The Front: A Troop 98th Calvary Operation Iraqi Freedom

Greetings from Kuwait

We have arrived in Southwest Asia at last. We spent a wonderful, but short Christmas break with our families trying to take advantage of as much life as we could into the few days we had. The time was short but intensely valuable. The goodbyes were the tough part. We departed on Sunday, January 2. That was the day we were looking forward to . . . and dreading for quite sometime.

We spent the next week and a half waiting to find out when we would depart. Most of this time was spent packing and repacking based on whether we were flying commercial or military air. We cleaned the barracks, throwing away accumulated stuff that we would not need overseas. Then we waited.

Unfortunately the entire troop could not travel as one unit so each day we would await word of when it would be our turn to leave. When word did come it was off to Gulfport and aboard the plane for over a 14-hour journey over ten states, one ocean, one sea and nine countries. After we hit the ground it was a three hour bus ride to Camp Buehring located in Udari, Kuwait.

The camp is about 14 square miles in area. The first thing everyone notices is how flat the country is, and how similiar it is to the National Training Center we experienced back in November at Fort Irwin, Ca.

The very first thing every person comments on is how good the chow (food) is, and how often we can go – four times a day. The camp also has several Internet cafes, telephone banks, weight room, a recreation room, laundry services, chapel services and hot showers.

For those who tire of the chow hall food there is a Pizza Inn, Subway, Burger King, a Mexican place and a doughnut shop.

We spend our days waiting for the rest of the Troop to arrive and then for our equipment to arrive in port. We also spend the days planning for the big move north into Iraq.

The elections and the new Iraqi government play a key concern in the planning process. We are eager and anxious about making the move and getting settled into our mission and into what we’ll call “home” for the next 12-plus months.

When we went to the rifle range we encountered a group of nomads known as Bedouins. They were moving their herds of sheep and camels across the desert to find fodder.

They are not really citizens of any one country since they travel the desert to eek out their existence and their travels take them through Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq.

We will soon have a mailing address. I will include it in my next article. You soon will be able to start sending those cards, letters and care packages. That is all for now, be sure to keep us in your prayers and thoughts.

Claude Miles
Staff Sergeant
A Troop 98th Cavalry
Military Correspondent

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