This is a shot of our newspaper which usually has decent news for one story, horrible news for one story, then great news all through.
This is my M16 and the M9 I had for a short while. Most Marines in Iraq now carry a primary firearm (M16, M4, SAW, or shotgun) and an M9 for a sidearm. I never had to use either of these.
I guess it's weird flipping our paper open and seeing a weather report for the very place we're going to. Just like many other Americans, I fall into the habit of thinking America is the only place with weather reports, newspapers, McDonalds and all that crap. Newspapers and time outside the country help rectify this, although Iraq didn't really live up to American standards.
My M16, up close. The wide vertical button with stripes is the bolt release, when the magazine is emptied after firing, you put a new one in then slap this to send the bolt home and load a round. Likewise if you pull the bolt to the rear, you can push on the bead at the bottom and lock it. The wide horizontal bar under it and to the left is the backside of the magazine release mechanism, and as you can guess, the safety is the switch off to the right. M16s are nice, but they can be a bear to drag around for 6 months.
I didn't know Nestle packaged water, but it was good. Nothing special I guess - I don't have any prefered brands of water. While overseas I tried to snap a photo of every type of bottled water I came across just for fun.
Here, a smoke tent for smoking cigarettes out of the sun. If you look off to the back, you can see palettes of water waiting to be opened and used. Wherever troops are, there are palettes of water like this; they are emptied constantly, one palette of water usually lasts about a day near a smoke pit.
Mountain Dew, Middle East style. Food was good out there, but there was something different about how the soda tasted. And they had those pop-top cans that you can make chains with, that was a source of amusement.
This is a side-effect of the smallpox vaccine which we all had to take before getting to Iraq. Because we had so much to do, some of us enjoyed this a week before leaving. This is an intermediate phase, after it blows up and looks red like this, a black scab 1/4" (6mm) thick will grow on top of the hole and eventually peel off, leaving a scar. This is probably the most disgusting of all the shots I've ever had.
The sleeping bag in which I spent many a night in Iraq. Cots and racks in the area have been used for 3 years and the military doesn't really throw down for expensive comfort items - this sleeping bag was warm and cushioned me very well.
Playing more cards. This was yet another day we spent in transit, burning time away between sleeping and eating.
One of the many HMMVWs guarding our camp while we were somewhere, I forget where exactly I was for this photo, but this is a common sight.
A tower, also defending us from anyone trying to get onto the base. Having spent time in one of these, I can feel for the guys in it right now - they're as comfortable as they can make them, but you still have to spend 8-14 hours in it per day looking through optics and ensuring nobody is trying to sneak through your zone.
I called these HESCO forts - strong arrays of HESCO barriers that protect groups of buildings. These are all over and very effective.
A big tower, probably very succeptible to RPGs. We didn't use these.
A jet of some type, they buried these so we wouldn't find them, but after a few years, you're bound to find everything, right!?